Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Promise Presence Purpose

Dear friend,

Introduction/Recap from last week

Last week in our journey through the Old Testament, we briefly considered the life of the Father of our faith, Abraham, who was the originator of the Israelite people, the Jewish people. We focused mainly on chapter 22 of Genesis where Abraham was called by the Lord to offer his only son, Isaac, for a sacrifice. Abraham was obedient to the end to the point that he had the knife raised ready to slay his son, but then from heaven the voice of mercy came:

‚€œ11 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.
14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.
5 And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,
16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

Surely Abraham rejoiced in the day of Christ at that point, as looked and saw the substitute sacrifice caught in the thicket, an animal in whom Abraham saw the Son who would not be spared by His Father many years hence on the cross.

The Promise of the coming Christ through Abraham‚€™s loins was affirmed by the Lord (Angel of the Lord) in verses 16-18 due to Abraham‚€™s trust in and obedience to God. Through his obedience to the word of the Lord, Abraham was assured that indeed all the nations of the earth would be blessed through him seed, Christ. Because Abraham believed the Promise of God, he experienced the Presence of God, he then lived in the purpose of God for all.

Life of Joseph: Promise, Presence, Purpose (or Privilege)

Today we begin to consider the life of Abraham‚€™s great grandson, Joseph, who was the son of Jacob, who was the son of Isaac, who was the son of Abraham. As stated earlier, in our journey through the OT we are not going through chapter by chapter, but through the lives of selected people.

So, considering Joseph, how might we outline his life? Would it be any different than Abraham‚€™s? Than Isaac‚€™s? Than Jacob‚€™s? Than yours and mine? No, it would not have a different outline than any of these. I believe we will see why this is said as we go through not only the life of Joseph but as we go through the entire scriptures. Promise of Christ, Presence of God, and Purpose in Life‚€¦.

Joseph lived in knowledge of the Promise, as taught and explained to him by his grandfather Isaac and his father Jacob, throughout his life he experienced God's Presence and his life was lived in the Providence of God which resulted in his life being lived for the blessing of others. He was born one of 12 children, was favored by his father Jacob and hated by his brothers. Through a couple of dreams he was given a glimpse into the future, but the path to that future was gained through betrayal, rejection, false accusation and loneliness. He saw that his life was God's and in the end, he realized that it was to be lived for the furtherance of God's mission to the world. The attitude of his heart is demonstrated in the last chapter of Genesis.

KJV Genesis 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

In the end, that is what Joseph understood as far as his life was. His life had been lived for the purposes of God. It was not a wasted life, even though surely at time in the pit and in the dungeon, he must have struggled with the purposes of God. I said Purposes, not the Promise or His Presence.

In chapter 37, Joseph, after Rueben talked his brothers out of killing Joseph, was thrown into a pit by his brothers, and now has now been sold to slave traders by his brothers for twenty pieces of silver and has been taken to Egypt.

Joseph Blessed

KJV Genesis 39:1 And Joseph (1915BC-1805BC) was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither. The Pyramids were being built around this time. (2700 BC to 1800 BC)

Psalm 105:17 He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:
18 Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron:
19 Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.

2 And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.
3 And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.
4 And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. Joseph was 11 years in the house
5 And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.

6 And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.

The Presence of the Lord was with Joseph, and it was seen by the master of the dungeon. What did Joseph feel or experience? It doesn‚€™t say, but we do know that the Lord was with him and the keeper saw and witnessed of that reality. Joseph gained the trust of the keeper and pretty soon he was an overseer, and the blessing of the Lord because of Joseph spread outwardly to the Egyptian‚€™s house and even those in the field. Joseph did not seem to fret about what was to come, but he lived in the present, flourishing where circumstances had placed him.

Joseph had become very successful. Dietrich Bonhoeffer made this statement: Many people are able to deal with adversity, but there are few who are able to handle success and all the temptation that comes with it. One of the worst things that can happen to us is to be successful before we are ready for it.

Joseph Tested

Some lessons in temptation before we go further.

When are we vulnerable to temptation?

1. When one is young (39:1-6)
2. When one is good looking. (39:6)
3. When one has become successful (39:6)
4. When there is opportunity (39:-7-15) Opportunity + Desire =Fall into Temptation
5. When away from home (39)
6. When there is no accountability (39)
7. When it is continual (39:10)

7 And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.
8 But he refused, and said unto his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand;

ESV Genesis 39:8 But he refused and said to his master's wife, "Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge.

9 There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?

How did Joseph resist temptation?

He had a clear commitment to purity according to God‚€™s standards. (He refused her invitation)

He clearly communicated his refusal to yield to sin. (He did not wish to betray his master‚€™s trust, he did not wish to sin against her, and above all he saw sin as great wickedness and did not want to sin against God.)

He had clear boundaries. (He fled from her presence)

Temptation‚€™s Persistence:

10 And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.
11 And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within.
12 And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.
13 And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth,

Lust turns to hate when rebuffed, and lies abound.

14 That she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice:
15 And it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled, and got him out.
16 And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home.
17 And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me:
18 And it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out.
19 And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled.
20 And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.

The Presence of the Lord with Joseph

21 But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.
22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it.
23 The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper.

Now Joseph is back in prison. What good did his being faithful to God to for him in the short term? Nothing it appears, but he is back into the dungeon. But his story is not all written yet. There is nothing in scripture about how he ‚€œfelt‚€™. He did not ask why. He trusted in the Promise, he experienced God‚€™s Presence and he trusted God for the outcome of what He was doing in His life.

God doesn‚€™t waste suffering, but through suffering works out His purposes.

If we run away from suffering, or do not receive it as from the loving hand of God, will we be living our life for the benefit of the spiritual blessing of others?

Lord, will you entrust us with the suffering that is needful for me to be able to fulfill your purposes for others through me?

Your story, my story, is not all written yet. God knows it all, but we don‚€™t. He knows his purposes for us, so while we flourish where we are planted, may we rest in His Promise, relax in His Presence and through His leading do the right things according to His Word and Spirit.

In Jesus Name,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 12 Feb 2017 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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The Cross of Christ 2.25.2018
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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