Participants: Pastor Stephen Bohr
Series Code: CGC
Program Code: CGC000045
01:12 Shall we bow our heads for prayer?
01:16 Eternal and loving Father,
01:19 what a joy it is to come into Your presence.
01:23 to study the Word which You gave us through the power
01:27 of the Holy Spirit. We ask that as we study
01:31 about History's Invisible Guide
01:34 that Your Spirit will show us that this world
01:39 is not composed of a series of disconnected events
01:44 but that You are seated on the throne of the universe
01:47 guiding and controlling everything to Your intended end.
01:53 We ask that You will help us to understand
01:55 how this applies to our own personal walk with You.
01:58 And we thank you for hearing our prayer
02:01 for we ask it in Jesus' name, Amen.
02:07 Why do bad things happen to good people?
02:13 Why do calamities afflict our lives?
02:17 Why many times do our lives appear to be out of control
02:24 with no guiding force?
02:27 Well, in our subject today
02:29 we are going to study about
02:31 History's Invisible Guide.
02:33 And we're going to notice that history
02:37 generally - in our lives specifically - are not composed
02:43 of disconnected events that have no relation one to another.
02:49 We're going to see that in this world and in each of our lives
02:53 there are two forces struggling to gain dominion
02:59 and power. And we're going to notice that even though
03:03 many times bad things happen to good people
03:06 God ultimately will use those bad things
03:10 and He will turn them into good.
03:14 But it's only as we look back on our lives
03:17 that we understand this.
03:19 When we're looking forwards and we're going through these
03:22 trials, it's difficult many times for us to understand
03:26 exactly what is happening.
03:29 Now we're going to study this subject from the perspective
03:32 of a wonderful story that we find towards the end
03:36 of the book of Genesis.
03:38 It's the story of Joseph.
03:41 I don't see any story in the Bible that speaks about
03:46 God's providence in such a marvelous way as the story
03:50 of Joseph. Now, it probably would be a good idea
03:55 for us to examine first of all the home life of Joseph.
04:00 You know, we live in a world today where people have a
04:03 tendency of passing the buck
04:06 and blaming other people, blaming circumstances,
04:09 blaming heredity, blaming the environment
04:13 for the things that happen in their lives.
04:16 But as we look at the life of Joseph we discover
04:19 that Joseph had a less-than-ideal heredity,
04:23 he had a less-than-ideal environment,
04:26 and less-than-ideal circumstances in his home.
04:30 And yet Joseph cooperated with God
04:34 and the end of the story is absolutely glorious.
04:39 Now let's talk a little bit about the family life of Joseph.
04:45 As you know, Jacob was deceived into marrying
04:51 Leah. But he did not love Leah.
04:54 And the Bible tells us that Leah with Jacob
04:59 had four sons. Let's read about this
05:03 in Genesis chapter 29 and verse 30.
05:07 Genesis 29 and verse 30.
05:11 It says here:
05:26 Can you imagine what it was like
05:28 to live with a husband that really did not love you?
05:33 And yet we're told in the story that Jacob and Leah had
05:38 four sons if you continue reading after this verse.
05:41 They had Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah.
05:47 Of course, Jacob later married Rachel.
05:52 And Rachel was envious of her sister.
05:55 In fact, we find in Genesis 30 and verse 1
05:59 this sibling rivalry being clearly and strongly expressed.
06:05 Notice Genesis 30 and verse 1. It says:
06:22 This is quite a sibling rivalry that we have here.
06:26 You know, Leah has had these four sons;
06:29 Rachel can have no children.
06:31 And so Rachel comes up with an idea.
06:34 She says to Jacob: "Jacob, why don't you
06:38 go in to my maid Bilhah and maybe you can have children
06:42 for me with Bilhah.
06:44 And so that's exactly what Jacob did.
06:49 He went in to Bilhah and Rachel - through Bilhah -
06:54 actually had two sons.
06:57 The names of the two sons were Dan and Naphtali.
07:01 Now this led Leah to say to Rachel
07:04 "Oh yeah? You think that you can have children
07:08 with your servant? Well, I've got a servant too
07:13 and I can have my servant go in to Jacob as well. "
07:17 And so we find in Genesis chapter 30 and verse 9:
07:34 And now Jacob has with Zilpah, the servant of Leah,
07:41 the following sons: Gad and Asher.
07:47 But Rachel still did not have sons of her own.
07:52 And so at this point you'll notice that these two sisters
07:56 are struggling against each other.
07:59 This tremendous rivalry, and Leah rubs it in Rachel's face
08:04 that she has children and Rachel doesn't have her own children.
