Richvale Church
September 22 2019
  • 10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)
  • Blessed Be Your Name
  • Grace That Won't Let Go (Grace Amazing)
  • O The Deep Deep Love Of Jesus
  • Good morning, we are in our sermon series entitled Our Mess His Masterpiece. And today we are going to be talking about Finding God in Our Story
    Our lives are like a Motif they have different shapes, different patterns.. structures… but collectively these shapes and lines are a collage/ picture of our life...
    Everyone of us in this room has a Story… Each of our lives is an unfolding drama that is linked to our Experiences and our relationships..
    When I was in seminary … in a classes on organizational systems… we had … Dr Kelly Breen Boyce.. from the counseling Department … come and teach the class...
    During the the class she interviewed several students… and had them tell us their life story… it was powerful time as we were moved to hear of challenges, struggles but also how they overcame ....There were real tears in the room… I’ll never forget what Dr. Boyce said..
    She said that most people never get the opportunity to share their story and have someone actively listen to them.. When we listen to people we are giving them a great gift....
    The reason we should listen to our own stories is that our story has shaped who we are...
    That is why its important spend time reflecting on our past and examining the trajectory of our lives. - because our life experiences are MARKERS that indicate how God has been shaping us and molding us for the future.
    When we study a story like the life of Jospeh we can find patterns and designs that relate to our Story in God’s Story.
    First of all there is the Big Picture.
    Josephs story has been called the Masterpiece of Genesis… There is good reason for that because there are several themes or textures that are layered and imbedded in his Story…
    The story of Joseph fits into the larger story of Jacob and Israel becoming a nation. God promised Israel in Gen 12 the Abrahamic covenant that through his seed that he would make his family into a great nation...
    The Bigger story or plot line is the story of Redemption — Not only the rescue of Joseph, the rescue of Israel and the rescue of all people... It’s the story of the Sending of Jesus into our world to Rescue and Restore His people.
    Not only is the Joesph’s story rich in theology but.... But it is also Rich in Application...
    The Story of Joseph is written in a literary style called Novella.. meaning it was intended to teach moral lessons and those who read the story....
    The story of Joseph is about following a plot line… it’s about following God's Sovereign plan unfolding in human lives and interactions....
    Within the story are Markers where we can understand Our story within the Greater plot of God's story...
    T/s What happens when you follow the Plot line of God’s Story? You discover that…

