Bible Study

This is a copy of the Sunday School Lessons presented to an adult class each Sunday.

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Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina, United States

Retired, Lobbyist in Washington,DC - Management - BS Chemistry and various continuing education courses

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bible Study - Prepare to Minister to Others - 2 Corinthians 1:1-7 - November 30, 2014


Bible Study – Prepare to Minister to Others – November 30, 2014

This is a single lesson focused on our relationship and unity with CHRIST carrying us through the difficult times as a teaching experience. The comfort we receive from CHRIST during these difficult times prepares us to help others when they go through similar times in their lives. We will begin a six week study entitled "Strom Shelter: Psalms of GOD'S Embrace" December 7, 2014.

The focus scripture is 2 Corinthians 1:1-7.

Let’s read 2 Corinthians 1:1-2:

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and Timothy our brother: To God’s church at Corinth, with all the • saints who are throughout Achaia. 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul wrote several letters to the Christians in Corinth. Two of his letters are included in the Bible. Paul’s first letter was lost as recorded in 1 Corinthians 5:9-11:

9 I wrote to you in a letter not to associate with sexually immoral people. 10 I did not mean the immoral people of this • world or the greedy and swindlers or idolaters; otherwise you would have to leave the world. 11 But now I am writing you not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer who is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or verbally abusive, a drunkard or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person.

Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians is what we know as First Corinthians. His third letter was lost and his fourth letter is what we know as Second Corinthians.

First Corinthians addresses a number of issues such as - divisions in the church, intellectual pride, immorality, freedom of choice, disorder in worship, resurrection of CHRIST. Paul had planned to visit Corinth for a third time but he delayed his visit. Instead he wrote his letter that we know as Second Corinthians. Paul did visit Corinth once more after he wrote his letter we know as Second Corinthians.

Paul opened his second letter to the Corinthians with a positive greeting. The Corinthians had encountered a number of issues and in dealing with them had gained valuable experience. Dealing with these various issues equipped them to minister to fellow Christians experiencing the same type of issues.

Paul began his letter by establishing his authority as an apostle of CHRIST. His title as an apostle of CHRIST was not self imposed but his title was given to him by the will of GOD. He authenticated Timothy as a fellow Christian and a co-laborer with him.

His letter was directed to fellow Christians throughout the large area of Greece and Macedonia called Achaia. The city of Corinth was the capital of Achaia, the southern half of present-day Greece.  Paul intended for his letter to be circulated among the Christian groups\churches throughout that area. Paul indentified Christians as saints. Saints are set aside to obediently serve GOD as HE leads them by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Christians are saints. Paul greeted them with a blessing, grace and peace, from GOD and CHRIST. Even though they had their issues, Paul was embracing them in unity as fellow Christians.

Let’s read 2 Corinthians 1:3-5:

The God of Comfort

3 Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so through Christ our comfort also overflows.

When troubling times come into our lives, physical comfort does little to bring about true comfort to our inner being. Some people try meditation, medication, alcohol, drugs, etc. which mask the problem. True comfort flows from GOD Who ministers to our inner being. When GOD, through our relationship with CHRIST, brings peace and comfort it satisfies. Christians know that HE has the power to bring about the best which can come from our circumstances. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:28:

28 We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.

GOD is in all things working to bring about the best result for HIS children.

Physical satisfaction is temporary but Spiritual satisfaction remains. When Christians trust GOD in circumstances they have placed their cares upon HIM and trust Him to bring matters to a satisfactory conclusion. That does not mean Christians can park their brains but to be obedient to that which GOD reveals to them that they can do.

Let’s read 1 Peter 5:6:

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you.

Satan’s desire is for GOD’S children to be miserable and to try to bring satisfaction through food, drink, drugs, sex, gambling and all sorts of things that can become addictive. These things simply mask the core issues in our lives.

As Christians, GOD’S comfort flows like a gentle stream from HIM through us to bring healing to us first and then to others. The comfort we receive from HIM is available to flow to others who are encountering similar or the same problems. Ground zero is a personal relationship with GOD through faith in CHRIST. Our faith grows as we trust HIM more.

Our relationship with CHRIST does not make our troubles go away but because of our relationship with CHRIST, HE helps us to endure them. This earthly life is not our destination. The destination of all humans is eternity.

GOD has revealed HIS plan for all humans to be with HIM for eternity which is for each person to place his or her in HIS only Son JESUS. That choice is for each person to make. Being a Christian does not mean that the troubles of this world will go away, it just means GOD will come to our aid during times of trouble.

The scope of trouble covers health, mental and physical, addictions, financial, relationships, natural disasters, war, accidents, death of a loved one and the list goes on. When Christians go through such issues, they are equipped to help others who are going through them. Often, we can help others just by listening and being a friend. Wise counsel is always good. Seek fellow Christians who have the gift of wise counsel. Trust GOD to lead you in how you can help others.

Let’s read 2 Corinthians 1:6-7:

6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is experienced in your endurance of the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that as you share in the sufferings, so you will share in the comfort.

We just completed the study of the life journey of Joseph. His faith in GOD resulted in him seeing the hand of GOD at work in his life. His faith and trust in GOD built a strong relationship with GOD which resulted in his ability to forgive his brothers. His journey created in him a tender and humble heart. Joseph in his teen years was self-centered but GOD had a plan for his life and molded him into the person and leader HE desired for him to become.

The Apostle Paul made it clear that the things we go through in life equip us to help others in their journey through life.

Alcoholics Anonymous is successful because alcoholics speak to other alcoholics. Narcotics Anonymous operates the same way. Instructors of various types train others because they have first learned or experienced the things they are instructing.

When fellow humans have gone through issues in life, they are often equipped to help others in the same or similar circumstances.

The Apostle Paul was admonishing fellow Christians not to become discouraged when they encounter various issues in life but know that GOD is preparing them for possible ministry to others. Their faith is being perfected, which pertains to the person. Consider 1 Peter 1:3-9:

3 Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead 4 and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. 5 You are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials 7 so that the genuineness of your faith—more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 You love Him, though you have not seen Him. And though not seeing Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Joseph was serving GOD yet he was physically in prison but not Spiritually. Joseph was a slave for 13 years before he was elevated to second in command in Egypt. GOD placed him in that position. His life’s journey prepared him for leadership and to bring glory to the one true GOD of the Israelites. GOD used Joseph to preserve HIS chosen until HE raised another leader to lead them from Egypt to the Promised Land and to reveal Himself to them. The Israelites learned of the one true GOD as HE revealed Himself to them and taught them as they journeyed to the Promised Land.