08:09 Now it's interesting that after Leah has two sons
08:14 with Zilpah, Gad and Asher,
08:16 that Leah actually bore three more children.
08:20 This is found in Genesis chapter 30 and verses 18-21.
08:25 It says there:
09:02 So at this point Leah has had seven children
09:07 of her own and two children with her servant.
09:10 And Rachel has only had two children with her servant.
09:15 And, of course, Rachel is envious of her sister.
09:18 But God, according to this story, eventually opened
09:23 Rachel's womb and gave her two children.
09:27 Let's read about it in Genesis chapter 30:22-24.
09:32 The first of these, of course, was Joseph.
09:34 It says:
09:57 And so now Rachel has Joseph.
09:59 But God has told her that she's going to have another son.
10:02 And we find in Genesis chapter 35 and verse 18
10:07 that Rachel has her second son. His name, by the way,
10:11 is Benjamin... the youngest of all of the brothers.
10:16 It says there in Genesis 35 and verse 18:
10:31 Now can you imagine what it must have been like
10:35 to sit at the dinner table in this household?
10:38 Jacob - who has two wives
10:42 and two concubines - all sitting at the table
10:47 with their thirteen children.
10:50 Can you imagine what Rachel's children must have said,
10:53 Joseph and Benjamin, must have said to Leah's sons:
10:57 "You know, our dad doesn't love your mom
11:01 as much as he loves our mom. "
11:04 And you can imagine the rivalry between these young men
11:08 and among these wives.
11:11 It was warfare! It was the worst type of environment.
11:15 And then of course as the brothers of Joseph grew up
11:19 we find several of them with serious - very serious -
11:24 character flaws. For example
11:26 Joseph grows up in an environ- ment where Simeon and Levi
11:31 are cold-blooded murderers. You can read the story
11:34 of Shechem. Amazing how they had all of the men of Shechem
11:38 circumcised, and then when they were in the utmost pain
11:41 on the third day they turned against them
11:44 and killed every man in that city.
11:46 Cold-blooded murderers.
11:48 You have Reuben, who was guilty
11:50 of incest. You have Judah
11:53 who slept with a prostitute.
11:55 You have also Reuben
11:57 who had the backbone of a jellyfish
12:00 when it came to delivering Joseph from the wrath of his
12:03 brothers. You have a dys- functional group of brothers
12:09 in this family, and this is the household in which Joseph
12:13 grew up. So don't blame heredity. Don't blame
12:19 the environment. Don't blame circumstances
12:23 for the way in which your life moves
12:26 because we can thrive in the best of circumstances
12:29 like Joseph did. Now, what sets the tone
12:33 for this story is two dreams that Joseph had.
12:38 Notice Genesis chapter 37 and verses 9 and 10.
12:43 Genesis 37:9-10.
12:46 This is the one about the sun, the moon, and the stars.
12:50 It says here:
13:27 So he's rebuked by his father for these dreams.
13:31 But this sets the tone for Joseph's life because Joseph
13:35 knows that some day - he doesn't know how,
13:37 he doesn't know when -
13:39 but he does know that some day he is going to be lord
13:44 over his father, his mother, and his brothers.
13:49 And so all throughout the course of his life
13:51 this guides his thoughts: "God has a plan.
13:56 I don't understand all of the circumstances, but God
13:59 has a plan. "
14:02 And he decided that he was going to cooperate
14:05 with God's plan.
14:07 Now we're told in the story that Joseph's brothers despised him
14:12 because of these dreams that he had.
14:14 Notice what we find in Genesis 37 and verse 11.
14:18 Genesis 37:11.
14:20 It says here:
14:29 Now I don't believe that Jacob understood
14:33 how much his brothers hated him.
14:36 And so we're told in the story that Jacob
14:40 asked Joseph - who was 17 years old at this time -
14:44 to take some provisions to his brothers who were tending
14:48 the sheep. I believe that if Jacob had realized
14:52 the hatred that his brothers had for him -
14:55 the profound hatred - he wouldn't have sent Joseph.
15:01 So we ask the question: why did Jacob send Joseph
15:05 knowing how his brothers felt about him?
15:10 And then we notice that Joseph comes to where his brothers are
15:17 and his brothers see him from afar.
15:19 By the way, he's traveled approximately 65 miles
15:22 at this point from Bethel - where Jacob lived -
15:26 all the way to Dothan according to the Bible.
15:28 And Joseph is very tired, and when his brothers see him
15:32 from a distance they come up with an idea.
15:35 They say: "This is the time to nip this in the bud.
15:38 Let's kill him. Let's get rid of him
15:41 and then we'll see what will happen with his dreams. "
15:44 In fact, let's read this. It's found in Genesis chapter 37
15:48 and verses 19 and 20.
