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A Dream Is Revived Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
January 7, 2022 1:00 am

A Dream Is Revived Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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January 7, 2022 1:00 am

Have you ever thought, “Where does God factor in all my unfulfilled dreams?” You’re not alone. Joseph’s dream seemed destroyed—until the day he sees his brothers for the first time since they sold him into slavery. In this message, you’ll begin to sketch three portraits of Joseph’s painful encounters with his brothers. You’ll see how a divinely-directed famine brought Joseph and his brothers together—physically and relationally. No matter what you’ve been through, God is still with you, and He has bigger dreams for you than you could ever imagine. 

 Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Joseph's dream was almost destroyed by frightful circumstances, but God saw to it that the dream's fulfillment had international consequences. There was a far bigger purpose at work than Joseph even realized, and the same may be true for you.

From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, where are we now in Joseph's amazing story? Dave, I find this story to be absolutely remarkable because God was willing to make sure that there was a famine in Egypt, but also, of course, in Canaan in order to bring the family from Canaan into Egypt. Hundreds of people were suffering. They didn't know why. They didn't know that God had this ultimate purpose in mind, just like you and I oftentimes. We don't know what God's purpose is, but behind all of the events that we do not understand, behind all of those events is the hand of God. That's why this story is so incredibly important.

And even as we listen now, let us be encouraged and know that the hand of God that was on Joseph is the same God whose hand is on us. And what a story, and what an ending to the story that we are beginning to understand at this point in the series. We've been talking about dreams. Some of our dreams are fulfilled. Some of them are unfulfilled. Some will never be fulfilled. Others are in the process. Some are shattered. We all have them.

We all need them. And the question is, where does God fit into all of them? Remember that God gave Joseph a dream. Seventeen years old, he dreams that his eleven brothers are going to bow down before him. Kind of a prideful dream, actually, but as it turns out, it was a dream given to him by God. And then God did what he frequently does when he gives us a dream. He causes that dream to die.

It dies a very deep and lasting death. First of all, his dream died because his family tried to sabotage it. His brothers sold him into prison in Egypt, and that was the end of his dream. They said, we will kill him, and that will end his dream.

And some of you have families have wanted to do that, don't you? And then once he's in Egypt, he's exalted, and then he is falsely accused of rape, as we noticed, and as a result of that, he gets thrown into the dungeon, and that is the end of the dream for sure. Two full years prison for doing something that is right and good and pure and holy. And God says, I want you to die to your reputation and die to your dream in jail. But there the word of God tested him, and then he had to die to his friends. He helped the cupbearer, and he said, remember me now when you get out of prison. Well, we read that the cupbearer did not remember Joseph.

He died to his friends. If the dream was ever going to be fulfilled, if it was ever going to happen, it would be because God would have to do it. God would have to do it. And today, we learn that God did it.

God did it. What we'd like to do in the time before us is to sketch three portraits. Three portraits.

It'd be nice to have a video camera if we could have actually seen this happen. All that we can do today is to describe it. And because we're going to be covering the three chapters of the Bible, I'm actually going to be going through those chapters and telling you the story and making some comments before we wrap it up and develop and continue to develop our theology of dreams. So I want you to take your Bibles and let's look at the first portrait in Genesis chapter 42. Genesis chapter 42, the portrait is the first visit, the first visit of the brothers to Joseph who was in Egypt. Well, 42 opens with a famine in the land. And Jacob says to his sons, why are you staring at one another? I have heard that there is grain in Egypt.

Go down there and buy some for us from that place so that we might live and not die. So because Egypt is grain, you remember because of Pharaoh's dream and Joseph was helping Pharaoh fulfill his dream and Joseph became the leader, the secretary of agriculture. And by the way, had a lot of wisdom in how he was able to organize this massive, massive attempt to save grain for seven years so that there would be something to eat during the seven years of famine. And so what happens is the brothers, they go down to Egypt. Now you must remember that at this point, Jacob is still playing favorites.

If you remember several weeks ago, we talked about that. He had Joseph who was his favorite and Benjamin who was his favorite. Benjamin would have been in his early thirties by now, but Jacob keeps him at home.

He can't go with the brothers and 10 brothers make the trip. What happens is this, Joseph decides when he sees them, when he sees them come and they bow before him, Joseph decides that he's going to recreate as far as possible the conditions that he faced when he was in that pit. And he's going to do that for them so that they see a mirror put up to their faces and they see themselves.

So he does three things. First of all, he accuses them of being spies. It says in verse nine, Joseph remembered the dreams which he had about them and he said to them, you are spies.

You have come to look at the undefended parts of our land. They of course protest and say, no, we're not. And he repeats it in verse 14. Joseph said to them, it is as I said to you, you are spies.

It's what they said he was. He's coming to spy on us, they said, as he was walking along with his very colored, multicolored coat. So he accuses them of being spies. Then he throws them in jail for three days to soften them and to give them a taste of what it's like to be under authority.

And then he does a third thing. He binds Simeon before their eyes. Notice, he says, if you want to see my face again, it must be with your younger brother that was left at home. But notice in verse 21, they said one to another, truly we are guilty concerning our brother because we saw the distress of his soul when he pleaded with us, yet we would not listen. Therefore, this distress has come upon us.

