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August 8, 2020 12:01 am
Though imprisoned on false charges, Joseph trusted in God's sovereignty. Nevertheless, he pleaded his case when he had the opportunity. Today, R.C. Sproul examines what Joseph's life teaches us about responding to slander and false accusations.
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After he interpreted his dream. Joseph begged the chief cupbearer to mention his plight to Pharaoh but the cupbearer forgot he had to be absolutely elated.
Three days later when he was restored to this decision dragged out of the dungeon made.
Again, the chief bottler over the whole nation and the cupbearer to the king himself and was right there at the Pharaoh's right hand on the night of his celebration.
They couldn't afford… Quickly you do in life seems unfair and absolutely nothing goes your way, it was certainly the plight of one of the main characters we read about in Genesis Joseph Joe's brothers thought about killing him.
Instead they sold them in the slavery and from there things only got worse but each step of the way we see a man who trusts God and is committed to honoring him with his life and receive God works all things for his glory and our good is not licensed in our last session we notice the occasion were two co-prisoners with Joseph. The bottler of Pharaoh and the Baker were cast in the prison alongside of Joseph and in both of these men had troublesome dreams in the same night. We talk a lot about the significance of the dream in the Bible and Joseph's statement that interpretation of dreams belongs to God and then how he interpreted the dream.
First of all, of the bottler in terms of its signifying that the bottler was about to be released from his confinement in prison. He said that after three days Pharaoh would lift him up exalted him and restore him back to his former position as the bottler in the kingdom. And as the cupbearer to the king himself and when Joseph gave that interpretation to the bottler. He made this comment, but remember me when it is well with you and please show kindness to me make mention of me to Pharaoh and get me out of this house for indeed I was stolen away from the land of the Hebrews and also I have done nothing here that they should put me into the dungeon. I was a couple of things that I want us to look at in this scenario again. He asks that the bottler remember him. Now Joseph, who had rested in the sovereignty of God and who it exhibited patients in his torment and loneliness for 11 years now asks for help and he's not praying to God to get them out of the jail. He's pleading with the bottler to help them get out of jail. Please do what you can speak a good word for me. Tell the Pharaoh that I'm here and that what I have done for you. He's asking him to do a favor for him.
Now some people might look at this and see this as a chink in Joseph's moral armor, but suddenly he's lost face and patience in divine sovereignty and is now taking steps in the flesh, to secure his own release, but again we remember that even though we are always to trust our lives and our future to the hands of God. We are the same times called to be doing our due diligence and being responsible stewards of the things that God has given to us in this life. I don't think it is anything particularly sinful or weak about Joseph's asking for help, he said, look, I'm shut up here in prison. Nobody knows not exist as far as this world Pharaoh doesn't know me from Acadia so will you please put in a good word for me now.
The second thing that we see in this brief interchange that Joseph has with the Butler is this plea which I find fascinating pieces for indeed I was stolen away from the land of the Hebrews and also I have done nothing here that they should put me in to the dungeon. Joseph is saying to the bottler. I'm an innocent man I'm in this prison for no good reason. Will you help plead my case because I've been falsely accused. I've done nothing wrong. Why is this significant or should we not say so what.
Here's what puzzles me about this and what troubled me a little bit in working through I mentioned in the past Jonathan Edwards. Great work on the meaning of love is exposition of first Corinthians 13 called charity and its fruits.
And he talks in this book about how love responds patiently to false charges and false accusations and he raises the question how is the Christian to respond to slander or false charges made against.
How is the Christian to guard his reputation and Edwards goes to great lengths to call Christians to a patient enduring of false accusations and a false charges. In essence, saying we ought to be willing to participate in the humiliation and suffering of Christ, who was constantly maligned, constantly slandered and spent his entire ministry being the victim of false charges that were made against. But Jesus did not run around in a hysterical sense of trying to be vindicated from all of these false charges, but he returned good for evil, and he made himself as the apostle says in Philippians 2 of no reputation, and then Edwards goes on to expand that passage by saying that our Lord himself was willing to have a bad reputation to have his name besmirched by false charges and vicious rumors against and that is no small thing. We are very jealous. As human beings to guard our reputations and to guard our name. We want people to think well of us.
We want them to like us.