    1. God’s Motif is found in the Story of Calling.

    Joseph was one of Jacob’s Favorite Children out of his 12 sons The main reason was because he was born to him in his old age and the son of his favorite wife Rachael… This intensified after Rachael died in giving birth to the youngest Benjamin… as a result...Jacob spoilt Joseph and gave him more attention than any of his other sons..
    Joseph was honored above his brothers by the gift of Coat of many colors.. It was coat with long sleeves that signified prestige honor and inheritance…often title deeds and money was kept in the sleeves..
    This gift added insult to injury… that caused jealousy that was already present in the brothers to turn into deep hatred..The bible tells us that they could hardly speak to Joseph because they were so angry...
    At the root of the story is a generational sin of favoritism and deception can be traced further up the family tree.... to Isaac and Rebecca — who both had favorites.
    The bible warns us about roots that grow in our lives.
    Hebrews 12:15 ESV
    See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;
    What we see is this root of bitterness grow into a full shoot...
    In-spite of all the dysfunction God is going to uses Joseph to save the nation. The lesson is that God uses our mess as the raw material for his masterpiece
    Finding God in our story is first finding our calling… knowing that life is not random events but there is purpose...
    .… calling has to do with the way God has wired or shaped you.... and the needs around you..
    We are going to pick up on our Story where Joseph follows his calling
    Genesis 37:12–17 ESV
    12 Now his brothers went to pasture their father’s flock near Shechem. 13 And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers pasturing the flock at Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.” And he said to him, “Here I am.” 14 So he said to him, “Go now, see if it is well with your brothers and with the flock, and bring me word.” So he sent him from the Valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. 15 And a man found him wandering in the fields. And the man asked him, “What are you seeking?” 16 “I am seeking my brothers,” he said. “Tell me, please, where they are pasturing the flock.” 17 And the man said, “They have gone away, for I heard them say, ‘Let us go to Dothan.’ ” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.
    We in find in the Story of Joseph the plot line of His calling… Within his calling are these markers or indicators of God of how God is leading Joseph.....As we examine these markers we need to remember that these are also indicative of how God calls and leads us… We see in Josephs story this…
    A. Marker of Meeting a Need
    One of the indicators of calling is a need that needs to met… Scholars tell us there is a difference between real need and felt need… And as we have been talking about community engagement this year… I have been thinking about these two terms… What is felt and what is real.... We need to remember that it depends on you perspective… JEFF IORG said
    To the person with the need, the felt need is the real need. Discovering needs is not that difficult. Making the sacrifice to meet them is the difficult part.. JEFF IORG
    The first thing we learn is that these brothers have gone to Shechem to pasture Jacobs flocks.. it was good watering hole for the flock ... but it was relatively far from Hebron about it was a about 50 miles and 4 day journey...
    Jacob becomes concerned about their safety and well being and he sends Joseph on a mission to see how they are doing.. . All of sudden there is a need for some to check on their safety…This is going to require someone going to check on them…
    Often our calling comes through a real need… but we need to be careful because it is way too simplistic to that needs dictate or constitute calls..
    Just because there is a need for missionaries in China…doesn’t mean we all need to go there as missionaries..
    … It the Need plus the way God has gifted and shaped us to meet a need...
    Frederick Buechner, —Americal preacher
    “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.” Frederick Buechner...
    We learn from Joseph that our calling in life is not always straight forward… it’s never from point A - B…
    B. The Marker of commission
    There is strong parallel to Jacob sending of Joseph and the Great commission Jesus gave His Church..
    You have Jacob having Concern for His Children… Then Jacob says to Joseph, “I will send you.” And then after Joseph says “Here I am” Jacobs says GO NOW.
    This is great commission language ---
    Matthew 28:19 ESV
    Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
    One of the words that is discussed a lot in the great commission verse is the word GO.. It means to move away from one place into another direction… It means movement… some interpret this AS YOU GO.. It doesn’t mean we all going across the world on missions trips.. but it does imply that as you move in life make disciples…
    A disciple, is one who has believed on Jesus Christ and expressed this faith by being baptized. He remains in the fellowship of the believers that he might be taught the truths of the faith — making Disciples simply teaching/ modeling to others how to love Jesus… the best way you can do that by loving Jesus well… and sharing your story...
    C. Marker of Response to God
    Joseph is going to be sent on a mission to his brothers.. He could have said no.. He could have send someone else… He could have said to Joseph you worry about them too much… they will be okay… If we are going to Find God in our Story… we have to be willing to be available… we have to be willing to say yes…
    Notice the willingness of Joseph to go on this mission.. "Here I am"...
    This is as statement of willingness..... The phrase “I am here” comes up 25 and most the times it’s in response to Calling…or saying yes to God...
    We see it in the calling of Samuel.. We see it in the calling of Moses from the burning Bush... we see it in the calling of Isaiah..
    Isaiah 6:8 ESV
    And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”
    There is this stance or willingness to be used of the Lord... Lord send me... speaks of our willingness to heed his calling...
    D. Look For Men of Peace.
    When goes to Hebron nobody is there but by chance (providence) Divine encounter there is a man who he finds wandering in the fields.. Who happens to have overheard and had remembered the conversation that the brothers were heading to Dothan…
    This is nothing short of a divine meeting… It is amazing how sometimes things work out… To be honest there have been many occasions where a chance meeting has been a divine encounter… I remember having a layover flight when I was a student and meeting an African pastor who needed a commentary set… I just so happened to have one I could give him.. It felt great.. to be a blessing...
    God uses these encounters often times to lead us… Jesus himself gave an example how this works in the great commission..
    When Jesus commission the 70 Disciples in Luke 10:6.. Jesus said take nothing no money, no bags…but rather go with peace…and when you go into a house … first say.. “Peace be to this house...” and then he says.. this...
    Luke 10:6 ESV
    And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you.
    God sets these amazing encounters of divine appointments to point us in the right direction....It was this man of peace on the hill side of Shecham that pointed Joseph towards Dothan… One of the things we can do to find God in our story is find the men of peace.. I remember when coming to Richvale finding in Gary and Buzz men of peace… this was part of the confirmation of calling..
    T/s What happens when Follow the Motif Plot line of God’s Story? You discover that…
    1. God’s Motif is found in the Story of Calling.

