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The Test of Prosperity

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
August 6, 2021 12:00 am

The Test of Prosperity

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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August 6, 2021 12:00 am

What was Joseph's greatest test? Was it when his brothers sold him into slavery? Was it when he was tempted by Potiphar's wife? Stephen suggests it was neither of these. Instead, Joseph's greatest test was being surrounded by opulence, ease and luxury for the latter portion of his life. The Test of Prosperity is a difficult one for believers to pass.

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How do we know that Joseph didn't forget God when he had two boys he named them in honor of his God. God has done. This invective runs through the entire chapter of Joseph like it's on the tip of his tongue. Joseph, we are really something God did it plan you came up with.

God did it. I think if we had someone contemporary now going back living in that kind of situation becoming prime minister would probably write a book from prisoner to Prime Minister and how I did it too short. God allowed Joseph to face many tests.

What was Joseph's greatest test was it when his brothers sold him into slavery. Was it when he was tempted by Potiphar's wife Stephen suggests it was neither of these. Instead, Joseph's greatest test was being surrounded by wealth ease and luxury for the latter portion of his life. The test of prosperity is a difficult one for believers to pass will explore that today Stephen's teaching from Genesis 41 in this message is called the test of prosperity. If you've been studying the law without the life of Joseph. You have noticed. Obviously, that his life thus far has been a whirlwind of reversals. He was the favored son who was loved by his father adorned with a coat that reached to his ankles into his wrists denoting nobility exempting him from the hard labor that his brothers would have to perform. But then he ends up in a pit because his jealous brothers are determined to wipe out this dreamer. But when all seems to be a loss.

He is, instead of being killed all the Midianites and that would be the low point in his life. Perhaps as he is standing stripped naked on the auction block being sold to the highest bidder who happens to be Potiphar but God gives in favor and Potiphar's eyes and is soon elevated and promoted and given responsibility. But then, as you know, Potiphar's wife decided to sink her talons into his character because he refused. He ends up in prison.

Another low point, the cupbearer who was placed in prison with him and the Baker have a dream and it seems that there is hope because he is able to interpret their dream, and he knows one of them will be taken out of president so he says when you get out. Remember me tell the Pharaoh that I have been falsely accused do everything that you can because I have given you a favorable interpretation.

Get me out of this prison. The last part of chapter 40 ends with the words, he was forgotten. In fact the school back to set the stage to chapter 40 verse 20 in the book of Genesis Genesis chapter 40 verse 20 says that's it came about on the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday after being out of prison for three days. I thought it interesting that the critics have often said this is proof that the Bible was written by someone long after the time of Pharaoh because they didn't know anything about birthday parties during the time affair and it says here that Pharaoh's having a birthday party. This is proof that someone living far beyond that time wrote and it just seems as if God every once in a while allows the archaeologists paid to uncover evidence proxy part of the Rosetta Stone that was uncovered, which allowed us to be able to read hieroglyphics and on that Rosetta Stone is an entire decree given at the birthday party of the Pharaoh and I say hallelujah. Well, it was Pharaoh's birthday party and he made a feast for all his servants verse 40 and he lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker. Among his servants and he restored the chief cupbearer to his office. Just as Joseph said, and he put the cup in the Pharaoh's hand but he hang the chief baker, just as Joseph had interpreted to them yet. Three days after it occurred. The chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, and it'd only been three days when I read this. The first thought that came to my mind was his memory reminded me of me. He didn't make up his mind that she has to forget.

He simply forgot. But is that really what was going on behind the scenes. There was a sovereign God who knew that the timing was not right. Joseph still had two more years of preparation before he would step from the prison cell into the office of prime minister, God wasn't through preparing him.

He was making gold out of Joseph you're familiar with Job when he wrote that though God's right knee when he is finished I will come forth as gold.

That is an internal development. He is not saying when God is finished I will get my job back when he finishes trying meet my spouse might return all get promoted. My children will begin to obey. No when he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

That is an internal development of character. Sterling that's valuable God was in a sense, in that prison cell. Over the next two years, Joseph had been forgotten about his ankles were the fetters periodically. Perhaps his neck being fettered to that stone column so that he had to stand at attention. What was God doing making gold young soprano was singing in a concert hall and there was a vast audience in her range was exquisite, and she was obviously trained in the composer of the song she was singing was in the audience.

One of his friends leaned over and he said after she had finished what you think of that and the composer said she will be great. One day after her heart has been broken a W toes wrote these words, it is doubtful that God can use anyone greatly until God has heard him deeply.

