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January 18, 2022 7:00 am
Today on Fellowship in the Word pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ. I'm guessing that Joseph got you something to change so so far we have about 15 years since his you think 11 years as a slave to three years in prison because he is a great responsibility. He doesn't know that God in us, and we would really be tough and joining us today on this additional Fellowship in the Word pastor Bill Gebhardt Fellowship in the Words the radio ministry of Fellowship Bible church located in Metairie, Louisiana Pastor Bill Gebhardt and ours. Once again he shows us how God's word meets our world 19 Howard is fighter plane was shot down by antiaircraft fire.
The story of his subsequent seven years in captivity is popularizing a book that he wrote called in the presence of my enemies. It's an interesting thing because he was taken what is called heartbreak Hotel in Hanoi miss what he writes about. He said when the door slammed and the key turned in that rusty iron lock, a feeling of utter loneliness swept over me. I lay down on the cold concrete slab in my 6 x 6 room think about it. 6 x 6 batches room is only room he was on that and he says this.
The smell of human excrement burned in my nostrils around as large as a small cat scampered across the slab beside me. The walls and the floors and the ceilings were caked with filth bars covered a tiny window high above the door. I was cold and hungry. My body ached with swollen joints and sprained muscles. It's hard to describe what solitary confinement can do to the nerves and how it can defeat a man. He says you quickly tire of standing or sitting down or sleeping or being awake. There's no books, no papers, no pencils, no magazines, no conversations with anyone. The only colors that you see your dreary, drab gray and dirty brown months or years may go by when you never see a sunrise or a mono green grass and flowers, you're locked in alone and silent in your filthy little cell breathing is still rotten. There and trying somehow to keep your sanity intact know when you read his book. You realize he's a believer in Jesus Christ and see you soon. Over left with this question. If you're honest with yourself, why would God allow something like that to happen to one of his children in God can do anything right. Why would God allow such a thing. But in the book Rutledge tells you what he believes God had done in his own life, he concluded that when problems and suffering appear they come into our lives. I believe God always has some purpose.
He wants to use this for his glory and for our good and that often, especially in the midst of our suffering and problem we have no idea what God is doing that such an important part of this. So what I want to do today as I want to look at an example. Very much like Howard Rutledge was but from a biblical point of view. I want to look at the life of Joseph and I'd like you to open your Bibles to Genesis 37 to get a context of this for me. Genesis 37.
Look at verse three. First, now Israel. That's Jacob that's his father Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, whose name was changed. Israel now Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons because he was the son of his old age, and he made him a very colored tunic. This is the beginning of describing what is completely dysfunctional family. But Jacob loved Joseph more than anyone. Everyone was aware of it and he made him from our point of view done seem like much of very colored tunic but from his part of the world. That's very different thing.
Every color, cost, and the enormous amount of money didn't have dies.
Not like we do, and this is a very colored tunic, or we popularizing they called Joses multicolored coat, it would be in his world equipment in our world he gave his son a mink jacket okay that's what would be no one else has something like this so you have 12 voicing your family and one boy wears a right is very colored tunic and it says here Moses writes it. He love them more than anyone because it was a son of his old age, but it's more than that, it's his mother.
His mother's Rachel.
Rachel was Jacob's true love.
Remember, Jacob had to go through all these jump all through these hoops Mary Rachel sister before he get Rachel. So Rachel was bearing the night she had the firstborn, Joseph had to favorite the second born is Benjamin and all of the 12 children. So what's the response.
His brother Saul, that the father loved him more than all the his brothers and so they hated him he could not speak to him one friendly to that's dysfunction he's hated because he's the father's favorite. But Joseph you want to contribute to this and is only so look at verse six. Joseph says to his brothers. Please listen to this dream that I had for behold we were binding sheaves in the field, and low my sheave rose up, and also stood erect and behold your sheaves gather around and bow down to my sheave. Then his brother said to wait, are you actually going to reign over us. Are you really going to roll over us and so they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. The thing about Joseph you going to notices he is the ultimate truth teller. He will tell you the truth no matter what. He doesn't care about consequences. He doesn't manipulate people is a truth teller. So that's the context. So it's not surprising that the brothers get together and say okay let's kill this is still a mistake in my tone and will send you see was will send the coat back and say, was killed by wild animal or something will get to kill the sky within some of the brothers that I don't think we should murder, brother. So then I decided okay with roaming a pit in a few minutes. And then when you had as the Ishmaelites were coming from the promised land. Heading to Egypt so they said the Ishmaelites are traders. So they said will say our brother and that's what they did.
They sold Joseph as a slave. Now this wasn't quite the as pleasant as it would've been in a movie that we do about Joseph, but I want you to hold a place here and just go with me for one moment to the book of Psalms 105 in verse 17, the psalmist gives us a little bit different picture of what was going on with Joseph. 105 17 and he's praising God for God's sovereignty and he says in verse 17 God sent a man before them, God sent Amanda Egypt because he knew the need. It was coming to Israel and so we sent them ahead so to speak. He said a man before them. Joseph who was sold as a slave. They afflicted his feet with fetters and he himself was laid in irons until the time that his word came to pass the word of the Lord tested him so. Couple things they put them in irons as soon as they got nonuser personally so they put them in times and I get to take them to Egypt and from God's point of view, this whole terrible turn in Joseph's life is the test.
