From the Pit to the Palace
Last week we had another great service and continued on the life of Joseph.
Joseph had a dream from God but he was also too immature to handle the information that God gave him!
After being rejected by family and even sold into slavery, God’s hand was with Joseph and God blesses him in the most difficult situations, from false accusations to prison.
You Know God’s hand is on Joseph when the prisoner is in charge of the prisoner!
What do you do when you do the right thing but get the wrong result?
First of all, Joseph wasn’t this mature in the beginning. He might have saved himself a lot of trouble if he would have served his older brothers the very same way he served Potiphar and the Warrant of the Jail.
But we see the pattern:
And when you do it right and get the wrong result, you repeat. Don’t quit, repeat!
What is God trying to teach us in the process?
• Sovereignty: When something bad happens, is God still good and in control?
• Source: Who is the supplier and source of all that I have?
• Submission: Can I come under authority?
The process for Joseph gets even more complicated when he is in charge of two new prisoners that came directly from serving the Pharaoh, the cup bearer and the chief baker.
The bible says that both the cup bearer & the chief baker had dreams. The dreams were so confusing and it disturbed both of them.
“Why do you look so worried today?” he asked them.' Genesis 40:7
In the pit, we choose to be callused or caring. If we don’t learn how to care for people in hard places, we are not going to care for them in the high places.
Joseph interpreted the cup-bearer’s dream and told him it meant that in 3 days he would be restored to go back as the Pharaoh’s cup bearer!!
Right after Joseph interpreted the cup bearer’s dream he says this to him:
a. 'And please remember me and do me a favor when things go well for you. Mention me to Pharaoh, so he might let me out of this place. For I was kidnapped from my homeland, the land of the Hebrews, and now I’m here in prison, but I did nothing to deserve it.”' Genesis 40:14-15
The chief baker also had Joseph interpret his dream: “You are gonna also leave in 3 days, but Pharaoh is going to kill you.” That’s exactly what happened.
You would think that the cup bearer would have a sense of loyalty to Joseph who helped him in his time of distress, but look at what the bible says:
b. 'Pharaoh’s chief cup-bearer, however, forgot all about Joseph, never giving him another thought.' Genesis 40:23
When forgotten by men, remember who Gave you the dream. IF the dream was given to Joseph by God, God was going to be the ticket out of the pit, not the cup bearer.
Joseph’s dream was God’s dream and it will be God that provides the way out, so no man can get the glory that God deserves!
Don’t quit, repeat! It’s about serving, leading, and honing the prophetic gift that God has given you.
While you are waiting God is stirring up something else that you have no idea about. Joseph had to wait 2 additional years before he got called up. But little did Joseph know that Pharaoh was having disturbing dreams himself. Dreams that he didn’t have answers for.
Pharaoh had significant dreams that Involved the nation in Genesis 41:1-8. Pharaoh sent for and told all the magicians and wise men of Egypt his dreams, but not one of them could tell him what they meant.'
When God is getting ready to make His move, only His people who have been through the process, Who have His Spirit and can discern His things are the ones that are going to be called up because they are the only ones that can prophetically give an answer to that which God is stirring! You have an advantage as a child of God!
God is preparing you to heighten your faith in such a way that your vision makes you indispensable.
The skills that Joseph gained in the pit, became indispensable in the palace. He had confidence but he also competence. Confidence without competence is carelessness.
He was confident in God, he was competent in the skills that he gained in the pit, and he cared enough to not just come with God’s revelation, but also a solution!