    2. God Motif is found in the Story of Suffering.

    The plot thickens as Joseph approaches his brothers at Dothan… What we have is a reversal of Fortune…Until this point Joseph is pretty much in control… He has his fathers Blessing… He 17 years old and he is full of ambition and optimism. He has this dream that has been confirmed about him being a leader…but we are going to see a reversal in his fortunes… Now, this does not mean that God has abandoned him… quite the opposite… it just is not going to happen like he had imagined...
    One of the brothers observed a figure approaching across the expanse and called it to his brothers’ attention.
    The gait was familiar, and then at once they all knew as they saw the shimmering of Joseph’s magnificent coat.... This gave them time to hatch this plan of revenge and murder...
    Genesis 37:18–20 ESV
    18 They saw him from afar, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him. 19 They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. 20 Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits. Then we will say that a fierce animal has devoured him, and we will see what will become of his dreams.”
    We see in Joseph this marker of Rejection...
    We see this progression of jealous to anger and now to a plot to murder.... Murder is the ultimate or total rejection of someone...
    We don’t like to talk about rejection much…but I think it is a real part of our life experience… We have all experienced it at some level…and we know that feeling of being left out..
    I was reading about a study done about the feelings of rejection…What they discovered is that we often talk of reaction in terms of physical pain… we say things like "She broke my heart," or "He hurt my feelings," or it was like getting "punched in the gut."
    Well in this study ....they took MRI Scans of people that were being rejected in while playing this online game…
    - What they discovered from their experiments is t, "When human beings experience threats or damage to their social bonds, the brain responds in much the same way it responds to physical pain."
    There is a lot of Rejection going on in the story of Joseph. We have the brothers who are rejected by their father……Now in the reversal of fortunes the brothers have the power to reject Joseph..…and they have the power to take him out...
    … As a leader one of my Jobs is to build consensus around the unity of a Vision… It’s a powerful thing when there is unity around a mission… When a group of people do something for God… There is this beautiful picture of Unity in Psalms 133...
    Psalm 133:1–2 ESV
    Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!
    Here in our text we have the opposite of Unity we have Evil Consensus… around an Evil… It reminds me of psalms 1 where it begins with the words.
    Psalm 1:1–2 ESV
    Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
    Here we have the council of the ungodly that have conspired to Harm Joseph.... We see that everything is done together and written in the plural...
    They conspired
    They said to one another
    let us kill him
    Then we will say that an animal devoured him
    We will see what become of his dream
    They stripped his clothes..
    They sat down to eat...
    let us sell him to the Ismaelites
    They drew Joseph up
    They took Josephs Robe —
    There was total rejection… from his brothers..
    When you look at the rejection of Joseph it is parallels the life of Christ… When Jesus was gaining popularity in his ministry… the chief priest saw Jesus as a threat and they began to plot and plans to have him killed…murder is the ultimate rejection… There plan to kill Jesus was going to fail… because Jesus came to lay down his life…
    Jesus tell us that the stone that the builders rejected has become the corner stone…
    Jesus when he sent out the 72 He warned them… He said to his Disciples that he was sending them out as lambs in the midst of wolves…
