...another attribute about the name (Elohim), what's He say? "I am God...?", the God of your father.
Now that's interesting. He could have said, "The God of heaven". But He says the God of your father. And it's actually said twice, if you look back at verse one, the narrator, Moses, tells us, "Israel set out with all that he had and he came to Beersheba and offered sacrifices to the God of his father, Isaac". Then the Lord says, "I am God, the God of your father".
What's that doing?
And what we see is, the Lord, as He's dealing with all the other things He is dealing with, saving His people, showing the glory of His providence in allowing a famine to come and having Joseph right in the right place at the right time at the head of Egypt; working on his sons… I mean the brothers who had the murderous intent… bring in their repentance. He's also working on His anointed one, Jacob, to bring him into conformity with His will, and of course with the Lord Jesus Christ.
That's what's happening.
… if you understand three things, then you can trust God even when life hurts, even when terrible things happen… accidents… when you're diagnosed with an incurable disease or someone you love is diagnosed with an incurable disease.
1. You have to know God is absolutely sovereign.
2. You have to know that God is perfectly good or loving.
3. And you have to know He is infinitely wise.
And the Bible teaches all three of those things. And if you know those things and you apply those things, it will change every circumstance because you know He's doing what's best.
Look for the main point of the story. Don't get sidetracked by, I mean, you know, like for instance, we're not supposed to because, you know, we're not supposed to do everything the characters in the story do just because it's in the Bible. They do lots of bad things. Right? You don't copy those bad things.
The story is what God is doing in spite of the bad things that people do. And that's what's happening here. It's, "What is God doing?".
Genesis 42 to 44 really, those three chapters, in some ways, hang together. We looked at chapter 42 twice already. We looked at it, the first eight verses. There's where… where Joseph… where his brothers first come into him, to see him. They don't know it's Joseph, remember. They thought they had sold him into slavery, for all they know he could be dead. Slaves aren't treated well. And so, it's been now twenty-two years since they sold him into slavery…
Well, what's happening here is Joseph's brothers had been running from God. When they first heard God's word through their younger bother Joseph, what did they do... they ran from God. "You're not going to rule over us!" They hated what God had said through his prophet, their brother. And now the Lord knows that what they need more than they need food... that they need to come back to the Lord. They need to repent and believe.
And so what God does is he orchestrates these circumstances so that they are led, little by little, they're kind of chased into a corner where all they can see... the problem is not anything but "me".
Sometimes it's helpful to step back and see it (the stories in Genesis)... almost as a... as you would look at a play. Now I realize we're reading it, right? But it's helpful sometimes, and as I'm studying, I'll note: Where does the scene, as it were, begin and end? Realizing this is a divinely inspired account of what really happened. It's not a "made-up" play, it's what really happened.
But it's told in such a way, that as we're reading it, we see it.
The way Moses writes this, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he's wanting to emphasis very clearly, don't forget where they are. They're in the land of Egypt... they're in the land of Egypt. That's repeated throughout the whole chapter echoing in our mind, this is where Joseph was. He was in the land of Egypt.
What did that mean?
Egypt was a spiritually dark place. And it was a place which the audience, the original audience of this book... the nation of Israel having just come out of where? The land of Egypt. They've just experienced the exodus out of the bondage... and Egypt for them meant slavery, it meant oppression, it meant attempted infanticide (remember how they were supposed to kill the boys)... Egypt was a wicked place.
What happens is, he thinks he's going up but immediately he goes down into the pit. And he spends thirteen years there. Now how much must he have wondered in the days and the nights he spent as a slave, as a prisoner, what has happened to the promises of God? "Did I not hear from God? Did I not hear his voice?"
What's it about? What's this chapter about? Yea, key words that... "dream". Probably the most important word... "What" word here. And there's two dreams, right. That word actually occurs 16 time in the chapter.
What else is important?
Excellent... interpretation. "interpretation" is very important. The word doesn't occur as many times [as dream] but that's what the whole chapter is about... is getting the interpretations for the dreams.
... the number seven... seven cows which brings up one of the key words, "cows" and "ears of grain", right? And you have these two types of cows. You've got the fat and sleek and the ugly and gaunt. The word "ugly" occurs a whole lot in the chapter. These were ugly cows and Pharaoh goes way out... "I've never seen such ugly cows in all of Egypt!" They were ugly, nasty cows that made an impression on him.
To me, I like to look at, in a narrative... it's always good to try to look at the plot flow... the flow of the plot. How does the Lord record the details of what happens? How does it set up as you look at it? Again, thinking about it as a drama playing out before your eyes, what's the scene? What's the plot development? And realize that that's there by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to show us real events that really happened exactly as God tells them but He gives us a particular view of them.
So what does it mean to seek the Lord in trying times?
How do you do that? What does that look like?
Well, Joseph is going to show us what it means to seek the Lord in trying times. We're going to look at two points: Seeking the Lord in tribulation and seeking the Lord in tempation...
52 Minutes / 51 Seconds
CHAPTER 37 TO 50 IS ABOUT THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD
God governs all creatures and all things according to his purpose so that nothing happens in this world which does not result in God's greatest glory and our greatest good.
Daniel 4, verse 35, Nebuchadnezzar, after he's been humbled by the Lord, he says, "All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will, in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, 'What have You done?".
If you understand that verse carefully, you look at that verse, he's saying that God does what he wants to do among all the angelic beings, good angels, fallen angels, that's the host of heaven... So that nothing ever happens that's not in accordance with His purpose.
All right, we are now turning to Genesis 38, a new chapter in the book of Genesis. A really extraordinary chapter because of the content and also the placement. The fact that it's here in the Bible, if you stop and think about it, it's pretty intriguing. This is the story of Judah and Tamar. This is the story of how Judah, one of Jacob's twelve sons, we find out later, is the one who bears the birthright in the sense of the one who will continue... the seed will come through.
We find out later in Genesis, chapter 49, verse 10, that Judah will be the one through whom the one to rule comes, the Messiah will come through Judah.
And what I was trying to share last time was that too often what we do is read a passage... it's natural, we read it through the lens of our own experience and the questions that we would have and we start looking at the passage like this, and we say, "Gee, what a terrible dad Jacob was." Because look at the favoritism he showed.
But that is imposing on the text something that we are eisegeting. We are reading into the passage something the text is not inviting us to look at.
In fact, reading the text carefully, the opposite is the case.
This is in no way an indictment of Jacob in this passage. Now, that is not to say... it's not to say that this is a prescription for how to be a parent either. What it's saying is... it's not talking about that. It's an incidental part of the story. It's not the main point.
The point of the passage is... what we want to learn to do is major on the majors, right? And not get distracted by the minors.
This is what the passage is going to say. The passage is going to say, "Look at the love and the Godliness of Jacob. Even more than that, look at the Godliness of Joseph... God's anointed. And look at the horrible rebellion of these other brothers.
That's the contrast that's being painted in the passage. That's the focus.
The point is, what God is trying to show us is He has set apart Joseph and He has placed Joseph in the unique position because of His own Divine Election.
It's about God's freedom to do as He pleases... and our response to that.
... because this is basically a genealogy of Esau and Esau, he's not God's man. Why are we even talking about him, you know. That's how you look at it initially... and it's going to be a little tedious but stay focused and really listen ...