16:09 Now the question immediately arises:
16:12 why didn't his brothers kill him?
16:17 Obviously they hated him enough to kill him,
16:22 but for some reason - first of all - Jacob sends Joseph
16:26 knowing that his brothers despise him.
16:29 Then when they say "Let's kill him" their plans are interrupted
16:33 and they don't kill him but they throw him into a cistern.
16:37 Very strange... when he was hated so much
16:40 by his brothers. And then it just so happens
16:43 that when Joseph is in that cistern - at that very moment,
16:47 at that very time - some Ishmaelites are traveling
16:52 through that country to the land of Egypt
16:55 at that precise instant.
16:57 Is this a coincidence?
16:59 In fact, let's read about it. It's found in Genesis 37
17:02 and verse 28. It says:
17:23 Question: why did Jacob send Joseph in the first place?
17:29 Why didn't his brothers kill him?
17:33 Why at that precise moment did the Ishmaelites come by?
17:39 Why were the Ishmaelites traveling to Egypt?
17:43 Obviously Joseph somehow had to arrive in Egypt.
17:48 Now it appeared like Joseph had gotten a pretty raw deal.
17:52 Here this good boy - obedient to his father -
17:56 is being taken to a strange land for no reason...
18:00 simply because of the jealousy and the envy of his brothers.
18:04 Joseph could have said: "What good is it to serve God?
18:08 Look... I serve Him, I trust Him,
18:11 and here I end up being sold by my brothers to Egypt. "
18:16 But Joseph knew that God had a plan.
18:22 At this point he didn't understand all of God's plan
18:25 but he knew that at some point his dream would be fulfilled.
18:30 Actually his two dreams would be fulfilled.
18:33 And so now Joseph takes this long trip to Egypt.
18:39 By the way, he would have re-tracked his steps from Dothan
18:43 to Bethel. In fact, Ellen White says in the book
18:45 Patriarchs and Prophets that he could see his father's tents
18:49 from afar as the Ishmaelites were taking him to Egypt.
18:52 And then he would have had to travel from Bethel
18:55 several hundred miles further south to Egypt.
18:59 This trip would have taken a significant amount of time.
19:03 Eventually the trip comes to an end
19:07 and Joseph is taken to the marketplace
19:09 to sell. And it just so happens
19:12 by coincidence - and I say that
19:15 not... I say that kind of like ironically
19:18 or sarcastically - by coincidence a man named
19:22 Potiphar ends up in the marketplace and purchases
19:27 Joseph. In fact, let's read about it.
19:31 Genesis 39 and verse 1:
19:51 And so Joseph ends up of all places -
19:54 there are many individuals who could have bought Joseph -
19:57 but he ends up being bought by Potiphar.
20:00 Now I believe that there are two reasons in this story
20:04 why Joseph ended up in Potiphar's house.
20:07 Reason number one: it was necessary for Joseph
20:11 to meet Potiphar's wife.
20:15 And secondly, it was necessary for Joseph
20:19 to sharpen his administrative skills
20:23 because God had a HUGE plan for him...
20:28 a world-wide plan at that time...
20:31 and he needed to be a keen and sharp administrator.
20:36 And so God is preparing Joseph
20:39 by administrating the house of Potiphar
20:42 for these huge responsibilities.
20:45 In fact we are told in Genesis chapter 39
20:48 and verses 2 and 3:
21:00 By the way, this reminds me of the words of Jesus
21:04 in Luke chapter 16 and verse 10
21:06 where Jesus said this:
21:21 In other words, it was necessary for Joseph to learn to be
21:24 faithful in the small administrative duties
21:27 in Potiphar's house in order to be qualified
21:30 for the huge administrative duty which awaited him
21:34 in the future. And of course we know how the story develops.
21:40 This faithful young man one day meets Potiphar's wife
21:44 in the house, and Potiphar's wife wants to have sexual
21:47 relations with Joseph.
21:49 And we all know the famous words of Joseph.
21:52 Let's read them in Genesis 39 and verse 9.
21:55 Joseph says to this woman:
22:11 And Joseph's faithfulness lands him in prison.
22:16 Now what justice could there be in this?
22:19 First of all, he's a good boy
22:22 and he's sold as a slave to Egypt.
22:24 And then now because he's faithful to God
22:27 in keeping the 7th commandment he ends up in prison.
22:32 You wonder at this point in the story: why did he end up
22:36 in prison? Must it be perhaps
22:39 that there was someone in prison that he needed
22:42 to meet as this plot develops?
22:46 Obviously yes. At this point, by the way,
22:48 Joseph had been in Egypt for ten years.
