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26 Sep 2021

It’s Time For Your Promotion [Genesis 40,41]

Overview

Pain and suffering can make people feel like God has forsaken them. But the story of Joseph proves that God is with His people whether we are in prosperity or in pain. As Augustine once put it, “God had one son on earth without sin; He never had any without suffering. ”We must then learn to "Interpret your circumstances by God’s love, not God’s love by your circumstances. ” The greatest proof of God's love is the gospel of Jesus Christ (Rom 5:8). And it's only when we are confident of God's love that we can be faithful in our station. Perhaps one day, we will see the big "why" of our sufferings in this life. That day may be during our lifetime here, or it may be in the life that is to come. But we can be sure that we will see that day. Let us then suffer well and serve well. After all, Jesus suffered and gave himself for God's will, and secured eternal glory for Himself, His Father, and for His people.


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Now, in the past two or three weeks, we have been looking at the life of Joseph. It's really quite a mess, Joseph's life, because he was first thrown into a pit by his brothers, then traded to the Ishmaelite traders and who subsequently sold him to Potiphar, a captain of the army in the Egyptian nation.

Then we read of how Joseph had to resist the advances of Potiphar's wife. She wanted to lie with him, but Joseph was a man of integrity, refused to do so. But as a result, Potiphar's wife was very upset with him and framed him, and said, "He's the one who assaulted me." So for that he was unrighteously; unjustly thrown into prison.

So that is our story so far, that's what we have been learning in Genesis, about his life thus far. But today we're going to see how Joseph when he was in prison, would rise with a meteoric rise to become the second most important man in all of Egypt. So from the prison to the palace, we're going to see him become like the Prime Minister of this land.

So the story is really about Joseph's promotion. We are going to go a little more than what you have just read for Scripture reading. So we read Genesis 39 and verse 21 onwards, but we're going to go to the end of chapter 41, alright? We're gonna see this rise of Joseph, and let's begin.

[1] His Pain
Before we look at his rise, let's see and appreciate - His pain.

It must have been a very difficult time for Joseph. I mean just put yourself in his shoes and you can imagine the agony this young man had to go through. Think about the betrayal he must have felt. Now, if you have been scammed before in your life, you'll know it's not a nice feeling. If you've been cheated by anyone before, even if it's for $1 it doesn't feel good. If you've been betrayed by one stranger, it already feels terrible. Imagine being betrayed not by a friend, not by a brother, but by 11 brothers!

Wow, I think he must be miserable, as he thinks about these things! But he was not just feeling the pain of betrayal in prison, he was also feeling the pain of injustice. I mean, you would recall as I'm sure, it was Potiphar's wife who framed him, who ... he did nothing wrong throughout this episode, he was conducting him ... conducting himself in moral integrity and uprightness. But he was framed, he must have felt miserable!

The Psalmist also tells us in Psalm 105:18, you don't get that in Genesis, but in Psalm 105 it is described, "His feet were hurt with fetters; and his neck was put in a collar of iron;" So he was a prisoner in a prison, and he must have been abused, he must have been suffering, he must have lost his freedom. That's what the chains and fetters would represent, and there was great uncertainty in his life.

So Joseph, I just want you to appreciate, it's not just a story we rush through, but we pause and we think this must be a man who has gone through great pain. No question! And when you go through great pain, it would be very easy for you to think, "I must have been forsaken by God, that ... that God has somehow forgotten about me!" You might feel aggrieved, you might feel hopeless, and you might feel that all hope, or you might feel lost.

So it's very easy for us to assume that when we are in pain, or when we are in prison, or when we are suffering that God has forsaken me. Isn't that a very logical conclusion? But even though this is a natural assumption we may have, that's not the biblical conclusion that is given to us in Genesis 39. Because in Genesis 39:21, we are told explicitly that, "The Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love."

We might assume when you read this story, that God has kind of forgotten about this man, and ... and stopped loving him. But no! The ... Moses is very intentional here by telling us, "Nope! God did not stop loving Joseph, even though he's now in prison. Even though he's suffering, God is still with him and God is showing steadfast love to him." Not just once but again in verse 23, "The Lord was with him." There is no question, God's love abides with Joseph!

And it is the same thing that is said of Joseph, when we compare it in verse 2, as Joseph was serving in Potiphar's house. Now, when ... when he was serving in Potiphar's house, he was a steward, he was the OIC of everything Potiphar had, he probably lived a pretty good life, I would imagine so. He was the manager overall, respected; regarded, probably given enough to manage. But now that he's thrown into prison, he has lost his freedom, he's in chains, he still was greatly loved by God. There's no difference! You may be in Potiphar's house or you may be in prison, God's love is still upon Joseph.

