Sermon:  God will come through       

Summary:  God does not always let us know the specifics of his plan, 
therefore we need to trust that he will do what he promises in his own time 
and his own way.  

Text:  Multiple Gen 37-46

Scripture Reading:  Phil 4:11-13

1.  Missed expectations  
2.  There is an air of expectation from the very beginning of the story
	a.  From the time God promised seed of woman would crush the head of 
	      the serpent
	b.  From the time when God promised Abraham 
		- Descendents would be as numberless as the stars
		- Descendants would have a land all their own
		- All families of the earth be blessed through his seed
3.  Big picture:  God's promise (Gen 35:9-12)
	a.  First made to Abraham, then Isaac, then Jacob
	b.  Nation and company of nations will come from Israel
	c.  Land will be given to his descendants
4.  So there are expectations.  How do they play out?
	a.  Three major characters in Genesis - Abraham, Jacob, Joseph
	b.  Joseph is one of twelve sons of Jacob/Israel
	c.  This morning will focus on Joseph

I.  Joseph had grown up with favor 
	A.  (Gen 37:1-11)
		1.  Joseph watched over his brothers and reports back to his father
		2.  Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons
		3.  Joseph had dreams of ambition
			a.  They all binding sheaves, brother's sheaves bowed to his
			b.  Sun, moon, &11 stars bow to him
			c.  Not only brothers, but parents bowing to him
		4.  Father rebuked him, brothers resented him and hated him
	B.  What does this have to do with God's promise?
		1.  All we can see is a teenager with a pride problem
		2.  Ever known anyone like that?
			a.  Tattle tale, police everyone, young novice
			b.  Sometimes can be irritating
			c.  That a huge understatement concerning Joseph
	C.  Final straw (12-14,18-28) - Sent to check on brothers
		1.  Wanted to kill him
		2.  Reuben talks them out of it, he responsible, oldest son
		3.  They threw him into a dry well, Reuben intended to get him out
		4.  While Reuben gone, they sell him to a caravan as a slave
	C.  Imagine what this must have been like
		1.  Joseph's dreams are shattered
		2.  Not only are they not coming true, he is now a slave, commodity
	D.  Did those dreams mean nothing?
		1.  For Joseph, it looks like he destined to live life as a slave
		2.  What will happen next?

II.  (Gen 39:1-6) Joseph as a slave
	A.  He went from slave to overseer 
		1.  He didn't work for just anyone
		2.  Potiphar was captain of the guard
	B.  Things have definitely taken a turn for the better
		1.  Joseph was in charge of the whole household
		2.  He was a slave, but not a common slave
		3.  Joseph is out of the pit and is on his way back up
	C.  But things take a turn for the worst AGAIN
		1.  (v.7-10) - Joseph acted honorably with Potiphar's wife
		2.  (v.11-20) - Potiphar's wife became angry with him
			a.  Who does he think he is?  He is a slave!
			b.  He should be obedient to whatever I want
			c.  But in slavery, Joseph holds on to his honor and integrity
				- Even though he is a slave, he is God's free man
				- He does not give in
		3.  Potiphar's wife falsely accused him and he was aput in prison
	C.  What would be going through your mind now?
		1.  First, those dreams as a child
		2.  Then, torn away from family, everything you knew, sold as slave
		3.  Slave in a foreign land, be prestigious, became head servant
		4.  Now in prison!
	D.  What in the world is God up to?
		1.  Is he being cruel?
		2.  Are things just happening random?
		3.  Did he change his mind?

III.  (Gen 39:20-23) Joseph as a prisoner
	A.  It would be easy to think God is not with him
		1.  Went from father's favorite to prisoner 
		2.  He literally lost everything
	B.  But the text says God was with Joseph.  
		1.  God must be up to something
		2.  Glimmer of hope - 40:1-23 - Story of Cupbearer and Baker
			a.  Joseph interpreted their dreams and they came true
				- Cupbearer's dream - Vine, 3 branches, produced 
				   grapes, squeezed into cup and gave to Pharaoh
				- Baker's dream - Three baskets bread, top had baked 
				  goods for Pharaoh, birds eating them out of basket
				- Cupbearer would be restored 3 days, baker hanged
			b.  It happened just as Joseph said
			c.  Joseph had asked him to remember him, he innocent
			d.  (40:23) However, cupbearer forgot Joseph, left him in jail
		3.  Glimmer of hope snuffed out, Joseph seems to be stuck
		4.  Everyone seems to have forgotten Joseph, even God?
	C.  If this were you, what would you be feeling about now?
		1.  Would you weep and curse at your fate?
		2.  Would you be angry at God?
		3.  Would you be in despair and just give up?
	D.  Each major life change brought Joseph lower
		1.  I would shudder to think of what might be next.
		2.  What could possibly be worse than prison?

