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Presentation 61. During W.W.II there was a time, when Hitler's war machine seemed invincible overrunning nation after nation and securing victory after.

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Presentation on theme: "Presentation 61. During W.W.II there was a time, when Hitler's war machine seemed invincible overrunning nation after nation and securing victory after."— Presentation transcript:

1 Presentation 61


3 During W.W.II there was a time, when Hitler's war machine seemed invincible overrunning nation after nation and securing victory after victory. So successful was his campaign that in some parts of Europe it seemed to the occupying German army that the war was more or less over. They were victors! That is until the resistance groups got themselves organised. At first they seemed no more than a nuisance to the German army, and then they began, to hit, where it hurt. Finally they played a strategic role in the lead up to the Normandy landings and Hitlers defeat. Introduction Presentation 61

4 Conscience is God's resistance movement at work in the hearts those who live independently of him. At times it seems to be fighting a losing battle. It can be imprisoned until God finds a way to release it. God had used deprivation, harsh treatment and solitude to release the voice of conscience in Josephs brothers lives. We are not always able to see behind the mask of harsh treatment. The hymn-writer says, 'behind a frowning providence he [God] hides a smiling face'. Behind Joseph's mask of harsh treatment there were tears. He could not yet reveal his love because his brothers had not yet been brought to a place of repentance. And they had no way of telling that his harsh treatment was designed for their good. Introduction Presentation 61

5 So too, in our relationship with God, persistent,wifull, sin may draw out God's harsh treatment and we fail to recognise that behind it lies a heart that is overflowing with compassionate love for us. Your own conduct and actions have brought this upon you. This is your punishment. How bitter it is! How it pierces to the heart!" Oh, my anguish, my anguish! l writhe in pain. Oh, the agony of my heart! My heart pounds within me, I cannot keep silent. For I have heard the sound of the trumpet I have heard the battle cry. Disaster follows disaster; the whole land lies in ruins…my tents are destroyed, my shelter in a moment. How long must I see the battle standard and hear the sound of the trumpet? My people are fools; they do not know me. Jer. 4:18ff Are we fully persuaded that God's love and God's discipline are like different sides of the same coin, they are united one to the other? Introduction Presentation 61

6 The brothers leave Simeon behind in prison and make their way home promising to return with Benjamin, their youngest brother and so refute the allegation that they were spies. The relief they felt leaving Egypts border behind would have been dulled by the clamouring voice of conscience. Often, in situations of danger, conscience is aroused and people cry, 'O God get me out of this mess and I'll be a different person'. But immediately relief comes and the danger disappears, then the promise made to God is forgotten. The Reality of God Presentation 61

7 Joseph made sure this would not happen in his brothers case. Their money, given in payment for grain was hidden in their sacks v25. On their way home their discovery of this money [28] proved to be a turning point in their lives. They dont conclude that the money found in their sacks was the result of an administrative error, but was evidence of the activity of God. They ask, 'What is this that God has done to us? They believed God was out to trap them. This is their first recorded use of the word 'God' ! Up until now God had not been real to them. Oh, like many today they may have spoken fuzzily about some power behind the universe but now they are convinced that God is real and at work in their personal histories. The Reality of God Presentation 61

8 Why is it profoundly disturbing to discover God at work in this way? Because to encounter the true God, invariably goes hand in hand with an increased awareness of our personal sin. Significantly, the brothers conclude that God was calling them before the bar of his justice to account for their harsh treatment of Joseph. They could no longer think, as some do today, 'Well if there is a God I'll just have to take my chances'. These men were in no doubt that God was real and at work in his world! The Reality of God Presentation 61

9 Now the thing that particularly disturbs them is the grace and the kindness of God. Would you complain if at the end of a shopping spree the store manager tore up your cheque and said: 'There is no need to pay. Please accept these goods as a small gift'. One of the hardest things for unbelieving men and women to come to terms with is the grace of God. God was doing these brothers good in returning their money. But because they were not yet in a right relationship with him they feared even his goodness. It made them tremble. Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realising that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? Rom.2.4 The Reality of God Presentation 61

10 What practical impact did Gods dealings have upon them? First, we find a growth in honesty. Upon their return home, they have the most honest and open conversation they have ever had with their old father. No attempt is made to hide the problem they had got themselves into with regard to Simeon and Benjamin. But as yet, no mention is made of what they did to Joseph years previously. Nevertheless, honesty was beginning to find some expression in their lives. A Positive Transformation Presentation 61

