Share This Episode
Summit Life J.D. Greear Logo

God Is with Me

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
August 17, 2021 9:00 am

God Is with Me

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 1091 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

August 17, 2021 9:00 am

It’s easy to say you trust God. But when things go wrong, and your child gets a scary diagnosis or your business goes under, it’s hard to see how that fits into God’s plan.

Baptist Bible Hour
Lasserre Bradley, Jr.
Baptist Bible Hour
Lasserre Bradley, Jr.
Connect with Skip Heitzig
Skip Heitzig

Today on Summit Life, Pastor J.D.

Greer deals with a tough question. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Sometimes really good things happen to bad people. And you just can't figure it out.

Can't figure out why it's happening. That's what you're going to see happen to Joseph. But in Joseph's life, you're also going to see what it looks like if you believe that God is with you in it all. Welcome to another day of teaching here on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. As always, I'm your host, Molly Bitovitch. You know, it's pretty easy to just say you trust God. But when things go wrong, like when your child gets a scary diagnosis or your business goes under, what does your trust look like then? How does that fit into God's plan? Today Pastor J.D. tackles that question as he continues our overview of the Bible called The Whole Story.

If you've missed any part of this new teaching series, you can listen online at But right now we're getting an important reminder of God's sovereign control in every situation. Now grab your Bible and a pen as we join Pastor J.D. for a much needed message today in Genesis chapter 50. I want to begin our message today with a question I want you to consider.

The question is this. How would your outlook on life change if you believed that God was really with you in every situation you had ever gone through in your life? That whatever situation you find yourself in now, that God was in it and God had directed you to it. And that whatever we went through in your past, that God was in that. He was in that divorce that you went through.

He was in that bad grade that you received. He was in the fact that you got passed over for a promotion or an opportunity that you really felt like you deserved, but you didn't get it. That God was somehow in that, you being passed over. That he was in that disability that you were born with and can't understand why. He was with you. He was in the fact that you've experienced prejudice in your life and unfairness.

You've been treated unfairly. How would your outlook change if you knew God was in that? He had a plan in it. Even though it felt out of control and it felt painful, I know that he was in it.

Now you say, well J.D., that's the problem. I'm just not sure I believe that about everything in my life. I'm not asking you to believe it yet. I'm saying just suppose for a minute. Just imagine that you did.

How would your outlook on your life, how would your attitude towards your life and the situation you're in now, how would that change if you really did believe it? I say that because a Bible teacher named Andy Stanley says that that is the question that is presented to us in the life of the guy we're going to take a look at whose name is Joseph. His story is in Genesis 50. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Sometimes really good things happen to bad people. And you just can't figure it out.

Can't figure out why it's happening. That's what you're going to see happen to Joseph. But in Joseph's life, you're also going to see what it looks like if you believe that God is with you in it all.

Toward the beginning of the book of Genesis, if you remember from a few weeks ago, and we saw that God had given this promise to Abraham that he would bless Abraham and his descendants. He would be their God. He would never leave them. He would watch over them and everything.

He would defend them from everything. Well, the writer of Genesis, who was Moses, is going to illustrate for us what that promise looks like in action through the life of Joseph. Genesis, I believe, I've always said this, Genesis is the most important book in the Bible. And the character that gets more space in Genesis than any other character is Joseph. Nearly a quarter of the book of Genesis is about Joseph.

All right. So let me give you the last scene in Joseph's life. And then we're going to, I'll walk you through the story that leads you up to that point.

Here it is. Genesis chapter 50, verse 15. When Joseph's brothers saw that the father was dead, they said, Oh, now it's going to be that Joseph's going to hate us. He's going to pay us back for all the evil that we did to him. Verse 19. But Joseph said to them, do not fear brothers for am I in the place of God as for you, you meant evil against me, but God, he meant it for good to bring it about so that many people should be kept alive as they are today. So do not fear. I will provide for you and I will provide for your little ones.

Okay. Here is the story. If you remember Abraham was the man, sterile old man who was selected to be the patriarch of this chosen family. That was going to be the nation through which God blessed the world. Abraham's old. So in his old age, he has this miracle baby named Isaac and Isaac is going to have two sons. One is named Jacob. The other is named Esau.

Esau is the older brother. He was the man's man. He drove the Ford F-150 and all that kind of stuff. Jacob, less of a man's man.

He drove the Mini Cooper, the Miata, whatever. But Jacob is the one through whom the promise is going to go. So Jacob is going to have 12 sons, Joseph and 11 other dudes.

