Summary: on the dreams of the cupbearer, etc., by Pastor Norval Koch as our guest preacher
Joseph Sermon 3 Genesis 41: 14-16, 39-41
July 21, 2002
“I feel used. I’ve been living away from my family for a long time. I’m in a far off land. I’ve been mistreated, worked like a slave, and just when I thought things were going well, I get knocked down again by some false accusations. I feel used.” Yes, I’m sure Joseph felt that way while he was in Egypt. But if he felt used, I’m also sure it was a good feeling for him. God is the one who had been using him, for God’s own purpose.
You didn’t think I was talking about me, did you? Well, I guess I have been away from my family and living far from home for some time now. But I certainly haven’t been mistreated and I haven’t been working like a slave. Nor have I heard about any false accusations. And yet, I also feel used. It’s a good feeling. It’s good to be used by the Lord to further the cause of the gospel. That’s what I came here to do, after all. That’s what Joseph was used for in Egypt. And that’s what you are used for right here at Beautiful Savior of Topeka, Kansas. God uses us, for his purposes. Let’s give that some more thought this morning as we consider together:
God Uses Us on Purpose
–We may not always know how
–We may however know why
Our text is just one small part of a very detailed and very famous chapter in the life of Joseph. In this chapter we are told about the dreams that Pharaoh had and how Joseph was called upon to interpret them. They certainly were what we’d call “wild” dreams, the kind that prompted a man like Pharaoh to get help from others with their meaning. The wise men and magicians of Egypt were not up to that task, however. But when the cupbearer remembered how Joseph had interpreted his dream two years ago and that Joseph’s interpretation was exactly right, he thought that Joseph might be able to help his master with these dreams as well.
We can’t help noticing how Joseph, on the spot as he was before Pharaoh, gave credit to God for the ability to interpret the dreams and said that God would indeed fulfill the meaning of the dreams. Joseph could easily have been carried away by all the sudden changes and the opportunity to advance his own position, but he doesn’t seek to do that. He preferred to be used!
God had been using Joseph all along, ever since he came to the land of Egypt. It’s fair to say that He even used the hatred of Joseph’s brothers to get Joseph to Egypt in the first place. God used Joseph on purpose, the purpose that would become most evident in the years, even centuries, to come. By rising to the position of second in command in Egypt, and by overseeing the project of storing up grain during the good years, Joseph would be able to preserve his own family from ruin and, therefore, the line from which the Savior would come was also preserved. Was Joseph aware that he was being used by God this way? It seems that he was indeed, for he not only gives credit to God when he is talking before Pharaoh, but he says this about God when naming his first two children: “God has made me forget all my trouble,” and “God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.” Joseph was being used. It felt good. And God wasn’t through with him yet! Soon those dreams of long ago that he had as a boy would come to reality.
You just never know how God may use you. That was very evident in Joseph’s life. It becomes evident in our lives, too. At least I know it has become evident in my life. I never would have thought I’d end up in Topeka, KS, for a month in the summer. Why would I have ended up there, unless perhaps I was on an exotic summer vacation with my family or something. I’m teasing, of course. I certainly have seen some wonderful sights, but that’s not the real reason I ended up here. An opportunity arose for me to free up time for your pastor so that he could spend more time in outreach endeavors, especially among the Hispanic in the area. For me personally it was an opportunity to work more closely in a congregation. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I believe that God arranged for it on purpose. I’m glad I came. I pray that the efforts of the past month will bear fruit. As I talked about that with Pastor Pankow earlier in the week he even said what I’m saying to you this morning, “You never know.”