We are all on a journey to eternity. Our life upon earth is but a passage to eternity. Will our destination be the Promised Land of Heaven to be with GOD for eternity or to eternity without GOD? The choice is ours to make. Placing your faith in CHRIST guarntees your place in heaven and your rejection of CHRIST will mean eternity outside the gates of heaven. Ask CHRIST to forgive you for your sins and for HIM to come into your life now. Eternity is but a heartbeat away.

Next week, we will begin another six week study entitled “Strom Shelter: Psalms of GOD’S Embrace.” Blessings!!!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bible Study - Overcome (6) - Overcome - An Earthly Mindset - Genesis 50:15-21 - Novembeer 23, 2014


Bible Study – Overcome (6) – Overcome An Earthly Mindset – November 23, 2014.

This is lesson six (6) and our final lesson in this series entitled “Overcome: Living beyond Your Circumstances.”

Our focus scripture is Genesis 50:15-21.

We can trust that GOD is at work on our behalf. This is true for those who are to receive salvation and those who have received salvation. GOD is sovereign and is in control.

Joseph revealed himself to his brothers. (Genesis 45:1-8)

1 Joseph could no longer keep his composure in front of all his attendants, so he called out, “Send everyone away from me!” No one was with him when he revealed his identity to his brothers. 2 But he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and also Pharaoh’s household heard it. 3 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But they could not answer him because they were terrified in his presence. 4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please, come near me,” and they came near. “I am Joseph, your brother,” he said, “the one you sold into Egypt. 5 And now don’t be worried or angry with yourselves for selling me here, because God sent me ahead of you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there will be five more years without plowing or harvesting. 7 God sent me ahead of you to establish you as a remnant within the land and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. 8 Therefore it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household, and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

Joseph and Pharaoh had a unique relationship. Joseph’s relationship with GOD produced a special, trusting relationship with Pharaoh.

Let’s read Genesis 45:16-20 (Pharaoh invited Joseph’s family to relocate to Egypt.)

16 When the news reached Pharaoh’s palace, “Joseph’s brothers have come,” Pharaoh and his servants were pleased. 17 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your animals and go on back to the land of Canaan. 18 Get your father and your families, and come back to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you can eat from the richness of the land.’ 19 You are also commanded, ‘Do this: Take wagons from the land of Egypt for your young children and your wives and bring your father here. 20 Do not be concerned about your belongings, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.’”

Pharaoh invited Joseph’s family to come to live in Egypt and they did.

How long did Jacob live in Egypt? 

Let’s read Genesis 47:27-28:

27 Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the region of Goshen. They acquired property in it and became fruitful and very numerous. 28 Now Jacob lived in the land of Egypt 17 years, and his life span was 147 years.

Keep in mind that GOD changed Jacob’s name from Jacob to Israel as recorded in Genesis 35:10:

10 God said to him: Your name is Jacob; you will no longer be named Jacob, but your name will be Israel.

Jacob was 130 years old when he traveled to Egypt and settled in the land Goshen. In 17 years Jacob died.

Jacob knew that his days upon earth were coming to a close, Joseph requested his father to bless his two sons Manasseh, his oldest son or firstborn and Ephraim, the younger son. Jacob agreed. Joseph positioned them so that Jacob would naturally place his right hand upon Manasseh and his left hand upon Ephraim. Let’s read Genesis 48:17-20:

17 When Joseph saw that his father had placed his right hand on Ephraim’s head, he thought it was a mistake and took his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s. 18 Joseph said to his father, “Not that way, my father! This one is the firstborn. Put your right hand on his head.” 19 But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know! He too will become a tribe, and he too will be great; nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his offspring will become a populous nation.” 20 So he blessed them that day with these words: The nation Israel will invoke blessings by you, saying, “May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh,” putting Ephraim before Manasseh.

If interested you can fast forward to the dividing of the Promised Land and read, in Joshua 13 how it was distributed. The land was distributed according to the character of the tribe’s founder. Joseph’s descendants from Ephraim and Manasseh were given the richest and most fertile land in all of Canaan because of Joseph’s Godly character.

GOD does not depend upon circumstances in hopes that they come out according to HIS plan and purpose but HE sees the entire plan from beginning to end and HE controls events such that they come out according to HIS plans and purpose. Yes, people have choices. Those who choose to do the will of GOD are rewarded.

Joseph was seemingly dealt a harsh hand in life but it was according to GOD’S will and purpose.

Genesis 49:29-33: (Jacob’s dying request)

29 Then he (Jacob) commanded them: “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite. 30 The cave is in the field of Machpelah (mak-PEE- luh) near Mamre, in the land of Canaan. This is the field Abraham purchased from Ephron the Hittite as a burial site. 31 Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried there, Isaac and his wife Rebekah are buried there, and I buried Leah there. 32 The field and the cave in it were purchased from the Hittites.” 33 When Jacob had finished instructing his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and died. He was gathered to his people.

Joseph bid his dad farewell.

Let’s read Genesis 50:1-3:

Jacob’s Burial

1 Then Joseph, leaning over his father’s face, wept and kissed him. 2 He commanded his servants who were physicians to embalm his father. So they embalmed Israel. 3 They took 40 days to complete this, for embalming takes that long, and the Egyptians mourned for him 70 days.

Jacob died and the Egyptians mourned his death along with Joseph for 70 days. Joseph told Pharaoh that his father had requested that he be carried back to Canaan and buried. Pharaoh agreed and they did as Jacob requested.

Joseph’s brothers had a dose of reality. Their father was dead and would Joseph now take out his revenge on them? So they hatched a plan to save their necks.

Let’s read Genesis 50:15-17:

15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said to one another, “If Joseph is holding a grudge against us, he will certainly repay us for all the suffering we caused him.” 16 So they sent this message to Joseph, “Before he died your father gave a command: 17 ‘Say this to Joseph: Please forgive your brothers’ transgression and their sin—the suffering they caused you.’ Therefore, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when their message came to him.

When Jacob died at some point in time, reality set in for Joseph’s brothers. Once the patriarch died, there was nothing to hold Joseph back from punishing his brothers for selling him into slavery.

Notice in verse 15, they concluded if Joseph was holding a grudge he would repay them for their evil deed. So they put their heads together and came up with a solution. They would send Joseph a message which began in verse 16 “Before he died your father gave a command:” We do not know if this really happened or they made it up. They referred to their father as “your father.” They wanted Joseph to know that his father requested him to forgive his brothers for what they did to him because they were his brothers. They are family and families depend upon each other. They need to be in unity.