This is what happened:
'Finally, the king’s chief cup-bearer spoke up. “Today I have been reminded of my failure,” he told Pharaoh. “Some time ago, you were angry with the chief baker and me, and you imprisoned us in the palace of the captain of the guard. One night the chief baker and I each had a dream, and each dream had its own meaning. There was a young Hebrew man with us in the prison who was a slave of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he told us what each of our dreams meant. And everything happened just as he had predicted. I was restored to my position as cup-bearer, and the chief baker was executed and impaled on a pole.” Pharaoh sent for Joseph at once, and he was quickly brought from the prison. After he shaved and changed his clothes, he went in and stood before Pharaoh. Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream last night, and no one here can tell me what it means. But I have heard that when you hear about a dream you can interpret it.” “It is beyond my power to do this,” Joseph replied. “But God can tell you what it means and set you at ease.” So Pharaoh told Joseph his dream. “In my dream,” he said, “I was standing on the bank of the Nile River, and I saw seven fat, healthy cows come up out of the river and begin grazing in the marsh grass. But then I saw seven sick-looking cows, scrawny and thin, come up after them. I’ve never seen such sorry-looking animals in all the land of Egypt. These thin, scrawny cows ate the seven fat cows. But afterward you wouldn’t have known it, for they were still as thin and scrawny as before! Then I woke up. “In my dream I also saw seven heads of grain, full and beautiful, growing on a single stalk. Then seven more heads of grain appeared, but these were blighted, shriveled, and withered by the east wind. And the shriveled heads swallowed the seven healthy heads. I told these dreams to the magicians, but no one could tell me what they mean.” Joseph responded, “Both of Pharaoh’s dreams mean the same thing. God is telling Pharaoh in advance what he is about to do. The seven healthy cows and the seven healthy heads of grain both represent seven years of prosperity. The seven thin, scrawny cows that came up later and the seven thin heads of grain, withered by the east wind, represent seven years of famine. “This will happen just as I have described it, for God has revealed to Pharaoh in advance what he is about to do. The next seven years will be a period of great prosperity throughout the land of Egypt. But afterward there will be seven years of famine so great that all the prosperity will be forgotten in Egypt. Famine will destroy the land. This famine will be so severe that even the memory of the good years will be erased. As for having two similar dreams, it means that these events have been decreed by God, and he will soon make them happen. “Therefore, Pharaoh should find an intelligent and wise man and put him in charge of the entire land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh should appoint supervisors over the land and let them collect one-fifth of all the crops during the seven good years. Have them gather all the food produced in the good years that are just ahead and bring it to Pharaoh’s storehouses. Store it away, and guard it so there will be food in the cities. That way there will be enough to eat when the seven years of famine come to the land of Egypt. Otherwise this famine will destroy the land.”' Genesis 41:9-36
The bible continues by saying that Joseph suggestion were so lucid, articulate, clear that they were well received. But not only that, Pharaoh made him ruler over Egypt. He gave him his ring, that made him second in command to only Pharaoh himself.
Joseph became the ruler, leader of all of Egypt and went from the pit to the palace. Why?
Joseph went from wanting everyone to submit to him, to submitting to the will of God first!
God can use us fir amazing things when we do it His way. Join us tomorrow as we continue the story. It’s not over yet!
The Dreamer - Part 2
It has been an amazing journey into the story of Joseph! Many of us have a dream, destiny, and purpose that God has given us. However, the dream is usually a process that we must go through, because we need to mature into that dream.
The story of Joseph is very much about this maturing process. Many people want the dream, but don’t want the grind. They don’t want the process of maturity that goes with the dream.
Joseph had a dream, but he was immature. He was also favored by his father, Jacob, so he likely also acted privileged, and arrogant which created tension with his other 11 brothers and sister. The scripture says that his “brothers hated Joseph.”
They wanted to kill him but instead they sold him to the Medianite traders. They took the nice coat that Jacob (his dad) gave him, killed an animal to smear it with blood so they could go back and say that a wild animal killed Jacob. Talk about Drama! See Genesis 37:36 NLT
It’s important to note that God’s favor is independent of men’s approval. Men can hate you, despise you, gossip against you and malign you, but if God’s favor is on you… It doesn’t matter!
When Joseph got sold into slavery to Potiphar, God’s favor was on him. Even as a slave, God’s favor was on Joseph.
'The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master. ' Genesis 39:2
By all intended purposes, Joseph’s dream was totally derailed. I’m sure at one point or another he was like: “well… I didn’t see this coming…”
What do you learn from a derailed dream? There is a process of learning and growth that we see Joseph going through.
The first is, HONOR.
'The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master. ' Genesis 39:2
He succeeded in everything as he served (not slaved) in the home of his Egyptian master.
Talent will build your image, but honor will build your reputation.
God cannot bless you until you learn to be a blessing in undesirable places. The highest form of leadership is serving in undesirable places. Serving your master, while in slavery is a form of honor.
If serving is beneath you, leading is above you.
People notice how we act when we are stuck in the pit. When we are in an undesirable place.
