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Provendial Guidance

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providencial guidance

Gen 37:18-28 18 But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him. 19 "Here comes that dreamer!" they said to each other. 20 "Come now, let's kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we'll see what comes of his dreams." 21 When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. "Let's not take his life," he said. 22 "Don't shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the desert, but don't lay a hand on him." Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father. 23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe-- the richly ornamented robe he was wearing-- 24 and they took him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it. 25 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt. 26 Judah said to his brothers, "What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let's sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood." His brothers agreed. 28 So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt. (NIV)

The title of my sermon this morning provendencial guidance.  Maybe I'm hoping with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit we can find some clue about God's leading in our lives individually and collectively by looking at the providential leading of God in Joseph's life. 

As intelligent people who live in this world.  We can become overwhelmed by the assumption of how a loving God should respond and act towards His beings,  especially towards His own people.   We can hold our own beliefs about how God should work and guide lives in a certain way.

But I suggest to you today that our Bible records those words spoken by our God He Says " My thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways .  .  ."   So we need to be reminded ourselves every now and then about how God works in our lives,

Lest we become discouraged as individuals also as a collective body.  Lest we become tempted to give up and lost sight and like Sister Job stated curse God and die. Lest we become careless,  we ought to go back to the Bible and let the Holy Ghost speak to our hearts about our God's  providential guidance.  Let us pray .  .  .  .

Let us go back in time somewhere in the land of Canaan, and find a home.  A Christian God fearing home.  But there was trouble in this professed house of faith.  Anytime there is insurmountable strife between members of a family.  Anytime there is an abundance of problems in a home.   Something or someone is going contrary to the plan of God.

Polygamy had wrought controversy,  envy and strife in Jacob's home.  Several mothers made the family relation unhealthy.  Children grew up impatient of control and contentious.  (7 children from one mother and 2 each from 3 others).

But even in midst of all that trouble there was one child who remained untainted.  One author put it this way. She said his character reflected an inward beauty of mind and heart ----- pure, active and joyous.

HE WAS YOUNG AND HE LOVED GOD!!

He was happy right where he was with God.  not restless, but contented, not miserable, but joyful, not idle but rightly occupied,  not bored, but exciting, not lifeless, but energized.  He was 17 and he loved the Lord.

Young people you don't need older folk (baby-sitters) in the church to spoonfeed you programs to keep you in it,  you don't need a guide to tell you where the next social is gonna be,  you don't need to be persuaded by basketball, soccer, gospel rock or fine looking young ladies or young men to keep you close to God’s church.  All you need is a relationship with Him.  You are guaranteed a good time .  .  . My God says “I come that they may have life and have it more abundantly.

He was 17 and he loved the Lord,  Joseph was his name, whose life will be the focus of our sermon this morning.

Jacob was closely bonded to this child of his old age and Joseph clung to his daddy because his mother was dead.  The Bible tells us that Jacob loved Joseph more than all his children.

He excited their anger and passions by expressing that favoritism openly.

Coat of many colors/ costly worn by persons of distinction. 

Joseph loved God but the lifestyle of his brothers bothered him/ Father

Although his brothers admired Joseph's life they chose not to live right themselves.  They hated the rebuke they received from the clean life Joseph lived in contrast to theirs.  They concealed from their Father a hatred of a malignant kind that captivated they souls toward Joseph.

And the same spirit that accuated Cain was kindling in their hearts.

And you could be as Christian as you are gonna get.  There are some people in the church who just won't like you.  Unmoved by your sincerity, unaffected by your commitment, undaunted by your meekness, and even disgusted by your kindness.  There are people like that in the church!!  They just don't like you.

For whatever reason,  Maybe you just don't match up to their own man made standards of what a church member should be,  maybe you look like a boyfriend or girlfriend who dumped them in the past, maybe you voted to replace them on the board.

I don't know,  but they will hate you some times for no cause and will give you hell.  And make you believe that you don't belong. 

Even the Pharisees were convicted that Jesus was the Messiah. But despite all the love and perfectness Jesus had in Him the Pharisees because of biases and selfish ambitions still had Jesus hung to a tree. 

Remember Jesus said the wheat and the tares would grow together as reference to the church.

Tares are plants that in its beginning stages of growth look like wheat and if eaten can make you sick and even cause you to die. (Devil plants them).  And Jesus gave that parable—who? Jesus!  He gave it a long time ago.