They used the word “transgression.” Transgression in Hebrew means sin and carries the idea of a breach in relationship between two parties because of “a defiant violation of GOD’S law,” “a brazen revolt,” or “rebellion.”

They also made a connection between GOD and their identity as “the servants of the GOD of your father.” They went beyond family ties to spiritual ties. Joseph might have thought “Gee! Why didn’t this dawn on my brothers when they thought about killing me or selling me into slavery?”

The point was they had realized what they had done. Joseph’s heart was broken because they did not know his heart toward GOD and toward them. They were family and he had forgiven them as he had told them in Genesis 45:4-8 when he identified himself as Joseph, their brother.

Joseph wept.

Overcoming an earthly mindset is often difficult. Our earthly mindset is often to get revenge. We have to decide whether or not to accept an apology for something done to us or make an apology for something we have done to another. Our ego gets in the way. When we forgive it needs to be a complete release. Will we remember the issue? Yes, but we need to remind ourselves that the matter has been forgiven just as GOD has forgiven us for our transgressions. GOD not only forgives but HE forgets our transgressions when we confess them.

Let’s read Genesis 50:18-19:

18 Then his brothers also came to him, bowed down before him, and said, “We are your slaves!” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?

Joseph brothers came into his presence and bowed before him. They told him that they were his slaves. They were willing to give up their status as his brothers, their family name, and freedom and become Joseph’s slaves. Being slaves was a better alternative than being killed or tortured.

Joseph was in a unique position. In that day, it was a common practice for people, especially people with power to take revenge. He could have taken advantage of their vulnerability. But he overcame the earthly mindset to take revenge and chose to forgive because he saw the hand of GOD at work in his life.   

Joseph put their minds at ease by telling them not to be afraid because he was in the right spot at the right time to accomplish GOD’S will, plan and purpose. The question Joseph asked, “Am I in the place of God?” revealed his heart. Only GOD can judge and take vengeance. Joseph was not GOD. GOD would be their judge but as far as he was concerned he forgave them.

Joseph may have recalled the dream he had as a young lad as recorded in Genesis 37:5-11:

5 Then Joseph had a dream. When he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. 6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: 7 There we were, binding sheaves of grain in the field. Suddenly my sheaf stood up, and your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.” 8 “Are you really going to reign over us?” his brothers asked him. “Are you really going to rule us?” So they hated him even more because of his dream and what he had said. 9 Then he had another dream and told it to his brothers. “Look,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun, moon, and 11 stars were bowing down to me.” 10 He told his father and brothers, but his father rebuked him. “What kind of dream is this that you have had?” he said. “Are your mother and brothers and I going to come and bow down to the ground before you?” 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.

Let’s read Genesis 50:20-21:

20 You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result—the survival of many people. 21 Therefore don’t be afraid. I will take care of you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

Joseph uttered a hallmark statement in verses 20-21. It revealed a forgiving heart which had been shaped by the love of GOD. His brothers meant to do Joseph evil but GOD used it for good and the preservation of his family and many other families. GOD had taken their evil intent and turned it into good. Joseph never said that what his brothers had done was good because it wasn’t but GOD used it for HIS plan and purpose.

Do we see the value in our lives?

Christians may wonder why their lives took certain paths. When we look back over our lives many can see the hand of GOD leading and guiding us to the exact place HE wanted us to be.

Joseph recommitted to his care for them and their children. The tone of his voice was sincere, tender and kind. GOD had forgiven them and so did Joseph. Often, the toughest job is to forgive ourselves for what we have done.

Let’s read Genesis 50:22-26: Joseph’s Death

22 Joseph and his father’s household remained in Egypt. Joseph lived 110 years. 23 He saw Ephraim’s sons to the third generation; the sons of Manasseh’s son Machir were recognized by Joseph. 24 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will certainly come to your aid and bring you up from this land to the land He promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” 25 So Joseph made the sons of Israel (Jacob) take an oath: “When God comes to your aid, you are to carry my bones up from here.” 26 Joseph died at the age of 110. They embalmed him and placed him in a coffin in Egypt.

Joseph’s family remained in Egypt until he died at 110 years old. Joseph made his brothers promise him that when GOD came to their aid and lead them back to the Promised Land, they would carry his bones to the land GOD had promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It would be about 359 years before that request was fulfilled. Exodus 13:19:

19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, because Joseph had made the Israelites swear a solemn oath, saying, “God will certainly come to your aid; then you must take my bones with you from this place.”

Hebrews 11:22:

22 By faith Joseph, as he was nearing the end of his life, mentioned the exodus of the Israelites and gave instructions concerning his bones.

Again, GOD gave Joseph a vision and a hope for the future for the Israelites.

GOD has a vision, plan and purpose for each of HIS children. Give your life to HIM and allow HIM, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, to lead and direct your life. Blessings!!!

 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bible Study - Overcome (5) - Overcome Bitterness - Genesis 45: 3-11 - November 16, 2014


Bible Study – Overcome (5) – Overcome Bitterness – November 16, 2014

This is lesson five (5) in our series entitled “Overcome: Living beyond Your Circumstances.”

Our focus scripture is Genesis 45:3-11.

Relationships can only move forward with forgiveness.

In last week’s study, the final verses were Genesis 41:56-57:

56 Because the famine had spread across the whole country, Joseph opened up all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57 Every nation came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, for the famine was severe in every land.

This leads us to Genesis Chapter 42. There is a lot that takes place between Chapter 42 and our focus scripture in Chapter 45, which I suggest that you read. I will give snippets in an effort to bridge the gap.

Let’s read Genesis 42:

Joseph’s Brothers in Egypt

1 When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you keep looking at each other? 2 Listen,” he went on, “I have heard there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us so that we will live and not die.” 3 So 10 of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. 4 But Jacob did not send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with his brothers, for he thought, “Something might happen to him.”

Joseph’s father, Jacob, instructed his sons to go to Egypt to purchase some grain. Why do you think the brothers looked at each other? Oh my, were their past sins about to catch up with them?

Ten of Joseph’s brothers traveled to Egypt. It was the same ten who had sold Joseph into slavery. Jacob did not let Benjamin, the youngest son go in fear that something would happen to him.

Genesis 42:5-7:

5 The sons of Israel were among those who came to buy grain, for the famine was in the land of Canaan. 6 Joseph was in charge of the country; he sold grain to all its people. His brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the ground. 7 When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he treated them like strangers and spoke harshly to them.

