Sun, Jan 20, 2008

I SEE JESUS! GENESIS 37

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Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
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I SEE JESUS!
GENESIS 37

            Please turn in your Bibles this morning to Genesis chapter 37 as we look at the life of Joseph and how he is a picture or type of Jesus. Before we look at Genesis chapter 37 let me share this story with you. We are told:

            A young boy was allowed for the first time to go with his parents to see what it was like in "big church." There was to be a service of Holy Communion, followed by the sermon.

As the minister stood behind the communion table, and broke the bread, the boy whispered, "What does that mean, Dad?"

His father said, "That's what Jesus said we must do to remember Him."

Then the minister lifted the chalice. The boy whispered, "And what does that mean, Dad?"

His father said, "That reminds us how Jesus shed his blood for us on the Cross."

Finally, the minister moved to the pulpit. He took off his watch with a flourish, and put it down in front of him. The boy asked, "And what does that mean, Dad?"

His father said, "THAT, my son, means absolutely NOTHING."

- Source Unknown

            Folks, when it comes down to types of Christ in the Bible, it does mean something and the Holy Spirit is showing us these things for a reason, as we will see this morning. But can we trust the Scriptures; can we trust what the Bible tells us, these 66 books? You bet we can!

            Almost 34 years ago, Time magazine ran an article entitled "How True Is The Bible?" And in this article they discussed the condition of the Bible after some 200 years of harsh attacks by the critics. They stated: "The breath, sophistication and diversity of all this biblical investigation are impressive, but it begs a question: has it made the Bible more credible or less? After more than two centuries of facing the heaviest scientific guns that could be brought to bear, the Bible has survived and is, perhaps, better for the siege. Even on the critics' own terms, historical fact, the Scriptures seem more acceptable now than they did when the rationalists began the attack." (Time, 30 December, 1974, p. 41).

You see, these 66 books that make up the Old and the New Testament, written by 40 different authors from every walk of life imaginable (shepherds, kings, fishermen, doctors, tax collectors, etc.), from a period of time beginning around 1500 BC to around 96 AD, written on three continents (Asia, Africa and Europe), in three different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek), is not a mixture of different stories that are not related. The Bible is God's progressive revelation of Himself to His creation. It is one continuous story without contradiction or errors. It is a love story of God's unconditional love for His creation, man.

            This morning in our study we are going to do things a little different in that we will have an overview of Genesis chapter 37 and we will see how just in this chapter there are many types or pictures of Jesus and from that we will draw some conclusions for our own lives.  We then will sum things up. First of all, in Psalm 40:7 we are told, Then I said, ‘Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me.’  Or as The Living Bible puts this verse, Then I said, ‘See, I have come, just as all the prophets foretold.’

            I believe David is speaking of Christ and that the scroll of the book or the Bible is speaking of Christ. Now at this point in time David may only be referring to the Pentateuch or the Book of the Law. That is Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy or the first 5 books of Moses.

But I feel what David is implying goes far beyond the Pentateuch. I believe that from Genesis to Revelation, the Scriptures testify of Jesus Christ. In the New Testament, in Revelation 19:10 we see the angel tell John "...'Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.'" The word "testimony" is the Greek word MARTURIA, which means to "record, report, witness". Thus, the witness of Christ has been predicted, and those predictions, those prophecies are found in the Word of God.

Also, Jesus said in John 5:39-40 "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life." The religious leaders were searching for that abundant life and they could not find it, why? Because the Word of God does not give us eternal life, but it does reveal it to us. Eternal life is found only in Christ, and the Scriptures reveal to us Jesus Christ so that we may have that abundant, eternal life.

Thus, as you read through the Scriptures you see various types of Christ, illustrations of Him, throughout the Word of God. They all point to Him and the work He was to do. But you have to remember that the Old Testament lived in the shadow of the cross. When Jesus came, the shadows were gone, for the substance was here. What may seem difficult to understand prior to the cross is now lighted by Christ and is easier for us to understand in that light.