    by the virtue of being a follow of Jesus in our culture… there is going to be feelings of rejection… When you say that you believe in a living God… in a Jesus who came as God into the world to save lost sinners.. who came who himself was rejected, despised by the very people he came to save.… A Savior who died on the cross… to bring many to himself… that message is going to be met with rejection.
    1 Peter 4:12–13 ESV
    Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
    Peter says don’t be surprises... when there are seasons in life when they will lack provision, power, position, protection, and a sense of permanence.... Don’t surprised when there verbal or physical persecutions that arise on account of the Word
    Don’t be surprised when dark moments in life when we are asked to fend off the prowling attacks of Satan.
    The Marker of Suffering..
    Genesis 37:23–25 ESV
    23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the robe of many colors that he wore. 24 And they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it. 25 Then they sat down to eat. And looking up they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing gum, balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry it down to Egypt.
    The brothers go straight for the coat that represented Jacobs affections -
    Joseph’s magnificent robe had been at the heart of the story. “The robe began in deep love. Then it was torn in deep hate. Now it is the main tool for a deep deception” (Brueggemann)
    Like a pack of dogs, his nine brothers were upon him, scratching and pulling the hated coat from him and likely his remaining clothing, finally dumping him like a dead body into a pit so deep and vertical that he could not climb out.5
    Thomas Mann imagined it like this: “And with one accord … their hearts beat with a wild rapid rhythm, like drums, so that a hollow concerted drumming noise arose in the breathless stillness.”
    It must have been a terrifying Experience for Joseph who is just 17 years old…… because we only get details twenty years later in Egypt when they encounter Joseph...
    We are told that the brothers remember the moment — and acknowledge their guilt.
    Genesis 42:21 ESV
    Then they said to one another, “In truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us and we did not listen. That is why this distress has come upon us.”
    What is amazing is after seeing Joseph’s anguish the brothers laughed and joked and feasted while they listened to Joseph’s piteous cries and pleadings.
    Another Marker is that of broken heart… Sometimes our lives have been shaped and defined by a broken heart… when tragedy has hit..
    The Marker of a Broken Heart
    Genesis 37:31–32 ESV
    Then they took Joseph’s robe and slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. And they sent the robe of many colors and brought it to their father and said, “This we have found; please identify whether it is your son’s robe or not.”
    The suffering that Jacob endured was incredible..
    First he endured identifying his “ son’s robe.”
    Second, the condition of the coat led him to conclude that “a fierce animal has devoured him.”
    And third, a horrible mental image gripped his soul—“Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces.”
    Jacob’s sorrow. What relentless sorrow!
    We are told that Jacob was heart broken and he refused to be comforted by his sons and daughters. And he may well have kept up something of his public mourning for two decades until the day he saw Joseph.
    Those of us who have experineced heart break need to remember that Jesus identifies fully with our brokeness..
    . Isaiah 53:3 tells us that Jesus was despised, rejected by men, a man of sorrows… and acquainted with grief.. Every Sorrow, every rejection… Jesus took on our grief and suffering on the cross for our healing.. he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows..
    Isaiah 53:5 ESV
    But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
    T/s What happens when Follow the Motif Plot line of God’s Story? You discover that…
    1. God’s Motif is found in the Story of Calling.
    2. God Motif is found in the Story of