Joseph recognized his brothers but they did not recognize him. Joseph was in the catbird seat and just had to play with them. Joseph accused them of coming to Egypt to spy. He probed them about their family.

Genesis 42:14-20:

14 Then Joseph said to them, “I have spoken: ‘You are spies!’ 15 This is how you will be tested: As surely as Pharaoh lives, you will not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here. 16 Send one from among you to get your brother. The rest of you will be imprisoned so that your words can be tested to see if they are true. If they are not, then as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!” 17 So Joseph imprisoned them together for three days. 18 On the third day Joseph said to them, “I • fear God —do this and you will live. 19 If you are honest, let one of you be confined to the guardhouse, while the rest of you go and take grain to relieve the hunger of your households. 20 Bring your youngest brother to me so that your words can be confirmed; then you won’t die.” And they consented to this.

Genesis 42:25-28:

25 Joseph then gave orders to fill their containers with grain, return each man’s money to his sack, and give them provisions for their journey. This order was carried out. 26 They loaded the grain on their donkeys and left there. The Brothers Return Home 27 At the place where they lodged for the night, one of them opened his sack to get feed for his donkey, and he saw his money there at the top of the bag. 28 He said to his brothers, “My money has been returned! It’s here in my bag.” Their hearts sank. Trembling, they turned to one another and said, “What is this that God has done to us?”

Genesis 42:35-38:

35 As they began emptying their sacks, there in each man’s sack was his bag of money! When they and their father saw their bags of money, they were afraid. 36 Their father Jacob said to them, “You have deprived me of my sons. Joseph is gone and Simeon is gone. Now you want to take Benjamin. Everything happens to me!” 37 Then Reuben said to his father, “You can kill my two sons if I don’t bring him back to you. Put him in my care, and I will return him to you.” 38 But Jacob answered, “My son will not go down with you, for his brother is dead and he alone is left. If anything happens to him on your journey, you will bring my gray hairs down to • Sheol in sorrow.”

Genesis 43:1-5:

1 Now the famine in the land was severe. 2 When they had used up the grain they had brought back from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go back and buy us some food.” 3 But Judah said to him, “The man specifically warned us: ‘You will not see me again unless your brother is with you.’ 4 If you will send our brother with us, we will go down and buy food for you. 5 But if you will not send him, we will not go, for the man said to us, ‘You will not see me again unless your brother is with you.’” 6 “Why did you cause me so much trouble?” Israel asked. “Why did you tell the man that you had another brother?”

Genesis 43:15-16:

15 The men took this gift, double the amount of money, and Benjamin. They made their way down to Egypt and stood before Joseph. 16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to his steward, “Take the men to my house. Slaughter an animal and prepare it, for they will eat with me at noon.”

Genesis 43:29-31:

29 When he looked up and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, he asked, “Is this your youngest brother that you told me about?” Then he said, “May God be gracious to you, my son.” 30 Joseph hurried out because he was overcome with emotion for his brother, and he was about to weep. He went into an inner room to weep. 31 Then he washed his face and came out. Regaining his composure, he said, “Serve the meal.

Genesis 44:1-5:

1 Then Joseph commanded his steward: “Fill the men’s bags with as much food as they can carry, and put each one’s money at the top of his bag. 2 Put my cup, the silver one, at the top of the youngest one’s bag, along with his grain money.” So he did as Joseph told him. 3 At morning light, the men were sent off with their donkeys. 4 They had not gone very far from the city when Joseph said to his steward, “Get up. Pursue the men, and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid evil for good? 5 Isn’t this the cup that my master drinks from and uses for • divination? What you have done is wrong!’”

Genesis 44:9-17:

9 If any of us is found to have it, he must die, and we also will become my lord’s slaves.” 10 The steward replied, “What you have said is right, but only the one who is found to have it will be my slave, and the rest of you will be blameless.” 11 So each one quickly lowered his sack to the ground and opened it. 12 The steward searched, beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest, and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13 Then they tore their clothes, and each one loaded his donkey and returned to the city. 14 When Judah and his brothers reached Joseph’s house, he was still there. They fell to the ground before him. 15 “What is this you have done?” Joseph said to them. “Didn’t you know that a man like me could uncover the truth by divination?” 16 “What can we say to my lord?” Judah replied. “How can we plead? How can we justify ourselves? God has exposed your servants’ iniquity. We are now my lord’s slaves —both we and the one in whose possession the cup was found.” 17 Then Joseph said, “I swear that I will not do this. The man in whose possession the cup was found will be my slave. The rest of you can go in peace to your father.”

This leads us to our focus scripture. Joseph tantalized his brothers but he had a plan in mind. He needed to see the true hearts of his brothers. He had the advantage because he recognized them but they had not recognized him. His brothers agreed to be Joseph’s slaves but Joseph refused and told them Benjamin would be his slave.

Genesis 44:18, 32-34:

18 But Judah approached him and said, “Sir, please let your servant speak personally to my lord.

32 Your servant became accountable to my father for the boy, saying, ‘If I do not return him to you, I will always bear the •guilt for sinning against you, my father.’ 33 Now please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave, in place of the boy. Let him go back with his brothers. 34 For how can I go back to my father without the boy? I could not bear to see the grief that would overwhelm my father.”

Judah pleads with Joseph. Keep in mind that it is through the line of Judah that CHRIST comes to earth. CHRIST pleads with every person upon earth to accept HIM as his or her Savior by placing his or her faith in HIM.

Enough is enough and Joseph had to tell his brothers something very important as we read in our next scripture.

Let’s read Genesis 45:1-4:

Joseph Reveals His Identity

1 Joseph could no longer keep his composure in front of all his attendants, so he called out, “Send everyone away from me!” No one was with him when he revealed his identity to his brothers. 2 But he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and also Pharaoh’s household heard it. 3 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But they could not answer him because they were terrified in his presence. 4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please, come near me,” and they came near. “I am Joseph, your brother,” he said, “the one you sold into Egypt.

The cat is out of the bag so-to-speak. Now Joseph’s father will know the truth of what had happened to him at the hand of his brothers many years ago. This was likely a bitter-sweet moment for his brothers.

Let’s read Genesis 45:5-8:

5 And now don’t be worried or angry with yourselves for selling me here, because God sent me ahead of you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there will be five more years without plowing or harvesting. 7 God sent me ahead of you to establish you as a remnant within the land and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. 8 Therefore it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household, and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

Joseph puts their minds at ease when he told them that they meant it for harm but GOD meant it for good. When they heard those words I am sure they were relieved for awhile. Joseph saw his calling was to save a remnant of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Joseph was chosen to carry out GOD’S plans and purpose. Joseph may not have fully realized his purpose until his brothers arrived in Egypt. He likely saw that GOD had placed him in the position where their lives would be reunited since Joseph was second in command in Egypt and in charge of the distribution of the food. Joseph was again at the right place at the right time because GOD directed his life.

