Archive for March, 2008

Joseph – Understood God’s Sovereignty


NAU Genesis 45:7 “God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.  8 “Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

NIV Genesis 45:7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. {7 Or save you as a great band of survivors}  8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.

KJV Genesis 45:7 And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. {to preserve…: Heb. to put for you a remnant}  8 So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

 Yesterday we saw the transformation of Joseph from arrogant and prideful to humble and wise. It was a 13 year process. Today we see from the life of Joseph that the wise man has a proper understanding and application of God’s sovereignty.

 It would have been easy for Joseph to have vengeance on his mind toward his brothers. Instead we see his humility expressed toward his brothers based upon his proper perspective on the sovereignty of God.

In verse 7 we see that Joseph understood his situation to be ordained by God. He even understood the purpose of God in sending him to Egypt – it was a divine act of preservation for the future nation of Israel in fulfillment to the promises to Abraham.

This points out another synchronous relationship, this time between God’s sovereignty and man’s vengeance.  When God’s sovereignty is understood and practiced, man’s pursuit of vengeance is eliminated.

NAU Proverbs 20:22 Do not say, “I will repay evil”; Wait for the LORD, and He will save you.

NIV Proverbs 20:22 Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you.

KJV Proverbs 20:22 Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee.


Joseph – Wise and Humble


NIV Genesis 41:39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. …. 41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.”… 43 He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, {43 Or in the chariot of his second-in-command; or in his second chariot} and men shouted before him, “Make way!” {43 Or Bow down} Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt. 44 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.” … 46 Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout Egypt.

Joseph was 17 years old when he was sold as a slave to Egypt (Gen 37:2) and 30 years old when he entered Pharaoh’s service (see above). Thirteen years of work by God to transform an arrogant, prideful man into a humble, useful servant. That thought alone is enough to think about for the day – 17 years of pride’s development, 13 years to bring it under control.

But there is a greater lesson to be learned. The product of God’s transforming work in Joseph not only resulted in a more humble man, but a man who was wise and discerning. Isn’t it interesting to see the correlation between wisdom and humility?  Are you seeking to be wise? Learn humility!

NIV Psalm 25:9 He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.

Joseph – An Overview


This week’s study will focus on Joseph, son of Rachel and Jacob.

NIV Genesis 30:25 After Rachel gave birth to Joseph,…

Joseph was the 11th son of Jacob and Jacob’s favorite because Joseph was the first born and at the time, the only son of his favorite wife, Rachel.

NIV Genesis 37:3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him.

Jacob’s favoritism evidently went to Joseph’s head and his older brothers, being jealous of his status with their father, sold him as a slave to their cousins, the Ishmaelites, who turned around and sold him as a slave in Egypt.

NIV Genesis 37:28 So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.

After God humbled him by forcing him to serve as a slave in Potiphar’s household, being falsely accused of rape and then wrongly imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, he was ready to be used by God. He became the most influential person in the world outside of Pharaoh and blessed the Egyptians with his humble leadership. And he humbly cared for his brothers even though they had cruelly mistreated him.

NIV Genesis 39:1 Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there…. 3 When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did, … 7 and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!”… 10 And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her…. 17 Then she told him this story: “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me…. 19 When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying… he burned with anger…. 20 Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison…. 21 the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden….

NIV Genesis 41:41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck.

NIV Genesis 45:4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.

God took a spoiled, poorly parented, self-centered boy and molded him into a humble, useful tool for God’s service in the life of two nations. We have seen the process of transformation. Now we need to examine the product of this transformation.

Doubting Belief!


NAU Luke 16:27 “And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house– 28 for I have five brothers– in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ 29 “But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 “But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’

NAU Luke 16:31 “But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'”

Parables are fictitious stories from which a moral or spiritual truth can be drawn. In the hands of our Lord, they are stories with a veiled meaning – a meaning that our Lord would always explain to those who were truly interested in hearing.

The emphasis made in the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus is to believe God’s Word rather than doubt it. Note verse 31. The solution to man’s indifference to the things of God is NOT sending more messengers but believing the already existing message. If men will not believe the same message sent by several different messengers, then no amount of messengers over a period of time will change their minds.

In this parable the response of Jesus in verse 31 implies that a lack of belief to existing revelation from God is really doubt as to whether it is true. In the parable, Jesus removes the idea that such doubt can be eliminated with more revelation by pointing out that existing revelation is sufficient to honestly deal with any challenge we face. In other words, believing and acting on God’s Word diminishes doubt!

Searching God’s Word removes doubt


NAU Acts 17:11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.

NIV Acts 17:11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

KJV Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

There is a reason that the Bereans were more noble-minded than the Thessalonians. The Bereans were grounded in the authority of the Scriptures rather than the authority of a knowledgeable preacher of the Scriptures. They heard the preacher and then they searched the Scriptures to verify that what he had said was really true. Oh that we would be Bereans! There would be no room for doubt in our minds because our certainty would be grounded in a knowledge of God’s Word rather than questioning the teaching of a renowned speaker. Searching the Word of God strengthens our confidence in God and diminishes doubt.

Satan – A cause of doubt


NAU Genesis 3:4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5 “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

NIV Genesis 3:4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

KJV Genesis 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

At first glance, the passage detailing the entrance of sin into the life of man does not identify a cause for doubt in man. It does identify Satan as the chief culprit who introduced confusion into man’s thinking which ultimately led Eve to disobey God’s Word. You could say that the confusion caused by Satan led to Eve doubting the consequence God expressed for disobedience to His standard. It is therefore justified to identify Satan as one of the causes when we experience doubt.

Remember, our adversary, Satan, roams around like a lion searching out those he can destroy (NIV 1 Peter 5:8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.). The spirit world is real and dangerous! If you are doubting God at His Word, it is not a stretch to conclude that Satan is one of the causes ‘whispering’ in your ear! Be alert! Be single-minded! Be confident in God’s Word!

Relationship between Doubt and Belief


NAU Luke 1:18 Zacharias said to the angel, “How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.”  19 The angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 “And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.”

NIV Luke 1:18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” 19 The angel answered, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.”

KJV Luke 1:18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. 19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.  20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.

Doubt is questioning certainty, wondering about truth. Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, was conversing with an angel and questioned the certainty of the instructions being given to him. Since the Greek word for belief means confidence, and Zacharias lacked certainty or confidence in the angelic message, then Zacahrias’ problem was really a lack of belief in the authoritative message being delivered to him. One of the causes of doubt, then, is the lack of belief. And Zacharias suffered the consequence for his doubt and unbelief:

NAU Luke 1:22 But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them; and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he kept making signs to them, and remained mute.

NIV Luke 1:22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.

KJV Luke 1:22 And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless.

A cause of doubt is unbelief. As Zacharias has shown us there is a consequence for unbelief in the revealed will of God. Let us not be caught doubting the revealed will of God.