IV.  Joseph has one final major life change coming
	A.  41:1-24 -Pharoah's dreams
		1.  Cows
			a.  Seven cows from Nile, sleek and fat
			b.  After were seven lean and sickly cows
			c.  Sickly cows at fat cows, grew no fatter
		2.  Grain
			a.  Seven ears of grain on a stalk, plump and good
			b.  Then seven ears of grain scorched by wind came up
			c.  Scorched ears swallowed up good ears
		3.  NO ONE could interpret the dreams
	B.  The cupbearer FINALLY remembers Joseph after two years!
		1.  Told Pharaoh about Joseph, and Pharaoh calls for Joseph
		2.  v.16 After giving credit to God, Joseph tells him their meaning
	C.  Joseph gives interpretation and some advice (41:25-36)
		1.  Seven years of abundance
		2.  Seven years of destitute famine
		3.  Suggestion, 1/5 tax and stockpile grain
	C.  (41:37-45) - Joseph made second in command only to Pharaoh!
		1.  From age 17 to age 30, he has been a slave and prisoner
		2.  Now, finally, God lifts him up
		3.  He is an exalted figure in Egypt
	D.  But wait, aren't we losing track of the promise?

V.  Everything comes together in the ending of this story
	A.  42:1ff - Famine brings Joseph's brother's to Egypt looking for food
		1.  They come before Joseph, don't recognize him, THEY BOW
		2.  So much drama in the reunion
			a.  Joseph does not reveal identity, disguised himself
			b.  First accuses them of being spies
				- They try to convince Joseph they are not spies
				- Told them they are 12 brothers, one died, the other 
				   back home with their aged father
				- Joseph puts them in prison 3 days
			c.  Joseph's test - Bring back youngest brother to verify truth 
			     of their words
				- Can take grain back
				- In Hebrew, Reuben blasts the brothers for what they 
				  had done to Joseph, now they paying the price, not 
				   knowing Joseph was there and understood
				- Joseph binds and holds Simeon hostage
			d.  Joseph orders grain sacks filled and money returned
				- On the way back, discovered money in bags
				- Now they are really afraid
				- They told Jacob what happened
				- Jacob's reaction v.38
	B.  43:1ff - Famine forces them to return to Egypt with Benjamin
		1.  Joseph has to go away when he sees Benjamin, he weeps
		2.  Brothers were fearful
			a.  They were brought into Joseph's house
			b.  But Joseph treats them as honored guests
			c.  They feast there
		3.  When time to leave, Joseph orders his cup put into Benjamin's 
		      sack of grain
			a.  After they left, Joseph sent for them, accusing them of 
			b.  They found the cup in Benjamin's sack
			c.  Joseph was going to keep Benjamin and make him a 
		4.  They beg for Benjamin's life, what a change!
			a.  They explain that their father loved Benjamin
			b.  Benjamin only child of Rachel's left
			c.  If not bring Benjamin back, their father would die from 
			d.  Judah offers himself in Benjamin's place
	C.  (45:4-9) - Joseph is so moved, he could not hold it back
		1.  He finally reveals himself to his brothers
		2.  No bitterness, no grudge
		3.  If this not happen, family would have starved to death
		4.  Joseph sends for his father and family, they are preserved
	D.  (46:2-4) - God speaks to Jacob and tells him to go to Egypt
		1.  God was keeping his promise all along
		2.  The whole family will grow and prosper in Egypt
		3.  They will become numerous and mighty

1.  What does this teach us about God?
	- God does not always let us know the particulars of his plan.
2.  (Phil 4:11-12) - What is the "secret?"  Read verse 13.
	a.  What ever circumstances, we can do all things through our Lord
	b.  Whether it is surviving being falsely accused, persecuted, enslaved...
	c.  Whether an enemy takes hold of us, sickness, or something worse
3.  The secret is trust in God
	- He will do what he said he would do
	- He said he is coming back to get us, and he will (inv)