Let’s read Genesis 45:9-15:

9 “Return quickly to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: “God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me without delay. 10 You can settle in the land of Goshen and be near me—you, your children, and grandchildren, your sheep, cattle, and all you have. 11 There I will sustain you, for there will be five more years of famine. Otherwise, you, your household, and everything you have will become destitute.”’ 12 Look! Your eyes and my brother Benjamin’s eyes can see that it is I, Joseph, who am speaking to you. 13 Tell my father about all my glory in Egypt and about all you have seen. And bring my father here quickly.” 14 Then Joseph threw his arms around Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin wept on his shoulder. 15 Joseph kissed each of his brothers as he wept, and afterward his brothers talked with him.

Restoration of relationships is a wonderful moment. Joseph was ready for his family to come to Egypt where he could make sure they would be taken care of. You can feel the urgency in his words. He embraces his brothers and kisses them. This is a precious moment.

Joseph was a powerful man and he could have made life miserable for his brothers but he didn’t. He recognized that GOD’S hand had directed his life to save not only his family but many other people throughout the land. He had to forgive his brothers for what they had done to him.

Maybe you have been done wrong by a family member. Has it led to bitterness or to forgiveness? If you still are holding a grudge, confess it to CHRIST and ask HIM to help you do the right thing and restore broken relationships. Blessings!!!

 

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Bible Study - Overcome (4) - Overcome Hard Times - Genesis 41:28-36, 46-49 - November 9, 2014


Bible Study – Overcome (4) – Overcome Hard Times – November 9, 2014

This is lesson four (4) in our series entitled “Overcome: Living beyond Your Circumstances.”

Our focus scripture is Genesis 41:28-36, 46-49.

GOD has a plan to see you though any crisis. The key is to be obedient and put into action what GOD reveals that needs to be done.

We have the opportunity to see GOD’S hand in directing circumstances as HE guided Joseph to the place that HE wanted him to be. If Joseph had given up, he would have likely died in prison. But that was not the case since Joseph remained faithful to GOD and worked as unto GOD.

Genesis 41:1-27: (Review and lead-in to our focus scripture)

Joseph Interprets Pharaoh’s Dreams

1 Two years later Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing beside the Nile, 2 when seven healthy-looking, well-fed cows came up from the Nile and began to graze among the reeds. 3 After them, seven other cows, sickly and thin, came up from the Nile and stood beside those cows along the bank of the Nile. 4 The sickly, thin cows ate the healthy, well-fed cows. Then Pharaoh woke up. 5 He fell asleep and dreamed a second time: Seven heads of grain, plump and ripe, came up on one stalk. 6 After them, seven heads of grain, thin and scorched by the east wind, sprouted up. 7 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven plump, ripe ones. Then Pharaoh woke up, and it was only a dream. 8 When morning came, he was troubled, so he summoned all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him. 9 Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I remember my faults. 10 Pharaoh had been angry with his servants, and he put me and the chief baker in the custody of the captain of the guard. 11 He and I had dreams on the same night; each dream had its own meaning. 12 Now a young Hebrew, a slave of the captain of the guards, was with us there. We told him our dreams, he interpreted our dreams for us, and each had its own interpretation. 13 It turned out just the way he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was hanged.” 14 Then Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and they quickly brought him from the dungeon. He shaved, changed his clothes, and went to Pharaoh. 15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said about you that you can hear a dream and interpret it.” 16 “I am not able to,” Joseph answered Pharaoh. “It is God who will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.” 17 So Pharaoh said to Joseph: “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile, 18 when seven well-fed, healthy-looking cows came up from the Nile and began to graze among the reeds. 19 After them, seven other cows —ugly, very sickly, and thin—came up. I’ve never seen such ugly ones as these in all the land of Egypt. 20 Then the thin, ugly cows ate the first seven well-fed cows. 21 When they had devoured them, you could not tell that they had devoured them; their appearance was as bad as it had been before. Then I woke up. 22 In my dream I had also seen seven heads of grain, plump and ripe, coming up on one stalk. 23 After them, seven heads of grain —withered, thin, and scorched by the east wind—sprouted up. 24 The thin heads of grain swallowed the seven plump ones. I told this to the magicians, but no one can tell me what it means.” 25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s dreams mean the same thing. God has revealed to Pharaoh what He is about to do. 26 The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven ripe heads are seven years. The dreams mean the same thing. 27 The seven thin, ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven worthless, scorched heads of grain are seven years of famine.

GOD made it clear, through Joseph to the king, what would happen over the next 14 years in Egypt and the surrounding area. The king had a choice. Was the king willing to take the information seriously from a slave/prisoner and take the necessary action? Let’s Explore!

Let’s read Genesis 41:28-32:

28 “It is just as I told Pharaoh: God [elohim, the general word for “god” or the One True GOD of the Hebrews. It carries the idea of GOD as the creator Who interacts with HIS creation and reveals Himself to HIS creation. GOD will reveal Himself to Pharaoh and the Egyptians.] has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do. 29 Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt. 30 After them, seven years of famine will take place, and all the abundance in the land of Egypt will be forgotten. The famine will devastate the land. 31 The abundance in the land will not be remembered because of the famine that follows it, for the famine will be very severe. 32 Since the dream was given twice to Pharaoh, it means that the matter has been determined by God, and He will carry it out soon.

Joseph reiterated the facts revealed by the dream that Pharaoh had. Notice the wisdom of Joseph. He directed his attention to the fact that GOD had revealed this extraordinary event that was about to take place to Pharaoh. Joseph wanted Pharaoh to be the person to whom GOD had revealed this information.

The fact that the dream was given to Pharaoh twice, the skinny cows and the thin heads of grain, meant that what GOD revealed was close at hand and he needed to take action quickly. This was no time to procrastinate. Pharaoh was to be the decision maker. Pharaoh was in charge of this project. Joseph took the lead and outlined a plan for the king, as we read in our next scripture.

Let’s read Genesis 41:33-36:

33 “So now, let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and set him over the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh do this: Let him appoint overseers over the land and take a fifth of the harvest of the land of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. 35 Let them gather all the excess food during these good years that are coming. Under Pharaoh’s authority, store the grain in the cities, so they may preserve it as food. 36 The food will be a reserve for the land during the seven years of famine that will take place in the land of Egypt. Then the country will not be wiped out by the famine.”