22:50 He was 27 years old.
22:53 Now another interesting aspect is that when Potiphar discovered
22:58 what had happened with his wife and with Joseph -
23:03 it actually didn't happen we know, but the events
23:05 had taken place - Potiphar instead of killing Joseph
23:10 he has Joseph thrown into prison.
23:12 Now we know that he did not believe his wife's story
23:16 but he still could have had Joseph killed to save face,
23:19 couldn't he? In fact, notice what we're told
23:22 in Genesis chapter 39 and verse 20.
23:35 And so Joseph has gone from his home in Bethel
23:41 to Egypt to prison... all in spite of the fact
23:46 that he was faithful to God.
23:49 And you might say: "There's so much injustice in this story.
23:53 I mean, these are bad things happening to a good person. "
23:56 But Joseph in his mind had the dream.
23:59 He says: "God has a plan.
24:02 I don't know how all of these events are being weaved
24:05 together, but God has a plan and I know that these things
24:09 are happening for a reason. I'm going to hang in there
24:12 with God. " Notice Genesis 39 and verse 21.
24:16 It says there:
24:26 You say: "Yeah, right... the Lord was with Joseph.
24:30 Where was God when he was sold as a slave to Egypt?
24:34 Where was God when he was thrown into prison?
24:37 You mean to say that God was with Joseph
24:39 and He had mercy with Joseph? "
24:41 That's what the story says because God had a plan.
24:46 Now by Joseph being in prison
24:49 he was able to further sharpen his administrative skills.
24:53 You see, God had a purpose in allowing Joseph to go to prison.
24:57 He needed to be polished for the duties that God had for him
25:02 in the future. Notice Genesis 39:22-23.
25:08 It says:
25:33 And so we find Joseph being faithful in the prison,
25:37 being a faithful administrator,
25:39 preparing for the duties that God has for him in the future.
25:44 But of course, the real reason why he ends up in prison
25:47 is because he needed to have an encounter
25:51 with another individual in this story.
25:54 Of course, all by coincidence.
25:57 As he's in prison at this particular place and time
26:02 a baker and a cupbearer of Pharaoh are cast into prison.
26:09 And so you ask the question: "Why were the baker
26:12 and the cupbearer cast into the prison
26:14 at exactly that time when Joseph was in prison? "
26:18 There was a purpose in this story.
26:21 Notice what we find in Genesis 40 and verse 8.
26:43 And so to make a long story short
26:46 the baker and the cupbearer tell Joseph their dreams
26:49 and Joseph says to the baker: "I'm sorry to tell you
26:54 that you are ancient history so to speak. "
26:57 And he says to the cupbearer: "You are going to be released
27:00 from prison and you're going to end up serving wine
27:05 to Pharaoh again. "
27:08 And then Joseph says in Genesis 40 and verse 14
27:12 to the cupbearer these words:
27:30 So he says to him: "When you get out of this place
27:32 please remember me when you go before Pharaoh. "
27:36 And the interesting thing is the cupbearer goes out
27:39 and he suffers some strange type
27:43 of divine amnesia.
27:47 He forgets Joseph. In fact, he forgets Joseph
27:50 for two whole years. Why did he forget Joseph for two years?
27:54 It wasn't simple forgetfulness.
27:57 It's just that it was not time yet in God's calendar to act.
28:03 You see, at this point the cupbearer knew that there was
28:07 someone who could interpret dreams.
28:09 That was the important point.
28:11 Two years go by and Pharaoh has two dreams.
28:18 During those two years Joseph patiently fulfills his duties
28:24 in the prison knowing that God would intervene.
28:26 And so Pharaoh has two dreams:
28:29 the dream of the stalks and the dream of the cows.
28:32 And to make a long story short
28:34 Joseph says this means there are going to be 2 periods
28:40 in the history of Egypt upcoming.
28:43 One is going to be seven years of super-abundance
28:47 and plenty and there's going to be 7 years
28:50 of devastating famine after that.
28:53 Notice that God is revealing the end from the beginning,
28:56 folks. Now I want you to notice
28:59 what we find in Genesis 41 and verse 25.
29:02 By the way, Joseph - at this point - is thirty years old.
29:06 He's been in Egypt since he was seventeen,
29:08 so he's been in Egypt for a period of thirteen years.
29:11 God's plans know no haste and no delay.
29:15 It says there:
29:27 And remember that what God
29:29 permits, according to the Bible, God also causes.
29:34 He doesn't cause it directly... He permits sometimes
29:38 things to happen. And so the question is asked...