That's why when you decided to become a Seventh-Day Adventist you got to make up your mine!  aint none of you negr--  gonna make me leave this church.  This is God's church and as long .  .  .

Shepherds -- months

One particular moment some time passed, bringing no tidings from them, and the father began to fear for their safety, on account of their former cruelty toward the Shechemites.

He therefore sent Joseph to find them, and bring him words as to their welfare.

Shechem -        Joseph --     Dothan

50 miles                               15 miles

Joseph was happy his search had ended

    Dreamer

    threats of malice reveal their intentions

    kill him

    threw him in a pit

Travelers/ a caravan of Israelites traders on route to Egypt.

He pleaded with them.  But his cries for help went in vain.

Off went Joseph taken miles away from his home to a strange land never possibly to see his father again!!

Alone and friendless/ thoughts of despair must have invaded his mind . .

Where am I going? what will become of me?  How will they treat me?  How can I cope?

In just one day his life was drastically changed.  From the tenderly cherished son to a dispized and helpless slave.  From the object of love to the object of disdain.

And one may ask the question if God is in charge why?

I kept the Sabbath, I been faithful to you God.  .  .  . Why did you allow this to happened to me? 

Sometimes we may wonder like Habbakuk why does the evil prosper? 

As Christian we look at things sometimes from a material point of view. . .  (Jaguar).

Even in the church when somebody is having it rough.  Maybe its a job that they have lost, maybe they have come down with some near fatal disease, maybe its trouble in the home .  .  . . we tend at times to be tempted to think what did that person do wrong?

On the other hand .  .  . got a raise, looking good, found a wife or husband, always bubbly .  .  . what a Christian .  .   . what is he doing right?

We look at the heathen like Habbukuk, some even envy the lifestyle of the wicked.

Man those folk got it made.  .  .

EW says "But in the providence of God, even this experience was to be a blessing to him.”

First lesson    I submit to you today that bad or unfortunate circumstances are not always a sign that God has forsaken and departed from His children.

Prosperity in the eyes of man is no proof of God's blessing and presence

You sitting up there admiring persons with wealth or coveting what a person has you don’t know the story behind that.  You don’t know what they may be going through.

You could want to be sexy, sultry, glorified and adored by thousand of men and you could want the finest figure in all the world.  You could be wanted to star in a host of movies and be a theatrical star .  .  . well you could be Marilyn Monroe.

You could aspire to be a great athlete, ready for the N.B.A. and have one of those multi-million dollar contracts and loads of commercial endorsements.  Well you could be Len Bias.

 You could be the richest man on earth, have houses by the hundreds all over the world.  You have influence like that of presidents.  You could own yachts and cars and fly planes.   Yeah, you could be Howard Hughes.  Who unfortunately died a bum,  (lost his mind)  his fingers looked like shaved apple peel, smelly and dirty never bathed and lost his mind.

You could be a political leader aspiring greatness and become the president of a rich powerful and economically stable nation.  You could stand and make speeches that move thousands.  You could have the most awesome arsenal of armies formidable to any nation around.  For sure you could be Adolph Hitler.

Some of these folk who drive these fancy cars or sport these beautiful spouses or girlfriend or boyfriends.  Who own these beautiful homes or have these huge bank accounts you don’t know what they are going through or how they got them or what they have to go through to maintain them.

And what is riches, fame and material possessions without the guiding hand of the Lord in your life.  You could be well off but the future is so uncertain when your life is led by the enemy.

And he doesn’t have to kill you .  .  . maybe he’ll just want to use you .  .  .(school)

You may experience tragedy, or series of bad happenings, misfortunes.  It doesn't mean that God has left you no!

On the contrary, if God is still on the throne of your heart it means that God is still working for Ya!----

When our circumstances do not present encouraging surroundings in Christ--we must then remember God's leading in the past

Joseph in his desperate situation gained strength and courage by remembering his father's situation (Jacob, Abraham)

“Often in his father's tent he had listened to the story of the vision that Jacob saw as he fled from his home an exile and a fugitive. He had been told of the Lord's promises to Jacob, and how they had been fulfilled--how, in the hour of need, the angels of God had come to instruct, comfort, and protect him. And he had learned of the love of God in providing for men a Redeemer. Now all these precious lessons came vividly before him. Joseph believed that the God of his fathers would be his God. He then and there gave himself fully to the Lord, and he prayed that the Keeper of Israel would be with him in the land of his exile.”  PP. P.213

We must be careful for we can murmur against the very channels that God uses to draw us closer to Him.