And so with that as our background, let’s dig in and see what we can learn and apply to our lives as we study God’s Word!

1.  I HAVE COME TO DO MY FATHER’S WILL – GENESIS 37:1-2

            As you read this you may come to the conclusion that Joseph was a tattletale, snitching on his brothers, but that is not the case. Joseph loved his father and he wanted to do those things that pleased his father.

            That should sound familiar to you because that is a great picture of Jesus. In Luke chapter 2 we see Joseph and Mary take Jesus to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover and He is now 12 years old. And after the Passover, as the family heads home, as they are a day’s journey out they noticed that Jesus is not with them. So they head back to Jerusalem and after 3 days they find Jesus in the Temple listening to what the teachers were saying and questioning them and answering them and they were amazed at what He was saying.

            As Joseph and Mary find Jesus they are upset with Him for not staying with them and Jesus responds by saying, “ . . . ‘Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?’  Luke 2:49. That was the heart of Jesus, serving His Father, doing His Father’s business you might say.

            In John 5:19 we are told, “Then Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.’  In other words, He was obedient to the Father and does whatever the Father desires of Him. That too was Joseph.

            And in John 8:29 Jesus said, “And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.  Jesus was not self-willed, He was not self-centered but He did those things that pleased the Father.  Again, Joseph didn’t report the bad work ethics or whatever his brothers did to his father because he was trying to make a name for himself. He did that because he did those things that would please his father!

            Where are you at this morning? Are you serving Father God, doing His work or business here on earth?  Are you obedient to what Father God is showing you?  Are you doing those things that would please the Father? Paul put it this way in Galatians 1:10, For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. The Living Bible puts this verse like this, You can see that I am not trying to please you by sweet talk and flattery; no, I am trying to please God. If I were still trying to please men I could not be Christ's servant.

            Here is the reality, you are either going to serve God or you are going to serve men. How do you know who you are serving?  It is really very simple. Are you more concerned about what God thinks of your actions, your behavior, the plans you are making or are you more concerned about what others might think of what you are doing?

            You see, for Joseph he knew his brothers would not be happy in what he told his father about them. But it didn’t alter what he did because he was more concerned about pleasing his father, living in harmony with him!  May we have that same heart, a desire to live in harmony with the Father. Jesus put it like this in John 5:30, I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.  Don’t seek your own will, but seek the will of the Father, allow your mind to be transformed by the power of His Spirit working with His Word and what will flow from your life will be in harmony with the Father!

2.  HATED BY HIS OWN – GENESIS 37:4

            Jealousy, envy is a horrible monster that destroys many lives.  That is what we see here with the brothers of Joseph. They hated him because their father loved Joseph more. And maybe the reason he loved Joseph more was because he was living in harmony with him.

            In John 1:11, in speaking of Jesus, we are told, He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.  The Amplified Bible puts this verse like this, He came to that which belonged to Him [to His own — His domain, creation, things, world], and they who were His own did not receive Him and did not welcome Him.  Why did they not receive Him, receive Jesus?  Because Jesus did not fit in with their theology, what they believed, which was then manifested in their actions.

            And if you don’t think envy is a monster, listen to some of these verses from the Scriptures and see how they are linked to murder or that murder is listed right after envy.  In speaking of the religious leaders we are told in Matthew 27:18 of what Pilate saw, For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy.  Notice, envy caused them to hand Jesus over to Pilate and it lead to the death of Jesus, their envy!

            In Romans 1:29 we are told, being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers.  Do you see that?  Envy and then murder and that is how it goes! And when I speak of murder it may not only be physical murder but you can murder a person with your tongue, destroying their reputation, destroying them!

Dwight L. Moody once told the fable of an eagle who was envious of another that could fly better than he could. One day the bird saw a sportsman with a bow and arrow and said to him, “I wish you would bring down that eagle up there.” The man said he would if he had some feathers for his arrow. So the jealous eagle pulled one out of his wing. The arrow was shot, but it didn’t quite reach the rival bird because he was flying too high. The first eagle pulled out another feather, then another—until he had lost so many that he himself couldn’t fly. The archer took advantage of the situation, turned around, and killed the helpless bird.

