Summary: How does God want to change the “landscape” of your life? ?) How are you handling the blessings of added authority and/or privilege? Do you approach your current station in life with a purpose of integrity and a sense of stewardship?
God in the Ebb & Flow of Life:
Power & Responsibility
Scripture Text: Genesis 41.37-57
It was a day like no-other… A day in-which the circumstances of a man changed about-as-dramatically as-ever they could!
As we’ve followed Joseph’s life, …we’ve noticed the ebb-and-flow, high’s-and-low’s.
We’ve the special favor his father gave him ~ …only to see his brothers despise-and-hate him. We followed him in a slave-gang-caravan all-the-way to Egypt ~ …and to-be-sold to the captain of the Egyptian-guard. While-there, his status greatly-improved as Potiphar (his new owner) promoted him to chief-servant~ …only to have that violently-stripped from him as Potiphar’s-wife falsely-accused him; …And he ended up in prison-chains, …despised, …alone, …forgotten.
I. Changed Circumstances
But at each step along the way ~ …in-the-midst of the up’s-and-down’s, …all-along-the-way, God has been with Joseph; …and we’ve seen ripples of God’s activity, …and we’ve heard echoes of God’s promises to this young-man.
But, on this day, …the echoes rumble-like-thunder, …and the ripples rise-like-waves to sweep Joseph up from the dark-dungeon that he’s lived-in for more than two years! On this day, he is lifted-up, …drawn-out, …swept-in to a dramatically-different situation.
We can try-to-imagine some scenario in-which a person’s situation does-a-complete-180!… But Joseph experienced it in an amazing way on this day! His life has been a wave of high’s-and-low’s, up’s-and- down’s… But, nothing like this day!
He traded his prison-jump-suit for the fine-royal-linen. He turned in the shackles-and-chains, in-exchange for a golden-necklace. He resigned as the assistant to the prison-warden, …and he accepted the new position of Pharaoh’s right-hand-man!... It was a day to beat-all! It was a day when God shuffled-circumstances in startling ways. And in-it-all, I hear echoes. Do you hear them?...
Last-week, we heard echoes of God’s promises; …this-week, there are faint-echoes of all-the-people in in-the-past, who have tried to have-a-say about Joseph’s life: …like-when his father rebuked-him and said, “Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” Or-when his brothers said (as they saw Joseph coming toward them in the field), “Here comes that dreamer!... Come now, let’s kill him.” Do you hear echoes of these-people and the things they said about Joseph!?!... Maybe you hear an echo of Potiphar’s-wife ~ …when she lied and falsely-accused Joseph because he refused to compromise and sin-against-God; Maybe you hear echoes of Potiphar’s condemning-word ~ …when he believed his wife’s lie, And Potiphar said-the-word and sent Joseph to prison; Maybe you hear all-kinds of echoes from voices in Joseph’s past ~ …echoes that now bounce-ironically and futilly off-the-walls of Pharaoh’s throne-room as Joseph is given ring and staff and chariot, and rank and power and authority and a golden-necklace!
Oh-how the circumstances have changed! But isn’t it true that we have-had-experiences in our-own-lives ~ …times when our circumstances have changed-dramatically and quickly!?!... How-often were those-times the result of God’s-work? …When God stepped into the darkness and confusion and lifted-us-up? ~ …and in—these-times, all the hurtful and destructive things people have said to-us and about-us, …down-through-the-years:
“You’ll never amount to much”,
“You’ll always be a failure”,
“You are a spoiled-little-brat”,
“You are untrustworthy” ~ You-know the things that people have said about you ~ …and those-things cut-deeply, …and they hurt, …and their words have stayed with you for a very-long-time. And the volume of those-voices gets-cranked-up when the circumstances of our lives seem to confirm what-they’re-saying!
But-then, God does something to turn your life-around. Certainly, He does it when He forgives us and shares His loving-kindness with us and we’re saved from our sin! It also-happens when His-blessings are poured out on us …and-when situations change-dramatically for-the-good. And when-that-happens, …the old, destructive-voices that have-echoed down-through the years, …they begin to be drowned-out by the Voice of God!
It’s not-that God, …all-of-a-sudden decided to speak-up. He’s been sayin’-stuff all-along the way ~ It’s-just-that, with the changes in circumstances, we can hear His Voce more clearly; And, what is He saying?
He’s saying, “See! I’ve loved you all-along! “You are my child and there’s so-much that I want to do in your life!”
As Joseph’s life changed-dramatically on this day, …don’t ya hear echoes of God’s Voice ~ …echoes that began with the dreams God gave him as a teen-ager?
And God has-also changed our-lives in dramatic-ways (at different-points): When God opens-doors for you, …when He heals broken-parts of your soul, …when He restores your health, …or mends hurting-relationships, …when He blesses you in some incredible-way ~ …don’t you hear His Voice re-affirming to your-spirit, that you are special in His eyes, …that you have a special place in His plans and in His kingdom?
II. Added Blessings
Whenever life’s-circumstances change, it gives an opportunity to hear God’s Voice more clearly; …and-thankfully, when we tune-in to His-Voice, …those-other-voices can be drowned-out! I consider those changes, to-be-blessings; …and-certainly, when we look at what took place in Joseph’s life on this-particular-day, ..we certainly would say that He is receiving blessing-upon-blessing!