Series: Divine Purpose
Sun am 8 September 2019 – Kobus Swart
Gen. 37 – 42; (Gen. 43:3); (Gen. 45:3); Rom. 8:28-30, 34; Eph. 1:3-11; Job 1:1-7
I am going to summarize the story of a young man by the name of Joseph, from the age of 17 to the age of 30 (Read full chapters: Gen. 37–45). It is important for us to connect to our divine destiny, what God predestined us to be. This story is foundational to our journey as human beings. God knew every person while he or she was shaped in the womb and had a plan for every one of us. Jacob loved Joseph more than his other sons because he was the son of his old age and made him a multi-coloured coat. His brothers hated him and could not speak to him on friendly terms.
Joseph had a prophetic dream and his brothers hated him even more, yet his father kept that dream in his mind. Jacob sent Joseph to his brothers to see how they were. His brothers plotted together and wanted to kill him. Reuben suggested that he not be killed but thrown in a pit. They took his multi-coloured coat, killed an animal and splashed the blood all over it and took it home to Jacob. They lied to Jacob and showed him what they had found and told him Joseph had been killed. The brothers then decided to sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites who then took him to Egypt. But God..! Potiphar bought Joseph from the Ishmaelites, but the Lord was with Joseph. Potiphar discovered that Joseph was a good man and made him overseer over his house. The Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house on account of Joseph. If we are to be salt and light, wherever we end up, we can still bring a blessing.
Joseph was handsome in form and appearance and Potiphar’s wife tried to tempt him to sleep with her. Joseph resisted the temptation due to the awareness of his responsibilities. After several efforts she grabbed his coat and he ran away. She falsely accused Joseph and Potiphar put him in jail. But God …! The Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him and gave him favour even with the chief jailer (Gen. 39:21). He was jailed with the king’s cupbearer and baker. Whatever happens to you, remember, “but God…” The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph’s charge because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made to prosper (Gen 39:23). Sounds like Rom 8:28, doesn’t it? For we know that all things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28).
The cupbearer and the baker had dreams. Joseph explained the dreams and both the prophetic explanations came to pass. Joseph asked the cupbearer to remember him, but the cupbearer forgot about Joseph until Pharaoh had a dream. Joseph interpreted the dream and the king appointed Joseph under himself over all of Egypt. Some of us may be trapped in a shaking of sorts (“pits” or “prison cells”), but keep a right spirit and remember that God has a plan for your life; it is that plan of God unfolding in your life.
Before the drought when there was abundance, Joseph, led by the Lord, stored food. When the famine came, Jacob heard there was food in Egypt. He sent all his sons, besides Benjamin, to Egypt. Joseph immediately recognized his brothers who bowed before him (remember his dream?). They bought and paid for the food, but Joseph instructed the men to put the money back in their bags. He used that to bring them back. He then sent them back home to bring Benjamin to him. Joseph had a plan to reveal who he was to all of his family who thought he was dead. This story is not just about having a prophetic dream and living the plan, but there is a deep story here about the plan of salvation.
In the end Joseph wanted to reveal who he was to his brothers. He said, “You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you” (Gen. 43:3). Once they brought Benjamin he reveals, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence (Gen. 45:3). It was an incredibly emotional experience.
There are three different kinds of people in the world. 1) There are those with no life purpose. They are drifters, aimlessly cruising through life. They go to school, get a job, switch jobs, switch spouses, they move from house to house, from place to place, retire and eventually die. They do not really live, they just exist. 2) There are those who have the wrong life purpose. They may be super achievers; they have climbed the ladder of financial, social and political success only to find that their ladder was leaning against the wrong wall. They either discover too late or never realize that they missed a purposeful life that could have positively influenced others. 3) There are those who have the right life-purpose. They have connected to the plan of God which was predestined before their birth. They know why they were created. They know why God put them on this earth. They are all about fulfilling that purpose. That is the life that brings a smile to the face of God. That is success that lasts. It has nothing to do with popularity, power or possessions. It has everything to do with purpose, because that is the only thing that gives God-given assurance of success. It has to do with connecting to Divine purpose. Then all things will work together for those who love God and are called according to that purpose. We need to connect with our divine purpose.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will (Eph. 1:3-11).
The story of Joseph is summarized in Romans 8 – the sonship chapter. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined (past tense) to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified (Rom. 8:29-30). It is all past tense. We must realize that if these are all past tense, what we need to do is to remember! “Oh, is that who I am? Is that what I am? Is that what I am called for?” We do not work ourselves into it, we discover! That is what the word “revelation” means. “Revelation” means to unveil what is, or to remember. You have been predestined, you have been called, you have been justified and you have been glorified.
Then, why should we go through this earthly experience as predestined sons? Adam and Eve were created in the likeness and image of God. It was a done deal. Adam became a living soul but that was not the ultimate position. When Jesus – the Last Adam – came, He became a life-giving spirit. He put Adam and Eve in the garden. They were clean and spotless. God put two trees in the middle of the garden, but they were forbidden to touch one of them. God had to test their obedience. They were untested and unproven.
Another example is Job. He was a perfect man, blessed, rich and had everything, but he was untested. God had no choice but to test Job, we know the story (Job 1:1-7). We are called and predestined sons, justified, glorified, but we have not been tested yet. Life then, is about being tested and proven for what we are, not what we will become, no, what we are! Why do we take a short-cut by eating of the “do-it-yourself” tree? We are and have been seated with Him in heavenly places. It is past tense. Discover it!
It is a very simple message! Life is about discovering who we are. It is all in God’s plan, it is done. The tests we are going through are to shape our lives into the life of His Son (Rom 8:29 Msg). That is what the corporate Son is all about. The world is waiting to see the corporate Son.
Jesus selected only three to go with Him up the mountain of transfiguration. His face shone like the sun. Moses and Elijah, chief men from the cloud of witnesses appeared. Peter wanted to build three tabernacles, with an old mind-set of “Let’s build tabernacles, let’s build churches …”. No Peter, no! Then the Father’s voice sounded: “This is My Son with whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him!” When Peter looked up there was nobody except Jesus. We go through experiences and then we want to build structures and institutions.
Let us first remember who we are, what we are called to be, what the purpose of our life is and the difference we can make in our relational environment and community if we know who we are. This is a major challenge for Christians. It is not to have another revival but to discover who we are. How do you get there? By spending intimate times with God because He knows who you are. Embrace the truth of who you already are! Jesus is still praying for us to wake up and know who we are (Rom 8:34). We have been called, predestined, justified and glorified. Stop trying to do something or achieve something. Discover who you are!