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How the Israelites Got to Egypt - Life of Moses Part 2

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
April 23, 2024 7:00 am

How the Israelites Got to Egypt - Life of Moses Part 2

So What? / Lon Solomon

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Well, if you've raised children, you have certainly heard many of the following comments in the process. It's not fair. My brother got this and I didn't. You did that for my sister and you didn't do it for me. I asked for it first.

She sat in the front seat last time. The teacher punished me and it wasn't even my fault. It's not fair.

Thank you very much. All right. It's not fair. Now fairness is an issue, friends, that every human being contends with. Even we as adults contend with this.

For example, people say, hey, you know what? I work harder than he does. I should have gotten that promotion. Officer, everybody around me was going faster than I was going.

How come I got the ticket? I did everything she asked me to. Why in the world would she break up with me? I was a good wife to him. I was a faithful wife to him.

I don't understand why he left me. I did the ethical thing at work. I told the truth at school. How come I got in trouble instead of the people who did what was wrong? What happened to me is not fair. And friends, when we say it's not fair, what do we really say? Well, what we're really saying is justice has not been done. What we're really saying is I did what was right and I'm suffering for it. What we're really saying is, hey, I got the short end of the stick.

Now this is what we want to talk about today. We want to talk about suffering wrong for doing right because this is what lies at the heart of how the Israelites ended up in Egypt where Moses had to lead them out 430 years later. Remember that we're beginning a new series called The Life of Moses. We're going back into the Old Testament books of Exodus and Numbers and Deuteronomy, and we're tracing the life of this great man of God from beginning to end, from leading the Israelites out of Egypt to leading them to the border of the Promised Land. And by the way, before I go on, I'd like to mention to you that there's a wonderful resource in our bookstore that will help you follow along and study the book of Exodus right with us as we go through. It's called Scripture Mapping.

It's written by one of our own elders, Jim Battle, and this is a wonderful study that allows you to track right with us, even to use as a small group study because there's a leader's guide. And I want to encourage you to go over in the bookstore and take a look at this and maybe purchase a copy and study the book of Exodus inductively right along with us. But I told you last week that before we actually pick up in Exodus chapter 1 with Moses himself, there are some preliminary questions that we have to answer to make all this make sense. We answered two of those questions last week. Question number one, well, just exactly how did the Jewish people begin in the first place? And question number two, how did the land of Israel become their unique inheritance, the Promised Land to them, if you will?

If you missed that, I urge you to get a tape or a CD in our bookstore. Today we want to move on and answer a third question, and that is how did the Jewish people end up in Egypt so they even needed Moses to lead them out in the first place? That's what we're going to talk about today.

Now let me give you just a little bit of background before we dig in. Last week we talked about Abraham. We talked about how Abraham obeyed God, how he left his homeland in Mesopotamia, how he followed God to the land of Canaan or Israel today, and how he settled there. We also saw that once Abraham did that, God appeared to him and promised him the land of Canaan, the modern-day land of Israel, as the unique possession of not only of him, but also of his offspring through Isaac and through Jacob. The Bible goes on to tell us that Abraham's grandson, Jacob, lived in the land of Canaan like his grandfather did, and then he had twelve sons.

He had a favorite son, however, and that son was son number eleven whose name was Joseph. Now with that background, I want us to pick up in Genesis chapter 37. So if you brought a Bible today, let's open it to Genesis 37, the first book in the Bible, chapter 37. And if you did not bring a Bible and you're here in the main auditorium, reach right under the armrest there next to you and you'll find a copy of the Bible. We're going to be on page 28. Page 28 in our copy, Exodus 37 in your copy.

You ready? Here we go. Verse 3. Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending flocks with his brothers, and he brought back a bad report about them to their father, that is, Jacob. Now Israel, or Jacob, loved Joseph more than he loved his other sons, and he made him a richly ornamented Rome. And when Joseph's brothers saw that their father loved Joseph more than he loved any of them, they hated Joseph and could not even speak a kind word to him.