Moody made this application: if you are envious of others, the one you will hurt the most by your actions will be yourself.

- Source unknown

            Are you angry with the Lord this morning because of the things that are happening in your life? Have you allowed the envy of others to cause you to talk against others instead of rejoicing in what God is doing in their lives? If you are you need to repent and get right with God or that ugly monster known as envy will destroy lives, including your own!

3.  WE WILL NOT HAVE THIS MAN RULE OVER US – GENESIS 37:8

            God gives Joseph a dream of what is going to happen and he shares this dream with his brothers.  In this dream of 12 sheaves, 1 of these 12 rose up taller than the 11 others and the 11 bowed down before the one. Well, his brothers knew what Joseph was saying, that this little pipsqueak was going to rule over them and they were not going to allow it - they hated him even more for this!

            The Jews felt the same way about Jesus as the brothers of Joseph did towards him.  In John chapter 10 Jesus tells them He is God, and for those that receive Him they will receive everlasting life. And in John 10:33 we are told, The Jews answered Him, saying, ‘For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.’  In other words, you are a man, you are not God and thus, we will not bow down to you!

            We also see this at the trial of Jesus with Pontius Pilate and after He is beaten so badly He does not even look like a man anymore, Pilate thought these Jewish religious leaders who were inciting the crowds against Jesus, might have some compassion and call for His release. As Pilate displays Jesus before them, he says, Behold your king!” and they respond by saying, by crying out, “. . . ‘Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!’ Pilate said to them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar!’  John 19:15.

            Isn’t that the cry of many today, “I will not have that Man rule over me!”  In a Letters to the Editor, Adam Gauthier is saying that.  He starts out by saying that this nation was not founded on the Judeo-Christian beliefs, they did not come here for religious freedom.  Are you kidding me?  They came here not for freedom for religions but freedom to practice the Christian faith without the government involvement, but he does miss that point. And then he brings in religion and government and once again he is wrong regarding separation of church and state.  Now, listen carefully to what he says here:

            While I do not disrespect your religious beliefs, or joke about them, it is completely ridiculous to use spiritual figures and deities as argument for factual and constitutional disputes. While God and Jesus may hold a dear spot in your heart (and I applaud you for this, and respect it), for some of us, this God and Jesus simply do not exist.

            And please, do not tell me that I need to find Jesus. If I told you that you needed to find Buddha, or find Mohammed, you would cringe.

            Christianity pulls no more weight than any other religion in our government, as it is not a part of government. God does not run America.

- Adam Gauthier, Manitowoc

            In other words, what he is saying is, “I will not have this Man rule over me!”  What a sad statement to make. And to compare the true and living God to false god’s, well, there is no comparison.  How do I know this?  Simply, we are told in Isaiah 44:6-7, Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God. And who can proclaim as I do? Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me, Since I appointed the ancient people. And the things that are coming and shall come, Let them show these to them.’

            You see, the Bible is over 25% prophetic in nature. God has told us ahead of time the things that would take place and some of them have occurred and some of them are future. For instance, there are over 300 prophecies related to the first coming of Jesus that were fulfilled down to the tiniest detail and they were not some vague prophecy.  The Lord told us the birthplace of Jesus and specifically which Bethlehem!  No other god can do that and no other religious book has prophecy like the Bible does. So there are no other god’s besides our Lord! But people do have a free will to choose but why suppress the truth when you can receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior and enter into eternal life with Him!

            Here’s the thing. Where are you at this morning? Maybe you believe in Jesus but you are doing your own thing, you are not allowing Jesus to be Lord of your life. You can’t say you love the Lord and when He tells you to do something you say, “Not so, Lord!”  That contradicts what you say you believe. You need to surrender to Jesus too not only be the Savior of your life but to be Lord of your life!