Now I write it like that on purpose because that's how Jacob saw it. When Jacob talked about Joseph, Jacob's face lit up and his eyes sparkled. Joseph always got the extra piece of chicken. Joseph always got the extra brownie. Joseph got to have friends over. To make matters worse, Jacob gives to Joseph this coat of many colors.

Now technically in Hebrew, it says coat of long sleeves, which means it was this long ornate robe with long sleeves that was worn as a status symbol that was supposed to demonstrate you didn't have to do manual labor. Typically it was the older brother who got to wear it, who got exempted from the work. But Jacob gives it to Joseph, who is one of the youngest brothers.

So the rest of the kids get their clothes off the clearance rack at the Dollar General. Joseph sports a new trench coat from Saks Fifth Avenue. And then to make matters worse, Joseph starts having these dreams.

He's about 15 years old. And in one of these dreams, he dreams that he and all of his brothers and his mom and dad are out in the field sheaving wheat. And then Joseph's sheaf of wheat gets a lot bigger than everybody else's. And then everybody else's sheaf of wheat starts bowing down to his sheaf. So Joseph shares this dream with his family one night over dinner.

And he says, well, I think the interpretation is obvious. One day all of you are going to bow down to me. I'll do the commanding. You'll do the submitting. This of course went over like a barbecue at a bar mitzvah with his brothers. By the way, if you have a dream where all your friends and your family bow down to you, you keep that junk to yourself. Okay.

All right. Well, one day all of Joseph's brothers are out in the mountains feeding the goats. Of course, Joseph doesn't have to go. So his dad says to him, hey, Joseph, your brother's been out for a while.

Why don't you hop on that new ATV I bought you? And why don't you zoom out in the mountains and figure out where they are and check on him? So Joseph goes around.

He finds them. And of course they're all slimy and stinky from working with the sheep. And here comes Justin Bieber with his wavy hair and his tight jeans and his coat of many colors. And he's like, hello, brothers, older brothers.

How is everybody? You guys still talking about my dream? I had another dream where I'm the big gerbil and you guys are the little runt gerbils. And in the middle of this, one of his brothers says, you know, I'm about sick of you. And so he grabs him. He throws him into a pit and they start planning out how they're going to kill him. To make a long story short, instead of killing him, they decide to sell him into slavery, but they take his coat and they rip it and they dip it in goat's blood and they take it back to their dad, Jacob, and say, dad, we're so sorry.

We found this on the road. Obviously a wild animal, a wild hyena has eaten Jacob. We're so sorry, Joseph is dead. Meanwhile, back to Joseph, he shows up on the slave market in Egypt. And this Egyptian named Potiphar buys him to be a slave. Now Potiphar happens to be the captain of Egypt's armies. And then we see this phrase for the very first time in the life of Joseph, Genesis 39, two, and the Lord was with Joseph.

And when Potiphar sees that the Lord was really with him and that the Lord caused everything that he did to succeed in his hands, he made him overseer in his house and he put him in charge of everything that he had. Now y'all, this is a crucial turning point in the life of Joseph. What if Joseph had said what I would probably have said, well, clearly God has forsaken me. And he'd slipped into a depression or maybe he, if he had said, well, there can't possibly be a God who would allow something like this to happen.

I mean, I can't believe in a God that would let that happen to me. If Joseph had said that the story would have stopped right here. But Joseph doesn't say that. What he says is, even in this, I believe that God is with me.

And so instead of going into the depression or unbelief, he serves God faithfully in the place that God places him. Potiphar sees that God is with him and he elevates Joseph to be in charge of everything in his house. Enter Potiphar's wife. Potiphar's wife decides that Joseph is a lean, mean hunk of Hebrew kebab. The writer of Genesis, by the way, says that Joseph was handsome in both form and appearance. That's the same phrase that we saw last week to describe Rachel, you know, who Jacob means he was just really like, he had a great face and a great body is a simple way of saying that.

So, you know, he looks really good. So one day when Potiphar was out doing military stuff, Mrs. Potiphar comes in with her tight jeans and her clear heels, doing her walk like an Egyptian routine. And she propositions Jacob. And now she's pretty direct. The only thing she says in the story 39.7 is lie with me.

That's it. That's her only, in Hebrew, it's literally two words, sex now. Well, Joseph won't do it because A, it is against the laws of God and B, it would be a betrayal of his master who has trusted him with so much. But we always assume, by the way, that she was really good looking, but there's nothing in the Bible that says that. Maybe she looked like Jabba the Hutt.

