Monday, November 7, 2011

Joseph: From the Pits to the Palace. ヨセフ:穴から宮殿へ

An overview of the rest of Genesis: 残りの創世記概観

39-Joseph and Potiphar’s wife.  Second jail time.
40-More Dreams: The Cupbearer and the Baker’s dreams.
41-Pharaoh’s Dreams / Joseph in charge of Egypt.
42-Brothers go to Egypt and bow down.
43-Second Journey and more bowing.
44-a Silver Cup in a Sack –lot more bowing.
45-Joseph Makes Himself Known –Foot in mouth.
46-Jacob Goes to Egypt—70 in all.
47-The Famine: Big Government.
48-Sons are born to Joseph: Manasseh and Ephraim.
49-Jacob Blessed His Boys—Dies an old man of 130+.
50-Joseph reassures His Brothers—they don’t believe it!
Remind his brothers of God’s Promise and Dies at 110.

The Main point: God is in control. What man does is for evil; God has a better plan in store. 要点:神は人の悪しき行ないさえも御手の内にあり、神はよりよき御計画を持つ。
Who are you when you are alone? あなたが一人のときに、あなたは何者なのでしょう
When driving a car, you can see all sorts of strange things going in the cars around you.  Exploratory surgery; painting toenails-while on the cell phone while driving; reading Manga while driving a big rig in traffic while on the cell phone and eating an obento; riding a bike, with one child on the back seat, in her back pack, in the rain (holding an umbrella) talking on the cell phone.
      It is a question of integrity.  When you are alone in your office cubical, or home alone, what kind of a person are you?
Do you take the ¥10,000 note left on the seat of the train? Do you keep the extra change from the 7/11? Do you pay for the ticket or walk thru—when you are in a hurry? Do you watch the porno video that comes up as a pop up on the PC? Do you disregard the copyright warning on the document or CD?
What kind of a person are you when you are traveling in a foreign country when you KNOW no one knows you? Do you take liberties with your speech or actions when you are far from the people you know? I am asking these questions because it has a lot to do with our topic today. When Joseph was sold into slavery, one would think he put his past behind him and absorbed the culture he was now forced to live in. Why should he follow his father’s teachings? Why wouldn’t he just adapt to what is common around him?
The culture of Egypt at that time was completely decadent and corrupt on all levels.  History tells us that the Egyptian women at that time were vulgar and sexually active to the max. There was a story of a Pharaoh’s search for a faithful woman lead him to search the entire country only to find one woman who had only sexually knew one man-her husband.  The Pharaoh killed the husband and took her as his wife.
Such was the case this young adult found himself. Look at the story! He was a fine looking. He was young. He was lifted up in the house of his master. All that control; he had it all.  All except one thing: his boss’ wife. Joseph was fine with that.
Then one day, Potiphar and everyone one else except Potiphar’s wife was gone. She had grown in her lust for this young Hebrew slave.  One, she saw he was fine to look at.  Two, she found him attractive. Three, she sought a time to let him know of her interest. Four, she sprung into action when the coast was clear. She grabbed him and told him what was on her mind—clear enough, even for a young Hebrew man.  He was not just innocent, he was, and we will see this, a young man of integrity and moral fiber. 
The wife of Potiphar had a problem. ポティファルの妻は問題をかかえていた。
That kind of turned Potiphar’s wife on!  Something that was out of her grasp was at last there in front of her. This was not the first time she had enticed him.
39:6b-10 Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!”
 But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her. 

Day after day!  Always in his face! Her lust for him turned physical and she made herself known. 

One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.

It was her time to shine! Her victory!  But that was short lived. He rejected her. "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" based on lines from The Mourning Bride by William Congreve (1670-1729): Meaning: A woman rejected in love can be very angry and dangerous.
Seduced  誘惑した

Rejected 拒否された

      Dangerous 危険だ
Such was the case with this mad lady! She could not have him, no one will have him.  Wait until my husband gets home!!!  Listen to her twisted lies! 

16 She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. 17 Then she told him this story: “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. 18 But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”

She actually blames her husband for Joseph being there.  “That Hebrew YOU brought us! It was your fault!  I am the innocent one here!  He hurt me…booo, booo, bo.”
He was burned with anger. Was it toward Joseph or because he knew what kind of woman his wife was, I wonder?  But his action was to take and throw him into the darkest of prisons.
Jail Time for Joseph ヨセフの獄中期間
Ever been to a prison?  I have: South Carolina Boys Correctional MAX Center.  I worked there as a Bible teacher while in college. There were 30-45 boys with all sorts of crimes committed.  The guards were also pretty unjust and cruel.  But this prison Joseph was sent to was at the bottom of prisons. 
She was vindictive, cunning, sexually permissive, spoke untruths, and untrustworthy.  Why did her husband believe her and not even ask Joseph the obvious question?  Well, being a slave, he had NO rights.  And he was married to this foxy lady. He did not want to jeopardize or risk his relationship with her! She was Egyptian and the slave was not.
So off to jail he went.
What was his defense? Joseph told the wife: 
9 No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”
When he was all alone, his integrity was in place. 彼が全く孤立したとき、彼の高潔な人柄が出た。 This is not something you can work on while IN the temptation. It had to have been worked out long before this incident.  I will not get involved with her BECAUSE of God’s Law. PERIOD! No second thoughts. No time to reconsider the offer.  He had already done his homework and he was ready to stand up for what was right.  He would not sin against God!
  Personal inventory個人の財産目録
How is your integrity? Is it in place? Is it on shaky ground? Is your mind and heart made up? Stay true to the Lord—no matter if I am alone or not!
The next event in Joseph’s life happened while he was serving time in the Government prison. 

20b But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the LORD was with him; He showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.

How impressive is that!  In his own family—loved best by his father. In Potiphar’s home—second in power. Now, in prison—second only to the head jailer!  But he was still in prison.  That had not changed.  Was God with him or not? Was he where God wanted him to be? God’s blessing was on him no matter where he was.  The surrounding circumstances were still difficult, but that did not keep God from blessing him. You will find this true in your life as well.
Surrounding circumstances/周辺環境  
God’s blessing is not curbed by bad weather. In the storms, His Hand still directs. In the storms of life, you will still get wet and blown around! But His Word is solid; it will not change.  “I am with you. I am your rock. Stand under my shelter. Be still and know that I am God.”
     But, even with this knowledge, Joseph had to wait.  Over two years.   
The end of 40:23  “The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.”  
  But God did not forget Joseph. 神はヨセフを忘れなかった
41:1 When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream…  9 Then the cupbearer said to the Pharaoh, “Today I am reminded of my shortcomings…” 
He remembered the details very well! The cupbearer told Pharaoh and the Pharaoh sent for this dream interpreter.  When Joseph was shaved and washed—maybe the first time since he left Potiphar’s house, he went to the Pharaoh.  God brought him back up—even higher than before.  A slave, an honored slave.  A prisoner, a honored prisoner. Now, an honored Prime Minister of Egypt!
Can you imagine what he was feeling at that time? “I can’t do it, he said, BUT GOD WILL…” All during these times of trials, he kept his heart right with his God.

How did he do that? The secret is found in his early life. Close to home, he was told the stories of Abraham, of Isaac and of his own father’s encounters with The God Who Is! He believed them to be true.  But it was not just because he believed them that made them true. 
This belief was based on Divine Truth, deeper than what you would find in a desert tent. Deeper than what could be found in a pit. Deeper still than what you could find as Prime Minister of one of the greatest nations at that time! It was a deepening knowledge of this God of Abraham who chooses whom He will to bring about His will on earth.
   Then, while Prime Minister of Egypt, he sees his brothers coming in before him, bowing, asking for mercy.  What a sight!  
Genesis 42:6-13 (NIV1984)

 6 Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the one who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. 7 As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. “Where do you come from?” he asked.
   “From the land of Canaan,” they replied, “to buy food.”
 8 Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. 9 Then he remembered his dreams about them and said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see where our land is unprotected.”
 10 “No, my lord,” they answered. “Your servants have come to buy food. 11 We are all the sons of one man. Your servants are honest men, not spies.”
 12 “No!” he said to them. “You have come to see where our land is unprotected.”
 13 But they replied, “Your servants were twelve brothers, the sons of one man, who lives in the land of Canaan. The youngest is now with our father, and one is no more.”

Then, when he made himself known to the brothers, wow!
 Genesis 45:4-8 (NIV1984)

 4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
 8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.

God’s footprints are all over the Egyptian sand. He is the One who is in control of all things.
 Our situations … われわれの場合は。。。
We have been betrayed by family members. We have been put into a prison of sorts. We have been lied about. We have been lifted up. We have been given Salvation that we did not deserve. We all needed to respond to His call to follow Him. We need to give Him praise for His Salvation.
Who will give Him glory today? Who will say, as Joseph did, I cannot do it, but God will…as He desires?
Give Him praise as we remember what Jesus did for you.  “As often as you eat this bread and drink of the cup, do THIS in remembrance of Me.”