I want you to appreciate that when many people say, "When I'm going through hardship, God must have forsaken me." It is a natural assumption, but it's not a biblical conclusion at all. Because according to the Bible, especially in the life of Joseph, being in prison, going through pain, may be the very loving plan of God for you. God has not forsaken you!

I think it's very relevant for our times, because I think during this one or two years, many people are going through quite a bit of hardship. We have not been able to see one another, maybe you do not know one another's sufferings, but maybe from where I am, I hear of people going through marital breakups; financial loss; job loss; job dislocations. Interestingly, surprisingly, many are going through terminal illnesses, cancers. And ... and it's very tempting, isn't it, that when you are in prison, when you are going through pain, that you may feel like God has forgotten about you, or even forsaken you? But that is not necessarily true at all.

How else would you explain why God's people go through sufferings in the Bible? Think about Job, sores from head to toe, his family decimated, he lost all his wealth, he was the richest man in the East, but it all flitted from him just overnight, literally. Did God forsake Job? No, he didn't! You got to read to the end of the story of Job to find out God never forsook Job. Think about the people who suffered in the Bible like Jeremiah, the weeping prophet. He, he not only had a difficult message to give to his people, he had to go through sufferings. But God did not forsake Jeremiah! It's ... Jeremiah is God's chosen messenger.

How about the Apostle Paul who had to preach the Gospel to the Gentile nations? But before he had to preach the message of salvation to the Gentile nations, God also revealed to him that he must suffer for the Name of Christ. God's people are not spared pains and sufferings. The man who was greatly used by God was the man who had to go through great sufferings. But most of all, how about the Lord Jesus Christ? "Oh, if He is God's Son, He will not go through sufferings!" No, since He's God's Son, He went through the most sufferings!

Isn't it a paradigm that we need to shift in our minds. Because so often in religion, and even in many churches, a message goes out like this, "If you are God's child, God loves you and He will protect you from all difficulties and pains and sufferings." But I think that is not what the Bible says at all. Over and over and over again, we see of God's people going through sufferings, and God has never stopped loving them. Because whether you are in Potiphar's house, or whether you are in prison, God's steadfast love is still with you. He has never forsaken you!

Well, how about Hebrews 11:35-38 - People of the faith, while, people of the faith are protected immunized, from all sufferings right? No! Some are, some are given privileges, some are protected from ... from the sufferings we read here, but many at least in the past had to go through these sufferings as we read. "They were tortured, they suffered mocking and flogging, chains and imprisonment, they were stoned, they were sawn, they were killed with the sword, they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted mistreated, wandering about in deserts and mountains and in dens and caves."

Oh, all these are the enemies of God? No, no, no, no! Go back Hebrews 11, these are the people of God! St Augustine, he said this, "God had One Son on earth without sin, but never one without suffering." Interesting quote! Interesting statement! "They that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." That's what the Bible tells us.

So, I just like to maybe put this in context. For many of us, who are going through hardships, it's very easy for us to start doubting God's wisdom, God's faithfulness and God's love. But I find this statement worthy of your meditation and consideration And it is this, "Interpret your circumstances, by God's love, not God's love by your circumstances". Because we like to go to the lower statement. We naturally start to wonder about God's love when circumstances become difficult.

But I think it's more biblical to go to the first statement, "Interpret your circumstances by God's love." That is to say, "If you are in a state of abundance, thank God for His love. But if you are in prison, you are in a place where you're abased, also be thankful." Because that is still God's love for you, just as Joseph was shown favor at Potiphar's house, and also in the prison.

You say, "How do I know God loves me? You're just psychoing yourself right, Jason?" "How do you know God loves you, if you're going through hardship in life?" Well, let me tell you about the great constant. The great constant is the cross of Jesus Christ. This is what the Bible says, "But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." [Romans 5:8]

"Where, where do we see the evidence of God's love? I'm going through cancer, my wife's breaking up with me, I'm going to lose my job, how can I say that God loves me?" I ... I tell you, brother, "You see God's love not in your marriage, not in your job, not in your family supremely, but most of all at the cross of Jesus Christ." But ... because this is what God says, "God has demonstrated His love, shown very clearly His love that while you are yet a sinner, He sent His Son to die for you on the cross."