29:42 In fact, Joseph says to Pharaoh: "Pharaoh, you need to
29:44 find a wise man who is able to gather during the seven years
29:48 of plenty so that during the seven years of famine
29:51 you have provision so that society will not disappear.
29:55 And, of course, Pharaoh says:
29:58 "Who but you would be the ideal person to do this?
30:03 You who have been able to interpret my dreams. "
30:08 And the interesting thing is that at this point in the story
30:11 the tables begin to turn.
30:13 In fact, Pharaoh says to Joseph: "You will now be
30:18 Prime Minister of Egypt.
30:21 People will come before you and they will bow
30:25 and they will show you respect just like they show me.
30:29 I will be above you but you shall be the lord
30:32 over everyone in the kingdom. "
30:35 Is that exactly what Joseph had seen in his dreams?
30:40 Absolutely. The tables are turning.
30:44 In fact, what his brothers did to frustrate his dreams
30:48 God has now used to make his dreams come true.
30:54 It reminds me of that text in Matthew 25 and verse 21
30:59 where we're told: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant.
31:03 Thou hast been faithful over a few things...
31:07 I will make thee ruler over many things. "
31:11 At this point Joseph has been faithful in Potiphar's house.
31:15 He has been faithful in his duties in prison.
31:18 So God said: "You have been faithful over little; now I
31:21 will place you over much. "
31:24 And now we need to ask the question:
31:28 why were there going to be seven years of plenty
31:32 followed by seven years of famine? "
31:36 By the way, in the Bible God does not directly cause famine.
31:42 God does not cause Himself calamities such as this.
31:46 God allows Satan to work
31:50 to cause calamities... what we call natural disasters.
31:54 And you would ask: "Why would God allow seven years of plenty
31:58 and then allow the devil to devastate for seven years
32:02 not only Egyptian society but all society
32:06 in the Middle East? "
32:08 The answer is given very clearly in scripture.
32:12 It's because Satan wanted to eliminate and destroy
32:18 the holy line. We've discussed this before.
32:21 In other words, he wanted to get rid of Jacob
32:24 and all of his family. But God knew this before it happened.
32:28 And so God sent Joseph down to Egypt
32:31 to make provision during the seven years of plenty
32:35 so that during the seven years of famine the holy line
32:40 from which the Messiah would come
32:42 would not disappear from history.
32:45 But we still have the question: why to Egypt?
32:50 Why didn't God just allow Jacob and his family
32:55 to remain in Canaan and to proliferate there
32:59 without allowing the seven years of famine... forcing
33:04 Jacob and his family to move to Egypt?
33:07 I'm going to put that on hold for now.
33:11 Now notice Genesis chapter 41 and verse 46.
33:16 It says:
33:31 Let me ask you: was the experience of Joseph
33:36 in Potiphar's house and in administrating the prison
33:40 an invaluable resource to Joseph
33:43 now when he had to organize the gathering in of the grain
33:47 from all of the land of Egypt to save all of civilization
33:52 at that time? Obviously he sharpened his skills
33:55 for this huge responsibility which God now had for him.
34:01 Notice Genesis 41:57.
34:05 This famine not only afflicted Egypt, it afflicted Palestine.
34:09 It says in verse 57 of Genesis 41:
34:25 And so Jacob says to his sons:
34:30 "Sons, I want you to go down to Egypt
34:34 because I hear that there's provision down there. "
34:36 Interesting. God has sent Joseph down to Egypt
34:41 because somehow He wants Joseph's family to gravitate
34:46 towards Egypt. There a plan in taking them to Egypt.
34:49 Not only to preserve the holy line we're going to notice
34:52 but there's another reason why He takes them out of Canaan
34:55 down to Egypt. And so Joseph's brothers
34:59 make the journey down to Egypt... the first trip.
35:03 Notice Genesis chapter 42 and verse 21.
35:10 "Then they said one to another... "
35:13 This is when Joseph said: "You are all spies!
35:18 I'm going to throw you all in prison. "
35:21 They say: "We are truly guilty concerning our brother
35:25 for we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded with us
35:29 and we would not hear. Therefore, this distress
35:34 has come upon us. "
35:37 And so Joseph says to his brothers: "You say that you have
35:39 a younger brother that stayed home?
35:42 That your father wouldn't let him come with you? "
35:44 Well, in order for me to know
35:47 that you're not spies, I want
35:48 you to go and I want you to
35:49 bring back that brother. "
35:52 And they said: "Our father will never allow us to bring back
35:55 our brother. " Joseph said: "Tough luck. "
35:59 In fact, he takes Simeon and he throws Simeon into prison
36:06 and he says: "I'll leave him there until you come back
36:09 with your younger brother. "
36:10 Now why Simeon?