We daily seek the applause of men. But Jesus conversely was willing to lay all that aside and become vilified being of no reputation, and Edwards goes on to say that if that happens to you. If it happens to me. We have to remember that the enemies of the kingdom of God and our personal enemies cannot really harm us in any ultimate way he remembers of the last verse of a mighty Fortress is our God were, Luther writes in that song, let goods and kindred go, this mortal life all known he talks about the body, they may kill, but God's truth abide still and the whole idea that Luther suffered through in his life was the loss of goods, the loss of of physical pleasure and the loss of his reputation and the loss of his friends and he said we should be willing to let all these things go. For the sake of fidelity to the kingdom of God. And that's Edwards point and so Edward said what can I do to us. They can kill us, but in person prison they can take away our reputation, but they can't get at the sole they can't strip us of our salvation, that which is of enduring value can never be reached by the assaults of the enemy, the eternal values of life are safe in the hands of God and so basically Edwards.
I don't worry about it if they take away your goods, if they take away your body. If they take away your reputation the restaurant… Martin Luther when he deals with this passage in Scripture. At first glance the leasing to take the very opposite response that Edwards thus and he says that a Christian should be very careful to guard his reputation. To this extent that when the Christian is falsely accused.
The Christian should plead innocence last by an undefended slander the reputation of the Christian and by extension the reputation of the church and of Christ is injured that Luther is not saying that we should be whining and complaining and vengeful and running around all constantly seeking vindication.
That's not the point. But he is saying this and I think it has great merit to it that if we are falsely accused of something we ought not necessarily at all times to be silent because in every culture. When a person is accused of a crime and they remain silent. The assumption that people make is that silence means consent and and then Luther goes on to give a host of examples in Scripture where biblical heroes and heroines who were falsely accused of crimes or sins. In fact stated their innocence, not the least of which is the apostle Paul who frequently in his letters has to respond to his critics who were making false charges against him. Jesus himself when he is charged with sins and who he says I have not done that.
Which of you convicts me of sin and someone he humbly accepts the slander and he is willing to suffer for the sake of the kingdom of God. When asked, he speaks the truth and says I'm not guilty and so I hope that there is agreement here really ultimately between Edwards and looser in interpreting this text because it is the single line that we have to walk here of self-justification before every complaint for every criticism that people make of us and speaking the truth when it's a serious matter when we're supposed to be able to absorbed a whole lot of misrepresentation and all that but we also have to do it with prudence and with wisdom and sympathy defending ourselves for the sake of defending ourselves for defending the truth. I was was in the presence of Dr. John Gerstner when somebody was standing there viciously attacking him and calling him all kinds of nasty names and charging him with all kinds of sins that were ridiculous and Gerstner Sarver listen to it patiently when the person was finished. Gerstner wasn't visibly angry or anything like that. He didn't flail with the man very calmly he said do you realize you are slandering me. The man in his tracks. Gerstner pointed out that what he was saying was not true and that he was then slandering another human and I thought that that was a perfectly appropriate response to the false charges that were being brought against him. And so now we come to Joseph at this point caboose pleads his case and he says when you go before Pharaoh and you tell Pharaoh about me and that I'm here please tell him I'm innocent.
You've ever been involved in a prison ministry as I have is it's almost a standard joke that there are no guilty people in prison that anytime you have an opportunity to talk to a prison inmate.
They will complain that they were railroaded in the jail that they were really innocent and so want and I used to teach prison inmates on the gospel and on the book of justice and the thing that was refreshing to me in dealing with many of these Christian inmates was their candor when which they said I guilty. I did when I was put in prison for an remember the difference between the two thieves that were crucified next to Jesus. One of them said no pay. What has this man been referring to Jesus were guilty were being crucified because were guilty. He's innocent and that was a breath of fresh air was that man. Jesus promised that he would be with him in paradise now, so Joseph is saying when you get in there tell the Pharaoh that he has an innocent man over here in the prison.
Let's pick up the narrative again and see what happens.
Verse 16 of chapter 49 when the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good. He said to Joseph. I also was in my dream, and there were three white baskets on my head in the uppermost basket were all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh and the birds ate them out of the basket on my head and so Joseph answered and said this is the interpretation of the three baskets for three days. So for the Baker has to be through.
While this is the same thing that he said to the Butler that that the three branches were three days and now the three baskets are three days for I can't wait to hear the rest of this interpretation within three days Pharaoh will lift your head from off of you and hang you on a tree and the birds will eat your flesh from you. One of the things that differentiated the true profit from the false prophet was the false prophet always gave the dream. The people wanted to hear the true profit gave the true interpretation, even if the interpretation was bad news in here Joseph tells the Baker three days Pharaoh's going to lift your head from off your body is going to hang you on a tree.
Good news for the bottler bad news for the Baker verse 20 came to pass on the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday that he made a feast for all his servants and he lifted up the head of the chief Butler and of the chief baker. Among his servants.