We are getting a taste of our own medicine. Now, what you need to realize is that they did not know that Joseph was overhearing their conversation because there was an interpreter present. They thought that he spoke only Egyptian and he did not know Hebrew.

That's what the interpreter was there for, supposedly. But Joseph, of course, having grown up with them, he understood full well what was happening. It says in verse 23, they did not know, however, that Joseph understood for there was an interpreter between them.

Did you notice? Joseph, as a boy, did not endure his time in the pit with tranquility as if to say, well, sure, go ahead, sell me. He was just like any 17-year-old. He pled with his brothers, don't do it. But they were so cruel that they sold him anyway. And now their memories, 20 years later, their memories are beginning to reconstruct what happened. And they're saying, this is the distress that we put upon Joseph and it is now upon us. Notice it says that verse 24, and Joseph turned away from them and wept. But when he returned to them and spoke to them, he took simium from them and bound him before their eyes. Could I say in passing that you get two different glimpses of Joseph here? You see the strong Joseph who binds simium, but you also see the Joseph that is so tender, that is so overcome by the emotion of the moment, he has to leave the room to weep.

And the brothers saw only the very strong arms, the rough hands they did not see, the hot tears. And may I say that that's the way God's dealings are often with us. Some of you know what it is like to have God deal with you harshly.

You may feel like Naomi who said in the book of Ruth, no longer call me Naomi, call me Mara, for God has dealt bitterly with me. And that's the side of God we sometimes see. The side where people are taken away in death, the side where there is sorrow and suffering and where there does not seem to be any resolution of the pain. That's the side we begin to see and we begin to doubt God.

Well I want you to know that there is another side and that is the Lord Jesus Christ who is deeply touched with the feelings of our infirmities. If only, if only we could see the compassion of God, if only we could see the loving kindness of God, if only we could see that though we sometimes cannot trust his hand for it is severe, if only we could see his heart. We would know then that all of God's thoughts towards us and his dealings with his children are always benevolent.

They're always benevolent. He has a hidden purpose. He has a hidden purpose. But his love toward us is tender, compassionate, and kind. Well what was Joseph doing here?

He of course put money into their sacks then. The money that they had brought with them was returned to them and instead of rejoicing they say in the last part of verse 28, what is this that God has done to us? Their conscience is beginning to be activated like a dying battery. It is now being recharged and they see in this something not to rejoice but it is the strange inexplicable hand of God. They go back to Jacob and they tell him what happened and they tell him about Simeon and they continue to maintain the lie.

They say that we are honest men. We told him and one of the sons is gone. He's dead. They never did reveal to Jacob the truth. And what does Jacob say the last part of verse 36? All these things are against me.

Jacob, if you have ever looked at his personality type, he was not an optimist. He was not the kind of person who ever saw the good side. All that he could think is all this is against me. What he didn't know is that actually all these things were for him. They were for him but he didn't see it at that point.

What's going on in the text? Joseph you see knew first of all that friendship and reconciliation had to be based on trust. What he needed to do is to test these brothers to see whether or not they had changed throughout the years, whether or not they had become trustworthy or whether they were the same guys that he had grown up with and he needed to test them. The reason that he could send them back and knew that they would come by now I'm sure that the dream was being revived and he thought of the dream as the ten bowed before him, he knew that Benjamin eventually would have to come. The reason is because when he had his dream there were eleven brothers that bowed down before him.

Eleven sheaves and eleven stars. So he knew that in the end the dream would still come to pass. Well that's really the first snapshot. The first snapshot is of the dream partially fulfilled as the brothers bowed down before Joseph and as they now recognize what it is to get a taste of their own medicine. I don't think that Joseph had a malicious bone in his body, he did not want to even the score. In fact later on he explicitly says that as we will see next time where he says that you know God meant this for good, you meant it for evil, but do not fear I am not going to take out vengeance on you. Joseph was just testing them to see whether they had changed.

That's the first snapshot. Well let's go to the second and that is the second visit that the brothers have in chapter 43. Now you have to understand that in the text there's this long argument that is going on between the brothers and Jacob because Jacob says the famine is severe in the land you have to go and you have to get more grain and the brothers are saying we have to take Benjamin, but he is saying no you can't take him because Joseph is gone, Simeon is gone, and now Benjamin my favorite son, something will happen to him too and I will not let you do it. But God used famine to stir up their nest.

When people are hungry they have to trust God in ways that they never had to trust him as long as they are full and when there is bread to spare and so God just allows this famine to grind on and soon the men the family becomes very hungry and they say we have to go. What happens now something very special Judah, Judah begins to talk and he takes the lead. Reuben I believe was the oldest but Judah was an immoral man, had been immoral, and viciously cruel. Remember when Joseph was thrown into the pit it was Judah who said let's sell him, let's sell him to the Egyptians. That was Judah's idea. Now Judah begins to talk and he says to his father look I will become a surety for him verse 9 of 43 you may hold me responsible for him if I do not bring him back to you and set him before you then let me bear the blame before you forever.