The fact that he had ratted on them didn't help either. Verse 12. Now Joseph's brothers had gone to graze their father's flocks, verse 17, and Joseph went after his brothers. But they saw him in the distance, and before Joseph reached them, they plotted to kill him. Now if you read the story, you'll find that the oldest brother, Reuben, talked them out of killing him, and instead they decided to sell Joseph into slavery to a passing caravan that was headed to Egypt. And so this is the first really unfair thing that happens to Joseph. He tried to look out for his father's interests by telling his dad about some inappropriate activities on the part of his brothers, and as a result, his brothers turned on him, and they sell him into slavery at the age of 17 years old. But there's more unfair treatment that is still ahead in Joseph's way.

Let's look. Flip over to chapter 39, verse 1. Now Joseph was taken down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an Egyptian, the captain of Pharaoh's bodyguard, bought him. Verse 3. And when Potiphar saw that the Lord was with Joseph, Joseph found favor in Potiphar's eyes, and Potiphar put Joseph in charge of his household, and he entrusted to Joseph everything he owned. You say, well, Lon, it doesn't sound like to me Joseph's being treated all that unfairly.

Well, hang on a second. Verse 6. Now Joseph was well built and handsome, and after a while his master's wife took notice of Joseph and said to him, Please come to bed with me. Potiphar's wife got what we used to call in the South a hankering for Joseph. You know what a hankering is?

Yeah, you know. Well, that's what she got for him. Verse 8. But Joseph refused, and he said to her, Look, no one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you.

How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God? Joseph turned her down flat. Verse 10. And though she spoke to Joseph day after day about this, he refused to go to bed with her or even be around her. Now, you know, Joseph's refusal to sleep with this woman I think is impressive.

I mean, he's a young man, 17 years old, with all the sexual drives that come with that condition. He was in a foreign land where no one would ever know what he did back home. His brothers wouldn't know. His father wouldn't know. Nobody knew who he was. But Joseph was determined that he was only going to do those things in his life that honored God, whether he was in Egypt, whether he was in Canaan, or wherever he was, he was going to honor God in his life.

Now, let's ask the question. Did Joseph do the right thing? What do you think?

Of course he did the right thing, but watch what happens. Verse 11. One day Joseph went into the house to attend to his duties, and Potiphar's wife caught him by his outward cloak and said, Come to bed with me. But Joseph left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house. Verse 16. She kept Joseph's cloak until her husband came home, and then she told her husband this story. She said, That Hebrew slave that you brought us came to me to make sport of me, but as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and he ran out of the house. You say, Lon, that is a total, utter, complete, bold-faced lie.

Yes, it is. And you know what? Her husband believed it, too. Verse 19. And when her husband heard this story, he burned with anger, and he took Joseph and threw him in prison. Now, folks, prison in Egypt 3500 years ago, 4000 years ago, was not like prison in America today. They didn't have television sets. They didn't have exercise rooms. They didn't have outside courtyards where they could go out and walk around. They didn't have libraries.

They didn't even have a softball team at these prisons. This was a really bad place where Joseph was thrown into, and this was the second really unfair thing that happened to him. He tried to do what was right, Joseph did. He tried to stand up for morality and decency. He tried to be true to his boss and tried to be true to his God, and as a result, he gets thrown in jail where he spends the next 13 years of his life, from age 17 till age 30.

Now, let me summarize what happens next. While he was in jail, Joseph interpreted the dream for one of Pharaoh's officials who was making a little visit to the jail, and later, when Pharaoh had a dream that no one could interpret, this same official remembered Joseph, brought him out of the jail, introduced him to Pharaoh. Joseph was able to interpret Pharaoh's dreams, and you'll remember, they were the dreams about you're going to have seven very productive years here in Egypt, and then they're going to be seven years after that of great famine, and Pharaoh was so impressed with Joseph that on the spot, he appointed him prime minister of all of Egypt, and when that famine hit, seven years later, exactly as Joseph had predicted, you'll never guess who came to Egypt looking for food. Well, if you guess his brothers, you guessed right, and once they got there, they never left. Chapter 47, verse 5, Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, Your father and your brothers have come to you, and the land of Egypt is before you. Settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land. Verse 11, And so Joseph settled his father and his brothers in Egypt, and gave them property in the best part of the land as Pharaoh had directed. And friends, the Israelites stayed in Egypt for the next 430 years until Moses led them out, and they grew into a mighty and voluminous nation. Now, that's as far as we want to go in the passage today.