4.  YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH – GENESIS 37:9-11

            God gave Joseph a second dream and he saw what happened when he shared the first dream with his brothers, they were not too happy. Thus, this one is not going to be any better. In this dream his mother, father and brothers are all bowing down before him. Now, instead of keeping silent, Joseph tells them the second dream to them and once again they don’t take it too well. You see, they couldn’t handle the truth! They did not want to bow down before Joseph!

            When you look at the ministry of Jesus, He spoke the truth; they just couldn’t handle the truth. Listen carefully to what Jesus said in John 5:39-47, You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.  I do not receive honor from men. But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God? Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you — Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?

            In other words, the Scriptures testify of Jesus, He is the fulfillment of what the Old Testament prophets said of the Messiah and they couldn’t handle the truth and they rejected the truth!  It is as we are told in the following story of not being able to handle the truth. We are told:

            A woman's red station wagon was crushed by an elephant at a circus. The owners of the animal apologized, explaining that the animal, for some reason, simply liked to sit on red cars. In spite of the damage, the woman's car was still drivable. But on the way to the garage she was stopped short by an accident involving two other cars just ahead of her. When the ambulance arrived a few minutes later the attendants took one look at her car, then ran over to assist her.

"Oh, I wasn't involved in this accident," she explained. "An elephant sat on my car." The ambulance attendants quickly bundled her off to the hospital for possible shock and head injuries, despite the lady's vehement protests. 

- Bits and Pieces, October, 1991

            Where are you at this morning? God’s Word is truth, can you accept it, can you receive it into your life?  You see, by receiving what God has for you it will bless you, it may not be easy, it may be difficult to swallow, but it is what is best for your life!  And I am not saying just believe God’s Word, which is important, but are you applying it to your life, are you living what you say you believe?  Can you handle the truth? God wants you to!  And, we must also speak forth the truths of God found in the Word of God even when it is not popular. Do not compromise your faith!

5.  GOD SO LOVE THE WORLD – GENESIS 37:13

            Get the picture here. Shechem was a place of depravity, immorality, the world you might say. And the sons of Jacob, except for Joseph, and of course Benjamin who was too young at this time, where not with them.  So Jacob asks Joseph to go and help his brothers, see what they are up to, see what they need, and Joseph says to his father, Here I am. In other words, Joseph was wiling to go to the aid of his brothers.

            That should remind us of what God the Father and God the Son have done for us. In John 3:16-17 we are told, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  In other words, we are in need of help in this world we live. We are dead in our trespasses and sins, and the Father sends the Son into the world to save us. And Jesus says to the Father, “Here I am.” He was willing to lay down His life to save us!

            May we not take that lightly but have thankful hearts in what the Lord has done for us. You see, we did not deserve it and yet, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us! What a joy to know that we have been set free from sin in Christ!

6.  PLOTTED TO KILL HIM – GENESIS 37:16-18

            So as Joseph goes out to help his brothers, as he seeks to find that which was lost you might say, his brothers see him coming at a distance and they plot to kill him, the one who has come to help them!

            Isn’t that true of the Jewish religious leaders, how early on in the ministry of Jesus they plotted to kill Him!  In John 5:16-18 we are told, For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.’ Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.

            In other words, Jesus didn’t play according to their rules; their ideas and thus, He must be killed.  How crazy is this.  Jesus heals a man on the Sabbath and they are so outraged that they want to kill Jesus and it is the Sabbath!  They would rather kill than heal and that is the wicked heart of man!  And in Luke 22:2, towards the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, we are told, And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill Him, for they feared the people. The following of Jesus was growing and thus, He must be put to death is what they are saying here!  But long before He was put to death, the Jewish religious leaders were plotting to kill Him!

7.  HE WAS STRIPPED OF HIS SEAMLESS ROBE – GENESIS 37:23

            As they took hold of Joseph, his brothers, they removed his seamless robe. That should remind us of Jesus and how they removed His garments, His robe and cast lots for it!