36:12 Let's read about it first of all and then I have a quotation
36:15 from Patriarchs and Prophets.
36:16 Genesis 42:24:
36:32 Notice that he didn't only cast Simeon into prison.
36:35 He bound him before he was cast into prison.
36:38 Why did he do this?
36:40 In Patriarchs and Prophets page 225 we find this
36:45 incisive comment by Ellen White. She says:
37:13 You can imagine Simeon thinking: "Huh, I was the one
37:17 that had Joseph bound and thrown into the cistern.
37:20 Now the tables are being turned.
37:23 There's something strange going on here...
37:26 something strange happening. "
37:28 And so they go back to Canaan and they tell Jacob: "Jacob,
37:32 Father, unless we take Benjamin back to Egypt
37:36 Simeon will be a prisoner forever. "
37:38 And Jacob says: "Forget it.
37:41 You're not going to take Benjamin. I've lost Joseph
37:45 and now I only have one son left from my beloved wife Rachel.
37:49 You can't take him. " But eventually they're suffering
37:53 so much hunger that Jacob decides to send Benjamin
37:57 with his brothers.
37:59 And so they take a second journey to Egypt.
38:03 Notice Genesis chapter 43 and verses 28 and 29.
38:07 They arrive in Egypt
38:12 and they say this to Joseph:
38:28 Do you see what's happening here?
38:31 What the brothers did to try and keep the dream
38:34 from being fulfilled... Now their very action has
38:38 fulfilled the dream or the dreams that Joseph had.
38:41 And so they bow before him.
38:44 And we're told in Genesis 43 and verse 33
38:47 that Joseph sits them at his table by order of age.
38:53 Now they know that something's really strange that's going on
38:57 here. Joseph is leading them to think...
38:59 It says in Genesis 43:33
39:12 "What is this that this individual knows how to sit us
39:15 in the order of our age? "
39:17 But it gets even more interesting.
39:19 We're told in Genesis 43:34
39:22 that Joseph gave Benjamin five helpings of food
39:28 compared to his brothers.
39:30 Notice what we find there... Genesis 43 verse 34:
39:45 Why did Joseph do this?
39:46 Because he wanted to see if they were still jealous and envious.
39:51 But it says that they're happy.
39:54 They don't mind that Benjamin has five times the helping
39:59 that they have. And so Joseph is saying
40:01 "These individuals have gone through a conversion experience.
40:04 They've been changed by this ordeal. "
40:07 Imagine, folks, for so many years
40:10 hiding this lie from their father.
40:13 Terrible... and seeing their father suffer
40:16 thinking that Joseph has died.
40:19 And the guilt that goes along with this.
40:22 And now they see these things happening.
40:24 They don't care if Benjamin has five times the food
40:28 that they have. Then of course you know the story
40:31 in Genesis 44 verses 12 and 13 they start the trip home.
40:35 Joseph has had his cup placed in the sack of Benjamin.
40:41 Notice how this is picked up in Genesis 44:12-13.
40:58 And so they're all taken back and now you can imagine
41:02 the pain and the sorrow that the brothers are feeling.
41:06 They're saying: "Our father has lost Joseph
41:09 and now he's going to lose Benjamin. "
41:11 And so they're taken back to where Joseph is
41:13 and Joseph says: "Why have you dealt with me this way? "
41:16 And he says it in a very harsh way.
41:19 And the brothers begin begging for the life of Benjamin.
41:24 And in fact Judah says to Joseph:
41:29 "Why don't you just keep me as a slave
41:32 and let Benjamin go back to my father, because
41:35 if my father knows that he's lost another son by Rachel
41:39 it's going to break his heart and he's going to die. "
41:44 The brothers have gone through a tremendous conversion
41:46 experience. There's no more envy; there's no more jealousy.
41:51 They feel the pain of their father.
41:54 Joseph is trying to calibrate them to understand how they feel
41:59 at this point. And so Judah offers his life in place
42:04 of the life of Benjamin.
42:07 Now we still have that question that I left on the table
42:10 and that is: why was it even necessary
42:13 for Jacob and his family to go down to Egypt?
42:18 You see, folks, there was a prophecy which was uttered
42:23 by God to Abraham several hundred years before.
42:27 It's found in Genesis 15 verses 13 and 14
42:32 and it says this:
42:58 You see there was a prophecy that God had given to Abraham
43:02 where Joseph knew that they were going to go down into Egypt.
43:08 They were going to be there for 400 years
43:10 and then God was going to take them once again to the land
43:15 of Canaan. And of course immediately the question arises:
43:19 why not just leave them in Canaan?