Read Genesis 39:3-5, ‘Potiphar noticed this and realized that the Lord was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did. This pleased Potiphar, so he soon made Joseph his personal attendant. He put him in charge of his entire household and everything he owned. From the day Joseph was put in charge of his master’s household and property, the Lord began to bless Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake. All his household affairs ran smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished. '
When you bring your best in the worst place or situation, you will turn heads. Many people want to be blessed, without learning to be a blessing first.
Calvin Coolidge, said: “No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.”
What you give in the pit, it will be multiplied in the palace.
Honor is not about ideal situations, because honoring someone regardless of who they are is more about your character and moral values, than it is about whether they deserve it or not.
Notice that the bible says: “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life…” Exodus 20:12. Notice that It doesn’t say, honor your father and your mother if they are respectful, good, gracious and loving towards you…”
Doing good towards others, even when they don’t deserve it is honor.
The other part of the learning process is the byproduct of honor and that is INTEGRITY:
Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking, or when others don’t deserve it.
Joseph passed the test of integrity because he passed the test of honor.
‘…Joseph was a very handsome and well-built young man, and Potiphar’s wife soon began to look at him lustfully. “Come and sleep with me,” she demanded. But Joseph refused. “Look,” he told her, “my master trusts me with everything in his entire household. No one here has more authority than I do. He has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God.”
She kept putting pressure on Joseph day after day, but he refused to sleep with her, and he kept out of her way as much as possible.' Genesis 39:6-10
Lack of integrity is the direct result of lack of honor. Joseph said, “My master trust me…” “How could I do such a thing?”
The fruit of your honor is integrity.
Honor shows up in our spirit, and integrity shows up in our actions.
Lack of integrity starts with belittling those we are called to honor.
When people steal, cheat, malign and deceive, they do so by dishonoring God and others.
For example, Samson dishonored his parents and also dishonored God by his lack of integrity. He didn’t keep his vows asa Nazarite. He violated them all.
The saddest verse in the whole bible is this one: Judges 16:20 (MSG) “He didn’t realize that God had abandoned him…”
God cannot and will not, bless a mess.
The bible says that Joseph kept out of Potiphar’s wife way. Are you keeping yourself out of the way of sin? Nothing will derail or kill your God-given dreams more than sin can.
Whenever we disregard God’s word, we are belittling Him and we have already displayed a lack of integrity that is so crucial to stewarding God’s dream.
God will test your integrity, and if you lack integrity during that test, that means you are not honoring God and His word.
You cannot live in sin and expect blessings. It doesn’t work that way. If you want to live out a life of purpose and meaning, we must live honoring God and His Word!
Joseph “It would be a great sin against God.” Notice that he didn’t say “it would be a great sin against Potiphar.” Joseph didn’t fear men, he feared God. The root of integrity is the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. (Prov. 9:10)
Then there is STEADFASTNESS.
I don’t think we are ready for God’s dream to be accomplished unless we learn this lesson first. Weak faith does not deserve God’s big dream.
The dream is difficult by design, to make sure that we rely on God’s might and not ours! It’s His process, with His hand and through His plan.
We can’t buckle every time something bad happens. That displays lack of trust in God. It displays lack of honor in God’s word, and ultimately will result in lack of integrity and steadfastness in Christ.
You know how many Christians stop going to church and growing in Christ because someone said something bad about them? They quit on a God that would NEVER quit on us, because of lack of faith, honor, integrity and steadfastness.
Not every time you do the right things, the outcome will be good.
The bible said that Potiphar’s wife kept putting pressure on Joseph for him to have sex with her, and Joseph kept avoiding it. Until one day they were alone and she forced herself into him and the bible literally said that “Joseph tore himself away…”
When he ran, he left his cloak behind and look what the bibles says:
'Then she told him [Potiphar] her story. “That Hebrew slave you’ve brought into our house tried to come in and fool around with me,” she said. “But when I screamed, he ran outside, leaving his cloak with me!”' Genesis 39:17-18
The bible says that Potiphar was furious as he heard his wife story. So, he took Joseph and threw him in the Kings prison, and there he remained.
What do you do when you do the right thing and don’t get the right results? You REPEAT
Repetition is the path to mastery!
God doesn’t just want you to learn his teachings, he wants you to master his teachings.
If you read Genesis 39:21-23, you notice that Joseph was favored in the prison and even in charge of the other prisoners!
'...The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything. The Lord was with him and caused everything he did to succeed.'
