Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Life of Joseph - Motivations


Turn with me to Genesis 37 and while we turn, allow me to share our key scripture for tonight:

Key Scripture: Psalms 19:14  Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.

I first memorized this verse in 1980 after hearing a man singing a song using the verses in Psalm 19. That was the first time I remember realizing that the Words of God made the best songs. If I get real brave or muster up the courage, I may sing it later in the service.

Note: Why would it take real bravery or real courage? Because I am probably the only one here who knows the song and I would have to sing it by myself … - Those things we do, even when we have to do them by ourselves, are true examples of real courage or bravery. (Group activities do not exemplify bravery) –

Courage is an individual choice

More about that later …

In Genesis 37 we pick up with the continuing life of Joseph. In the first part of our series on the life of Joseph we talked about Joseph being a man with a dream. Some might imagine that it was his dreams that got him into trouble, that would be a wrong assumption but even if that were true one would have to conclude that it was dreams that got him out of trouble as well. At any rate, let’s use a couple of the accounts of Joseph’s life to help us determine our proper motivation from all of the motivations which often come our way.

Genesis 37
4  But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him.
5  Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more.

One of the first and most formidable motivations we find in the Bible is that of hatred.

Hate is a motivation …

Machiavelli, who wrote “The Prince”, a treatise on how to be a Prince, observed that it was better to be feared by your soldiers than to be hated by them … people who are motivated by hate are unpredictable and capable of blind assault without consideration of consequence. (My personal summation of Chapter 17 which addresses cruelty, fear, love and mercy)

Suffice it to say that hatred is a motivation which does no good for the one who hates or the one who is hated.

Joseph’s brothers, motivated by hatred, plotted, assaulted, captured, confined and sold him for money. Hatred is a cruel master and so is money! More about that later as well … but for now, back to motivations –

Genesis 37:11  And his brothers envied him, but his father kept the matter in mind.

Envy is a motivation …

Genesis 37
17  And the man said, "They have departed from here, for I heard them say, ’Let us go to Dothan.’" So Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan.
18  Now when they saw him afar off, even before he came near them, they conspired against him to kill him.
19  Then they said to one another, "Look, this dreamer is coming!
20  "Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit; and we shall say, ’Some wild beast has devoured him.’ We shall see what will become of his dreams!"

Conspiracy is a motivation. What is conspiracy? Conspiracy is often nothing more than:
·        Mob Madness
·        Group Courage
·        Deluded Truth

You have heard of people who get their courage from a bottle – well some get their bravery from group support. Real courage however, is not that which is gained by finding others who will agree with or support your cause … the brave do what has to be done even if they have to do it all by themselves. Those like David, when all the men in his army wanted to stone him, he encouraged himself to get on his horse and set out by himself to get back his family. When David faced Goliath, the army of Israel were all afraid to come out to help him until he killed the giant all by himself – that’s when group courage came into play …

Joseph’s brothers stirred the pot of contention and resentment. Stirring the pot of bitterness only makes matters even more bitter. A person can always find support for any cause however, support does not make it right!

Group support is a motivation …

Genesis 37
26  So Judah said to his brothers, "What profit is there if we kill our brother and conceal his blood?
27  "Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother and our flesh." And his brothers listened.  

Money is a motivation …

Even one of the trusted disciples was motivated by money to betray Jesus. The bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil and if a person is the type of person who is continually in pursuit of money, they are apt to do anything to try and get it. Money, Jesus said, is deceitful and it wants to be your God, dictate what you think and do, and then leave you empty handed.

Out of all of the motivations, perhaps money is the cruelest because it can never be satisfied. Yet, as Ecclesiastes says, money is the answer to all things. Although we may need money, we cannot allow money to wrongfully or inordinately motivate us or be the voice of our God.

If money speaks to you … beware … don’t let it deceive you or lead you to violate a principle of God’s word. The Word of God guarantees that needs will be met for the person who will put the Kingdom of God and what is right in God’s eyes as first place in their lives … all these other things you need will be added to you!

So far we have seen examples of people being motivated by:

·        Hatred
·        Envy
·        Group Support
·        Money

Let’s pick up this continuing survey of motivations from the life of Joseph in Genesis 39 –

Joseph’s brothers drew him out of that pit in Dothan and sold him into slavery to a group of Ishmaelites who were headed to Egypt.

(Production Note: - Show video of the pit in Dothan where we filmed one of our TV programs)

Genesis 39
2  The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.
3  And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand.
4  So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority.
5  So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had in the house and in the field.
6  Thus he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.
7 ¶  And it came to pass after these things that his master’s wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, "Lie with me."
8  But he refused and said to his master’s wife, "Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand.

Wow … talk about drama … you can see what’s motivating here … it’s lust

Lust motivates …

10  So it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her.

Some motivations just keep on trying to motivate … speaking day after day

But when she did not get what she wanted, she felt jilted and resented Joseph. Beware of those things which make you entertain resentment –

Resentment motivates …

You can read the story but for the sake of time this evening suffice it to say that even though she had been chasing and chasing after Joseph and he never told a soul, never made an accusation, never attempted to benefit from the situation – although he covered her … nonetheless – in her resentment of him, she waited until an opportune time and accused him of the very thing she was doing … And when she told her circle of servants and then proceeded to tell Joseph’s master - - -

Genesis 39
19 ¶  So it was, when his master heard the words which his wife spoke to him, saying, "Your servant did to me after this manner," that his anger was aroused.
20  Then Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were confined. And he was there in the prison.
21  But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.

Anger motivates …

We could go on and on and on but we will conclude this survey of motivations by discovering what it was that motivated Joseph in the midst of all of these things …

We know that some people are wrongfully motivated by:
·        Hatred
·        Envy
·        Support
·        Money
·        Lust
·        Anger

But what motivated Joseph?

Simple … He just wanted to do what was right without regard as to the wrong that was done him.

The life of Joseph teaches us to:

Do what is right even when you are done wrong …

Psalms 19 – Song
7  The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
8  The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9  The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10  More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
14  Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.