There in the prison cell for this two year. God is in a sense pursing developing the touring so that he will come back cell landing for the office of prime minister. Well it snowed now as we headed to chapter 41 all that occurs. Now it happened at the end of two full years that Pharaoh had a dream in the hold he was standing by the Nile and low from the Nile there came up seven towels, sleek and fat, and they grazed in the marsh grass and seven other cows came up after them from the Nile ugly and gaunt or skinny, and they stood by the other cows on the bank of the Nile and the ugly get going cows ate up the seven sleek, in fact, tell then Pharaoh awoke and I would probably add with the start. Then he fell asleep again and dream the second time at all this time 70 is a great came up on a single stock plumping good for the whole seven years thin and scorched by the east wind sprouted up after them in the city are swallowed up the seven plump and full ears than Pharaoh awoke the holding understood that this was a dream. Never say any came about in the morning that the spirit was troubled so he said and call for all of the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men and Pharaoh told them his dreams. You'll note this is a collection of the wisest of the wise, these magicians by the where the same crowd that Moses will do combat with in the book of Exodus. These wise men could be translated well-versed in the writings, that is, these men knew all of the writings of Egypt they were well-versed in the occult. They had powers that is evidenced especially when Moses fights against them as they give Revelation of Satan's power in these men were very wise in terms of the underworld. They were well trained in interpreting hard sayings and dream. If anybody could do it.

These men could, in fact, if you read these dreams you and I could probably make an educated guess. It seems that there are good things happening for seven years and and there are going to be bad things happening for seven years. It seemed to almost make simple sense to us but yet I think God closed their minds because they were not able to tell him last part of verse eight.

They were not able to interpret the dreams to Pharaoh and the chief cupbearer. You remember that character spoke to Pharaoh saying I would make mention today of my sin, my offenses, it citizens. He is saying oh I forgot something.

Pharaoh that may be helpful. He says Pharaoh you remember you are furious with your servant and you put me in confinement of the house of the captain of the bodyguard with me. The chief baker and we had a dream on the same night he and I each of his dream.

According to the interpretation of his own dream now. In that prison cell. There was a Hebrew youth servant of the captain of the bodyguard and we told him the dreams, and he interpreted our dreams for each one interpreted according to his own dream and it came about the justice he interpreted for us. So what happens and you restored me to my office, but you hang 10 now two years later, God brings to his mind a remembrance of this Hebrew So verse 14 Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph and they hurriedly brought him out of the dungeon. Literally, they forced him to run, but he stops and probably understanding his presence.

He will be any decides to address the pardon. He shaved himself. He changed his clothes and he came to Pharaoh and Pharaoh said to Joseph, I have had a dream, but no one can interpreted and I've heard it said about you that when you hear a dream you can, interpreted, stop your Joseph right now. You have spent years in prison because you been falsely accused carries your grant opportunity now… Innocent your dead cart now to vindicate yourself. I think my first words would've been if you don't get me out of prison all do this for perhaps if Joseph had been spending that two-year period bitterness determining that once he was released there would be revenge that would have been the first thing out of his mouth when he says these words, it is not in me. In other words, Pharaoh it's not me, and I want to rush into the courtroom as a Joseph Sheridan is God is in you know text here. No credit take. He says it's not me, but again God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.

I love it because I can just imagine all of the magicians and all of the wise men filling the court of Egypt and there that grant Pharaoh since I Joseph this little Hebrew captive says Elohim will tell you, as you know, Egypt was a very idolatrous nation. They had myriads of idols myriads of God's, and he says Elohim, the God of heaven will reveal to you. So Pharaoh spoke to Joseph that I think you probably ignored that statement in my dream the whole I was standing on the bank of the Nile and he tells the story. Now let's get to the end of the story and note what happens. Verse 25. Now Joseph said to Pharaoh, Pharaoh's dreams are one and the same God is told Elohim is told Pharaoh what he is about to do the seven good cows are seven years in the seven good years or seven years. The dreams are one of the same in the seven lean cows that came up our seven years in the seventh and ears scorched by the east wind. Our seven years of famine. It is as I have spoken Pharaoh.

God is shown to Pharaoh what he is about to do the whole seven years of great abundance are coming in all the land of Egypt, and after them seven years of famine will come in all of the abundance will be forgotten in the land of Egypt and the famine will ravage the land so the abundance will be unknown in the land because of that subsequent famine, for it will be very severe Joseph interpretation is to the point it is truthful, but what will happen next is nothing less than startling.

