Posts Tagged ‘Book of Genesis’

Dave preaching

Dave preaching

This past Sunday I had the wonderful opportunity to preach in Spanish at Harbor Mid-City. I preached on Genesis 37 – God goes before you.

Joseph’s Dreams

Joseph dreamt two dreams in Genesis 37. The dreams were an indication of what God was going to do through Joseph to save his people. It shows that God is the hero of the story!

In the midst of the two dreams the story is told of all the dysfunction among Jacob’s sons. They hated Joseph. They wouldn’t even speak to him kindly.

A Family of Dysfunction

This was due in large part to the favoritism that Jacob showed to Joseph. Jacob learned this from his parents, as Isaac favored Esau and Rebekah favored Jacob. The sins of the fathers are passed down to the third and fourth generation.

Then as the story moves along with Joseph and his brothers, they decided to kill him. First they grabbed him and threw him in an empty cistern. The very next verse, verse 25 says, “Then they sat down to eat…” So they threw in a dry cistern and then had lunch as if it were just another day at the office.

Joseph’s Strength of Character

Joseph through all of this proves to be of higher character than his brothers. This is one of the reasons God was able to use him to be the leader that he became in Egypt. He saved his family, the tribe of Israel and the people of Egypt through his foresight and leadership. He was a type of Christ as he was also betrayed, and then they both saved their people.

There is tremendous pain in this story when you consider all the hate and hurt that happened within a family. It reminds me of the Mexican telenovelas, or even our own Soap Operas.

It’s amazing that Joseph was sold into slavery at the age of 17. He was not able to go to Sabbath school, or learn anymore about God from the Egyptians. Everything he learned about God from his parents was already instilled in him at age 17. He was able to stand strong against all odds in Egypt. He was imprisoned unjustly and he still was able to maintain his faith and thrive amidst all of this.

Joseph was truly a prince of a man.

God’s Healing Work
Joseph recognized by his brothers, by Léon Pie...

Joseph recognized by his brothers, by Léon Pierre Urbain Bourgeois, 1863 oil on canvas, at the Musée Municipal Frédéric Blandin, Nevers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then after Joseph is reunited with his family. He sees that God has worked in the heart of his brothers, and brought about change. They are reconciled in God’s grace.

When Jacob died, the brothers feared that Joseph might seek revenge. Joseph responded in Genesis 50:20,

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

Joseph did not deny what his brothers did was evil, but he was able to forgive them and recognize that God used even their evil for his good. That was one of the messages that the Lord gave Joseph in his dreams about the future events. God was saying in a sense, “I go before you, and I prepare the way so that my people saved.”

Then later came Jesus, who died on the cross for our evil deeds. He provides a way for us to be forgiven and saved. Hallelujah!

When you feel down or discouraged remember that God goes before you, and that he prepares a way.

In His Grip, Dave

It hit me last week as I was studying Genesis 26 how God cares for us, even when others neglect us.

Dave preaching at Lo Mejor del Trigo

Dave preaching at Lo Mejor del Trigo

Fear versus Faith

In this chapter in Genesis, “the book of beginnings,” we see Isaac and Rebekah encountering the Philistine king, Abimelech. When asked about his wife, Isaac said she was his sister. Instead of trusting God, and protecting his wife, he chose to act out of fear and choose to protect himself while putting his wife in harm’s way. In the modern vernacular we’d say, Isaac threw Rebekah under the bus.

When the men of the place asked him about his wife, ‘he said, “She is my sister,” for he feared to say, “My Wife,” thinking, “lest the men of the place should kill me because of Rebekah,” because she was attractive in appearance. —Genesis 26:7

God in his grace protected Rebekah. He does have a way of making up for our faults.

It’s interesting that when Abimelech learned that Rebekah was Isaac’s wife that he rebuked him for not telling the truth. I don’t think it’s a good sign when an unbeliever is confronting us for our sin. In this case Isaac lied, because he was afraid. He failed to believe that God would protect him and his family. He took matters into his own hands.

There are many great lessons from this passage.

God Does Care

God promises to take care of us, we can trust him. Even when things don’t turn out well, we can know that somehow, someway the Lord can and will use it in our lives. We may not know how until we get to heaven, and once we get there we probably will no longer care.

I find comfort in the Lord’s promises. His promises are good and true.

For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That’s why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. —2 Corinthians 1:20

When you are afraid remember that God’s promises are true and trustworthy.

English: Cross in the village of Úsilné, České...

Cross in the village of Úsilné, České Budějovice District, Czech Republic with the writing ‘Blessed be the Lord Jesus Christ’.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is Hope in Jesus

Another lesson for those of you that have been hurt by someone who was supposed to protect you. You’ve been hurt by your husband, by your parents, by the church, etc.

I’m assuming that’s pretty much everyone!

God is there with you, and he does care for you. He does protect us, even when others won’t. Ultimately, Jesus came and bore our sin, because the world was broken. Look to Jesus, and keep your eyes on him. He loved you enough to die on the cross for you.

I apologize being a man, a husband, a parent and a minister for the men, the parents and the churches that have not protected you. They should have, but they failed. I know I have failed, but Jesus did not fail. Jesus defeated sin, death and Satan on the cross and through his resurrection.

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. —1 Corinthians 15:56,57

When you are in despair look to the cross of Christ.

In His Grip, Dave

Dave & Dawn on the Border

Dave & Dawn – there is hope through the cross of Jesus

This past week Dawn and I felt like the Lord took us deeper, as we participated in a Ministry of Pastoral Care conference in Wheaton, Illinois.

I also had the opportunity to preach this past Sunday on Genesis 26. Through the conference and this passage, the Lord taught me some awesome truths.

The Lord showed me how man fails in being faithful to trust God. This failure has a bearing on those we love. Man is supposed to protect women and children, yet we often do the opposite. So what do we do? Do we throw up our arms in resignation and disgust? I think not.

God Brings Healing Through Confession

One of the gifts the Lord has given us is the gift of confession for our sins and the gift of forgiveness. That is one of things that we practiced at the conference last week. It was scary to be vulnerable enough to confess to others our faults. Yet strangely we found it freeing. God brings healing as we humble ourselves and confess our sins.

Americans value individualism, and this cultural value has found its way into the church. We’ve lost the importance of living out our lives in community. Therefore, in many ways even in the church much emphasis is given to what I do individually to grow in Christ. I don’t mean to disparage the importance of that, but we don’t want to lose sight of all the one another commands in Scripture.

Love one another, Bear one another’s burdens, confess to one another, etc.

A loss of a sense of the value of community is one of the reasons we don’t confess our sins to one another today. Part of the reason as well is a wrong application of confession in some churches, which lead to seemingly rote and meaningless acts.

Confess to One Another

It’s wonderfully healing to confess our sins to God, and to one another.

James tells us,

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. — James 5:16 (ESV)

God Uses Prayer and confession to bring healing

God Uses Prayer and confession to bring healing

The Lord promises healing as we confess and pray for one another. Tell me, why wouldn’t we talk God up on this offer? I would like to urge you today to take the risk. Find someone safe that you can pray with and confess your sins to.

There are so many hurting people in the church today, so many in need of counseling. Much of the reason for this relates to either sins committed against the person or by the person. Obviously, it’s more complex than that, and I do not mean to minimize your pain if you’ve been hurt deeply. Yet I do believe God can and will bring much healing as we bring our sins to the Lord and ask him to enter in and to touch us.

Martin Luther said that, “all of life is repentance.” Let us repent for our sins, look to Christ as we confess, and receive his healing touch. Let’s walk in freedom together!

In His Grip, Dave