11 Secondly, we find a growing selflessness in these men. When Jacob was told that they could not return to Egypt to buy more food without taking Benjamin with them, Jacob was determined to resist this plan. Then Reuban, who had previously shown a selfish disregard for the feelings of his father, not least when he slept with his father's concubine, now pledges his own sons to his father if any harm came to Benjamin v37. Reuban was implying, This is how determined I am, to keep Benjamin safe for you. Reuban is prepared to sacrifice his children for his fathers sake. A Positive Transformation Presentation 61

12 The change in Joseph's brothers is all the more remarkable given the low spiritual state of Jacob. Cf v36, 'Everything is against me'. Children sometimes sing, Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I think Ill go and eat worms. Jacob displays a similar emotion! His trials were real, his heartache was real but so too was the God he met at Bethel and wrestled with at Jabbok. God had preserved his life in many hazardous situations! God had given Jacob a new name, Israel, he was a prince with God but Jacob did not always live up to his new name. Like many of us he vacillated between the new man that God had made him and the man he used to be. Jacob Revived

13 When the severity of the famine made a return to Egypt necessary, Judah, at whose suggestion Joseph had been sold to the Midianites, places the welfare of the others before his own v8-9... What is happening? We are witnessing a change in the lives of these brothers! The only sure evidence found in the Bible that men have had a genuine encounter with God is that of moral transformation in their lives. The brothers awful realisation that God was real, and at work their personal histories meant they could never remain the same. A Positive Transformation Presentation 61

14 Many of us, like Jacob, are only, happy, when we think that we are in control of the situation, when we see ourselves in the driving seat of our lives. We can put up with many hardships and difficulties as long as we see ourselves in control. The difficulty arises, when control passes out of our hands: 1. The famine was something over, which Jacob had no control. 2. Simeon imprisoned in Egypt was something over which he had no control. 3. The demands of the foreign Prime Minister were something over which he had no control. Jacob Revived Presentation 61

15 In his frustration Jacob blamed his sons 43.6. "Why did you bring this trouble on me by telling the man you had another brother?" By complaining as he did, Jacob reveals the old self-centred self-serving Jacob. The Jacob who existed before his wrestling match with God years earlier at Jabbock. However, eventually as the lessons learned in the past come flooding back to him. Jacob begins to behave like the new man God had made him and he submits to the situation as one ordained by God cf v11-14… Jacob Revived Presentation 61

16 Do not lose sight of this fresh submission cost Jacob. He would surely have asked himself, Will I ever see any of my family again? He was left utterly alone! When he lost Joseph, he still had Benjamin and another 10 sons to comfort him. When the ten went off to Egypt on the first occasion, he still had Benjamin. But now Simeon was in prison in Egypt and all his remaining sons were returning to meet up with a man, who by all accounts had treated them harshly. Jacob was again left without any human means of support. Jacob Revived Presentation 61

17 The journey to Egypt took about three weeks. Add to that the time spent in Egypt, and the time for the return journey. It would be a long wait for Jacob! But he has returned to a place of confident trust. The clinging father who had been leaning on his children rather than upon God, now faces the future with God. And may God Almighty grant you mercy before the man so that he will let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved v14 That statement of faith is far removed from 42.36, 'everything is against me.' Jacob Revived Presentation 61

18 Can you see what God has been doing in this family drama, revolving as it does around Josephs enslavement? He has worked iron into Joseph's character preparing him for high office. He has awakened the consciences of Joseph's brother's, who at last have been persuaded of the reality of God - in time this would result in their salvation. And God has also brought Jacob from a place of spiritual vacillation to a place of trust, even in the dark. As the drama unfolds the principal actors are unaware of what is happening in one anothers lives. But God knows what he is doing and that is all that matters! Conclusion Presentation 61

19 Our human perception is quite different from Gods. To many the cross spoke of the failure of Jesus but to God it speaks of his success. Rom.1.3-4. Many saw the cross as the end of a life but God sees a glorious new beginning. God is also able to transform our crosses! He is able to bring success out of what we judge to be failure. He can bring good out of evil and out of the ashes of disaster grant the grace of a new beginning. Surely this God worth trusting even in our darkest night! Conclusion Presentation 61

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