He says I will stand in the stead of Benjamin if something goes wrong. Well they were hungry and the boys were insistent and so they decided to go and Benjamin went with them. Well you know of course that when Joseph saw Benjamin verse 16 he said to the steward of his house bring the men into the house lay an animal the men are going to eat with me. Now can you imagine here they are they are the ones who don't know what's going on they found money in their sacks Simeon was still there somewhere on the premises in prison Benjamin was with them and suddenly they are invited to dine with Joseph. They're asked to come into the inner sanctum into the palace if you please and eat with the man.

They were terrified. Verse 26 when Joseph came home that they brought into the house to him the present which was in their hand you see Jacob it said take him presents and they bowed to the ground before him. Well there they are bowing and this time Benjamin is with them. Verse 28 and they said your servant our father is well he is still alive and they bowed down in homage and as he lifted up his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin his mother's son he said is this your youngest brother of whom you spoke to me and he said may God be gracious to you my son and he hurried out for he was deeply stirred over his brother and he sought a place to weep and he found a chamber and wept there. Then he comes back and he asks his brothers to sit down and he lines them up according to their birth order beginning with the oldest all the way to the youngest and they are astounded as to how he might know that and then he puts five times more food on Benjamin's plate than the others. What Joseph was saying is he wants to discover whether they are still jealous. Can they handle the jealousy of Jacob's favorite son? That was the thing that started this whole terrible train of events and so what he does is he does it to see the reaction of all the other brothers.

Well I think you know the rest of the story don't you? They fill their sacks with grain and Joseph said to his head steward he said look I want you to take my special cup my special cup from my table and I want you to put it in the sack of the youngest and so they do that early in the morning and then get up and they go and the money was in the sack too and then Joseph asks his men to overtake them and to begin to accuse them and say I was so kind to you why did you do that to me? How could you steal my cup which I use for divination?

I don't think we should interpret that to mean that Joseph was in the occult it was just the kind of cup that people had in those days that was special to the Pharaoh and to his assistant who was as high as he was in the land. Well they overtake them and with one voice the brothers say we didn't do it and whoever has the cup in his sack let him die. Well you can imagine they begin looking through the sacks and there is the cup in Benjamin's sack. Verse nine with whomever of your servants it is found let him die and we will be my Lord's slaves. So he said now let it be also according to your words he with whom it is found shall be my slave and the rest of you shall be innocent.

And now is crunch time. The question is will Benjamin die or will he not? Well wouldn't you know that Judah came through. Judah came through. If you notice beginning in verse fourteen all the way to the end of the chapter Judah stands before Joseph and makes a speech. This was Judah's finest hour. Martin Luther once said that he wishes that he could pray to God as well as Judah interceded on behalf of Benjamin. He rehearses what happens he talks about their father back in the land and so forth and he ends in verse thirty two saying for your servant became a surety for the lad to my father saying if I do not bring him back to you then let me bear the blame before my father forever. Now therefore please let your servant remain instead of the lad a slave to my Lord and let the lad go up with his brothers for how shall I go up to my father if the lad is not with me lest I see the evil that would overtake my father. Judah is saying I'm willing to become the slave in Benjamin's place.

You know it takes time some time for God to work doesn't it? Twenty years in the case of Judah but here's a man cruel who finally ends up having his character transformed in such a way that he is now willing to die for his brother to take his place to be the slave in in the place of his brother. And when that happened Joseph finally knew that his brothers could be trusted. We've talked about the first visit we've spoken about this second visit and now the third part in our video series is the reconciliation and this is the part that always brings tears to our eyes. It's a difficult passage I think for us to read because of that. This is the place where the story suddenly breaks open with emotion as Joseph reveals himself to his brothers. We've all read the story and I think we've all cried at this part. Yes as a matter of fact I remember reading this as a boy out in the farm in Canada and I remember crying.

Joseph reveals himself to his brothers they are astounded and incredibly Joseph's dream that he had even as a teenager was fulfilled. Let me ask you a question are you blessed as a result of the ministry of running to win? Would you consider becoming an endurance partner? Now if you are an endurance partner we'd like to be able to send you a free monthly resource so that you can continue to connect with us and as I like to put it you become a part of the running to win family. And we're so glad that during this new year we are expanding this ministry all because of the fact that there are people like you who invest in the gospel that we are proclaiming. Here's what you can do to become an endurance partner go to rtwoffer.com that's rtwoffer.com click on the endurance partner button or if you prefer call us at 1-888-218-9337 this will also give us the opportunity to connect with you regularly so that you know what is happening in our ministry and you become a part of it. Go to rtwoffer.com click on the endurance partner button or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

You can write to us at running to win 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard Chicago Illinois 60614. The story of Joseph in Egypt is one of high drama a former slave judges the brothers who sold him years before. In the mind of God an ingenious plan was unfolding to save two nations a dream was indeed coming to pass. Next time on keep your dream alive Dr. Lutzer will relive the moment when Joseph is reconciled with his brothers. This is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-01 04:35:40 / 2023-07-01 04:44:08 / 8

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