Joseph and let me be as honest like in most of the terrible times in your life for God to test you want to test want to see what you really made up where your faith really is so what ends up happening is he goes on to Egypt.
We get to chapter 39 back in Genesis we get a chapter 39 and this is not Joseph have been taken down to Egypt and Potter for an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the bodyguard is in bottom from the Ishmaelites who had taken them down there know this all seems lost like a really quick moving story is not he was bought by Potter for as a common slave and where we are in chapter 39's about 11 years later Joses, about 26 or 27 Somalis living Egypt for 11 years as a slave that he would talk about what you think. That's like, what would your life be like your brothers hated you so much a soldier as a slave they get bought by Potiphar, but apparently over these 11 years Joseph starts out as probably the bottom slave in the whole household and just keeps working his way up until you find here is number one. He's the guy so it says then the Lord was with Joseph's so is the successful man and he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian now his master solid Joseph that the Lord was with Joseph and how the Lord because all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in the sight, and became his personal servant, and he made him overseer over his house and all that he only put in his charge, and if you know Egyptian culture. This is unusual if you can have someone as influential as Bodiford, the head of his household will always be an Egyptian, not a slave but in this case it slave because of Joseph how much he prospered.
It came about that from the time he made him overseer's house, and overall he owned the Lord blessed the Egyptians house on a counter Joseph in the Lord's blessing was upon all that he owned in the house on the house and in the field and so he left everything he owned an Joseph charge and with him. He did not concern himself with anything except the food that he ate. So this is a happy story but not really, but it seems like a happy story. Here's a guy that probably grew up relatively poorly shepherded. Israel gets over the slavery not always indicate In the guard's house running the whole show. And then there's some unfortunate words. Now Joseph was handsome and form an appearance. You know guys being good-looking can be a curse. Now a lot of you don't have to worry about that, but but the point is, he is a very handsome guy. You see, it's interesting that why would he say that. Well it came about after these events that his master's wife with desire.
Joseph and she said lie with me.
This is interesting here comes the temptation here comes the enemy fly with me. He refused and he said to his masters like be home with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house. He has put all that he owns in my charge, there is no one greater in the house and I and he is withheld nothing from me except you because you are his wife what Kelly shifts.
How then could I do this great evil and sin against God is not a new Bodiford's God. What I do this he knows is lesbian blessed music when I sin against God. And as he spoke the Joseph day after day did not listen to her lie beside her.
How long is that we don't know few days week months. Just imagine this day after day. Why think she comes up with a different strategy now would happen one day that he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of his house were there inside that's called set up okay there's a set up. The men are all gone. There's no one in the house but he and her it says she caught him by his garments of lie with me and he left the garment are handy for anyone outside and when he saw that he had left when she saw that he left his garment in her hand and had fled outside she called to the men of her household and said see he has brought in a Hebrew to us to make sport of us and he came into me to lie with me and I screamed and when he heard that I raise my voice and scream. He left his garment beside me and flicked and went outside so she left his garment beside her until the master came home and then she spoke to him with these words. The Hebrew slave whom you brought to us came in to make sport of me and I raise my voice and screamed and he left his garment beside many fled outside, and now when his master heard the words of his wife which he spoke of him saying this is what your slave did to me. His anger burned and I think what I think what you're thinking, always a jealous husband is not is angry but is not.
It is a believer that all he believes she line he knows the countrymen.
Joseph is he is seen as not for years and years and years at least 11 years.
He knows that kind of man, but she's his wife and so the whole idea with all the other servants I have all the other people what is he going to do now he's stuck between a rock and a hard place and please understand why I'm saying this is a couple reasons. But here's one it's very obvious. In verse 30 verse one of chapter 39 it says Joseph had been taken down to Egypt imparted for the Egyptian officer, the Pharaoh, the captain of the bodyguard that phrase, captain of the bodyguard makes us think a little bit different, but Elford undersigned was probably one of the finest scholars of biblical culture that ever lived. His work on the life and times of Jesus the Messiah is still the classic work on the life of Christ. Undersigned says that captain of the bodyguard means he is the chief executioner for Pharaoh that Sue is he is the chief executioner for Pharaoh.
So understanding Egypt at this time. How many rights do you think a slave not zero. You and me. We need a reason to execute a slave. You see, you don't even need a reason now he believed his wife and he's the chief executioner for Pharaoh. When you think you did on the Joseph here you killed him on the spot he would've killed him right on the spot, Unisys even gets more obvious as we go on here. So after this happens you see in the way this whole thing works is that he has to figure out where my going to do with this guy is, but the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer. So in verse 20 it says Joseph master took and put them in jail a place with the king's prisoners were confined and he was there.
Joe well he did put them in now and go Egyptians have terrible prisons. Most people always die in prison. He puts them in the Pharaoh's prison. It's like we go for white collar crimes and I was kind of a country club typing.