So the appreciation of God's love is a Gospel; cross-centred one. It is not contingent upon my circumstance, about my surroundings, but it's contingent upon the Gospel - Christ died for us. So regardless of whether I am in a palace or whether I ... whether I'm in the prison, the cross tells me, "God loves me."

It's one of the most profound statement ever sung, right? "Jesus loves me this I know for my circumstances tell me so." No! "Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so." Where? Well, I think supremely here in Romans 5, verse 8.

That's an old cliché, I say cliché because it's been repeated many times, many people use it, talk about it. At least several years ago, I will regularly read of it, hear of it, but it seems to be out of fashion for some time. So let me bring that out back for you, the old cliché about "Footprints In The Sand". All of you heard that before? Read that, but maybe forgotten about it, right? So let me just remind you:

"One night I dreamed a dream ..." It's a poem, unknown author, we can't really verify for sure who had written this. But, still a good one.

"One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me, and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked at ... back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it,
"Lord, You said once I ... I decided to follow You,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and
most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why, when I needed you the most,
You would leave me."

He whispered, "My precious ... precious child, I love you, and will never leave you.
Never ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."

I will never ever leave you. Well, it reminds me of Hebrews chapter 13, "I'll never forsake you." Actually when you go back, I think we've preached through the book of Hebrews, in that verse, Hebrews 13, Verse 5, is actually five negatives that God spoke about, "I'll never, no, never, no, never leave you." That's the original Greek language there! You can't be more affirmative than that. So God's love never leaves His people.

So, that's the reflection I thought we can maybe think about. Joseph messed up, has a very difficult life, thrown into the pit, sold to Potiphar's house, framed by ... by his wife, cast into prison, and it will be very easy for us to assume, "Hah, God has stopped loving Joseph!" But God never did stop loving, Joseph. He loved him, continued to be with him, and blessed him.

[2] His Posture
And I think Joseph knew. I think Joseph knew, even though he was down in prison, in chains, uncertain about his life, he knew that God is faithful to him. He never gave up on himself and he never gave up on his God.

You say, "Why?" Because I noticed something number two, about his posture.

I know that, I guess that he knows God is with him because of his posture. What do you mean? Because if I was Joseph, and if I really felt and believed that God has forsaken me, then maybe I would react this way. I'll respond this way; my posture would be this. I would sit at a corner of the jail, and fold my arms and sulk and pout and moan and groan every day.

I mean I will be very upset, I'll be very aggrieved, very 'bei song' [unhappy in Hokkien dialect]. I mean I will sit there and I will complain, "Why has God forsaken me? Didn't He promise me? Didn't He give me those dreams?" But Joseph never did that, he didn't set in a prison with a rotten attitude. Neither did Joseph withdraw himself, clam up in a corner and sink into depression and despair. He was not complaining. He was not despairing.

And neither was Joseph ... I can imagine if I was in prison, I would just be punching the walls because I'm so angry with my brothers. I will be punching the walls because I'm so angry with Potiphar's wife, I'll be punching the walls because I think, I, I, I don't deserve any of this. I'll be so angry and hit out everything and everyone. Joseph did nothing like this! He was not mourning or groaning. He was not despairing or being depressed, he was not angry at anyone. But the Bible tells us, this was his posture, "He was always diligently at work."

The Bible says, "And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison, whatever was done there, he was the one who did it." [Gen 39:22] He was super hard working. When he ... he was there he took care of the prisoners there. Later on, there'll be new entrance into the prison and he would be the one who'll take care of them. I mean, this guy was top notch, faithful, diligent. And I think we need to see that diligent part, when you see how Moses described Joseph in Potiphar's house, and Joseph in prison. There's a parallel there!

You see that in verse 2, when Joseph was in Potiphar's house. The Bible says, "The Lord was with Joseph." We've already looked at that in verse 21, "The Lord was with Joseph." Same thing! God never forsake Joseph. And then we see Joseph found favor in verse 4. And likewise, "Joseph found favor in the sight of the jailer," in verse 21. And then we see in verse 4, "Potiphar made him overseer." And in verse 22, "The jailer put Joseph in charge of everything in prison." The jailer probably very lazy, bochap, found a good assistant and let him take charge of it all.

And Potiphar did not have to bother about anything, he was so confident, he was so sure about Joseph, he let him take charge of it all, he could really be at peace. And likewise, the jailer did not need to supervise. Joseph was consistently faithful, whether he was in Potiphar's house or whether he was in prison.