We don't know, but whatever. I mean, maybe it was easy to say no, I don't know, but hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. And so she steals Joseph's coat and she says to Potiphar, he left this coat behind when he was trying to rape me. Well, Potiphar believes his tramp wife instead of believing Joseph. And so he throws Joseph into prison. And there we see the phrase again, verse 21, but the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love. Can't you hear Joseph? Like really, God?

Could you be with me a little less next time maybe? Sounds like you're, you know, you're with Potiphar's wife. Steadfast love, doesn't feel very steadfast. Verse 22, but then God gave him favor with the keeper of the prison. And the keeper put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners. The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph's charge because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed.

How would your outlook and attitude in life be different? If you really believed in whatever situation you were in, that God was behind it, he had put you there. Joseph is in prison, but his spirit soars free in all situations because he believes that God is with him and God had put him where he was. Well, after several years in prison, a couple of Pharaoh's court servants get thrown in there with him. One's a butler and one's a baker. And both of them have a dream. And so they tell their dreams to Joseph. And so Joseph says to the butler, your dream means that within three days, you're going to be released out of here and restored to your position in Pharaoh's court. The baker says, that sounds awesome. What's my dream mean? He says, your dream means that within three days, you're going to be hung by your neck and the birds are going to pick the flesh off your face and eat your eyes out of your sockets. I mean, how do you respond to that if you're the baker? But sure enough, it all takes place. Joseph says to the butler before he leaves the prison, hey, he says, man, listen, when you get out of here, remember me because I am here unjustly. And the butler says, I promise I'll never forget you.

How could I? But promptly forget about him as soon as he's out, forgets about him for more than two years. Again, can you imagine Joseph at this point? God, really? I'm not asking for a whole lot.

I'm just asking for a little justice. Then two years later, Pharaoh has his own dream. And it's a strange one. He sees seven fat cows come up out of the Nile, followed by the Nile River, followed by seven skinny cows. And the seven skinny cows eat the seven fat cows. And then they turn to Pharaoh and say, eat more chicken. No, no, no, they don't say that. Nobody can figure out. It just ends with the meaty and the cow.

So nobody can figure out what it means. And then the butler's like, oh yeah, oh yeah, I remember this dude in prison who interprets dreams. So they go get Joseph out of prison and they bring him to Pharaoh. And Pharaoh says, I hear that you can interpret dreams. And Joseph says, well, no, no man can interpret dreams. But I know the God in heaven who can interpret dreams.

When he says that, by the way, everybody in the courtroom is like, oh no, he didn't. Because see, Pharaohs believed that they were God. And you don't tell the most powerful man in the world who thinks he's God that he's really not God, but you know the God who is God and it's not him.

Right? How much confidence would you live with in life if you really believe that God is with you? Might you lose your fear of man and just be able to say what you know is true to people that are in front of you because you know that God's behind it? All right, well, Joseph goes away and he talks to God and comes back and says, God told me what your dream means. He says the dream means that he's going to send seven years of feast. That's the seven fat cows followed by seven years of famine.

That's the skinny cows. And the seven lean years, the seven famine years are going to be so bad it's going to gobble up all the years of feast. He says, so if you're smart, you'll lay up now kind of like storehouse stuff so that when you go into the famine, you'll have food.

And so they do that. Pharaoh was so grateful that he promotes Joseph to be the prime minister of Egypt so that he can get Egypt prepared. Joseph is literally over everybody in the kingdom except for Pharaoh, which by the way included Potiphar and his wife, which should have been a fun reunion. Fast forward now about 10 years, the predicted famine has come and things have gotten really, really bad. And the whole region is starving just like Joseph had said.

The only place in the whole region that has food is Egypt. And that's because of Joseph's warning. Joseph's family, his dad and his brothers are affected also.

So Jacob sends his sons, Joe's other brothers, down to Egypt to buy food. Immediately, Joseph recognizes them, but I guess they don't recognize him because of the whole makeup, you know, cobra head, headdress thing that he wore as, you know, a vice Pharaoh. When he sees them, he's so overcome with emotion that he can barely control himself. He burst into tears. His mascara starts to run. Eventually, after putting them through all these tests to see if they changed, he just can't stand it anymore. And he strips off his headdress and he says to his brothers, it's me, it's Joseph.

Now, let me ask you a question. Do you think this was a moment where they were glad or do you think it was a moment where they were sad? What emotion do you feel like they were feeling at this moment? This is the old crud moment. We sold this dude into slavery 25 years ago, thought we'd never see him again.

