Sunday Service (M877) | Mount Zion Church | 4 August 2019 | The Preparation: Vision & Holiness | Joseph Series: Open the Storehouses & Sell the Food | Genesis 41:53-57
Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets Amo.3:7. Far away before the big famine came to all countries around Egypt, God already called Joseph through a dream, letting him know about this secret and prepared him to have an ultimate life so that he was able to build the storehouses and then opened it later and sell the food. Jesus said: Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods Mat.24:45-47. As God called Joseph in his days to provide food, not only for his family but also for peoples from all countries, so God also call the believers in this last day to provide and share the eternal food for peoples around us.
53 Then the seven years of plenty which were in the land of Egypt ended, 54 and the seven years of famine began to come, as Joseph had said. The famine was in all lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. 55 So when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. Then Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph; whatever he says to you, do.” 56 The famine was over all the face of the earth, and Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians. And the famine became severe in the land of Egypt. 57 So all countries came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, because the famine was severe in all lands. Genesis 41:53-57 NKJV
BE READY AT ALL TIME
The people will curse him who withholds grain, but blessing will be on the head of him who sells it. Proverbs 11:26 NKJV
Before we are able to sell the grain, first we must have a plenty of grain. The years of plenty and the years of famine will come in our days. Proverbs teach us to go to the ant, consider her ways and be wise Pro.6:6-8. We must provide our supplies so that we can be ready whenever the years of famine will come. Jesus said: Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God Mat.4:4. There is an urgency to build the storehouses of the everlasting grain! We must learn to give attention to God’s words, incline our ears to his sayings, and then keep them in the midst of our hearts Pro.4:20-22. Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it Luk.11:28!
We may simply say that we are now live in ‘the years of plenty’. Practically there is no difficulties for us now to gather that bread from heaven. Even we can get as plenty as we want. We have a freedom to have the Bible, we are free to go to the church, we have a wide access to the Biblical resources, listening to the good sermons from all around the worlds. We must not take it all for granted (fail to properly appreciate someone or something, especially as a result of overfamiliarity). By the wisdom of God, Joseph gave a very good suggestion for Pharaoh. Joseph said: Let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh and let them keep food in the cities. Then that food shall be as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt, that the land may not perish during the famine Gen.41:35-36. Joseph gathered grain very much, as the sand of the sea, until he stopped counting, for it was immeasurable Gen.41:49.
What are we gathering now? James warned the rich men who heaped up physical treasure in the last days Jam.5:1-3. What is your treasure? For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also Mat.6:21. We must fight and work for the everlasting treasure. Jesus said: Do not labour for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him Jn.6:27. Let’s start to gather that food and build the storehouses. We must be ready at all times to face the years of famine, the years of difficulties, the years of trouble. Paul said to Timothy: Be ready in season and out of season 2Tim.4:2.
THE PREPARATION OF JOSEPH
Back about 13 years before Joseph interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh and start to build the storehouses, God already gave a clear vision to Joseph about his future. God called Joseph to be the leader of his family, to be a blessing, to be someone who will take care his family and his nations. God can speak to his people through dreams. That’s why it is very important to keep our heart and our mind clean and holy at all times Pro.4:23 so that God can speak to us and we are sensitive enough to get his messages. But before the first dream delivered to Joseph, there is something more important that we must have: a commitment to be holy!
1 Now Jacob dwelt in the land where his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. 2 This is the history of Jacob. Joseph, being 17 years old, was feeding the flock with his brothers. And the lad was with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought a bad report of them to his father. Genesis 37:1-2 NKJV
Joseph had a good decision which is not to follow all the bad things that be done by his brothers. Even though he still very young and have no one in his side, Joseph decided to live in holiness. It seems that the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah were the first who did the bad things but then even Reuben and his other brothers, which is the sons of Leah, also fell into that bad things! As a human being, we are always easily led by the crowd Ac.19:32. What is trending near you now? We must always double check if God will be happy with that or not. God said: You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice Exo.23:2. Our life must not be defined by the crowd! Jesus called us to enter the narrow gate even though the majority will enter the wide and broad gate, because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it Mat.7:13-14.
Holiness is not only about us, but it also involves others specially for those who are in our responsibility. Holiness is not about stay away from sins but also helping others to go away from sins. Joseph brought a bad report to his father because he cared for his brothers and dared to see their goodness. Joseph did not want to be ignorance about his brothers. Bring up the bad report to their fathers will definitely create a bad reaction from that bad brothers. But love of God will be able to overcome that kinds of fears because the love of God does not seek its own, does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth 1Cor.13:4-8.
These acts of holiness brought a very big favour of God to the life of Joseph! Because of his commitment to live in holiness, Jacob loved Joseph more than all his children and he made him a tunic of many colours. Even God Himself gave a precious present for Joseph through a dream: a bright future and a capacity to be a leader. According to the tradition at Israel the oldest son will be the leader, but God exalted and promoted Joseph to be the leader. He saw in his dream how his sheaf of grain arose and stood upright while all other sheaves bowed down to Joseph’s sheaf. Psalmist wrote: For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one and exalts another Ps.75:6-7. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time 1Pet.5:5-6.
Holiness is something that is very precious in God’s eyes. Peter wrote: do not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy 1Pet.1:13-16.” Being holy is a decision and we need to have a good commitment for that. To live in the holiness of God is a clear vision for every believers. We must accept and obey to this general vision so that we are able to move deeper into another vision, even into the specific one just like what happened in the life of Joseph. Holiness is the true key to go deeper into the plan of God for us. The opposite of holiness is sins which will destroy lots of good things even only one of it presents Ecc.9:18.
CONCLUSION & CHALLENGE
What it’s all about?
The life story of Joseph is not only about history, but it is given so that it can be our life story as well. God call all believers to be a faithful and wise servant, to be a ruler over our household, to give them food in due season. That’s why first we must be plenty with foods, we need to build the storehouses and keep the precious words of God so that we will ready to face the years of famine where lots of troubles and difficulties will come. Jesus said how we will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but we must not be troubled. We must have a good and clear vision, so we can understand about God’s plan and keep ourselves in the right track, the way of holiness. Holiness is the true key to unlock God’s plan in our life. Holiness is not only about us, but it also involves others. Holiness is also about care and dare for others next to us.
Insights and impressions:
God is holy, and He wants us to be holy as well. Being holy will definitely suffer our flesh but Jesus asked us to deny ourselves and take up our cross daily and follow Jesus Luk.9:23. As we have a desire to be a blessing for others, we must discipline our body and bring it into subjection LEST when we have preached to others, we ourselves should become disqualified 1Cor.9:27. That’s why holiness is the true key to bring us deeper in the favour of God.
Let’s examine if there is any unholiness within us. As soon as we realise and detect anything wrong, let’s be brave and have a strong commitment to throw it away and run from it. If by any chance we know our family member of the body of Christ committed to any sin, we must be brave as well to bring that bad report to our ‘fathers’ with a good attitude because we want to care and dare for our beloved. During this week let’s focus about living in holiness and we will see the favour of God will be poured in our life. AMEN.