Do you think that Joseph knew he had been called by GOD to head up this project but it had to Pharaoh’s idea? The way Joseph handled this vital matter reveals the wisdom which comes from GOD. Joseph was in right relationship with GOD and with that confidence he gave Pharaoh a wise plan. Some kings would have rejected such a plan coming from someone who he had gotten out of prison but this king did not. He listened and saw that Joseph had revealed a good plan and was gifted by GOD. It is likely the king had done his homework and gotten background information on Joseph. That is why whatever we do, do it as unto the LORD.

Let’s read Genesis 41:37-45:

37 The proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his servants. 38 Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find anyone like this, a man who has God’s spirit in him?” 39 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one as intelligent and wise as you are. 40 You will be over my house, and all my people will obey your commands. Only with regard to the throne will I be greater than you.” 41 Pharaoh also said to Joseph, “See, I am placing you over all the land of Egypt.” 42 Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, clothed him with fine linen garments, and placed a gold chain around his neck. 43 He had Joseph ride in his second chariot, and servants called out before him, “Abrek!” So he placed him over all the land of Egypt. 44 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but no one will be able to raise his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt without your permission.” 45 Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-paneah and gave him a wife, Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest at On. And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt.

Pharaoh liked Joseph’s plan, as well as, Pharaoh’s servants. Pharaoh posed the question “Can we find anyone like this, a man who has God’s spirit in him?” So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one as intelligent and wise as you are. You will be over my house, and all my people will obey your commands. Only with regard to the throne will I be greater than you.”

It seems as Pharaoh was thinking out loud, when it dawned on him the very person qualified to implement such a plan. A duh moment was turned into eureka! Who else should implement the plan other then the person to whom GOD had revealed the interpretation of the king’s dream? Do you think the wine steward might have whispered into the kings ear, Joseph is wise, faithful, well organized, has implemented his duties impeccably and possible other accolades. The king may have had good reasoning and saw the value in Joseph’s leadership for this project. After all, if Joseph was in charge and it failed, Joseph would have no excuse such as “Oh, so-and-so did not carry out the plan as GOD intended.” The fact is that Pharaoh chose Joseph.

Pharaoh gave all the necessary credentials to Joseph for him to have all the authority, he needed, to represent the king as second in charge in Egypt. Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, clothed him with fine linen garments, and placed a gold chain around his neck. He had Joseph ride in his second chariot, and servants called out before him, “Abrek!””  

“Abrek!” was likely an Egyptian word meaning “attention” or a Hebrew word meaning “knell.” It was to show Joseph’s authority and respect as the king’s second in command.

Pharaoh gave him an Egyptian name and an Egyptian wife.

Let’s read Genesis 41:46-49:

Joseph’s Administration

46 Joseph was 30 years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh King of Egypt. Joseph left Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout the land of Egypt. 47 During the seven years of abundance the land produced outstanding harvests. 48 Joseph gathered all the excess food in the land of Egypt during the seven years and put it in the cities. He put the food in every city from the fields around it. 49 So Joseph stored up grain in such abundance—like the sand of the sea —that he stopped measuring it because it was beyond measure.

Joseph did not waste any time. He went to work immediately. Joseph had all the excess food gathered and stored in cities near the areas in where the harvests were produced. For seven years the harvests were extremely bountiful.

What do we do when we have plenty? Often, we think the supply of good fortune will never end. Likely those storing the food, laughed and thought this was a foolish thing to do. Even the king might have thought it. But as the old saying goes “there will be payday some day.” All good things often come to an end and when we do not plan for that rainy day, it can leave us in bad circumstances.

Just think in our lifetime, the recession we have experienced many poor souls lost their jobs. Many had purchased houses that required two incomes and a low permanent interest rate. Many had the idea that they needed their slice of the American dream and accumulated things and stuff. That is often a formula for trouble.

Let’s read Genesis 41:53-57:

53 Then the seven years of abundance in the land of Egypt came to an end, 54 and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in every country, but throughout the land of Egypt there was food. 55 Extreme hunger came to all the land of Egypt, and the people cried out to Pharaoh for food. Pharaoh told all Egypt, “Go to Joseph and do whatever he tells you.” 56 Because the famine had spread across the whole country, Joseph opened up all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57 Every nation came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, for the famine was severe in every land.

Famine came to Egypt and the surrounding area. People were hungry and came to Pharaoh for his help. Pharaoh directed them to Joseph and Joseph had the storehouses opened and sold the grain to those in need.

When this took place, the GOD of Joseph was Glorified.

Are we, as Christians, obedient to what GOD reveals to us? Are we bold enough put it into an action plan or do we procrastinate? I know recently, I procrastinated and missed a blessing or at least put it on hold. But the LORD teaches us in all things.

Hard times come into most of our lives. When they do, where or to whom do we turn? Is GOD our refuge and strength? Joseph was in relationship with GOD and it showed. Joseph trusted GOD, as a result, he was elevated to second in command and GOD was Glorified.

Blessings!!!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Bible Study - Overcome (3) - Overcome Being Forgotten - Genesis 39:21-23; 40:5-8, 20-23 - November 2, 2014


Bible Study – Overcome (3) – Overcome Being Forgotten – November 2, 2014

This is lesson three (3) in our series entitled “Overcome: Living beyond Your Circumstances.

Our focus scripture is Genesis 39:21-23; 40:5-8, 20-23.

Keep doing what GOD has gifted you to do. All that we do should be to glorify GOD. It is easier to obediently serve GOD when we are in right relationship with GOD through our faith in CHRIST. When we are in right relationship with GOD, we are at the center of HIS will. That does not mean that we are in the place we want to be but we are in the place GOD wants us to be. When we are in the center of HIS will, we trust Him in all circumstances.

Joseph was in prison because of a false accusation. Did that have a negative effect on Joseph’s trust in GOD, his love of GOD or his attitude toward GOD? No!

Let’s read Genesis 39:21-23:

21 But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him. He granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 The warden put all the prisoners who were in the prison under Joseph’s authority, and he was responsible for everything that was done there. 23 The warden did not bother with anything under Joseph’s authority, because the Lord was with him, and the Lord made everything that he did successful.

Joseph was put into the place where the king’s prisoners were held for disposition – sentencing, punishment, release or execution. Even in prison Joseph was a model prisoner.