8.  THE BEAST HAS DEVOURED HIM – GENESIS 37:33

            As the sons of Jacob returned home, after selling their brother Joseph into slavery, they show their dad the tunic and the blood that is on it and Jacob comes to the conclusion that Joseph has been killed by a wild beast and the sons of Jacob were satisfied, Jacob bought into their lies!

            When we look at sin, our sin is like a wild beast; it is deadly and it destroys people’s lives. And as Jesus hung on the cross of Calvary, as He paid in full for our sins, as the punishment that was due us was placed on Him, it looked as if the beast of sin has devoured Jesus as He died!

            The reality is, in His death, He rose from the grave and thus, through Him many would be saved. Folks, if it weren’t for Joseph being sold into slavery, many would have died in the coming famine. I shared this with you on Thursday, but I believe it bears repeating. Here is the reality, we might not always see what God is doing until we look back and see what He has done!

If Joseph’s brothers never sell him to the Midianites, then Joseph never goes to Egypt.

If Joseph never goes to Egypt, he never is sold to Potiphar.

If he is never sold to Potiphar, Potiphar’s wife never falsely accuses him of rape.

If Potiphar’s wife never falsely accuses him of rape, then he is never put in prison.

If he is never put in prison, he never meets the baker and butler of Pharaoh.

If he never meets the baker and butler of Pharaoh, he never interprets their dreams.

If he never interprets their dreams, he never gets to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams.

If he never gets to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams, he never is made prime minister.

If he is never made prime minister, he never wisely administrates for the severe famine coming upon the region.

If he never wisely administrates for the severe famine coming upon the region, then his family back in Canaan perishes from the famine.

If his family back in Canaan perishes from the famine, the Messiah can’t come forth from a dead family.

If the Messiah can’t come forth, then Jesus never came.

If Jesus never came, you are dead in your sins and without hope in this world.

            You see, God’s perfect plan. It is as we are told in Isaiah 55:8-11, ‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.’  We may not always understand what God is doing but may we learn to trust in Him as Joseph will do!

            And in regards to Jesus, it is as Paul said in I Corinthians 15:20-22, But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. Praise the Lord for that!

            Now there is much more we can look at as we look at Joseph being a type of Christ, but time will not allow us to continue. In fact, A. W. Pink in his book, Gleanings From Genesis has 101 pictures of Christ in Joseph and the work he was doing!

            But here is where I want to close this morning. When you look at the life of Joseph you see Jesus!  What do people see when they look at your life?

In his classic work The Master’s Indwelling, Andrew Murray illustrated this problem of being distracted. He wrote, “When a man is giving a lecture, he often uses a long pointer to indicate places on a map or a chart. Do people look at that pointer? No, that only helps to show them the place on the map, and they do not think of it. It might even be of fine gold, but the pointer cannot satisfy them. They want to see what the pointer points at. And the Bible is a pointer, pointing us to God.”

- Our Daily Bread

            As true as that is, there are many who will never pick up a Bible and so the only Jesus they will see is the Jesus who is in us!  It is as John the Baptist said regarding Jesus, He must increase, but I must decrease. The Amplified Bible puts it like this, He must increase, but I must decrease. [He must grow more prominent; I must grow less so.] [Isa 9:7.] And The Living Bible, He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.  Obviously John was speaking of popularity, following, that the people needed to seek after Jesus and thus, his ministry must decrease and the Lord’s will increase.  But for us, I believe the Holy Spirit is telling us that the self-life must go and be replaced with Jesus so that His nature, His love will flow from us and touch the lives of others!

            Paul put it like this in II Corinthians 2:14-17, Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.

            You see, wherever we go we are leaving an aroma behind, may it be the fragrance of Jesus we are leaving for people. May we point people to Jesus and as they look at our lives, like we have examined the life of Joseph, may they see Jesus!

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