And now he's the most powerful man in the world. But Joseph sensing their terror says to them, 45, five, don't be distressed. Don't be angry with yourselves because you sold me here because I don't look at it that way. I think of it as God sending me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to keep alive for you many survivors.

So it was not you who sent me here. You see, it was God. How would your outlook on life change?

How would your attitude towards your past change if you believe that in everything you'd gone through and in every situation you're in, that God was with you? To see his brothers return now and they get their father, Jacob, and they bring them to Joseph. And after all these years, they are reunited. Well, after many, many years, Jacob dies. And that brings us back to that last scene we looked at in Genesis 50.

And here it is one more time. When Joseph's brother saw that the father was dead, they said, now it's going to be that Joseph was just doing this so he didn't make our dad sad. Now he's going to hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him. But Joseph said to them, do not fear brothers for am I in the place of God? Yeah, as for you, you meant evil against me. But see, God meant it for good to bring it about that many people should be kept alive as they are today. So do not fear.

I will provide for you and your little ones. Thus, he comforted them and he spoke kindly to them. There are a couple of ways that you can interpret Joseph's life. Listen, first and most importantly, you can and should interpret it as a picture, as a premonition of Jesus. Did you hear the echoes of Jesus's story all through Joseph's story? I want to teach you to read the Bible this way so that you just see this stuff instinctively.

You don't need me to get up here and explain it to you. One day, many years into the future, another savior would come and walk the exact same path that Joseph walked. He would be betrayed by his brothers. He would then be lied about and falsely condemned. Of course, unlike Joseph, Jesus was not just sold into slavery.

He was put to death. But like Joseph, he would be raised from that pit to sit onto the highest throne of the land. And like Joseph, instead of exacting vengeance from that throne, he would use his exalted position to forgive and save his brothers. And like Joseph, he would weave tears of joy when we were reconciled to him. Jesus is the whole point of this story, as he is every story in the Bible. The main point of the Joseph story is not to amaze you with Joseph's incredible faith. It's certainly not to try to tell you that regardless of what bad things have happened to you, as long as you avoid the aggressive cougars in your life, you're going to be president of the USA one day. The whole point is to show you that in all things, God is fully in control of history, working out his perfect plan to put Jesus on the throne, and then to save and glorify the church through his exalted reign and resurrection.

Okay? But in light of that, in light of that, the other way you can interpret Joseph's life is as a picture of what it looks like to live with the assurance that God is with you because Jesus is on the throne. You're not going to be the one on the throne one day. Jesus is. So Jesus is the real Joseph. But in light of that, what you can do is then begin to read your life like Joseph read his with the assurance that God was with you in every situation. Just like God was in complete control of Joseph's life, working it all for his good plan, so he is in control of your life because you are sons and daughters of Abraham, just like Joseph was. He is working all things for his good purposes in your life, just as he was with Joseph's. So I ask you again, how would your outlook on life change if you really believe that in all things God was with you and had been with you and that he had guided everything according to his appointed purposes? Because that is exactly what Joseph believed. See, let me take you through his last statement and show you because it's kind of the heart of Christian faith.

All right? Verse 19, chapter 50, you meant it for evil. You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. I know that God's got a purpose in everything, Joseph said, even in the bad things. Even in the bad things, he was overriding what other people meant for evil.

He was overriding it for good. The slavery led to Potiphar's house, which led to the false accusation, which led to the prison, which led to the forgetting, which led to Pharaoh, which led to a throne from which Joseph could save God's people. God was as much in the pit and the prison as he was in the palace.

Now, a couple of things here that I want to make sure you see. First, believing this does not reduce the sin of others. Notice that Joseph doesn't downplay what his brothers did.

He calls it evil. You see, I say that because sometimes as a means of coping with our past, we try to downplay the bad things that people have done. Oh, well, you know, they were just confused.

Oh, well, they were just doing what they thought was right. You know, all families have struggles. This marriage, it just wasn't meant to be. A lot of people's parents get divorced. Joseph, of course, imagine Joseph trying to say that. Well, you know, sibling rivalry is normal. Being sold into slavery, covered up by the lie that had been eaten by animals, that happens to everybody.

He couldn't say that. Part of experiencing God's healing for your past, listen, involves facing up to the fact that people have sinned against you. Your parents sinned against some of you. A former spouse sinned against you. A boss has sinned against you. There have been friends that have genuinely hurt you. They have sinned against you. And you don't want to cope with it by just saying, well, it wasn't that bad.