And then he restored the chief Butler to his Butler should begin and he placed the cup in Pharaoh's hand but he hanged the chief baker, as Joseph had interpreted to them yet. The chief Butler did not remember Joseph, but forgot the from across remember me Lord when you come into your kingdom and Jesus. Remember the Foster who was elated by this good fortune by the grace of Pharaoh, and who got this wonderful message from Joseph who promised that he would remember him whenever he was in a position of power and authority and had the ear of Pharaoh forgot what it means that he forgot how he could forget it. He had to be absolutely elated. Three days later on the day of the birthday of Pharaoh when he was restored to this decision dragged out of the dungeon made again the chief Butler over the whole nation in the cupbearer to the king himself and was right there at the Pharaoh's right hand on the night of his celebration. They couldn't afford… Quickly.
Now I'm speculating. My guess is this is thinking for when the time is right.
I'm sure going to do what I promised Joseph I would do. I'm going to whisper into the ear of Pharaoh and let them know about this innocent man in prison, but he didn't find in the do it will think about it he's just escaped prison. He's just been restored to this position doesn't want to lose it again. He doesn't want to do anything that could possibly offend Pharaoh and maybe started several times to sell Pharaoh by the way, there's something I want to tell you about what happened in prison. Pharaoh turns it was. And yes, what was that my guys thinking. I met a man that by your decree is in prison whose innocent. That's the question the justice of the king.
Thus the call attention to Pharaoh of a mistake that the Pharaoh had made for which Pharaoh would have to repent. That's risky business to call the powerful to repentance. And so Pharaoh said and what was that which you remember from prison.
I just remember Pharaoh, that those were dark days for me and I sure am grateful that you restored me from there he doesn't say anything about Joseph. I'm sure he intended to, but as the days passed in the weeks and the weeks pass in the months and he began to be fully restored to the confidence of Pharaoh life in the prison was forgotten and Joseph was forgot, you know, it would've been easy for Joseph to give up hope. It seemed that everywhere you turn for help. He found opposition instead. But Joseph's faith in God is remarkable is that it he remained a devoted worker and a committed servant of God make in the midst of our current difficulties we have an opportunity to evaluate our own response. Thanks for listening to Renewing Your Mind on this Saturday each week were making our way through RC Sproul series the life of Joseph would like to send you this full 20 part series. Just contact us today with a donation of any amount that we put this together with several other teaching series, including knowing Christ knowing Scripture, the parables of Jesus. Ecclesiastes and Galatians. We call it the RC Sproul teaching collection and you can request it with your donation when you call us at 800-435-4343. You can also go online to Renewing Your Mind.Ward accepting our lot in life can be difficult. We look around and see others who are more successful work seem to have an easier path, but we learn from the life of Joseph that God's people are called to accept the will of God, no matter our circumstances, I think it's a lesson that all of us probably need to learn. I hope you'll request the RC Sproul teaching collection. A complete series including the life of Joseph. Call us at 800-435-4343 or go online with your gift to Renewing Your Mind.work.
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We provide teaching and preaching from many of your favorite Bible teachers, including Sinclair Ferguson Alastair bag John MacArthur and Stephen Lawson is look for ref that in your app store or listen at any time on your firstname.lastname@example.org, what we marvel at Joseph's unwavering confidence in God in the midst of his trials.
It reminds me of Dr. Steven Nichols book a time for competence and the Dr. Nichols joins me here in the studio. Steve, your book examines how we can respond to the challenges we face in the certainly phased our share over the last few months.
What is the key to living competently to respond the way that Joseph did Delia. I didn't think about this at the time, but in a sense, I almost wonder if Joseph personifies that book you know in order to say usually truly in and not just say it but Abbott actually live it out to say our confidence is in God.
Well, our confidence in other things needs to come to do an end we we need to recognize that our confidence is not in herself, our confidence is is not in all of those things we sort of lined up. You know, be they are retirement accounts or are strategic five and 10 and 15 your plans are. Our confidence even in some sort of governmental structure or system that surround us. And of course we need to work towards those things and we need to apply our energy to those things, but this is an Old Testament principle is not that our confidence is not to be in our chariots and in our gold rate and of course the chariots represents the military might of the nation and the gold, of course, represents those resources and this was the lesson Israel had to learn and again and again and again that their confidence needs to be in God not in those things and this was what Joseph learned he learned very painfully he learned it very existentially and not just once but in multiple waves and so I hadn't thought about it at the time but I love your question and I love your raising it because it helps me realize that in many ways. Joseph is a is a personification of what it means to come to the realization that her confidence must be in God and in God alone. Thank you Dr. Nichols and next Saturday. We will see further evidence of Joseph's confidence in God will learn that God in his perfect provenance is never late. Even when we feel that we can hold on any longer.
That's next week here on Renewing Your Mind