We've answered the question, How did the Israelites get to Egypt? But we've got a more important question that we need to ask and answer, and you know what that question is, so are we ready to ask it? You guys ready upstairs there? Are you ready up there?

All right, well, I need to hear from you. All right, ready, here we go. One, two, three, So what? Now, that was really lame. Come on now, you can do better than that. Come on, one, two, three, So what?

There you go. You say, Lon, so what? Say, so, so, so what difference does any of this make to my life, okay? Well, friends, I think it does.

I think there's a wonderful spiritual lesson here, and I want to show you what it is. Let's ask a question. Our question is, Was what happened to Joseph fair?

What do you think? Was it fair? Of course it wasn't fair. Was justice done in Joseph's case? No. Did Joseph deserve the losses that he suffered for trying to do right? No. Did Joseph do right and still get treated like he was doing wrong?

Yes. And all that leads to a second question, which is, Why would God let all this happen to Joseph? Well, friends, the answer to that question is that God had a great plan for Joseph's life. God had a great plan for Joseph's life.

Joseph was to become prime minister of the most powerful nation on earth. Joseph was to use this position in God's plan to preserve the lives of thousands of people from this famine that he was able to predict. In God's plan, he was going to use Joseph to offer his own family safety in Egypt, where they would grow into a mighty nation and later be led back to the promised land by Moses and Joshua. This was Joseph's destiny, that God had planned for him before the world ever began. But how did God get Joseph to Egypt so this perfect plan could happen? Well, God got him there by the unfair treatment that his brothers gave him. I mean, if they hadn't sold him into slavery, he never would have gotten to Egypt. And even once he got to Egypt, how did God get Joseph in front of Pharaoh so Pharaoh could appoint him as prime minister?

Well, God got him there by the unfair treatment given him by Potiphar's wife. If she hadn't lied, he never would have been thrown in jail. And if he hadn't been thrown in jail, he never would have interpreted the dream for Pharaoh's official. And if he never would have interpreted the dream for Pharaoh's official, he never would have been known about to present to Pharaoh to become prime minister. Friends, God had a great plan for Joseph's life.

Let me finish that sentence. And God used the mistreatment by others to accomplish that plan. Can't you see that God had Joseph's situation under control the entire time? Can't you see that this unfair treatment that Joseph received really was no threat to Joseph's well-being at any point? This unfair treatment was not an accident.

It was not a coincidence. To the contrary, it was all part of God working out His precise plan for Joseph's life. And this is one of the most incredible things about our God. If you're a follower of Christ here today, this is one of the incredible things about our God. Our God is so wise, He is so powerful, He is so mighty, He is so omnipotent, and He is so sovereign that He takes even the most unfair things that people do to us and He uses them to lead us right into the perfect destiny of God for our lives. Now if you're here today and you've never trusted Jesus in a real and personal way, I'm here to tell you that when you trust Christ and what He did for you on the cross, not only do you get eternal life, you do get that, not only do you get a ticket to heaven, you do get that, not only do you get a secure place in heaven, you do get that, but you get much more. You get this powerful, sovereign, mighty God as a part of your life. He takes over the guiding and the directing of your life and He is willing and becomes the kind of God that intervenes in our lives to take even the nastiest, meanest, dirtiest stuff that people do to us and He flip-flops it and turns it into a blessing. And that's a wonderful thing to know that you've got a God like that operative in your life.

Friends, it all comes as part of the package deal when you trust Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and I hope you'll think about that. Now, you know, let me go on and say, though, that Joseph wasn't the only person that God's ever done this for. Take unfair things and turn them into the destiny of God for their life.

Let me give you a few other examples. How about the apostle Paul and Silas? Was it fair that in Philippi they were humiliated? Was it fair that in Philippi they were beaten in public? Was it fair that they were thrown into jail and that they were chained to a cold rock wall with their bleeding backs up against that wall all because they had done a good thing and healed a woman and cast a demon out of her? Was that fair?

