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LEAD2016 – Day 1 Night Session

Pastor Joey Bonifacio

A few years ago, he wrote a book entitled “The Promise No One Wants” which was not popular. The book was written in light of discipleship and leadership as illustrated by Joseph the son of Jacob.

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens” (Hebrews 12:26)

This is a promise nobody likes. “Both heaven and earth” means that God will shake tangible and intangible things; even things we think are eternal.

“Yet once more” refers to the removal of things that are shaken. What cannot be shaken will remain.

Joseph is an epic story of leadership. It is the story of a man shaken multiple times in order to remove “shakable things” so that Joseph could be the leader God wanted him to be.

1. The favour of man vs. the favour of God

Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. (Genesis 37:3)

 

Joseph was his father’s favourite. We may think God is always on our side, where actually it is man’s favour not God. We cannot rely on the favour of man. There is a difference between the favour of man and favour of God. Joseph’s father even gave him a coat of different colours, marking him from other brothers.

Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” (Genesis 37:9)

Joseph was arrogant and quick to talk.

But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him. (Genesis 37:18)

The favour of man may cause others to hate us and be jealous of us. Here, Joseph gets sold off and dragged away be slave traders into the desert. He lost all connections, favours and abilities. He was entering a foreign land by himself. For the first time, he encountered a different kind of favour i.e. the favour of God

We encounter favour of God when he removes the favour of man form our lives. Realise not fvour of man that you can trust on but the favour of God. One day going to be most powerful leader of most powerful country at that time

The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. (Genesis 39:2)

Although his father and brothers were not with him, but the Lord was with him. The grace and favour of God (where real favour and power comes from) followed him to Egypt. He became a successful man.

From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the LORD blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the LORD was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. (Genesis 39:5)

From a slave who lands in Egypt with no connections, he became in charge of a household of Egyptians. God was teaching him and us through scripture about leadership. It is not the favour of man but God that allows you to fulfil your destiny.

But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)

God had to deal with arrogance for Joseph to be able to see His grace. Sometimes we are afraid to be humbled by God as we do not see the power of His grace moving in our lives.

2. The fear of man vs. the fear of the Lord

He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”  (Gen 37:6-7)

Joseph was handsome. We see him move from a guy who understands the favour of God, now becoming the CEO or COO of Potiphar Enterprises. Potiphar’s wife starts reaching out to him to get him to sleep with her, luring this young man. He may worry that he may lose his job if he does not give in or play this game.

We should walk in the fear of God not the fear of man.

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe. (Proverbs 29:25)

The fear of the Lord: God shakes the fear of man in us so He can put this important facet – the fear of the Lord. You will not be much of a leader if you do not have the fear of God.

But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. (Genesis 39:8)

Joseph was concerned about sin against God, not against her or Potiphar. He was more afraid of God than of Potiphar’s wife and he was willing to take the consequences for it.

The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.  (Proverbs 19:23)

He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure. (Isaiah 33:6)

Man will leave you, cannot be fully trusted and is not capable of many things. The fear of the Lord is the key to treasure. To be the man God intended him to be, Joseph had to have the fear of the Lord.

Potiphar’s wife lies and Joseph ends up in jail. Favour and fear of God can lead you to prison. When you start doing things of God, he might just let you stay there because He is trying to shape you. We may feel that we are in “prison” when things are not moving. However, it is there that God is moulding us.

When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger.  Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. (Genesis 39:19-20)

We can see how God builds leaders. Potiphar probably knew who his wife really was. If he had fully believed the allegations, he would have probably killed or hanged Joseph.

But while Joseph was there in the prison, the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. (Genesis 37:20b-21)

Now Joseph was not just someone with no pedigree but someone with a bad record.

Some time later, the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt offended their master, the king of Egypt.  Pharaoh was angry with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, and put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the same prison where Joseph was confined.  (Genesis 40:1-3)

The favour of God also showed in setting him up where the captain of the guard, Potiphar, assigned these two men to be in the same prison as Joseph. Joseph was prophesying over these two men when in the midst of that, he says to the cupbearer:

But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison.  (Genesis 40:14)

Once again, Joesph is relying on man. Some of our issues are recurring; God sees them more than you see them.