Spurgeon said that, "Joseph was like a cock, that you, you know, have for champagne bottles. No matter how far you push him down into the water, he will just pop right out." And that's what Joseph was like! He was not moaning or groaning, not depressed or despairing, not angry but just faithful. Just doing the best in whatever his hands can find to do.

And by the way this is no flash in a pan. This ... this is not just, aiyah, just for a while, spur of the moment kind of thing. No! Because, in chapter 41, we know that, "He is like this for the two whole years he was in prison."

So I suppose it is worthy for our consideration today, you're going through pain, maybe you have a difficult marriage, maybe you're struggling with an illness, you've lost your job, you have been betrayed, injustice has been done to you. Think today about God's love for you not based on circumstance, but based on the cross. And then examine today, your posture in life.

Are you bitter and upset with what your wife or your husband has done and therefore wallow in sorrow or moan and groan, or you're hitting out at everyone? Or would you be like a Joseph, just be faithful in what God has given you today? Whether you are a husband or wife, or worker, or simply a follower of Jesus Christ, do the best because you see that all these trials are given by your Heavenly Father for a good purpose, He has never stopped loving you. And instead of hitting out at circumstance and people around, you focus on serving the people around and being faithful to God.

What an example Joseph is for us!

[3] The Promotion
But let's move on to the third point, and having considered his life in prison, we're going to see his meteoric rise into the palace, his promotion per se.

How did it take place? Well, you've read it, there were two men who was, who were introduced into prison, they will cast into prison. You have the man on the right, he is the cup bearer, the one who would taste the wine, drink the wine, sample the wine to make sure there is no poison before it is passed to the Pharaoh. And then the person on the left is the baker. So they both had the dream.

The cup bearer, had a dream when three branches of grapes were squeezed into a cup, that would be passed to Pharaoh. He had this dream and he knew this was a special dream, he shared this with Joseph. And Joseph interpreted this dream, of course with God's guidance and enlightenment. And Joseph told him that this dream is saying that, "In three days' time, you will be restored to become the bearer of the pharaoh again."

And he said to this cup bearer, "But do show favor to me, please remember me that when you are restored before Pharaoh that you would speak about me before the pharaoh." Of course, as the story goes, this cup bearer, he was too excited when he was restored, he forgot all about Joseph and did not mention about Joseph, at least for two years.

The baker himself also had a dream. His dream was that there will be three baskets of cakes, that will be carried on his head. And then there'll be birds who would swoop and feast on all the cakes. So he asked, "Joseph, what that dream might mean? "And Joseph said to him, "It is bad news, because in three days' time you will not be promoted, but you'll be hanged and the birds would feast on your body." Well, that's a terrible sentence! But in three days' time, that's exactly what happened to the baker and the cup bearer was promoted back to be the cup bearer for Pharaoh.

Now, as I've mentioned, the cup bearer forgot about Joseph, and Joseph was in prison for the next two years. But two years later, Pharaoh now had a dream, this is what we did not read for Scripture reading but I think it will be easy catch up later on if you choose to. Pharaoh had a dream, it was a strange dream! He couldn't quite understand that dream.

In fact, he had two dreams, he had a dream. Then he went, he woke up, he fell back asleep and he had a second dream. So he knew this was something special and he gathered all the magicians and the wise men to ask what the interpretation of the dreams may be. But no one, of course could tell Pharaoh what the dreams meant. This is when the cup bearer suddenly remembered, "I ... I know of a man who could interpret dreams. He interpreted mine, and the baker's absolutely 'zhun' [Hokkien dialect], spot on. So he told it to Pharaoh and Pharaoh got Joseph out to tell him of his dream.

Pharaoh said, "I dreamed about seven fat cows and then seven lean cows, and how the seven lean cows who came after the seven fat cows would swallow the seven fat cows. I went back to sleep and then I had another dream. This time, I dreamt about seven grains of good wheat, seven good years of grain, [years as in the kind of a sheaf-like things]. I dreamed about seven good years of grain, and then seven poor years of grain of wheat, and how that seven good ... or seven poor years would swallow the seven good years of grain."

So Pharaoh asked Joseph, "What will this mean?" Joseph says, "God is telling you that there'll be seven good years of harvest. But after that, there will be seven poor years of extreme severe famine. And so, God gave you these two dreams to double confirm that this is exactly what's going to happen. You have seven years of good crops, seven years of prosperity, and then seven severe terrible years of famine. And the wise thing to do, Pharaoh is for you to appoint someone to store up the grain in the first seven years, so that you may have enough for the next seven years."