No. Friends, if this hadn't happened, heaven would be missing one Philippian jailer. God was bigger than the unfair treatment that was done to them. And was it fair that Ruth, a wonderful young lady, became a widow at such a young age? Well, no, it wasn't fair. But if she hadn't become a widow, she would never have met and married Boaz, which means she would never have become the great-grandmother of King David and she would never have become the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother of the Lord Jesus Christ. Hey, was God bigger than what happened to her?

Yes, He was. And was it fair that the Lord Jesus was betrayed by one of His closest associates, that He was deserted by His friends, that He was rejected by the very people that He had so often helped, that He was crucified by the Romans for cheap political purposes? Of course that wasn't fair. But if that unfair treatment had not been done to the Lord Jesus, people like you and me would have no eternal life. We would have no access to heaven.

We would have no salvation. God was bigger than the unfair treatment done to the Lord Jesus. And what about Chuck Colson? Was it fair that Chuck Colson went to prison while Richard Nixon was pardoned and went home to live in cushy San Clemente?

No, that wasn't fair. But if that had not happened, there would be no prison fellowship today reaching thousands of inmates for Christ across the world. God was bigger than the unfair treatment done to Chuck Colson. And I have a good friend named Moishe Rosen, who's the founder of Jews for Jesus. And, you know, Moishe was, Jews for Jesus didn't exist before 1973. Moishe Rosen, before 1973, was a missionary with the American Board of Missions to the Jews. But there was another worker for this organization who set out to discredit Moishe, to poison the well against Moishe, to get him fired by misrepresenting facts, and he succeeded.

Moishe was fired in the early 1970s as a missionary. And he was pretty upset about it because he didn't feel he did anything wrong. But he went out to California. He began hanging out with a few young Jewish kids who had come to Christ and handing out tracts on campuses out in San Francisco. And one day, he and these young Jewish people were on the campus of San Francisco State University, and someone came by and in a derogatory way, in a pejorative way, pointed to them and said, look at those Jews for Jesus over there.

And Rosen heard it and said, wow, that's a pretty good name. And he adopted the name, named the organization, Jews for Jesus has gone on to become the largest missions organization to Jewish people in the world today. And here's what Moishe said to me, and I quote, he said, firing me, getting fired, what that guy did to me was the greatest favor anybody ever did for me. If I had not been fired, I never would have started Jews for Jesus, which has been the biggest contribution to the kingdom of God that I have made in my life, end of quote. Was God bigger than the unfair treatment done to Moishe Rosen?

Yes, He was. And friends, what I want you to see today in closing is that God often leads you and me as followers of Christ, just like He led Joseph, just like He led Ruth, just like He led the apostle Paul and Silas, just like He led Chuck Colson and Moishe Rosen. God often leads people and allows people to treat us unfairly. God often allows us to suffer wrong for doing what's right. But friends, what you've got to understand is God has already gone ahead of that.

He has already decided how He's going to use all that mistreatment to lead us down the path of spiritual significance, the path for which He designed us before we were ever born. You say, well, Lon, wait a minute. I hear what you're saying.

But you know what? I need to say something back to you, Lon. I need to say, listen, it's easy for you to stand up there and talk about all these people's situations, Joseph and Ruth and the apostle Paul and Chuck Colson and Moishe Rosen, because all of their situations worked out neat and clean. But, Lon, you've got to understand, today, as I sit here, my situation is not neat and clean. What people are doing to me right now is messy and it's confusing and it's painful and it's not tied up in a neat little bow like these people's lives were tied up in. Well, listen, folks, I don't claim to have the answer as to why God allows suffering in everybody's life and mistreatment. I don't claim to know what perfect plan God's trying to work out in your life by allowing people to treat you unfairly.

My goodness, I can't even answer those situations in my own life. But what I do know is I know that in the lives of each one of these people, Joseph and Ruth and Chuck Colson and Moishe Rosen, there was a time when their situations were not neat and clean. There was a time in their life when their situations were not wrapped up in a neat little bow. There was a time in their lives when they were confused about why God was letting people treat them the way He was, a time when they had struggled to understand why God was allowing what He was allowing in their life.

But let me tell you what the key is. Let me tell you what the difference was with these people. They had a God-centered perspective on the world that allowed them to rise above the way people were treating them and trust God.

