IDEAS FOR OUR TIMES

 

I got a little excited when some friends proposed a “Fitness Revolution”.  This would be an outreach to the local church for better health.  I know this is part of my own vision.  I have had strong assurance that it will come to pass, not in my time, but in his time.  What these folks are doing will help me see how to build towards my own vision.  God is raising up people to lead his army, and we do not have to be manipulative like Jacob. 

 

These friends shared a dream with the brethren in a fitness group.  They were preaching to the choir there.  Some folks offered wise counsel to pray, and seek wisdom from the elders for help along the way.  The saints before us had dreams, and their (church) brothers were not always helpful.  Jesus was rejected by his own people, in his home city.   Can we expect to be treated any better?  Joseph shows us how God can guide us through sibling rivalry to reach our dreams.

 

SHARING YOUR DREAMS WITH OTHERS

 

Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.  And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.  And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.  And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:  For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.  And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.  Genesis 37:3-8

 

Joseph did have a dream from God.  But the brothers were not ready to see a younger brother get the blessing.  They may have remembered how their father got Esau’s blessing! 

 

BROTHERLY LOVE

 

And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.  Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.  And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him.  Genesis 37:19-21

 

At least the family had a few morals left.  One brother was willing to let him live at least!  As long as there was a profit in it.  Where do the Jews get that reputation?

 

THE RIGHT FOOT OF FELLOWSHIP

 

So here comes a rebel with a cause.  He isn’t going through the “chain of command” to get permission from the deacons either.  He just goes right over their heads, to God the Father himself!  Who does he think he is?  We can live with the unpleasant brother if he fellowships in the congregation across town.  We can love him from a distance.  I think he would like the First Church of Egypt!

 

Hmmm…seems like I heard about a guy from Galilee who got the same treatment from his brethren!

 

And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?  Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.  Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.  And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes. Genesis 37:26-29

 

SANCTIFIED:  SEPARATION SERVICE

 

Joseph didn’t seem to be able to learn his lesson though.  He kept hearing from God, and went on prospering in the new church too.

 

ABOUNDING WHILE ABASED

 

And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither.  And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. Genesis 39:1-2

 

GOOD INTENTIONS

 

Now when you are prospering, and looking good, you may get some unwanted attention.  Don’t think that every admirer is on your side either.  They can change sides, or may even be from the enemy in the first place.

 

And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.  But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand;  There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?  Genesis 39:7-9

 

NO GOOD TURN GOES UN-PUNISHED?

 

Well, we know that Joseph ran, but still got sent to prison.  But he still had a job, and a great provider.  He prospered there too!  If we obey the authorities, and work as unto the Lord, he rewards us for unseen good works too. 

 

CO-WORKER RELATIONS AND REMEMBERANCE

 

Sometimes our co-workers recognize our gifts.  We can share the Lord with them.  Joseph gave encouragement to one, and a warning to another.  His fellow servant forgot his name and kindness for a long time after being released from prison. 

 

And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants.  And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand:  But he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them.  Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.  Genesis 40:20-23

 

GIVING CREDIT TO GOD

 

The servant did remember when the time was right to glorify God though.  And Joseph did not forget to recognize his source and provider. 

 

And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it.  And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.  Genesis 41:15-16

 

PHARAOH LEARNS AND GLORIFY GOD TOO

 

Joseph gave a plan to survive the lean years, and the Pharaoh saw that God was in him in truth.

 

This is the thing which I have spoken unto Pharaoh: What God is about to do he sheweth unto Pharaoh.  Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt:  And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land; And the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous.  And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.  Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt.  Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years.  And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities.  And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine.  And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants.  And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?  Genesis 41: 28-38

 

 

VISION MANIFESTATION:  JOSEPH’S DREAM BEGINS

 

Now the plot thickens as the old dreams come to life.

 

And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.  And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck;  And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.  And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.  And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnathpaaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.  And 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.  And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls.  Genesis 41:41-47

 

ALL NATIONS COME FOR FOOD

 

Joseph has seen his losses restored.  His small labors are magnified by the living God.  He is now in a position of power and authority.  He has memories of his family, but may not realize how they will meet again.  He has a new family and a new life in a land of warm prosperity.  Like Job, his destruction is reversed and his losses restored many times over.  Soon we will see how the blessing can be returned to the church, even to those who are undeserving.  God made a promise to Abraham, and he will keep that promise, even in this day we live in.

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