Sheldonville Baptist Church
May 29, 2022
      • Psalm 22:27–31NKJV

  • Only Trust Him
  • You Are My All In All
  • Our God Reigns
  • He Is Able To Deliver Thee
  • We Bow Down
  • Introduction
    The philosopher George Santayana famously wrote “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
    To which the author Kurt Vonnegut replied, “I've got news for Mr. Santayana: we're doomed to repeat the past no matter what. That's what it is to be alive.”
    Frankly, both of these statements are a bit on the gloomy side. But, sadly, they might both be true.
    How many of us either remember, or know people who remember, where they were when Pearl Harbor was attacked? How about when the World Trade Center in New York was attacked?
    How many of us remember, or know people who remember, when President Kennedy was assassinated? How about when President Reagan was almost assassinated?
    How many of us remember, or know people who remember, the school shooting at Columbine? How about the school shooting at Uvalde?
    In every one of these events—except the shooting in Uvalde which is still fresh in our minds—we, as a nation, have vowed ins some form or another to never forget. And while those directly impacted by these events have carried the memories of these events with them, the rest of us moved on. The information may be retained our memory, but the lack of lasting impact would suggest we did not really remember.
    And because we did not, and do not, remember, the substantive changes that we might make to better our lives never happen. We never get beyond the sound bites of political actors who attempt to hijack tragedy as a means of advancing their own agenda.
    This tendency of failing to remember and learn from the events that takes place is not confined to large-scale, national news making events: it is true in the smaller events that make up our individual lives as well. If we were to look closely and think carefully, I am confident that we could all dredge up events in our lives that repeated themselves in some way.
    Failing to remember and learn from the events that make up history is a problem that is likely as old as history itself. We can see it play out in the book of Genesis, just as surely as we can see it play out in today’s newspaper.

    Joseph Seemed Forsaken

    Joseph’s Background

    In Genesis 37, we find the tragic story of a fractured family that saw sibling rivalry go so far that one sibling was actually sold to slavers. That sibling was a man named Joseph.
    In chapter 39, Moses reminds us, a couple times, that “The Lord was with Joseph”. That is an important reminder because on the surface, it looked like maybe God didn’t remember Joseph.
    he was sold as a slave to an Egyptian Bureaucrat named Potiphar
    he worked his way up the ranks of slaves eventually becoming the head of the household. He literally went from being a slave to being a servant. It is an upgrade, but not one we aspire to
    he was eventually falsely accused of a crime
    he was innocent of the crime and everyone knew it, but he was still imprisoned: talk about injustice
    he worked his way up the ranks of prisoners eventually becoming the head prisoner…but let’s face it, that is not something most of us aspire to be either
    We get a pretty good picture of Joseph’s life as one of those important events kicks off:
    Genesis 40:1–4 NKJV
    1 It came to pass after these things that the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt offended their lord, the king of Egypt. 2 And Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief butler and the chief baker. 3 So he put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the prison, the place where Joseph was confined. 4 And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them; so they were in custody for a while.
    Joseph was in the position to serve the imprisoned servants of the king:
    The chief butler, literally cup-bearer, the guy primarily responsible for handing Pharaoh his cup after he sipped from it and didn’t die
    the chief baker, literally the guy who baked stuff

    Joseph’s Moment

    But then, something important happened
    Genesis 40:5 NKJV
    5 Then the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison, had a dream, both of them, each man’s dream in one night and each man’s dream with its own interpretation.
    In the Butler’s dream, there were three branches with grapes on them. He took the grapes, pressed them into a cup and placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.
    In the Baker’s dream, there were three baskets on his head having baked goods for Pharaoh and birds were eating out of the top basket.
    In Joseph’s mind, the meanings of the dreams were clear because God gave him the ability to interpret dreams. He told the men what their dreams meant.
    in three days, the butler would be restored to his position
    in three days, the baker would be hanged

    Joseph’s Request: Remember me

    Genesis 40:14–15 NKJV
    14 But remember me when it is well with you, and please show kindness to me; make mention of me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this house. 15 For indeed I was stolen away from the land of the Hebrews; and also I have done nothing here that they should put me into the dungeon.”