I want to repeat that. These people had a God-centered perspective on the world that allowed them to rise above the way people were treating them and trust God in spite of it. I love what Joseph said to his brothers. He said, as for you, you meant evil against me when you sold me into slavery.

You didn't sit around there and say, hmm, let's see, why don't we sell Joseph into slavery, he can go down to Egypt, he can become prime minister, and in a few years, if we need something, we can go ask for it. He said, that's not what you did. You hated me.

You wanted to kill me. You meant evil against me. But look what he says. He says, but God meant it for good. God was bigger than you guys.

Don't you see that? To bring about this present result that I'm the prime minister of Egypt. Earlier he had said to his brothers, Genesis 45, so then it was not you who sent me to Egypt, it was God. God had control of what you were doing to me the whole time.

You were just the pawns. It was the will of God I come here. God was bigger. And that was the mantra Joseph had. No matter what anybody did to him, his mantra was God is bigger and I'm going to trust God.

I'm not at the mercy of how other people treat me, Joseph said. God's already designed it in his sovereign plan for my life and so I can accept whatever people do to me, good, bad or ugly, and I can trust God with it because God is way ahead of them and he's way ahead of me. Now that's a God-centered perspective on the world, friends. And this is the kind of perspective God wants you and me to have.

This is the lesson that's in the events of what we study today. I love what the old country preacher, Vance Havner, once said. He's with the Lord now. But I heard him preach years ago and I never forgot what he said.

And here's what he said and I quote. He said, We may not always be able to trace God's hand, but we can always trust God's heart. We may not always be able to trace God's hand, but we can always trust God's heart. Listen, if the Lord Jesus Christ went to the cross and gave his life for you and for me, friends, you can trust his heart.

And even if you can't trace his hand right now, and I know some of you can't. Some of us are going through really tough times. Some of us have had people really stick it to us. Some of us are really struggling because we've been treated wrongly and we've been treated unfairly.

We did right and we got the short end of the stick for it. And we're not only mad at the people who did it to us, we're also a little irritated at God for allowing it to happen to us. Listen, friends, God is way ahead of this game. God is bigger than what happened to you. Do what Joseph did. Trust God.

See it like all these other people saw it. You may intend the evil to me, but you know what? I got a God who's bigger and I don't care what you do to me. He's going to take it and turn it into blessing. So you know what?

It's all good. I'm calm because God's already got this figured in and I'm good with this. Friends, if you go through the world like that, I'm telling you, you'll have a lot more fun in the world. I'm telling you it'll be a lot more of a calm trip and I'm telling you the Lord Jesus will be honored with your attitude as you say, hey, God is bigger. I don't care what you do to me. I don't care what happens to me. I've got the same response regardless.

It's real simple. My God is bigger. So do what you want because He's going to turn it around and use it for my blessing anyway. God's bigger and that's where God wants you. And I promise you, if you'll trust God like that, one of these days you're going to be able to look back at your enemies the way Joseph was able to look back at his brothers and you're going to be able to smile at them and say, as Joseph said, you know what? You meant evil against me, but you know what? I got a big God who meant it for good to bring about this present result.

It wasn't you who sent me here. It was God. Look at life like that and I promise you it'll be a whole lot more rewarding to live.

Let's pray. Lord Jesus, we come to thank You for the singular fact that You are bigger. Lord, You are bigger than what people do to us. You are bigger than the unfair treatment that happens to us. You are bigger than the unfair things that folks try to send our way.

Lord, You are bigger than everything. There is no event and no circumstance that enters our life that You're not bigger than, that You're not already ahead of, that You already haven't planned how this is going to work in to lead us to the divine perfect destiny that You've laid out for us before we were ever born. And if we could just rise above the mistreatment of people, if we could just rise above the circumstances of life and trust You as bigger in every circumstance, Lord, our life would be much more fulfilling and our lives would bring much more glory to Christ.

And so this is what we ask today. Challenge us and motivate us and spur us on to live this way. Change our lives because we were here. Change the very way we see life because we were here today and we learned truth from the Holy Word of God. Lord, may we be different people because of our encounter with You today. May we live our lives out in this world system differently and we pray these things in Jesus' name. That's what God's people said. Amen. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-23 08:07:11 / 2024-04-23 08:18:46 / 12

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