Pharaoh thought to himself, "There's no better person to appoint than Joseph, the man in whom was given the interpretation of dreams by his God." So there and then was the meteoric rise of Joseph from a prisoner to the prime minister. He was given the emblems of power, appointed to be the second most powerful man in all of Egypt. He was naturalized, accepted as not an illegal immigrant anymore but naturalized into Egypt, when he was given the priest's daughter, the Egyptian priest's daughter as his wife. He was given an Egyptian name, and he was set out on this task to make sure that there is sufficient for the world, for Egypt at least in the next 14 years.

I like what F B Meyer had to say about this promotion and he said, "It was a wonderful ascension in a single bound from the dungeon to the steps of the throne. His father had rebuked him. Now Pharaoh, the greatest monarch of his time, welcomes him. His brethren despised him. Now the proudest priesthood of the world, opens its ranks to receive him by marriage into their midst. The hands that were hard with the toils of a slave are adorned with a signet ring. The feet are no longer tormented by fetters. A chain of gold is linked around his neck. The coat of many colors torn from him by violence and defiled by blood, and the garment left in the hands of the adulterous are exchanged for vestures of fine linen, drawn from the royal wardrobe. He was once trampled upon as the ox carrying of all things, now all Egypt is commanded to bow down before him as he rides in the second chariot, Prime Minister of Egypt, and second only to the king."

F B Meyer wrote very eloquently, I can't think of a better way to describe this, but I will have a Chinese proverb for you, and it goes, 养兵千日,用在一时 [yǎng bīng qiān rì,yòng zài yī shí]. For those who are not Chinese speakers, literally it means, maintain the army for 1000 days, so that it can be used for one moment.

Well, I'm thinking about God and how God has prepared, Joseph, for a time like this. He had to go through the pit. He had to go through the Potiphar's wife's clutches. He had to go through prison, but in all these things God is preparing Joseph for a moment like this. To secure food supply, not just for Egypt, but Israel, for his father and for his family as we will read later on.

So, God has actually prepared Joseph if you think about it. Joseph was faithful in Potiphar's house. Joseph was faithful in the prison, and Joseph will now be faithful in all of Egypt.

What did Joseph think about all this? What is his reflection upon all this? I think we can tell how he thought about these things when the Bible says, "Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh." [Gen 41:51] That's a name that sounds like the word, 'forgotten' in Hebrew. So, "He called the firstborn Manasseh, forgotten, "For," he said, "God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father's house."'

So there's no question, he grieved. So sometimes when we read the story we think he's very stoic. "No problem lah! Stay prison, stay prison lah! It's okay lah, my brothers betray me! It's okay lah! I'm cool man!" No, he's not cool! He had to go through hardship. But at the end of it all, at least up to this point, he can say, "I see God's plan. And God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father's house." [Gen 41:51]

Well, when he had the second son, "He called his second son, Ephraim," which sounds like the Hebrew word, 'fruitful', and he said, "For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction." [Gen 41:52] That's the story of Joseph, thus far.

So let me end by saying, "Maybe today like Joseph, you go through pain. It's not always easy to understand why, let's get that clear. It's not always easy to figure out how this suffering will result in my good and in the glory of God. It's not always easy to ... Who is to know that Joseph had to go through all this, just to appear before Pharaoh, and be the second most powerful man in Egypt? Who can guess it? Even in our wildest dreams, we would not have come up with a plan like that."

But God had a plan like that. And so when you go pain, you may not and you probably will not know why all the time as you go through the pain. But what you need to know is, you never judge God's love by your circumstances, but you can judge the circumstances by God's love. Even if it is boils and sores, even if it is fetters and chains, even if it is betrayal and injustice, God still loves you. How do you know that? Because Jesus Christ. "God demonstrated His love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

And if you know that, then you will be able to have the right posture in life. Not one who is moaning and groaning, sulking and pouting, despairing and being depressed. Not one who is hitting out at everyone, angry at everyone around you, but you'll be faithful in all that God calls you to do, as a husband, as a wife, as an employee, as an employer, as a citizen, as a follower of Jesus Christ, as a minister of God.

Well, you can retain that true north in life and be faithful. And one day, perhaps, I'm not saying always, perhaps one day in this life, you may see God promote you. You may see God put you in the place that you can look back and say, "Ah, Manasseh! He has helped me to forget all the pains in the past because I see the result now, and it was all worth it!"

You know I always like to think about women and pregnant women in particular and how you know when you talk to them and say, "Oh, I have ... you have such beautiful kids," you say. "Yeah, I wish I had more." I say, "Why do you wish to have more?" "Because it's so nice to have kids." "Don't you remember the labor pain?" "Yes, I do, but in the light of my child, all those pains are forgotten." Isn't it true?