    Joseph Seemed Forgotten

    Genesis 40:23 NKJV
    23 Yet the chief butler did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.
    And not just kind of. Chapter 41 opens with the revelation that two full years elapsed before the next events. Two full years of Joseph being in prison, forgotten by all.
    Pausing the narrative here, it is a good time to ask a question. What happens when we don't remember the significant events in our life or in our history? Joseph had a particular skill set—not one that would qualify him for a Liam Neeson movie—it was a skill set that allowed him genuinely guide and help people.
    Based on what he have already seen in the story, and looking a little ahead to what we know will happen in the story, there are some definite drawbacks to forgetting:
    Victims lose their voice (Joseph)
    Survivors lose their significance (butler)
    Kings lose their counsel (pharaoh)
    Visions lose their vitality (God)
    Lands lose their leadership (people)
    Some of these may seem a bit high-level but what has become clearly exemplified for all of us in the last year or so is that high-level leadership changes eventually—sometimes, suddenly—impact everyday-level life.
    As long as Joseph languished in prison, his God-given skills were not truly helping anyone.

    Joseph Seemed Foreordained

    Fortunately, the story does not end there. Pharaoh had a dream.
    Genesis 41:1 NKJV
    1 Then it came to pass, at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh had a dream; and behold, he stood by the river.
    In Pharaoh’s dream 7 fat cows were eaten by 7 skinny cows and 7 plump heads of grain were consumed by 7 thin heads.
    Strangely enough, no one knew what Pharaoh’s dream meant.
    And then, the lightbulb moment...
    Genesis 41:9–13 NKJV
    9 Then the chief butler spoke to Pharaoh, saying: “I remember my faults this day. 10 When Pharaoh was angry with his servants, and put me in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, both me and the chief baker, 11 we each had a dream in one night, he and I. Each of us dreamed according to the interpretation of his own dream. 12 Now there was a young Hebrew man with us there, a servant of the captain of the guard. And we told him, and he interpreted our dreams for us; to each man he interpreted according to his own dream. 13 And it came to pass, just as he interpreted for us, so it happened. He restored me to my office, and he hanged him.”
    Fortunately, Pharaoh was smart enough to care more about what Joseph could do than where Joseph currently was.
    Genesis 41:14–16 NKJV
    14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon; and he shaved, changed his clothing, and came to Pharaoh. 15 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it.” 16 So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.”
    From there, a lot of good things happened for Joseph. But a lot of good things happened for Egypt because of Joseph. If you don’t know the proverbial rest of the story, read it when you get home.
    All of the good things that happened, happened because the Butler remembered. And he didn’t remember too late for good things to happen. If he had forgotten for a few more years, the story would have been very different.
    It is Memorial Day tomorrow. It is a day that we have set aside in order to say we remember. Unfortunately, we really don’t. Honestly, I’m not sure there is a way to fix that for 300 million people. I’m most concerned about fixing it for a handful of people. And I’m most concerned about fixing it relative to the events that make up our actual lives, not the events that we experience only through the news.
    It is important that we pay enough attention to the events in our own lives that we notice them and remember them. How many of us have regrets that we would prefer to forget that are only made worse by the fact that we repeat them instead? Forgetting isn’t the answer; remembering is. When we remember, we are able to proactively implement the lessons we have learned and take the actions we know we need to take in order to keep history from repeating itself in our lives.
    If enough people did that, we could begin to make some bigger, societal changes. But until that happens, we can better our own lives by simply remembering them enough to learn from them.
      • Genesis 40:1–4NKJV

      • Genesis 40:5NKJV

      • Genesis 40:14–15NKJV

      • Genesis 40:23NKJV

      • Genesis 41:1NKJV

      • Genesis 41:9–13NKJV

      • Genesis 41:14–16NKJV

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