Keep in mind that Potiphar was the “captain of the guard.” It is likely that the king’s prison was attached to or part of Potiphar’s house. Again Joseph made lemonade after he was given lemons and the prison warden gave Joseph great responsibility. This is a tribute to Joseph and to GOD.

Once the warden gave the responsibility to Joseph, he did not worry about it. Do you think that Potiphar might have given a little advice to the warden? I think so. To me it also indicates that Potiphar likely knew the truth about what happened between his wife and Joseph.

Joseph was exactly where GOD wanted him. It so happened that two of the king’s officials were also in that same prison. We do not know why they were there but the important thing is that GOD knew that they would be there. Did GOD make them do something which would result in them being in prison at just the right time? Or did the foreknowledge of GOD allow HIM to know that they would be in that prison at that precise time? GOD’S ways are higher than our ways and HIS thoughts are higher than our thoughts. Let’s explore who was in prison with Joseph and the role they would play in GOD’S plan for Joseph and the future of the Israelites.




Let’s read Genesis 40:1-4:

1 After this, the Egyptian king’s cupbearer and baker offended their master, the king of Egypt. 2 Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, 3 and put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard in the prison where Joseph was confined. 4 The captain of the guard assigned Joseph to them, and he became their personal attendant. And they were in custody for some time.
GOD had Joseph placed in direct contact with these two officials of the king.

Let’s read Genesis 40:5-8:
5 The Egyptian king’s cupbearer and baker, who were confined in the prison, each had a dream. Both had a dream on the same night, and each dream had its own meaning. 6 When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they looked distraught. 7 So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were in custody with him in his master’s house, “Why do you look so sad today?” 8 “We had dreams,” they said to him, “but there is no one to interpret them.” Then Joseph said to them, “Don’t interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.”

The two officials of the king were his wine steward/cupbearer and his baker. It is thought that each official supervised a number of others. They were important officials to the king. But something happened and the king had them placed in the king’s prison where Joseph was being held and serving.

The wine steward and the baker both had dreams the same night and woke up puzzled about the meaning of their dreams. If they had not been in prison they would have gone to their local dream interpreter and gotten an explanation. It would have been wrong but it would have likely satisfied them.

Joseph entered where these two men were being held and immediately observed that both of these men were distraught. Joseph asked Pharaoh’s officers why they were so sad? They told him that both had had very vivid dreams and they needed someone to explain their dreams to them. Joseph, the dreamer, told them that only GOD can interpret dreams.

I know many years ago, I had a very vivid dream and woke up and prayed and asked if there was any meaning to the dream and if so to reveal it to me. I went back to sleep and I was taken back though the dream and each thing was explained to me. It was so vivid that I had it typed. About 10 years ago I was going through some papers and found it, thinking that it was not truth, I shredded it. Most of the dream is still in my memory and in light of today’s events has meaning. A portion of my dream focused on the plan to alter the truth of the Gospel of CHRIST which only those who knew the truth could discern. It involved the Middle East and Africa. Russia was involved.  GOD reveals matters through dreams but HE gives the interpretation. If you have such a dream keep in mind that only GOD gives the interpretation.

These two men revealed their dreams to Joseph.

Let’s read Genesis 40:9-19:

9 So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph: “In my dream there was a vine in front of me. 10 On the vine were three branches. As soon as it budded, its blossoms came out and its clusters ripened into grapes. 11 Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes, squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.” 12 “This is its interpretation,” Joseph said to him. “The three branches are three days. 13 In just three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your position. You will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand the way you used to when you were his cupbearer. 14 But when all goes well for you, remember that I was with you. Please show kindness to me by mentioning me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this prison. 15 For I was kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing that they should put me in the dungeon.” 16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was positive, he said to Joseph, “I also had a dream. Three baskets of white bread were on my head. 17 In the top basket were all sorts of baked goods for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head.” 18 “This is its interpretation,” Joseph replied. “The three baskets are three days. 19 In just three days Pharaoh will lift up your head —from off you—and hang you on a tree. Then the birds will eat the flesh from your body.”

The dream of the wine steward was positive. So the baker may have thought that Joseph only wanted to give good news but little did he know that Joseph listened to GOD and spoke truth.

The term “lift up your head” carries the idea of a person who was ashamed or felt downtrodden for something he or she had done or of which he or she may have been accused is forgiven or exonerated and restored. Once the person is restored he or she could act confident and hold his or her head high. In our scripture, it could also mean “to call a person into the presence of the king.” The term was also used to take a census thus “to count heads.” With the wine steward it was clear that he would be restored to his original position but the baker would be hanged.

Joseph requested the wine steward to remember him when he returned to his original official position of serving the king. Joseph gave the wine steward a brief review of his circumstances.

Why did Joseph ask the wine steward to mention him to the king as recorded in verse 14?

Joseph had requested the wine steward to remember him to the king when he was restored. The wine steward/cupbearer/butler was a trusted position. The wine steward was often the person who had the king’s ear. He was a trusted advisor and a member of the royal court responsible for the king’s security and safety of the food and beverages the king consumed. 

Let’s read Genesis 40:20-23:

20 On the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, he gave a feast for all his servants. He lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker. 21 Pharaoh restored the chief cupbearer to his position as cupbearer, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand. 22 But Pharaoh hanged the chief baker, just as Joseph had explained to them. 23 Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.

On the third day, Pharaoh threw a party and invited all of his servants. The scripture states that it was a birthday party. Bible scholars debate whether or not it was actually the king’s birthday or the day he was crowned king, either way it was a celebration. It was a festive occasion.

The king “lifted up the heads” of the wine steward and the baker, which can be good news for those taken out of confinement. The wine steward was restored to his former duties. The baker likely thought Joseph’s interpretation of his dream was wrong when he was released from prison. Unfortunately, his momentary joy was turned to fright and doom because the king had him hung. The scripture reveals that he was impaled. Genesis 40:22 (New Living Translation)

22 But Pharaoh impaled the chief baker, just as Joseph had predicted when he interpreted his dream.

Genesis 40:22 (The Message)

22 And then he impaled the head baker on a post, following Joseph's interpretations exactly.

The thinking is that his head separated from his body when he was hung and the king had his head impaled on a stick or post for all to see. It was a clear message from the king to his servants.

When Sadam Hussein was hung, his head separated from his body. Even in our times there are reports that ISIS beheaded children, adults and impaled their heads on posts. It sends a chilling message, which reveals the true source of such barbaric acts, Satan.

Verse 23 reveals that the wine steward forgot. He might have been afraid to mention it that soon after being restored but GOD had a plan. Simply, GOD’S timing is always perfect. At the right moment, GOD allowed the king to have a dream and then the wine steward thought about Joseph.

