Summary: This is the 2nd of 2 parts on how in one day, Joseph went from being a prisoner to a prince. It can happen just as radically in the life someone inprisoned to sin.
Nov. 21, 1999 Gen. 41:1-40
Making a prisoner into a prince (pt. 2)
1. A prince tells it like it is even when the message is unpleasant ¡V WARNING!
[Explain the interpretation of the dream ¡V ¡§I¡¦ve got good news, and I¡¦ve got bad news¡¨] The interpretation that Joseph gave to pharaoh of his dream was not something that was pleasant to hear, but it was exactly what the pharaoh needed to hear. [Tammy gave me unpleasant news Friday as we were putting up the tree at my mom¡¦s house. The directions were wrong] It was a warning sent from God to pharaoh.
- clear [God communicated exactly what was getting ready to happen. There was no ambiguity. Soon, we will be getting snow warnings, but there will be no clarity about them.]
- sure [God put the same dream into two forms to communicate the fact that it was surely going to happen. As we were coming home from Ga. Yesterday, there were several times that the speed limit would drop dramatically because we were about to enter a city. But before it happened, there would be at least one if not two signs to warn us. It was as if they were saying, ¡§We¡¦re not kidding. You had better take your foot off the gas¡¨]
- no time to waste [ God gave them a time-frame. It might have been easy for them to think, ¡§Let¡¦s wait until tomorrow to begin preparations. After all, we¡¦ve got 7 years until the famine comes.¡¨ It took them that long to make adequate preparations for the famine. If you wait until you can see the disaster to prepare for the disaster, it is too late]
- Y2K [We¡¦ve talked about it, we¡¦ve laughed about it, we¡¦ve even been tempted to dismiss it. But the warning is there, so let¡¦s apply these three characteristics of God¡¦s warning to pharaoh. Is it clear? No, no one can say exactly what is going to happen. Everyone differs on the severity of the problem that will be created by the coming of the year 2000. Is it sure? No, no one can say for sure that there is even going to be a problem. Is there a time limit? Yes, we have 32 days from today. Every time that I go into the post office, I am reminded of how much time is left by that millenial clock that is on the wall. It counts down the days, hours, minutes, seconds, and milliseconds left before the change of the millenium. [I heard of one post office that took down their clock because it was a constant reminder to the customers of how long that they were standing in line.] Should we dismiss Y2k because it is unclear and unsure? Hurricane and snow warnings are unclear and unsure. Do you make preparations for them? Prov. 22:3 ¡V A prudent [wise] man sees the evil coming, and hides himself; but the simple [foolish] pass on, and are punished. [List some of the preparations that everyone should make]
- Church finances. The need is clear. [talk about our situation] The need is sure. The need is now.
Why don¡¦t people give warnings?
- Afraid of being wrong. [had one weather guy when I lived in Atlanta that would forecast snow at the drop of a hat]
- Afraid of being misunderstood. [that¡¦s why I usually don¡¦t say much about the church finances. That¡¦s why some of us don¡¦t say anything when we see a spiritual need in someone else¡¦s life. We¡¦re afraid that they will think that we think that we have it all together.]
2. A prince is not intimidated by anyone ¡V he presented a plan of action.
At this point, Joseph was giving something that no one had asked him to give. It was his job to interpret the dream. It was the job of Pharaoh¡¦s advisors to help him develop a plan of action. [In Esther¡¦s day, to even come before the Assyrian king without having been invited could mean the death sentence for you]
What might have been Joseph¡¦s motivation for speaking up?
„h Pharaoh could do nothing to him that he had not already endured. ¡§Why fear him who can only destroy the body? Fear him who can destroy body and soul.¡¨
„h Recognized the need of the people ¡V without Joseph¡¦s message, they could not have been saved. ¡§Perfect love casts out fear¡¨. Joseph knew that he was the right man at the right time in the right place.
„h NOTE: It is not enough to know the truth. You have to act on the truth. You have to have a plan of action.
„h NOTE: It is not enough to accept God¡¦s description of the problem. You must also accept God¡¦s solution to the problem.