The Christ Church Wednesday Bible Study Group is studying God's providence or divine providence in the lives of David and Joseph and how we can apply His providence in their lives to our lives today.
The providence of God is the governance of God by which He, with wisdom and love, cares for and directs all things in the universe. Divine providence asserts that God is in complete control of all things. He is sovereign over the universe. He is in control of the physical world. He is in control of the affairs of nations. He is in control of human destiny. He is in control of human successes and failures. He protects His people.
Last week we saw the reunion of Joseph with his father after more than 20 years. That reunion brought to mind the reunion that the family of God will have on Jesus' second advent and just as there is a big dinner or picnic at a family reunion, when we have that final ultimate reunion of the family of God, we will all sit down together at the wedding supper of the Lamb.
This week we will talk about Joseph's integrity. Joseph never used his position as prime minister to his advantage. He respected the authority of Pharoah in all of the dealings with the people of Egypt and his family. As a man, a leader of integrity he was now responsible for the futures or two nations, Egypt, and Israel.
For our study we are using Great Lives: David: A Man of Passion and Destiny, and Joseph: A Man of Integrity and Forgiveness by Charles R. Swindoll. To study along with us you can purchase the books by clicking the Links here or the images after the notes.
The providence of God or divine providence is the governance of God by which He, with wisdom and love, cares for and directs all things in the universe. Divine providence asserts that God is in complete control of all things. He is sovereign over the universe as a whole, He is in control of the physical world, He is in control of the affairs of nations, He’s in control of human destiny, He’s in control of human successes and failures, He protects His people. Through divine providence God accomplishes His will.
The providence of God or divine providence is the governance of God by which He, with
wisdom and love, cares for and directs all things in the universe. Divine providence asserts that God is in complete control of all things. He is sovereign over the universe as a whole, He is in
control of the physical world, He is in control of the affairs of nations, He’s in control of human
destiny, He’s in control of human successes and failures, He protects His people.
Through divine providence God accomplishes His will.
Last week we talked about the long-anticipated reunion between Joseph and his father,.
Genesis 46:28-30 NIV Now Jacob sent Judah ahead of him to Joseph to get directions to Goshen. When they arrived in the region of Goshen, Joseph had his chariot made ready and went to Goshen to meet his father Israel. As soon as Joseph appeared before him, he threw his arms around his father and wept for a long time. Israel said to Joseph, “Now I am ready to die, since I have seen for myself that you are still alive.”
Joseph couldn't wait once he knew that his father had arrived, he went to meet him. It doesn’t say that Jacob cried but my guess is that they both did and probably a lot of others.
What a great time.
Our author Chuck Swindall said that this reunion reminded him of some other reunions and the reaction of weeping because of joy. The first was a national reunion, of sorts. It was the nation of Isreal being released from exile in Babylon to go back to their homeland, to Judah after 70 years.
Ezra 1:1-4 NIV In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing: “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: “ ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them. And in any locality where survivors may now be living, the people are to provide them with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.’ ”
Jerusalem had been destroyed. Hardly a stone was left standing.
So the people began to rebuild the wall as well as the place of worship, and they gathered in
the city square to hear the Word of God read for the first time in decades.
They had been in captivity for seventy years. What nationalistic zeal and pride must have
surged through those Jewish veins as they stood once more in their homeland and heard Ezra
begin to read aloud the Word of their God.
Nehemiah 8:9-12 NIV Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, “This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” The Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for this is a holy day. Do not grieve.” Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.
When they heard the Word of God in their own ears for the first time after all those years—some of them for the first time ever—they lifted up their hands in praise and they wept aloud.
Another reunion was the one Jesus described in His parable of the Prodigal Son. This one was a personal reunion.
Then there will be the reunion of the family of God. The final, ultimate family reunion. All of our loved ones who have accepted Jesus as their Savior will be at that reunion.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 NIV Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Most reunions have a big meal. It may be a banquet or a picnic or both. There will be a lot of food and fellowship.
Revelation 19:6-9 NIV Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.) Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”
Today we are going to talk about integrity. What’s the definition of integrity?
the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
A person with integrity behaves ethically and does the right thing, even behind closed doors.
Integrity is what you are when there isn’t anyone around to check up on you; it’s best demonstrated when nobody’s watching.
What are the 5 attributes of integrity?
follow a set of values, be honest, help others, lead by example, and take responsibility.
What is the difference between honesty and integrity?
Integrity implies consistent behavior, whether honest or not. Honesty implies being truthful (even if it is incorrect) about a subject at hand. Honesty, by definition, is to tell the truth and being true. Integrity is having strong moral principles based on honesty and following those principles religiously.
Integrity is a character trait a good character trait. One that is active all the time meaning at home, at church, on the job, wherever. A person on integrity is the some all the time one of the other dictionary definitions of integrity is
the state of being whole and undivided.
We look at Joseph’s character and his integrity by how he handled his job as prime minister. Remember he is second only to Pharoh in Egypt at a critical time in the nation’s history. There was now a very severe famine after years of great prosperity.
Joseph because the Lord was with was placed in a position where he was not only responsible for making sure the Egypt continued to prosper but because it was God’s plan that he saves his family he now had the futures of two nations, so to speak, as his responsibility.