Let's take a look. He says, verse 33. Now let Pharaoh look for a man discerning and wise and set him over the land of Egypt. I like the way he adds the word discerning because Pharaoh had his wise men, but a discerning person is one who can see the problem and add a solution.

He had all kinds of people who could say Pharaoh, here's the problem. This is the problem, just as in your life and perhaps you can see problems discerning person can provide a solution. Let Pharaoh take action to appoint overseers in charge of the land.

Let it exactly fits of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven years of Levinson, let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming and stored the grain for food in the cities under Pharaoh's authority and let them guarded and let the food become as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine, which will occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish. This is how you can survive Pharaoh during the famine and Pharaoh's probably on his little throne their thinking I would've believed this because he interpreted the dream but now where the world am I going to find some men who cannot only share the problem but provide the solution so you notice what he did. Pharaoh said to his servants to serve as being the wise, the magicians can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit that is in who dwells the spirit of the gods is in a believer, but he senses something in Joseph that is distinctive. He senses that his God is really part of his life.

It's more than idleness is a reality to him and his God is given him discernment and wisdom of the world could see that in you and me.

Pharaoh said to Joseph, since God is informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are.

You shall be over my house and according to your command. All my people shall do homage only in the throne. I will be greater then you never fully enjoy the promotion but to broaden our imagination a little bit and let's try to imagine what the rest of the country would think about this. No one would know that God was behind the scenes and Joseph plan sounds wonderful to a Pharaoh.

It wouldn't sound wonderful to you and me. Joseph has suggested that he text the people.

Once this of their progress. For seven years.

This is a tax increase, and they're going to ask upon what basis Pharaoh have you done this yet. Joseph Prime Minister but I guarantee you he was hated. Now let's dive into this from rags to riches story.

I love it. Pharaoh said to his servants. Let's find a man and he says the Joseph. Verse 39 there's nobody like you.

Let's put you over the house look what he doesn't. Verse 41 and Pharaoh said to Joseph, see I have sent you over all the land of Egypt and Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph hand the signet ring was a symbol of power and he closed them in garments of fine linen. This was a symbol of his position. This was royalty.

He was the second in command over all of Egypt, and I can't help but wonder what Joseph thought because just a few hours ago. He was scraping food from a template's feet shackled and now his feet, or perhaps looked after by the best position is prison garb is taken off and is dressed in fine clothing is callused hands from prison yard work now adorned with the signet ring at the Pharaoh. This is his day. He will now ride in a chariot, a gift of the Pharaoh and before him will be the slaves who run the florets saying it's KSK now here comes Joseph there's Joseph writing law, there isn't anybody in this room that would enjoy being Prime Minister of Egypt. Everyone of us would love in our flesh to be unaccountable to anybody, never asking for time off for vacation pay raise never being told to do another job for the rest of your life.

You answer no one. Everybody answers to you.

You are on top. We had ladies and gentlemen, I really believe that if you are a blessed Joseph Joseph what was the greatest test that you face. I believe the greatest test he faced was prosperity. The position that he now had the authority that was now in his office. Why is it that prosperity is a tremendous test test that you and I face living in our culture today and give me type of culture that is always after more, what is it about our natures that can handle the pampering and yet we wanted, what is it about our flesh, our relationship with Christ that can't handle when were really on top unaccountable. Why does God not want that when we give you two reasons why prosperity is such a great test for civil prosperity tends to eliminate faith. Prosperity tends to eliminate faith. Turn ahead to the book of Deuteronomy chapter 8.

This was a warning to the children of Israel. It's something that you and I must remind ourselves of. He says in verse 11 of chapter 8 beware of right that in underlying that beware lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his ordinances. The children of Israel now are on the edge of the land that they are not disobeyed. They would've entered and he gives this warning, lest verse 12 when you have eaten and are satisfied and have built good houses and lived in them. And when your herds and your flocks multiply in your silver and gold multiplies and all that you have multiplies, then your heart becomes proud and you forget the Lord your God. Verse 15 he led you through the great and terrible wilderness with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water.