It was bad. It's just that that's not where the discussion stops. God overwrites the evil that they did with good.

All right? Second, knowing that God has a good plan and everything doesn't mean you can always see it. I mean, here, sometimes you can. Here in Joseph's life, you can.

Each stage of the journey was a necessary part of the end. But in the middle of it all, Joseph couldn't see that. He hadn't read the book of Genesis. He didn't know how the last chapter was going to turn out.

It wasn't until the very end that he could see it. Recently, my wife and I together, we read the book Seven Women by Eric Metaxas, Seven Women Who Changed the World. And there's a chapter in there on Corrie Ten Boom. Corrie Ten Boom was the Dutch Christian who, in World War II, was put into a concentration camp because she was helping to smuggle Jews and help them escape the Holocaust.

So when she ends up in a concentration camp, she's there with her sister, Betsy. And she said it was everything that you would think it would be. It was awful. She said the torture, the execution. She said one of the overlooked things that made it so bad was just the filth. And she said we just stayed in filth. And because of that, there were just these, it felt like swarms of fleas always around us. She said, my sister Betsy, who was stronger in faith than I was, one day looked at me and says, you know, the Bible says we are to rejoice in all things and give thanks and everything, which means we need to thank God right now for these fleas.

And Corrie said, you are out of your mind. There is no way on God's green earth I'm ever going to say thank you for one of these fleas. She said, my sister looked at me and said, well, then you're in sin.

I'm going to thank him for the both of us. And she bowed her head and thanked God for those wretched fleas. She said, we, in our barracks, we would meet every day, every afternoon, we'd meet and we'd have a little time of worship with just a small group of us. And we'd say Bible verses to each other.

And we had a small Bible that we, somebody smuggled in, we'd read the Bible and it was the source of life to us. She said, one thing I could never figure out was the guards would never come into our barracks. It was the only place on the entire concentration camp where they wouldn't go. She says, one day it dawned on me why they wouldn't come. In fact, she said, one explained it to me. They would always walk by and look in, but they couldn't tell what they were doing. If they'd come in and found them worshiping, they would have beaten them or even worse, they could have killed them. She said, the reason they wouldn't come in was because of those fleas. She said, those flea, they didn't want to get fleas on them. So they just stayed out of the barracks so that they could keep fleas off of them. She says, and Betsy looked at me and said, thank God for those fleas.

Now, here's my question for you. Who are the fleas in your life? Name them right now.

You got to get them in your mind, right? They might be sitting right next to you, right? Who are the fleas in your life?

Can you thank God for the fleas, knowing that he's got a purpose for them, even if you can't quite see it right now? Sometimes you die, of course, without seeing it. I've heard that life is, in many ways, it's like a tapestry. Have you ever seen one of these tapestries, like in the Biltmore house? You know, these enormous, ornate works of art that every strand is in its place and it's beautiful. You flip it over on the back and it looks like this chaotic mess. All these strings and it just looks disastrous. Life for us looks like that side of the tapestry. And it just looks at this chaotic mess, like there's no rhyme or reason. What happens is one day in eternity, God just flips it over and you're like, oh, every single strand was in its place.

Every single strand was in its place. Everything is going according to plan. This has been an encouraging truth from Pastor J.D. Greer on Summit Life. To listen again, visit us online at Today's message is from an exciting new teaching series called The Whole Story. We're going from Genesis to Revelation, focusing on some of the main points in between so that we can see the overarching thing, because the whole thing is ultimately telling just one story.

The redemption story of Jesus. Did you know that Jesus is our advocate to the Father when we pray? We all know that prayer can be a struggle.

Sometimes we don't think it'll make a difference or we rely on ourselves or we're just too busy. And even if we do pray regularly, it can feel more like a duty than a delight. In his newest book, Just Ask, Pastor J.D. shows us how prayer was a non-negotiable daily staple in Jesus's life, more essential to Him than eating or sleeping, and therefore, why we need to pray as well. We'd love to get you a copy today as our way of saying thanks when you donate to support this ministry.

This book is designed to help you deepen your prayer life so that you can experience the power of the Holy Spirit through prayer. Ask for your copy of Just Ask when you donate today at the suggested level of $25 or more. Call 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220.

Or give online at I'm Molly Benovitch inviting you to join us again Wednesday when we continue the story of Joseph on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-17 20:44:39 / 2023-08-17 20:56:30 / 12

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime