So we’re 2 weeks into our Joseph series at Hill City Church and already 2 things are happening.
Firstly, by God’s grace the messages seem to be hitting the spot for many of the congregation. I never go hunting for people’s praise when I’ve preached as such behaviour generally leads to smug arrogance or paranoid anxiety – both of which suck. However, I’m not so falsely humble that I can’t cope with it when people who, of their own accord, say what a blessing the sermon’s been. So long as God gets the glory (cos it’s Him who speaks!) then it’s all good!! And it would appear that God has been speaking and challenging the saints in Hill City – and I’m buzzin’ about that!
The truth, however, is that I’m not surprised that the story of Joseph has been blessing people as it’s been completely blowing me away too! I’m personally getting more out of prepping this sermon series than I think I have done with any other series I’ve preached. Last Sunday’s message in particular helped me immensely…
The title was ‘Broken Dreams‘ and essentially charted Joseph’s betrayal, beating, attempted murder and sale into slavery at the hands of his twisted brothers in Genesis 37. The parallels with the salvation story of Jesus were too blatant to overlook, though it was the miracle of God’s sovereignty revealed in this part of the story that really got my blood pumping! In a nutshell the teaching went like this:
God is sovereign – which essentially means that He does whatever He wants!
The reassuring thing about this characteristic of God is that He is also good and He knows best!
This is modelled for us perfectly in this story. When Joseph woke up that morning, he had absolutely no concept what kind of day he was about to have. He woke up healthy, strong, richly robed, secure in his father’s care. By the time the sun went down he was beaten-up, exhausted, naked and fatherless. As he was sold on the cheap and led away in shackles to face an uncertain future, his dreams of future greatness could not have seemed more unlikely or impossible.
Yet all of this was not just permitted, but actually planned by a sovereign God who sees everything, knows best and loves His people in ways that are higher than we can ever fully understand. God’s plans are always to ultimately prosper us and not to harm us, to give us hope and bright future (Jeremiah 29v11) We all know how Joseph’s story ends – governor of Egypt, saving his nation from death, vindicated before his brothers, reunited with his dad and preserving the family line of Jesus!
This was God loving Joseph and keeping His promises. But boy did it hurt at the time!
And this gives me such hope for my life and the lives of the saints I love at Hill City Church. The painful, unjust and seemingly hopeless situations that we face are part of the master-plan of a loving sovereign God, and while we may never really get our heads around just how He is at work, we can still be confident in this:
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8v28)
This is the sweetness and the security of trusting a sovereign God!