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Summary: Joseph

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Title: A Promised Walk

Text: Genesis 37; 39-46

Subject: Faith

Series: The Walk Series; #4

Introduction: Promises don’t mean too much to people of this day and age. There was a time when a simple handshake and a promise were as good as any legal contract. The handshake was binding. Nothing is ever done today without an extremely detailed contract, and even with that lawyers can find ways out of even the most complex contract. Beyond in depth contracts down to the level where most of us live, promises still aren’t worth much. A father promises his children he’ll make it to the game; knowing full well he’ll never arrive on time. A bride and groom promise to love each other until death, after signing a prenuptial agreement on who gets what in case of a divorce. A friend promises to stick by your side through thick and through thin, but disappears at the first sign of trouble. Because of this reality, sometimes it makes it hard when we deal with the promises of God.

God is a God of promises. As you read through the Bible this becomes very clear. God has promised many things to us, but so often it appears as if He isn’t going to keep His promise. Time passes and we eventually just forget about it because our world has taught us that promises are rarely kept. What are we to do in the light of this? Today, we are going to look at the walk of a young man in the Bible. He was given a promise from God and God fulfilled it, but not in the time frame any of us would have chosen. Let’s look at the story starting in Genesis 37:3-11.

Now Israel [Jacob] 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. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him. 5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. 6 He said to them, "Listen to this dream I had: 7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it." 8 His brothers said to him, "Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?" And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said. 9 Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. "Listen," he said, "I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me." 10 When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, "What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?" 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.

We know from the text that Joseph was around seventeen years old when all these dreams, which I’ll call promises from God, happened. Twenty short years later, the promises came true. Jump over several chapters with me to Genesis 42:3-6.

Then ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. 4 But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with the others, because he was afraid that harm might come to him. 5 So Israel’s sons were among those who went to buy grain, for the famine was in the land of Canaan also. 6 Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the one who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground [emphasis mine].

We have ten of Joseph bothers bowing down before him. In the last verse I want to look at, the brothers have gone home and have returned for more food and by Joseph’s command (he wasn’t recognized by his brothers), they have brought their youngest brother Benjamin with them. All eleven of Joseph’s brothers are present. Let’s read Genesis 43:26.

When Joseph came home, they presented to him the gifts they had brought into the house, and they bowed down before him to the ground.

A promise to Joseph that was twenty years in the making. Twenty long years he had to wait for God to keep the promise (Gen. 41:46; Gen. 41:47-49; Gen. 45:6). There are some truths in here if we’re ready for them.

I. God’s promises always come true.

Promises are a dime a dozen. I’ve had friends ask to borrow things from me and they promise to return them, yet I know inside that they never will. Usually my suspicions were right. In the same way, people often come to churches asking for money promising that when things get better they’ll pay it back. Rarely do they hold to their promise and actually pay the money back. I remember a saying once that “promises were made to be broken.” This is the attitude behind promises today. When we live day in and out with a certain belief, it’s easy to begin to attribute the same belief to God. Take for instance, many of us have probably pictured Jesus as being white. It’s what many of us are and we just assume it holds true for Jesus. We know for fact though that he was a Jew and Jews of that time period were definitely more olive skin colored.

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