Let’s read Genesis 41:1-57:

Joseph Interprets Pharaoh’s Dreams

1 Two years later Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing beside the Nile, 2 when seven healthy-looking, well-fed cows came up from the Nile and began to graze among the reeds. 3 After them, seven other cows, sickly and thin, came up from the Nile and stood beside those cows along the bank of the Nile. 4 The sickly, thin cows ate the healthy, well-fed cows. Then Pharaoh woke up. 5 He fell asleep and dreamed a second time: Seven heads of grain, plump and ripe, came up on one stalk. 6 After them, seven heads of grain, thin and scorched by the east wind, sprouted up. 7 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven plump, ripe ones. Then Pharaoh woke up, and it was only a dream. 8 When morning came, he was troubled, so he summoned all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him. 9 Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I remember my faults. 10 Pharaoh had been angry with his servants, and he put me and the chief baker in the custody of the captain of the guard. 11 He and I had dreams on the same night; each dream had its own meaning. 12 Now a young Hebrew, a slave of the captain of the guards, was with us there. We told him our dreams, he interpreted our dreams for us, and each had its own interpretation. 13 It turned out just the way he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was hanged.” 14 Then Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and they quickly brought him from the dungeon. He shaved, changed his clothes, and went to Pharaoh. 15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said about you that you can hear a dream and interpret it.” 16 “I am not able to,” Joseph answered Pharaoh. “It is God who will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.” 17 So Pharaoh said to Joseph: “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile, 18 when seven well-fed, healthy-looking cows came up from the Nile and began to graze among the reeds. 19 After them, seven other cows —ugly, very sickly, and thin—came up. I’ve never seen such ugly ones as these in all the land of Egypt. 20 Then the thin, ugly cows ate the first seven well-fed cows. 21 When they had devoured them, you could not tell that they had devoured them; their appearance was as bad as it had been before. Then I woke up. 22 In my dream I had also seen seven heads of grain, plump and ripe, coming up on one stalk. 23 After them, seven heads of grain —withered, thin, and scorched by the east wind—sprouted up. 24 The thin heads of grain swallowed the seven plump ones. I told this to the magicians, but no one can tell me what it means.” 25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s dreams mean the same thing. God has revealed to Pharaoh what He is about to do. 26 The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven ripe heads are seven years. The dreams mean the same thing. 27 The seven thin, ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven worthless, scorched heads of grain are seven years of famine. 28 “It is just as I told Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do. 29 Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt. 30 After them, seven years of famine will take place, and all the abundance in the land of Egypt will be forgotten. The famine will devastate the land. 31 The abundance in the land will not be remembered because of the famine that follows it, for the famine will be very severe. 32 Since the dream was given twice to Pharaoh, it means that the matter has been determined by God, and He will carry it out soon. 33 “So now, let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and set him over the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh do this: Let him appoint overseers over the land and take a fifth of the harvest of the land of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. 35 Let them gather all the excess food during these good years that are coming. Under Pharaoh’s authority, store the grain in the cities, so they may preserve it as food. 36 The food will be a reserve for the land during the seven years of famine that will take place in the land of Egypt. Then the country will not be wiped out by the famine.” Joseph Exalted 37 The proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his servants. 38 Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find anyone like this, a man who has God’s spirit in him?” 39 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one as intelligent and wise as you are. 40 You will be over my house, and all my people will obey your commands. Only with regard to the throne will I be greater than you.” 41 Pharaoh also said to Joseph, “See, I am placing you over all the land of Egypt.” 42 Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, clothed him with fine linen garments, and placed a gold chain around his neck. 43 He had Joseph ride in his second chariot, and servants called out before him, “Abrek!” So he placed him over all the land of Egypt. 44 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but no one will be able to raise his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt without your permission.” 45 Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-paneah and gave him a wife, Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest at On. And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt.

Joseph’s Administration

46 Joseph was 30 years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Joseph left Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout the land of Egypt. 47 During the seven years of abundance the land produced outstanding harvests. 48 Joseph gathered all the excess food in the land of Egypt during the seven years and put it in the cities. He put the food in every city from the fields around it. 49 So Joseph stored up grain in such abundance—like the sand of the sea —that he stopped measuring it because it was beyond measure. 50 Two sons were born to Joseph before the years of famine arrived. Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest at On, bore them to him. 51 Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, meaning, “God has made me forget all my hardship in my father’s house.” 52 And the second son he named Ephraim, meaning, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.” 53 Then the seven years of abundance in the land of Egypt came to an end, 54 and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in every country, but throughout the land of Egypt there was food. 55 Extreme hunger came to all the land of Egypt, and the people cried out to Pharaoh for food. Pharaoh told all Egypt, “Go to Joseph and do whatever he tells you.” 56 Because the famine had spread across the whole country, Joseph opened up all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57 Every nation came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, for the famine was severe in every land.

So how long did it take until Joseph was placed as second in command in Egypt?

Joseph was 17 when his brothers sold him to the Ishmaelites. Let’s compare Genesis 37:2 and Genesis 41:46. Genesis 37:2: At 17 years of age, Joseph tended sheep with his brothers. The young man was working with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought a bad report about them to their father.

Genesis 41:46: Joseph was 30 years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Joseph left Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout the land of Egypt.

It is thought that Potiphar’s wife may have propositioned Joseph for approximately 11 years. Joseph was in prison for 2 years. Joseph had asked the wine steward to remember him to Pharaoh when the wine steward was in prison but he forgot. Did he forget? Or did GOD use the wine steward’s nature to delay mentioning Joseph to the king until the right moment? GOD was preparing the events according to HIS plan and purpose for Joseph and ultimately the Israelites, HIS chosen people, for 13 years.

Joseph remained faithful to GOD and as we read in the final scripture even the king recognized and acknowledged that the wisdom Joseph came from GOD.

Wisdom comes from knowing GOD by having the right relationship with HIM through faith in CHRIST. Joseph maintained his faith in GOD in spite of his circumstances. GOD knew Joseph’s heart and called him to carry out HIS plan and purpose. Joseph glorified GOD in all that he did. He trusted GOD even when GOD seemed to be inactive in his life or possibly forgotten him.

Joseph was a powerful witness to those around him. Do others see CHRIST in us as we obediently serve HIM even when we are seemingly in a bad place in our lives? Have you ever thought GOD had forgotten you? Hebrews 5b-6:

“- for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you. 6 Therefore, we may boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Blessings!!!