So that defects of char. are filtered out of our lives, and growth may take place, strength and trust in God.

If He is on the throne of your heart no matter how hard the circumstances in life we must believe that God is still in charge.  God is not going to let His church fail.

When we stick with God we stand upon a firm foundation not sinking sand Christ said a long time ago "upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it"

Joseph's terrible calamity had transformed Him form a petted child to a man, thoughtful courageous and self-possessed.

The Bible tells us even his idolatrous master saw that God made him prosperous and told him to take charge.

Pothifar (How did he do it?)

This thing about just say no?

Wrong time to pray is in the back seat of a chevy.

He had a relationship with God before the temptation met him!

In Egypt he remained a servant/slave for ten years.

Ps 37:1-3

1   Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.

2   For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

3   Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

(KJV)

Even in Joseph’s experience there may have been the temptation of saying well Lord that may be true but it sure doesn’t seem so.  I don’t like the result of my faithfulness to you look what it has brought upon me.  I’m not only a slave but also a prisoner, I’m hungry and alone and I’m definitely not doing good.

Exposed to all kinds of temptations.  He stood alone with strange religion, way of life.  In the midst of idolatry supported by the wealth and pomp of Egypt, the most highly civilized nation then in existence.

But he maintained his integrity and simplicity.  He was not ashamed of His God or His religion or His race, He did not make an effort to hide the fact that he was a worshipper of Jehovah.

Got some folk here who come to church but Monday morning on the train they look like they represent their nations flag.  Any body know what I'm talking about.

That's not what made Joseph different

That's not what is going makes us different

It is love for God and commitment to His Word!!

Rough time at Home .  .  . trust in His Providential guidance

No where to turn to .  . …

Hard times hit financially .  .  .

Relationships not working out .  .  .

Brother or Sister done you wrong in the world/church . . .

You got robbed, beaten, misled, abused . . .

Did you get that quote from E.W.

But, in the providence of God, even this experience was to be a blessing to him.

We can either let our circumstances be a curse or a blessing to us!

See we’ve got Omnipotence on our side.  .  . we’ve got the advantage!  We can take the worst situation and still find blessing in it if God is leading!

Lesson number two.

We will not always experience a rose garden life.

(Must Jesus bear the cross only .  .  .)

PP.218.002

     “ At the first Joseph was treated with great severity by his jailers. The psalmist says, "His feet they hurt with fetters; he was laid in chains of iron: until the time that his word came to pass; the word of the Lord tried him." Psalm 105:18, 19, R.V. But Joseph's real character shines out, even in the darkness of the dungeon. He held fast his faith and patience; his years of faithful service had been most cruelly repaid, yet this did not render him morose or distrustful. He had the peace that comes from conscious innocence, and he trusted his case with God. He did not brood upon his own wrongs, but forgot his sorrow in trying to lighten the sorrows of others. He found a work to do, even in the prison. God was preparing him in the school of affliction for greater usefulness, and he did not refuse the needful discipline.

1 Pet 4:12-13

12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.

13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

(NIV)

You know that sometimes when you live for God and you’re having a hard time you know you are doing something right.

Matt 5:11-12

11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

(KJV)

(The chief butler saw the dream fulfilled in every particular; but when restored to royal favor, he thought no more of his benefactor. For two years longer Joseph remained a prisoner. The hope that had been kindled in his heart gradually died out, and to all other trials was added the bitter sting of ingratitude.

PP.219.003

      But a divine hand was about to open the prison gates. The king of Egypt had in one night two dreams, apparently pointing to the same event and seeming to foreshadow some great calamity. He could not determine their significance, yet they continued to trouble his mind. The magicians and wise men of his realm could give no interpretation. The king's perplexity and distress increased, and terror spread throughout his palace. The general agitation recalled to the chief butler's mind the circumstances of his own dream; with it came the memory of Joseph, and a pang of remorse for his forgetfulness and ingratitude. He at once informed the king how his own dream and that of the chief baker had been interpreted by a Hebrew captive, and how the predictions had been fulfilled. )

You know the story .  .  .

When the Lord comes with ten thousand of His saints and the resurrection of the wicked is consummated.  the panorama of display showing how foolish some people, I supposed were in giving up Jesus all because they didn't have the faith to trust in His providential guidance.

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