Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Life of Joseph-Wise & Discerning


Sometime after Joseph was imprisoned he encountered two officers of Pharaoh who had offended their King and were therefore placed in the dungeon. After a season each of these two men had dreams which troubled them greatly. Joseph correctly interpreted each man’s dream which led to one being restored to his former office as Chief Butler to Pharaoh and the other being hanged.

The only thing Joseph asked of the butler was that he be remembered. However, when the butler was released and restored, he forgot all about Joseph. We pick up the account of Joseph’s life in:

Genesis 41
1  Then it came to pass, at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh had a dream; and behold, he stood by the river.

8  Now it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. And Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them for Pharaoh.
9  Then the chief butler spoke to Pharaoh, saying: "I remember my faults this day.

25  Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, "The dreams of Pharaoh are one; God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do:

33  Now therefore, let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt.
34  "Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years.

36  "Then that food shall be as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt, that the land may not perish during the famine."

39  Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you.
40  "You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you."

46  Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.

51  Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: "For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father’s house."
52  And the name of the second he called Ephraim: "For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction."
53  Then the seven years of plenty which were in the land of Egypt ended,

56  The famine was over all the face of the earth, and Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians. And the famine became severe in the land of Egypt.
57  So all countries came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, because the famine was severe in all lands.

Joseph’s life teaches us to be both wise and discerning

Wise in the sense that we look farther down the road and contemplate the consequences of our actions

Discerning in the sense that we choose to do now what will best serve our future

The prophet Jeremiah reveals the heart of God towards each one of us:

Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Seeing that God is so interested in and focused on our future … should not we be also?

Three things Genesis 41 teaches us that wise and discerning people do:
1.  Release the past
a.   Refuse to focus on the pains of the past
b.   How hard it was to get here or how hard it is to be here

Wise and discerning people do not allow their past to become a roadblock to their future.

2.  Increase in affliction
a.   Principles of increase work wherever we are
b.   Have you ever noticed the vegetable gardens on prison grounds? – The soil does not say that because the person planting the seed is in prison, “I will not produce for him.”
c.   The earth does not care who it is that plants, waters or cultivates. Principles of increase work because they are worked.
d.   God watches over the harvest of the righteous … Isaac sowed in the land of famine – Genesis 26:12 and increased 100 fold
e.   The harvest belongs to those who sow (1 Co 9:10; 2Ti 2:6)

Wise and discerning people keep sowing.

3.  Save for the future
a.   1/5 was gathered during the good years
b.   That’s 20%
c.   Remember the 10 Apples
                                         i.    Live on 6 Apples
                                        ii.    Give 2 Apples
1.   1 Apple as a Tithe
2.   1 Apple as an Offering
                                      iii.    Save 2 Apples
1.   1/5th
2.   20%

The life of Joseph encourages us to:
·        Release the past
·        Keep Sowing, even in hard times
·        Save for the future