And perhaps in our lifetime there will come a day where it will all make sense. "Ah, I see why my child is stricken with this disease!" "Ah, I understand why I did lose my job!" "Ah, I can see why I was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer, stage 4 cancer because this is why I am today, and I would not be where I am today without all these prison experiences."

But like I said, "I don't think this is a universal experience for every Christian, because there may be some of us who would go through pain, and not be able to see why whilst we are alive." Let's get that clear! Because if you read Hebrews 11 , "They are those who are sawn in two." I mean, after you're sawn in two, how to see promotion when you're alive, you're no more alive, you are two halves, you know! How to see? Cannot see!
But you see, our life does not need to end and it does not end with the last breath we take here on planet Earth. We have eternal life if we are followers of Jesus. And the ultimate verdict is not here, but in their life that is to come.

So let us be reminded, yes, it's not always easy to figure out, some of us may have it figured out in this life, some of us may not,. But suffice us to consider, "This momentary, light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison." [2 Cor 4:17]

I think it's talking about the day that is to come, when Jesus returns, and we are all gathered with Him. Now, that is the time where it will all make sense! So don't assess your life with too myopic a perspective. You know we're very short sighted, we like to see just a little in front of us. No, the Bible is saying, "Have a longer-term vision of life, not everything is about the here and now."

Think about Jesus. Jesus looked far beyond His life on earth, when He was here 2000 years ago. "Jesus, the Founder and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross." [Heb 12:2] He went through suffering and death, because He saw the joy that was set before Him, beyond death.

I pray that we will be a people of faith. You know what's faith? Faith is when you can't see. That's faith! And we trust God, because of the cross, it is clearly a demonstration of His love, and therefore we can trust Him for the future. It may not all make sense in this life, but trust Him, it will when eternal life dawns upon us.

Finally, I just want to remind ourselves of Christ, our Savior. He went through pain, He in fact knew about all the pain that he had to go through, but He never wavered. He was never holding a pity party, wallowing in His sorrow. He was not groaning and moaning, sulking and pouting. He was not hitting out at anyone around Him, but He was steadfast; faithful to the cross. And where is He today? Ascended to the right hand of the Father, securing sufficiently the payment for the sins of those who would believe upon Him. I

If you are here today, let me tell you the Bible is really about God's Son. He had one Son without sin, but this was a Son who was filled with suffering. Not a suffering that He deserved, but a suffering that we deserve. But Jesus took it all upon Himself, that He might pay for your sins, and through His sacrifice, you and I today can be saved. So if you're here with us, first time, you're wondering what the Bible is about, I'm telling you, "The Bible is about God's Son, Jesus Christ, who was faithful to bear all the suffering that sin deserves, so that you and I might be forgiven and saved and reconciled to the Holy God.

And the Bible commands men everywhere, God commands men everywhere to repent and to believe in Jesus. I pray you do that today. And maybe for all Christians today, let's be thankful for Jesus and what He has done. And let's look at Joseph, and let's look at Jesus and see how we can follow in their footsteps. Trusting in our God, faithful in our trials, and one day praise Him for His infinite wisdom in putting us through all these trials for His glory.

Let's bow for a word of prayer together.

Father, we thank You this morning, as we pause, as we stop life for a while, and just think about Joseph and more importantly, Jesus, Your Son. We often fall into the trap of judging Your love based on circumstance, and therefore so many today are turned aside, discouraged, depressed, aggrieved. But O God, give us an appreciation of Your love that is not circumstantial, but one that is Gospel-centred, one that is fixed on the cross of Jesus Christ.

Help us to maybe today appreciate more that children's song, "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so." And I pray then that Your people will arise with a fresh power and passion to be faithful, even as we go through sufferings. Perhaps for some, we will have the privilege to say like Joseph, "Manasseh and Ephraim." But perhaps there will be those who suffer right up to the end of this earthly existence. But Lord, whatever the case may be, we are confident and we are thankful that there is joy, and everlasting bliss in the life that is to come.

So, give us a longer-term vision. Give us faith to believe these scriptural realities. And may Your Church today arise in faith, walk in obedience, walk in courage, that through our lives you may be glorified. Once more I pray for friends, for seekers tuning in today, save them, grant them understanding and may they look to Jesus alone for salvation in life. Thank You and we pray all this now, in Jesus' Name. Amen.

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