For I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon.”  (Genesis 40:15)

God is shaping you.

3. Impatience vs. faith

A leader must not be impatient but learn to live in God’s time. God’s time was running long before man invented time. Our prayers may not be answered because it is not God’s time.

Kronos = chronology/movement of time

Kairos = opportune time

Pleroma = fullness of God’s time, perfect time – you cannot stop it, it just happens

If Joseph managed to convince cupbearer before God was ready to promote him (i.e. if he could hot wait for God’s perfect time), he would have ended up in the same palace as the assistant of the cupbearer not the governor. God in his wisdom delayed it to teach him faith.

We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.  (Hebrews 6:12)

When God is ready with you, He will take you into the palace himself. There is no need to push your way through.

When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing by the Nile (Genesis 41:1)

Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I am reminded of my shortcomings.  (Genesis 41:9)

Who made the cupbearer forget and who made him remember? God. Sometimes we fret and complain at God, “Why it is taking so long?” God is making you understand patience and faith as you may still be raw.

And things turned out exactly as he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was hanged. So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh. (Genesis 41:13-14)

When you are ready, God going to make it quick. He wants to make sure your heart right before he gives it to you. If put you there too quickly, it would probably destroy you.

Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you.  You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.”  (Genesis 41:39-40)

From a prisoner with a bad record, alll of a sudden, Joseph is next to the king. This is unbelievable.

4. Final shaking of God: You vs. the purposes of God for you

Later, when famine hits and the ground is dry, people are drying.

When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you just keep looking at each other?” (Genesis 42:1)

The brothers went to get some grain in Egypt. When Joseph met them, he was angry as he was reminding himself of brothers who sold him and about the abuse and mistreatment that he had suffered.

As he looked about and saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother’s son, he asked, “Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?” And he said, “God be gracious to you, my son.”  (Genesis 43:29)

He ended up playing a game with his brothers, telling the brothers that they were going to get arrested for stealing.

Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers.  (Genesis 45:1)

Joseph had every kind of security but he could no longer control himself because no amount of wealth can satisfy. Something was wrong on the inside with this leader. The final thing God will shake is you until Jesus is forming you and makes you the kind of leader He wants you to be.

And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.  Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence. (Genesis 45:2-3)

Joseph was battling somewhere inside with bitterness and anger. There was only one thing that stopped him.

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!  And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.  (Genesis 45:4-5)

The only thing greater than you and I are the purposes of God. The only thing that will stop you from hurting others for what happens to you is to understand that God shakes you because He has purposes for you.

Conclusion

This is the account of Jacob. Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.  (Genesis 37:2)

The history of Jacob is the story of Joseph. Jacob unknowingly passed his impatience onto Joseph. The things God was shaking off in Joseph’s life were those that were not shaken from Jacob’s. Jacob, for instance stole the favour of his father. He was so afraid of man that he never quite understood how God works. God had to shake the next generation.

The story ends with Jacob when his sons arrive and reveal that Joseph is alive and is now the governor of Egypt. Jacob, in his finite lack of faith cannot process it. God is bigger than our biggest dreams. Hence, we should stop wallowing in disobedience. We should stop fearing man and being impatient. This will happen to the next generation, if not to you, because He is a faithful God. God met Jacob on the way and touched him.

Jacob is blown away by the splendour of Egypt. As he is dying, he finally realises that it is not about him but about God. As he prophesies over his sons, he proclaims Judah as the greatest even though Judah sold Joseph. Jacob could stop thinking about the flesh but in the spirit. He became the first one to prophesy that the Messiah would come through line of Judah. God’s favour still rested on him.

He no longer trusted in the favour or fear of man or the time plot of man. He was no longer impatient and no longer living for himself but for the One who called him into His favour. Our life situations differ but these principles still apply.

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