Summary: God cares for you the same way He cared for Joseph! He wants to: 1. restore your broken relationships (vs. 1-5). 2. save you from your sins (vs. 5-7). 3. bring blessings out of your burdens (vs. 8). 4. make you part of His mission (vs. 9-15).
Does God Care about Me?
Sermon by Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church - May 23, 2010
BACKGROUND & INTRODUCTION:
*Does God care about me? -- Everybody needs to know the answer to this question. And today we can find the answer from one of the greatest men in the Old Testament. His name was Joseph and his amazing story takes up one fourth of the whole book of Genesis. Today we will focus on Gen 44&45.
*When you look at Joseph’s life, you might think that God didn’t care about him, because he had to overcome incredible hardship. It started with the death of Joseph’s mother when he was very young. Then Joseph was betrayed by his own brothers.
*Talk about a dysfunctional family! John Hamby explained that Joseph’s family was so unbelievable that it could not even be made into a soap opera for television. He had 1 brother, 3 stepmothers, 10 half-brothers and a half-sister all living in the home at the same time. Joseph’s father, Jacob, was polygamist and a passive parent, who openly showed favoritism among his children. Jacob’s 3 wives were jealous and insecure. So Joseph’s home had 4 unhappy women, and 10 jealous half-brothers. (1)
*When Joseph was only 17, his half-brothers committed a horrendous act of treachery. They almost murdered Joseph, but instead they sold him into slavery.
*Even as a slave, God blessed Joseph to be promoted over all of his owner’s business. But then he was thrown into prison after being falsely accused of raping his master’s wife. What a horrible thing.
*Joseph spent 13 years as a slave and prisoner in Pharaoh’s dungeon, with no visible hope of freedom -- until Pharaoh had a dream that needed to be interpreted. God had given Joseph the ability to interpret dreams. And the Lord showed Joseph that Pharaoh’s dream meant 7 years of plenty followed by 7 years of terrible famine. He was the only man in the kingdom who could interpret that dream. So Pharaoh set him free and promoted him to be ruler over all Egypt.
*By today’s Scripture Joseph has ruled Egypt for 9 years. In the time of famine, his brothers have come for food. Joseph tested his brothers. And Benjamin, the youngest was caught with a silver cup that had been hidden at Joseph’s command. The penalty was slavery.
*Starting in Gen 44:18, brother Judah made a heart-touching plea to take Benjamin’s place. He is about to finish in vs. 33:
33. “Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the lad as a slave to my lord, and let the lad go up with his brothers.
34. “For how shall I go up to my father if the lad is not with me, lest perhaps I see the evil that would come upon my father?’’
*All of this is background for the big question: “Does God care about me?” Today we find the answer in Joseph’s response in Gen 45. Let’s begin by reading vs. 1-5:
1. Then Joseph could not restrain himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, "Make everyone go out from me!" So no one stood with him while Joseph made himself known to his brothers.
2. And he wept aloud, and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard it.
3. Then Joseph said to his brothers, "I am Joseph; does my father still live?" But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed in his presence.
4. And Joseph said to his brothers, "Please come near to me." So they came near. Then he said: "I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt.
5. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.
*Does God care about me? -- The wonderful truth is that God cares for you the same way He cared for Joseph.
1. This means first that God wants to restore your broken relationships.
*God wants to break down barriers between people. Listen again to Joseph’s response in vs. 4&5:
4. And Joseph said to his brothers, "Please come near to me.’’ And they came near. And he said: "I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt.
5. But now, do not therefore be grieved nor angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.
*Think about what Joseph could have said. “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt:
-And now you are up the creek! -- Now you are going to get yours.”
-Revenge is sweet! -- What goes around comes around.”
-And now I will sell you into slavery.”
-Or: “Off with their heads!”
*That’s what Joseph could have said. -- What would you have said?