43:21 Why bother to take them for 400 years down into Egypt
43:25 to take them back to Canaan?
43:26 Why not just leave them in Canaan?
43:28 Why did God give this prophecy to Abraham?
43:31 There was a very special reason.
43:34 In our second textbook in this seminar, Patriarchs
43:36 and Prophets page 232, we find the reason.
43:42 It says there:
44:52 Are you understanding this?
44:54 This whole scenario of Joseph
44:57 having to go down into Egypt
44:59 and as a result Jacob's family
45:01 going down into Egypt
45:02 was because they could not stay in Canaan
45:05 because there were giants there that they could not overcome.
45:08 It wasn't the time in God's calendar.
45:11 And besides, if they had mixed
45:13 with the Canaanites they would have become
45:15 corrupted by the Canaanites.
45:17 She continues saying:
45:39 And of course, that was the land of Goshen.
45:41 And now notice this:
46:07 Are you understanding how God's plan is developing here?
46:12 It took years and years for this plan to be fulfilled
46:17 and yet God's plan was fulfilled to the very letter.
46:21 First of all, the holy line from which the Messiah would come
46:25 was preserved. And secondly, Jacob and his family
46:31 emigrated to Egypt where they could live in Goshen,
46:35 proliferate, grow in relative peace
46:38 without becoming contaminated with the idolatrous practices
46:43 of the Egyptians. Now let me ask you:
46:46 as Joseph looked back upon his life, do you think he would say
46:50 that it was worth it?
46:53 You know, if you just think about the life of Joseph
46:56 from the time that his brothers took him and threw him into
46:59 the cistern I can imagine Joseph saying: "Huh... wow!
47:03 What's going to happen now? " He had the dream
47:05 and he had the prophecy given to Abraham in his mind
47:08 but he doesn't know exactly what's happening.
47:12 But he cooperates with God
47:14 and step by step God reveals to Joseph His plan.
47:18 And Joseph cooperates with God. He walks step in step with God
47:23 because he knows that God has a plan.
47:25 Some day God will make him lord, and in this way
47:29 he will save the holy line and he will prepare the world
47:34 for the coming of the Messiah.
47:37 You see, folks, history is moving under the guidance
47:42 of God's omniscient and omnipotent hand.
47:46 And it's moving toward a specific goal.
47:50 History is not an ebb and flow of unrelated events.
47:55 History is being nudged forward by an invisible hand.
48:01 If I choose to participate, God's plan will be fulfilled
48:06 with me. If I choose not to participate,
48:09 God's plan will be fulfilled anyway without me.
48:15 Kind of reminds me of the story of Esther.
48:19 Mordecai says to Esther: "Esther, you'd better go in
48:22 and you'd better intercede for your people. "
48:26 And he says: "If you don't,
48:29 help will come from some other place. "
48:33 The beauty of this story is that Joseph decided to
48:36 cooperate with God step by step.
48:39 He didn't understand everything that was happening,
48:42 but he was guided by his dreams and by the prophecy
48:45 given to Abraham. You see, folks, when we look at life
48:51 after we've lived it,
48:53 we can see the hand of God's providence.
48:56 You see, I like to compare historical events with the
48:58 thread in a tapestry.
49:02 See, each event in our life is a thread that God is adding
49:05 to the tapestry.
49:07 And you only see the full picture when all of the threads
49:13 come together. Then you know that God has been leading
49:18 your life and that what God allowed to happen
49:21 and that what God caused was absolutely wise.
49:27 Kind of reminds me of that verse in Romans chapter 8
49:31 verses 28 and 29. We all know this verse.
49:35 Probably we can repeat it from memory.
49:38 It says there:
49:39 "And we know... " Notice it doesn't say we think.
49:45 It says: "We know that all things... "
49:49 How many? Even the bad?
49:52 Yes, even the bad.
49:55 "We know that all things work together
50:00 for good to those who love God,
50:06 to those who are called according to His purpose. "
50:12 If we kept this in mind, we wouldn't grumble and gripe
50:15 and complain about the things that happen in our life.
50:18 But many times when things come to our life -
50:21 calamities and problems and difficulties -
50:24 we gripe and we come complain and we say: "Lord, why me? "
50:29 When really we should not say "Why me? "
50:32 we should say: "Lord, I don't exactly understand what You're
50:35 doing right now. This is a very difficult time in my life.
50:39 I can't understand these circumstances, but Lord,
50:42 you know what? You have more experience than me.
50:45 And so I'm just going to kind of follow along.
50:47 You take the step and I'll walk right in Your footsteps.
