So two weeks ago we talked about being able to communicate with people in not just winning the argument but in changing hearts.
What is the problem we need to work? We have a culture that continues to grow away from God, away from truth, away from even common sense. As Charles Finney wrote in “Lectures on Revival, “when people are senseless and foolishly walking away from God and choosing sin, there is a need for revival!”
We can attempt to make people feel condemned and convicted or we can find a way to reach their hearts and change them by helping them experience real love. Joseph’s life gives us a wonderful lesson in dealing with the world both religious and secular to help them come to see Jesus.
When Joseph’s brothers saw him coming, they recognized him in the distance. As he approached, they made plans to kill him. 19 “Here comes the dreamer!” they said. 20 “Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns. We can tell our father, ‘A wild animal has eaten him.’ Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams!”
I wonder what would have happened, how this scenario might have been different if Joseph had taken a different approach with his brothers….but pastor didn’t it have to happen this way? God can do anything he could have accomplished the same goal a completely different way.
We know the story so we know Joseph was ultimately going to save his families’ lives and the whole middle Eastern region. That was the purpose of Joseph’s dreams. If his brothers had been successful in killing him, they would have, in effect killed themselves and their families.
Can we look at that from a modern perspective. The more our culture pulls away from God, tries to shut down the Bible and godly principles the more damage they do to themselves and ultimately our nation…Jesus put it this way
Luke 6: 46-49
I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. 48 It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. 49 But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house right on the ground, without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”
You’re living the Gospel, sharing the Gospel, being the gospel to the community is ultimately securing the foundation of our society. Our culture is collapsing on itself because the storm is here and the foundation is built on sand rather than Jesus, the cornerstone.
We don’t know who we are
Drug use and alcohol use are increasing
Suicide rates among the differing communities are high and increasing
Common sense seems to be missing in government and business
Christians and Christian principles are considered hate(rs)
But at the same time revival is taking place in some communities, there seems to be a greater hunger for peace, and people are more curious about the Truth and who Jesus really is. Jesus revolution and Sound of freedom did very well in the box office…people are looking for an authentic love, joy, and peace and authentic relationships with Jesus can bring that.
The storms of this life destroy lives that do not have a firm foundation. Storms always come in this broken world, but those who have their foundation on the solid rock, will only have their hope built as they see they can weather the storm
God provided a means of deliverance for Joseph for his sake and his families…
Genesis 37: 25-27
Then, just as they were sitting down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of camels in the distance coming toward them. It was a group of Ishmaelite traders taking a load of gum, balm, and aromatic resin from Gilead down to Egypt. 26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain by killing our brother? We’d have to cover up the crime. 27 Instead of hurting him, let’s sell him to those Ishmaelite traders. After all, he is our brother—our own flesh and blood!” And his brothers agreed.
We have a unique perspective knowing the story, but part of the reason I believe Joseph could of handled things differently as he spoke to his brothers comes from in the way he was taken to Egypt…
Psalm 105: 17-19
Then he sent someone to Egypt ahead of them—Joseph, who was sold as a slave.
18 They bruised his feet with fetters and placed his neck in an iron collar.
19 Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the LORD tested Joseph’s character.
Not very comfortable, could the Lord have gotten him to Egypt another way? To be honest, as I read the Bible, I do believe God is interested in our character.
How much of what we go through is not God, not the devil, simply the results of the seeds we have sown that reap a harvest…attitudes that we give people, the way we treat others, this works both positively and negatively. I know it wasn’t intentional but the way Joseph handled things and even perhaps Jacob’s deception of his brother Esau may have been at the root of causing Jacob such pain
Genesis 37: 31-35
Then the brothers killed a young goat and dipped Joseph’s robe in its blood. 32 They sent the beautiful robe to their father with this message: “Look at what we found. Doesn’t this robe belong to your son?”
33 Their father recognized it immediately. “Yes,” he said, “it is my son’s robe. A wild animal must have eaten him. Joseph has clearly been torn to pieces!” 34 Then Jacob tore his clothes and dressed himself in burlap. He mourned deeply for his son for a long time. 35 His family all tried to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “I will go to my grave mourning for my son,” he would say, and then he would weep.
I know there are people who no matter what we do, will never listen, always argue, people with whom we can never be at peace. Paul had that problem, Jesus, the creator of everything we see including every human being had that problem with his own creation. But to avoid unintentional heartbreak and creating a further breach in relationships we should always ask the Lord for the wisdom to win hearts and bring people God’s peace.
Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. (NASB)
Right now, before the season of contention with COVID again and politics, and everything else coming, ask yourself, what do people think of me? How does my character shine? What are the words that come to people’s mouths when they are describing me? It is all about character.
Joseph’s life was completely out of his control but it was in God’s control!
I know at times in our culture it seems as if everything is against us, we are battling on all sides. It can seem as if there is no hope, even that we are in bondage or even worse, feeling tormented by a system that is anti-God. We must make a choice to trust the Lord! God is still on the throne; He is still with us. He is working to reach a broken hurting world through us. His plan is still to bless us despite all the circumstances and battle we are facing. God’s picture is bigger. I believe if we ask him to show us, He will.
If we choose even in our confusion, in our battle to keep in mind, understand, our nation needs what we have. Our foundation needs to be solid it may cost us, time, but choose trust even when it seems impossible. Once again, I believe Joseph’s life is an example to us.
Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the bodyguard, bought him from the Ishmaelites, who had taken him down there. 2 The LORD was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. 3 Now his master saw that the LORD was with him and how the LORD caused all that he did to prosper in his hand. 4 So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge.
What does this tell us?
Despite Joseph affliction, rejection, fear, and pain he chose to trust the Lord, he had a grateful heart, He loved the Lord with everything that was in him because the favor of the Lord was on him. He had to learn the language, understand the customs, know how to do business even though he did not understand the discomfort he was in, he fought to trust the Lord and God honored that.
It is easy to complain about how difficult things are! It is easy to feel like you are a victim! It is easy to not trust God. But God sees, He knows and He understands exactly what we are going through and He has already equipped us for it, for our blessing!
A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men.
Your gifts will make room for you! Your circumstances will not limit God using you to change the world. God wants to use you to bring hope and peace and his heart to more people than you can imagine and they need it.
We always need to be open to listening to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and direction so we are open to impacting those around us in the way they can receive it. In return I believe the Lord will bless you with favor and blessing….you can’t go wrong
Be wise, work the problem the right way…
- Joseph was not wise in dealing with his brother’s jealousy and pain – we need to be aware of what others are going through so we reach them where they are and it doesn’t cost us.
- Whatever we are walking through, good or bad keep our eyes on the Lord. It is easy to complain God wants us to understand He has already given us what we need to turn any situation into a blessing!
- The message you have is a rescue plan for your friends, family, and community. If not on a firm foundation the storms of this world will bring destruction but on a firm foundation the storms actually renew our hope!