He brought water for you out of the rock of wind in the wilderness. He fed Umana which your fathers did not know he might humble you that he might test you to do good for you in the end. Otherwise, you may say in your heart my power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth, but you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who is giving you power to make wealth powerful words. It seems that when you and I are in need. We remember God we going to have more prayer Lord, how we can make this payment. Give us wisdom. There is something precious about adversity why because it engenders faith in God. It allows us not to forget him. It would be hard to forget God who are looking for the miracles watching his hand. It's primitive worth the beginning. But beware beware the prosperity beware of the advancement in our individual lives. When you and I prosper.

We tend to forget God. The second reason is that the elimination of face weakens character prosperity tends to eliminate faith when faith is eliminated are characters. We can see it is a hard time to develop the iron in the blood, the toughness of moral character. What is the result of an attitude that says I don't need anything. I have everything God is prospered. We forgotten God. What happens then our characters become detected, we lose our effectiveness. We are lukewarm elimination of faith ultimately produces a we can character that ultimately denies the potential of an effective ministry. How do we know men and women back in Genesis chapter 40 that Joseph did not forget God.

During the prosperous years how we know of any give you a very clear reason why I want you to notice in chapter 41.

The names Joseph gives to his son to make Joseph more palatable to the Egyptian culture Pharaoh wisely gives him an Egyptian name and get some Egyptian whites. Both he accepts. Joseph has two sons, however, that he is determined to raise according to his own country value and he names the firstborn verse 51 Vanessa four. He said notice, God has made me forget all my trouble in all my father's household and he has a second son and you name the second Ephraim the meaning of that is, God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction. We know that Joseph didn't forget God when he had two boys he named them in honor of his God Elohim.

God has done this. In fact, it runs through the entire chapter of Joseph's life there as he prospers God. God God is on the tip of his tongue Joseph.

We are really something God did it when a plan you came up with. God did it. I think if we had someone contemporary now going back. Perhaps us living in that kind of situation becoming Prime Minister. We probably write a book from prisoner to Prime Minister and how I did it in two short years, Joseph took absolutely no credit me ask another question, but we've application what was the key to Joseph passing this test was this Joseph was careful to respect the glory of God the place of God. The authority of God between the two extremes of adversity and prosperity. There is one little word integrity is that character that acknowledges God.

It takes no credit for itself. It deals all the God.

It never looks in the mirror and admires himself he gives all of the honor to God. Joseph had integrity, what happened to his interpretation. It came true. Look at verse 53, when the seven years of plenty which you been in the land of Egypt came to an end and the seven years of famine began to calm just as Joseph and said then there was famine in all the lands but in all the land of Egypt.

There was for. By the way, a footnote as you know I've mentioned in the past. Joseph is a type of Jesus Christ and there are perhaps more than 100 illustrations of this Joseph Egyptian name. Many believe means Savior of the world and it's interesting as famine comes to the land know what happens. Verse 55 all the people cried out to Pharaoh for bread there hungry and Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, Jody Joseph, I love it. There is a famine today in the land and what is our answer. Go to Jesus Christ. He could see he can provide nourishment. I imagine at this point in Joseph's life.

He could've really set back stuck his thumbs in his lapels and he said see I told you so, it happened just like I said, but know he's beyond that now because God had hurt him deeply.

God had broken God had formed in so that now is a Prime Minister. He has this main character is when he was a prisoner. He isn't putting on airs. He isn't sticking up his nose at the peons out there still compassionate is to carry something wonderful is happening. Joseph God has created gold.

Gold is a quality of character so pure gold is a quality of character that back then and today is in great demand and it is so rare to have you acknowledge the glory of God.

You give him the honor and praise for everything that transpired even when you prosper.

The world will be quick to notice. Notice and ultimately the outcome for an answer and then you can point to the Savior said go to cheeks today on wisdom from this is the Bible teaching ministry of Stephen Davey Stephen is the pastor of the shepherd's church in Cary, North Carolina.

This current teaching series comes from the book of Genesis and is called God meant it for good. We have a companion study guide that goes along with this series, this book would be a great resource for you as you follow along. Through this series.

It's also a good tool for you to use for a class or a group Bible study if you call us today. We can help you get a copy of the book is called God meant it for good and we have it available as one of our resources. Call us today at 86 648 Bible or 866-482-4253 we'd really enjoy hearing from you and learning how God is using this ministry to build you up in the face.

Please take a few moments and drop us a note you can write to Stephen to address your letter to wisdom for the hearts.

PO Box 37297 Raleigh, NC 27627.

Again, write to us at wisdom for the hearts. PO Box 37297, Raleigh, NC 27627. Thanks for joining us today. Make plans to be with us next time. For more

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