Don’t quit, repeat!
Many people cannot see God’s favor in their prison because they quit rather than repeat. God has great things in store for you if you just stick with it! Catch up with the lates podcast and join us tomorrow for the next chapter! Bring a friend!!
Vision Sunday last week was awesome! In 2017 God showed up mightily for our ministry, both collectively and individually. God is doing a work in and through all of us!
In 2018, we need to be locked-in and start strong and focus on our own spiritual lives. If we want miracles to happen, we need to understand that there’s a process.
So, for 2018, our theme is “Miracle in process”.
Miracles are usually a process where our faith, meets God’s blessing. Some miracles are to strengthen the faith that is already working inside of us.
Our culture is used to having things quickly and we don’t mind jumping any processes in order to get what we want! You can actually design and alter your body to appear muscular and fit without effort through surgeries like liposuction and prosthetics. But you know what, it looks unnatural!
Some of us have unnatural faith.
It’s unnatural to want a miracle in your life that you are not willing to work through in prayer, fasting, Christian community, God’s word and serving others.
Just like it is unnatural to want a job while you sleep all day. Or unnatural to want muscles without working out.
The miracle belongs to God, but the effort belongs to you! Miracles happen when your process of growth, meet God’s process of test.
And many times that happens when we are going through crisis.
Not just problems, but a crisis!
In Matthew 15:21–28 (NLT), it says, “Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.”
23 But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.”
24 Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.”
25 But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!”
26 Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”
27 She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.”
28 “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.”
In verse 22, you see THE CRISIS, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.”
A gentile, pagan women asking Jesus for a miracle. Not for her, but for her child. A desperate plea, in a desperate situation.
A crisis is not just getting what you want, when you want it, and in the manner in which you want it. Rather, it is when the only one that can resolve this situation is the hand of an all-powerful God.
Every crisis has an opportunity for us to go to God.
Many times, we just sit around waiting! Many don’t come to church for the smallest, most miniscule reasons. It’s too cold! It’s too loud! They don’t have the children’s ministry I like. The donuts weren’t good. The coffee was cold. Someone looked at me funny. And so on.
This woman seized the moment and went to God! She didn’t care what anyone said or that her dirty laundry was out in the open. She seized the moment!!
In v23, Jesus gave her no reply. Not even a word!
The Response was Silence.
We can only imagine what we might of thought. She put everything out there and got silence. Yet she did not complain but responded in worship.
The bible says in v25 “But she came and worshiped him…”
Nothing moves the heart of Jesus like worship does. Learning to worship in the midst of your trouble is part of the process for your miracle.
Then came the Test.
Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”
Sometimes God’s response is not what we want to hear. God uses these responses as a test to see if we want just the miracle or the God of a miracle.
Many people want the miracle. It might be they want a job, money or healing, but then they get it and forget Jesus.
Often God tests us in the midst of our crisis because our response shows our determination and resolve.
The woman showed her Audacity of Faith.
In v27 She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.”
You don’t need much when you are desperate! It’s not the size of the miracle that she was focused on, it was the size of her audacity. She’s like, “I’m desperate! I’ll take what I can get!”
It was Jesus that said… “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move.” Nothing will be impossible.
In this instance Jesus was marveling at the lack of faith around him. But this gentile, pagan women, was professing that she doesn’t need much! She knows that whatever she can get from God is better than her circumstances!
Jesus also said, “whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much…” (Luke 16:10)
It was at that moment that this pagan women faith met God’s lesson about faith. This was not about theory anymore, this was about practicum.
God is saying, if you are desperate for a miracle, don’t give up at the first sign of silence or lack of what you want to hear! Keep trying. Be audacious and don’t give up! Go after Him. Don’t stop worshipping!
Jesus Responds to her in v28 “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.
He’s saying, her Faith moved God.
Boom! Miracle Granted. No more discussion. No more questions asked. He’s saying her faith is astonishing!! It’s better than from His own children. The people he came to serve.
In 2018, how will you respond to a crisis? Are you going to give up at the first sign things don’t go your way? Or are you going to willingly accept the challenge? Are you going to allow the process to birth your miracle??
Audacious faith is willingly moving into the unknown, simply, because you have nothing else to lose.
You have nothing else to lose. Dig deeper in 2018! Join us tomorrow and bring a friend!
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