    3. God Motif is found in the Story of Rescue.

    God sometimes uses Unexpected events and unexpected people to be agents of our rescue…
    This past week my Niece Cherie took off on a 11 month trip around the globe…She is one of three official Photographers for the “The Clipper Around the world race…” It’s a big deal… Cheri was chosen out of 100 candidates to go on this trip....not only do you have to have the skill set but also have to have the right temperament to be at see for such a long period of time..
    … I was talking brother and he was telling me how proud he was when he saw the yachts leaving port… it was one of the best days of his life..
    Twenty years ago we were literally pushed out of Zimbabwe… we unwanted by our government…As the result our family is spread across the globe…My brother Rob says, when he saw Cherie fulfilling a dream and a passion… He thought it has been worth it… This would have never have happened if we had never left Zimbabwe...
    What we find in Genesis is that in the midst of these evil plans to kill Joseph that God is already working out this plan of rescue..
    Genesis 37:20–22 ESV
    Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits. Then we will say that a fierce animal has devoured him, and we will see what will become of his dreams.” But when Reuben heard it, he rescued him out of their hands, saying, “Let us not take his life.” And Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but do not lay a hand on him”—that he might rescue him out of their hand to restore him to his father.
    Look for Markers of the Unexpected…in the Motif..
    When Reuben hears the plans of the brothers to kill Joseph he intervenes
    Reuben’s actions add another layer of irony: As the eldest of Jacob’s sons, Reuben would have expected to hold a place of prominence among the brothers—an expectation threatened by the message of Joseph’s dreams.
    We are not sure why or what Reubens motivation was… However…it probable that he was trying to get into his fathers good books..
    Reuben, had recently fallen from his father’s favor for his by having an affair with one of his concubines Bilhah, could not afford further blame...and was likely eager to get back in his father good books…
    Reuben’s command to cast Joseph into the pit unharmed was his part of his own plan to sneak back later and rescue Joseph… but Reuben discovers that when he returns Joseph is already gone…
    God uses Reuben to Save the life of Joseph
    God also uses Judah
    Judah proposes that they sell him to the traders and avoid having blood on their hands..
    God uses foreign nation.
    At the end of chapter 37 we have this postscript:
    Genesis 37:36 ESV
    Meanwhile the Midianites had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard.
    Another marker- God is in the Ordinary...
    The slave trade was a thriving industry in the ancient world. Dothan, where Joseph’s brothers pastured their flock, was situated along the major caravan route running from Gilead to Egypt. Caravans carried goods such as spices, myrrh, and balm from southern Arabia to Egypt.1 They also transported slaves from Syria and Canaan. Egyptian documents show that the sale of such slaves was common.2
    If there is anyone in Scripture that could have thrown a “Pity Party,’ It is Joseph....
    He hadn’t done anything to deserve this. His biggest sin was that he liked people—and he assumed that they liked him.
    How easy it would have been for him to fall into rage. How could his brothers do this?
    Their fists and their words were so brutal. He remembered their twisted faces, all so ugly, and now so easy to hate!
    What an opportunity for enslavement to victimhood. But there is not a “poor me” hint anywhere in the entire Genesis account of Joseph!
    How and why?
    Joseph had this High View of God’s calling and purposes… He ...
    Like his great-grandfather Abraham, Jospeh believed the bare word of God —
    Joseph believed the promise handed down from Abraham, Isaac, and his father Jacob. He extended the continuity of their faith. Joseph believed God’s word in the dream.
    He believed that one day his family would bow down to him as part of God’s mysterious plan.
    Second, he had an immense view of God and thus reasoned that God was doing his will throughout the inscrutable drama and convolutions of his enslavement in Egypt.
    What about our Story?
    We all carry wounds, some of which go all the way back to when we were young. For some that is recent history, for others antiquity! Nevertheless, for many of us all it would take to reopen those wounds is a high-school reunion—and behold, the rerun of old insecurities and hurts. Most can name those old wounds, with a vividness like it was yesterday
    What we need to do is to see How God uses all these things.. God uses our Calling, God uses our wiliness, God uses Rejection and Suffering.. God uses stories of Rescue… God uses the ordinary....
    As God’s children, we must believe his word—that God will work good out of past and that trusting him we will one day say with Joseph to past evils, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good”
      • Hebrews 12:15ESV

      • Genesis 37:12–17ESV

      • Matthew 28:19ESV

      • Isaiah 6:8ESV

      • Luke 10:6ESV

      • Psalm 133:1–2ESV

      • Genesis 42:21ESV

      • Genesis 37:31–32ESV

      • Isaiah 53:5ESV

      • Genesis 37:20–22ESV

      • Genesis 37:36ESV

  • The Solid Rock
  • jesus,

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