It's not quite the same as really terrible and it's right there for part of her works. Bodiford going to put them in prison. That's kind of interesting in light of this, and notice, then it says that the chief jailer committed Joseph charge all the prisoners who were in the jail and so whatever was done there he was responsible for the chief jailer did not super. The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph charge because the Lord was with them in whatever he did. Lord made him prosper.
So part of her puts them in a private gel that's about the chief jailer now and by the way, this is about to three more years. The TPL analysis of the sky run this place is is great at this. So now you have this or the ups and down thing with Joseph but everything is first terrible, horrible, one fair event was his brother sold was asleep. Now he finds himself in his second event is put in prison put in jail be doing wrong.
No you did everything right restore the jail now.
How unfair would that make you feel more importantly, how bitter would that make you feel. You see, what would you start doing this stinks.
This really stinks that there all the stuff happen to me. But what's interesting is your reading there in 39 that God is with them in the Joseph. This makes all the difference in the world.
So what I want to show you is that what Joseph is able to do through terrible suffering through the worst problems of his life. He's able to do five different things that all of us can do when you face the worst problems in the worst suffering of your life. That potential was there for every one of us five things that can happen when you go through the worst problems are the worst suffering of your life. The first one we see in chapter 40 in verse one. Your worst problems can create great opportunities for you. Your worst problems can create great opportunities for you. Notice it says it came about after these things. There was a cupbearer and a baker. The king of Egypt. They offended the Lord the King of Egypt and Pharaoh was furious with us to walk officials in the chief cupbearer and the chief baker and they get put in the jail same jail, not a baker's self-explanatory use a baker the cupbearer's a little different.
The cupbearer's a guy less the taste everything. The fairleads okay a lot of people like to kill Pharaoh and sees the power so it is a really Chris job you live just like Pharaoh now doesn't have many retirement benefits because probably somewhere along the line when he sees you kill over he's going to know someone was trying to poison these matters. Both of you think that's what ends up happening. He gets mad at both of them in here we are two years later in this and so what ends up happening here is he uses this tremendous suffering. This opportunity go for Joseph and it's fascinating to me because Joseph is so sensitive to this during jail and then we get down to verse seven. Notice what it says he has Pharaoh's officials who were with him in confinement in his master's house is a wonderful place basis of said now that must be really set how many happy faces you see in person okay now if the Pharaoh God on earth is angry at you and put you in his prison.
How many smiles do you have a net day.
I mean to be said. But notice the sensitivity Joseph Weiser said so they tell him and they said we had a dream, and no one can interpret it all.
So they tell Joseph their dream.
Now here's Joseph's interpretation. Verse 12 Joseph said to him, this is the interpretation of it. The three branches are three days within three more days Pharaoh will lift up your head restore you to your office and will put Pharaoh's cup in his hand. According to former custom when you worst cupbearer and now what we Joseph says only keep in mind when it goes well with you please do me a kindness by mentioning me to Pharaoh to get me out of this place.
Even Joseph likes being imprisoned. No, now doesn't have a reason to be. But he doesn't like you said, could you put a good word and with Pharaoh.
So I got out that makes a lot of sense for then the bigger scenario.
Can't wait can't wait cupbearer. It's great to be good so we get verse 18. Joseph answered and said this is the interpretation that the three baskets or three days within three more days for will lift up your head from you and will hang on a tree and the birds with your flesh.
Notice he's not a schmoozer is not trying to win friends and influence people is a good dead three days member. He's a truth teller. Your cells of truth came about on the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday that he made a feast for all his servants, he lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among the servants he restore the chief cupbearer to his office and he put a cup in Pharaoh's hand. He hanged the chief baker, as Joseph interpreted, yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph. He forgot so now is going to be in prison even longer, so problems can create opportunities. Secondly, problems mode can really promote maturity both physical maturity and spiritual maturity. I'm guessing that Joseph as a young teenager because his father favored him so much. I'm guessing is soft. I don't think it'll work like his brothers. I think his father favored him everything he did. He's the spoiled kid out of 12 sons and got you something to change all that. So, so far, we have them about 15 years since this all happened. Do you think 11 years and as a slave to three years as a prisoner you think that would toughen anyone up. I mean he would really because he has great responsibility coming. He doesn't know that the God does in a so he would really be toughened up. Then there's the spiritual maturity part of it guts as you can have to mature. If you gonna be able to continue to serve in any capacity left call you to we don't often think about this, but I'm a tell you the worst times of your life worst problems in the worst suffering never do is a phenomenal time. Maybe the best time for you to mature spiritually clear the word of God to pastor Bill Gebhardt on the radio ministry of fellowship Lord, if you ever miss one of our broadcast or maybe you just like listening to the message one more time. Remember that you can Google a great website called one place.com that's one place.com and you can listen to Fellowship in the Word online at that website you will find on with today's broadcast but also many of her previous audio programs is no Fellowship in the Word. We are thankful for those who financially support our ministry and make this broadcast possible.
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Once again our website is FVC Nola.org forecaster Bill Gebhardt. I'm Jason Denhardt. Thank you for listening to fellowship in order