50:50 I'll walk in Your footsteps the way that You lead me. "
50:52 And we can't go wrong no matter how many calamities
50:56 come to our lives we can't go wrong.
50:59 This reminds me of a fantastic statement in the book
51:03 Desire of Ages pages 224 and 225
51:06 that I'd like to read. You know this -
51:09 you've read it before -
51:11 where Ellen White is speaking about the experience of
51:14 John the Baptist.
51:16 You know, you look at John the Baptist. He also was
51:18 thrown into prison.
51:20 Jesus never went to visit him.
51:24 You'd say: "Come on... he was Jesus' cousin
51:28 and Jesus didn't show any interest whatsoever in him.
51:31 Here he's thrown into prison and he's apparently abandoned
51:34 and forsaken. What justice is there in this?
51:38 Because John the Baptist was faithful to God.
51:42 Why should he end up there? "
51:44 And of course, John the Baptist had doubts himself
51:47 about what was happening. That is, until he sent his
51:50 disciples to ask Jesus: "Are You the One that we're
51:53 expecting or are we to wait for another? "
51:56 And Jesus didn't answer the question.
51:58 He simply performed miracles that whole day.
52:01 You can read it in scripture.
52:03 And at the end of the day Jesus says to the disciples
52:05 of John: "Now you go back
52:07 and you tell John what you've seen. "
52:10 And when they told John what they had seen Jesus do
52:15 we find in Desire of Ages that John now had peace.
52:21 He knew that Jesus was the promised Messiah
52:24 and he was willing to give his life... he was willing to die.
52:29 And then Ellen White says that John the Baptist, by his death,
52:32 became an inspiration to many others who would be
52:35 martyred for their faith.
52:37 In other words, he saved many people
52:38 through his death
52:40 besides all of the people that
52:42 he saved through the message
52:43 that he imparted from God.
52:45 In this context is where we
52:47 find this statement in Desire of Ages pages 224-5.
53:28 So if we could see the... If Joseph had been able to
53:31 see the end from the beginning
53:33 do you think Joseph would have changed anything?
53:35 He would not have changed one thing.
53:37 He would have said: "OK, Lord,
53:41 we're walking together through these trials and tribulations. "
53:44 He would have chosen the very way that God chose for him.
53:48 Because if we knew the end from the beginning
53:51 we would not choose any other way than the way which God
53:55 has established for us.
53:58 In another very significant statement in Desire of Ages
54:01 page 208... this also is very well known...
54:05 we find this marvelous statement.
54:08 Because some people say: "Well, you know, Jesus,
54:10 He was... He had a different nature than we have, you know.
54:13 And He was closer to His Father than we are. "
54:16 And you know, we start making excuses
54:19 as to why Jesus could overcome and we can't overcome.
54:22 Notice what Ellen White has to say in Desire of Ages 208.
54:36 Sounds kind of like Joseph, huh?
54:40 Joseph made no plans for himself.
54:42 Every day he said: "Lord, you know, show me...
54:43 show me what You want me to do.
54:45 Show me what Your plans are.
54:46 Choreograph my life. "
54:48 She continues saying:
55:09 By the way, the Lord's Prayer says
55:11 "Give us this week our daily bread. "
55:15 Thank you. It says: "Give us THIS DAY
55:19 our daily bread. " God does not reveal to us
55:22 His plans in weeks or months or years.
55:26 He reveals it in a day-to-day basis.
55:30 And we're told here that Jesus made no plans for Himself.
55:34 Every day He said: "Father, what are Our plans today? "
55:39 Now you say: "How does that affect us? "
55:41 Notice the last part of this statement:
56:02 Isn't that a marvelous statement?
56:06 And they key is: "So utterly was Christ emptied of self. "
56:11 See, when we say: "Why is this happening to me? "
56:14 "Why am I having these trials? "
56:16 "Why am I having this tribulation? "
56:18 It's a manifestation of selfishness.
56:21 We're supposed to say: "Lord, what's in this for You? "
56:26 "I'll walk with You; I'll follow Your plans
56:29 just like Joseph did. "
56:31 And when you look at the story of Joseph
56:33 you have a glorious conclusion to a providential story...
56:38 God leading step by step.
56:43 On a lesser scale, we can have the same experience
56:48 as long as we trust God the way that Joseph trusted God.
56:54 We may not have a dream say- ing that we're going to be lord
56:57 but we do have a Bible that says that someday
57:00 we will be lords. The Bible says that if we suffer with Him
57:04 we will also reign with Him.
57:07 And Jesus says also in a text that we read
57:11 "Well done, thou good and faithful servant.
57:13 Because you have been faithful in little
57:16 I will place you over much. "
57:18 May that be the living experience in our lives.