Genesis 45:4-5 NIV 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! 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.
Genesis 45:7-13 NIV But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. “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. Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me Lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay. You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.’ “You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is really I who am speaking to you. Tell my father about all the honor accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly.”
How was Joseph going to handle all of this responsibility? What did he do to accomplish all his tasks without compromising his integrity? Were there some secrets we can uncoveras we examine his workload?
First, Joseph planned ahead with wise objectivity.
Although Joseph was the prime minister, he still understood that he was under authority, the authority of Pharoah. He knew what he wanted to do regarding his family. Joseph never assumed that he could just go ahead with his plans, despite his prominent level of authority and responsibility. He always considered Pharoh and deferred to him for his approval. He knew where he wanted them to settle down, but he didn’t presume that he could make it happen just because he was the prime minister so he planned on getting how to get Pharoah to agree with him.
So here was Joseph’s plan.
Genesis 46:31-34 NIV Then Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I will go up and speak to Pharaoh and will say to him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household, who were living in the land of Canaan, have come to me. The men are shepherds; they tend livestock, and they have brought along their flocks and herds and everything they own.’ When Pharaoh calls you in and asks, ‘What is your occupation?’ you should answer, ‘Your servants have tended livestock from our boyhood on, just as our fathers did.’ Then you will be allowed to settle in the region of Goshen, for all shepherds are detestable to the Egyptians.”
He told his brothers to tell Pharaoh they tended livestock because the Egyptians detested shepherds that way they would be left alone and not have to live with the Egytians.
He got Pharoh to let his family settle in the best part of Egypt for their livelihood as shepherds.
Genesis 47:5-6 NIV Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you, and the land of Egypt is before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land. Let them live in Goshen. And if you know of any among them with special ability, put them in charge of my own livestock.”
Let’s go back to see how Joseph began to lay ther groundwork for this.
Genesis 45:16-18 NIV When the news reached Pharaoh’s palace that Joseph’s brothers had come, Pharaoh and all his officials were pleased. Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your animals and return to the land of Canaan, and bring your father and your families back to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you can enjoy the fat of the land.’
We should never presume because of our social status, education, wealth, good looks, whatever. A person of integrity doesn’t disrespect authority. They respect it and do what is necessary honestly to convenience a person in authority to accept their idea. If they don’t accept it then you respect their decision because they probably know more than you do. That is the same with prayer. Joseph wasn’t trying to deceive or trick Pharah he had just done his homework. That’s why we should study so that we know God’s will from His word.
Joseph submitted to authority with loyal accountability.
We are accountable to the one in authority over us no matter what those accountable to us do or say.
Genesis 47:1-12 NIV Joseph went and told Pharaoh, “My father and brothers, with their flocks and herds and everything they own, have come from the land of Canaan and are now in Goshen.” He chose five of his brothers and presented them before Pharaoh. Pharaoh asked the brothers, “What is your occupation?” “Your servants are shepherds,” they replied to Pharaoh, “just as our fathers were.” They also said to him, “We have come to live here for a while, because the famine is severe in Canaan and your servants’ flocks have no pasture. So now, please let your servants settle in Goshen.” Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you, and the land of Egypt is before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land. Let them live in Goshen. And if you know of any among them with special ability, put them in charge of my own livestock.” Then Joseph brought his father Jacob in and presented him before Pharaoh. After Jacob blessed Pharaoh, Pharaoh asked him, “How old are you?” And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers.” Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out from his presence. So Joseph settled his father and his brothers in Egypt and gave them property in the best part of the land, the district of Rameses, as Pharaoh directed. Joseph also provided his father and his brothers and all his father’s household with food, according to the number of their children.
Joseph told his brothers to tell Pharaoh that they “tended livestock”. He didn’t want them to use the “s” word (shepherd) because Egyptians detested shepherds.
Joseph doesn’t intervene, however; he stands back, folds his arms, and lets them say what they wish. Joseph was a strong, efficient, capable leader, but he was also flexible enough to give his followers responsibility and choices. A person of integrity allows others to make their own choices. In this case it wasn’t a problem but to be a leader you must delegate and give others a chance.
He arranged for survival with personal integrity. A person of integrity doesn’t take advantage of the situation, or person for personal gain.
Genesis 47:13-15 NIV There was no food, however, in the whole region because the famine was severe; both Egypt and Canaan wasted away because of the famine. Joseph collected all the money that was to be found in Egypt and Canaan in payment for the grain they were buying, and he brought it to Pharaoh’s palace. When the money of the people of Egypt and Canaan was gone, all Egypt came to Joseph and said, “Give us food. Why should we die before your eyes? Our money is all gone.”
Joseph was given enormous power. He held their lives, their future, in the palm of his hand. What a perfect opportunity for a leader to rip off the public! To stash away some of the money. To give food only to his family or a few of his favorites. With the complete trust that Pharaoh put in him, Joseph wasn’t about to be second-guessed.
After all, Joseph had to live with Joseph. Even more importantly, Joseph had to face his God. So the distribution was done decently and in order. All the money went into the proper account. There was no payola, no kickback. Joseph operated with absolute integrity.
This wasn't the first time that Joseph refused to take advantage of the trust of his boss.
Genesis 39:6-10 NIV So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate. 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.
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