Part 2- Rings of Power- v42.
It has been some weeks since we looked at the first of our series on the restoration of Joseph and the lessons we can gain from this. In between we have been busy about the purposes of God living out the prophetic call to be at the heart of our community.
With the Steeple View Fun Day
With the Basildon Festival
With Alf Central
With the distribution of evangelistic videos in the local area.
I praise God that we are a people prepared to respond to God’s call to us just as Joseph was.
Let’s go back to the passage
Genesis 41 V15-16
Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”
“I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”
Then Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream and more importantly told him how to deal wisely with the situation that faced the nation.
The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials.
So Pharaoh asked them,
“Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God ?”
Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.
Then putting it clearly because of the rather stunned look on Josephs face
So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.”
We arrived at a point last time where we appreciated that like Joseph
- First – We listen.
- Second- We obey God and respond to His prompting.
- Third -We bring revelation with wisdom The prophetic is subject to the prophet not the other way around.
- Fourth-We acknowledge God as the source of our life and revelation. (Where is the most important place we acknowledge God? - In our Head and in our Heart.)
We’re staying in Genesis 41: and because we might be feeling a little weary I’m not going to ask you to travel far in your bibles.
One verse in fact
Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger
Up until now in the story Pharaoh had been full of promises and commitments. You will do this and that. But now the rubber hits the road
Pharaoh gives Joseph his credit card and tells him the pin number.
Well that’s what it amounts to.
Or his cheque book or social security book. The signet ring was power. Raw
power. With it he could do anything. What anything – well yes anything. Except take Pharaoh’s rightful place.
Ok so let’s take our credit cards out and entrust them to a good friend along with the pin number.
Because of course now you can buy things in the shops with a bank or credit card – it’s called chip and pin.
All the information about you is stored on this little chip here and when you type in your pin the shop is able to see all about you.
Of course it was not really a credit card it was a signet ring.
What is a signet ring- Are there people here with one on?
I want us to think about what signet rings are used for both today and previously.
Maybe think of some biblical stories that might help us.
(a) Protection Tamper proofing.
“So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.”
To ensure that something is undamaged secure from harm. In earliest times this went as far as believing that the seal itself carried spiritual protection.
(b)Indication of ownership- This is mine
“Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”
Also think of the branding of cattle to demonstrate ownership.
(c) Authentication of documents- This we know as the most common use- It is the signature and as chancellor of Egypt Joseph would have used the seal most in this way.
It is with the great seals of England used by the king or Queen that our laws are still sealed.
(d) Trademarks- in pottery often used still today. Hall marks are another example on gold and silver etc.
(e) Gift to a relative or friend to wear usually on the right ring finger. This is the most common use today.
So Joseph on receiving the ring from pharaoh was now empowered and charged to
- Protect Egypt
- Demonstrate ownership of Egypt
- Govern Egypt- Through his laws
- Place his own trademark on all that he touched.
Well here’s what Pharaoh’s ring might have looked like.- This is a picture of the signet ring of Akhenaten- A pharaoh who lived after Joseph’s time.
So we know what this ring can do now let’s look at it’s form
The ring is engraved inscribed with the signature of the owner in this case pharaoh. The ring is pressed into the soft material such as clay or wax and as a result the image is transferred from the ring to the soft material.
It now bears the same image as the ring.
I discovered only this week having already prepared much of what I wanted to share that the Greek word – Charasso meaning to inscribe scratch or impress is the same root word used to mean character.
The character of the owner is impressed into the pliable clay.
What is also true is that Joseph’s journey from 17 to about thirty was a journey during which God wanted to inscribe impress and mould Joseph, often very painfully to show God’s character to the world around him.
- Rejected by his brothers- who actively plotted to murder him
- Sold into slavery
- Falsely accused of rape
- Thrown into prison
- And forgotten
We heard only too well from Sue Shuttleworth last week of the character shaping of God in the heart of someone who truly desires to follow Him.
We carry the loving scars of a people touched by God- just as Joseph’s own father, Jacob, wrestled with God and limped as a result of his encounter.
What is your testimony of God’s work in your life – Phillipians 3:12-14
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
When Joseph emerged from his prison cell he was given as the first tangible evidence of his new authority- a ring.
The ring of power did not have Joseph’s name on it or any indication that Joseph was using it.
When Joseph used the ring, he did so in Pharaoh – When someone looked at the work of Joseph in his laws or his seals perhaps on the grain stores seven years later, they did not see Joseph- they saw the one who had brought Joseph out of prison and empowered him- they saw Pharaoh and only Pharaoh.
Similarly The works we do the power he gives us the love we demonstrate we do – In Christ who brought us out of darkness and into the light.
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Eph 2.
If Joseph had attempted to focus his attention on gaining in his own right any of the status that was pharaoh’s because of the ring it would have destroyed him. As Pharaoh said only in respect to the throne will I be greater.
Rather He had his clear focus on saving Egypt from starvation.
For us to seek the potential status that comes with the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit will lead to our own separation from God
To focus on liberating those who are spiritually starving using the authority and wisdom that flows from our identity in Christ – brings us life.
God wants us using the authority of Jesus at His right hand , to impress His character upon the world around us, starting with us
- Protect in prayer those who God has His hand upon
- Show God’s ownership of our own lives
- Express the Government of God in all we do
- Place God’s trademark on all that we touch