Summary: 4th sermon on the life of Joseph as inspired by the writings of Chuck Swindoll
For the most part our study of Joseph to this point has been rather sobering. Granted he was the favored son, but disappointment, abandonment, mistreatment, false accusations and slavery has since plagued his life.
Last week we watched as he interpreted the dream of the cup bearer and knew for certain that his days of captivity were soon to be over only to have the cupbearer forget his promise…and the result two full years go by…730 days…in the dungeon…no remarkable answers to prayer, no retreats, no revivals no vacation days no great worship services, just the same thing day in day out for two entire years.
WE get antsy around here if a week or two go by and we don’t see God moving like we think he should, so its no wonder as we look at this passage today you might find yourself asking, after all that Joseph had gone thru why god...why such a long time of being forgotten?
Today we will discover that God was still at work in his life, even though he had to experience some pain.
You see the reality is that pain…if properly handled can actually shape a life for greatness!
I have quoted him before but remember the words of AW Tozer; “It is doubtful that God can bless a man greatly until he has hurt him deeply”
Perhaps no one fully understood this philosophy better than Joseph!
So these two years just roll along no excitement nothing eventful taking place…say friend that’s what happens when God has you in a period of waiting…it seems as if NOTHING is going on if heaven has shut down…oh but wait just a minute this morning…
It really just seems like nothing is happening…the reality of it is a whole lot is happening. Events are occurring apart from our involvement, whether we realize it at the time or not we are being strengthened we are being established, perfected, refined….we are actually being shaped for Gods greatness and so was our friend Joseph!
Chuck Swindoll says “all whom God uses greatly are first hidden in the secret of his presence away from the pride of man.”
Oh the waiting time is when our vision begins to clear, when our faith begins to mature, and we come rot the realization that without him we are nothing!
All the while God is working overtime while we are waiting!
I think that morning was just like all the others, but God knew that this day was going to be something special in Joseph’s life. Let’s look at chapter 41 of genesis…
1Two years later, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing on the bank of the Nile River. 2In his dream, seven fat, healthy-looking cows suddenly came up out of the river and began grazing along its bank. 3Then seven other cows came up from the river, but these were very ugly and gaunt. These cows went over and stood beside the fat cows. 4Then the thin, ugly cows ate the fat ones! At this point in the dream, Pharaoh woke up.
5Soon he fell asleep again and had a second dream. This time he saw seven heads of grain on one stalk, with every kernel well formed and plump. 6Then suddenly, seven more heads appeared on the stalk, but these were shriveled and withered by the east wind. 7And these thin heads swallowed up the seven plump, well-formed heads! Then Pharaoh woke up again and realized it was a dream.
8The next morning, as he thought about it, Pharaoh became very concerned as to what the dreams might mean. So he called for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt and told them about his dreams, but not one of them could suggest what they meant.
These men that Pharaoh consulted with were indeed very wise men. They were employed to decipher everything from the Egyptian hieroglyphics to studying the movement of the starts in the heavens. But despite they were intelligent men; they could not make any sense out of Pharaohs dream.
Can’t you just see pharaoh’s frustration starting to get the best of him? These weren’t just your typical ate too much casa Brava nightmares…Pharaoh could sense that these dreams had meaning but he just couldn’t find anyone who could help him out…
Now here comes God…watch this…verse 9…
9Then the king’s cup-bearer spoke up. "Today I have been reminded of my failure," he said. 10"Some time ago, you were angry with the chief baker and me, and you imprisoned us in the palace of the captain of the guard. 11One night the chief baker and I each had a dream, and each dream had a meaning. 12We told the dreams to a young Hebrew man who was a servant of the captain of the guard. He told us what each of our dreams meant, 13and everything happened just as he said it would. I was restored to my position as cup-bearer, and the chief baker was executed and impaled on a pole."