Learning from Joseph - things that produce change.
Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine by a fountain (source); his branches run over the wall. The archers sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and persecuted him: but his bow abode in strength. Genesis 49:22
Of all the servants of God in the Old Testament Joseph is possibly my favourite. The scriptures reveal no apparent flaw in his character. We however know that his pathway was not a particularly easy one. I want us to take a peep into qualities that brought him to this place where his Father says he is a fruitful vine and the same qualities that enabled him to effect such change in the land of Egypt.
Notice that Egypt is not Joseph homeland. It is his adopted land he is racially slurred - this Hebrew you brought to be with us.
WHAT IS FRUIT?
The righteous man shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf shall not wither, and whatever he does shall prosper. (Psalm1: 3)
GOD WANTS YOU TO PROSPER AND SUCCEED IN LIFE.
I do not want us to be paranoid about the word prosper or success I am just bringing a more wholistic biblical and balanced view to the word prosperity and success. We talk of success and prosperity in humanistic terms - as though it is something we can reach inside of ourselves and make happen - no and no again and emphatically no! it is something that God makes happen through us
The rivers of water is the divine sap that sources our fruitfulness, out of your belly shall flow rivers of living water.
SO WHAT IS FRUIT?
In practical terms fruit represents good works- an action , attitude, thought of ours that God values because it glorifies Him.You bear inner fruit when you allow God to nurture you n a Christ-like way.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5:22)
You bear outward Fruit when you allow God to work through you to bring Him glory
God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8,)
WHAT QUALITIES BRING JOSEPH TO A PLACE OF FRUITFULNESS IN A FOREIGN LAND.
What brings Joseph to the place where he says Ephraim it is because God has made me Fruitful in the land of my suffering. (Genesis 41:52)
THE STARTING POINT OF ALL FRUITFULNESS
- Realising that God is your source:
Your life is in no mans hand and no one can dictate the course of your life, no matter how it seems on the stage of life that man is running your life realise there is the invisible puppet master holding the strings of your destiny
Do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, for it was to save lives that god sent me ahead of you...but God sent me ahead of you...So it wads not you who sent me here but God..He made me Father to pharaoh. (Genesis 45:4-8)
He does not attribute any of his suffering or sorrows to Man, when you do this it is easy to attribute fruitfulness to God also.
Either God is sovereign, or man is sovereign. One of the two must be untrue.
God is over all things; outside all; within but not enclosed; without but not excluded; above but not raised up; below but not depressed; wholly above; presiding; wholly beneath, sustaining; wholly within, filling.
Either man rules your life or God rules your life one of them must be untrue.
It?s the crux of the matter, it is the vital connection, it?s the divine sap , it?s the fountain or river of life
REALISING WHOS IN CHARGE.
- Learning from adversity and defeat:
Understanding and circumventing the causes of failure and making the most out of inevitable setbacks and failures and opposition that we must face.
If your strength (sap) fails you in the day of adversity no that your strength is small
We defined fruitfulness as a response, an attitude, an action, a thought- how do I know if my strength is few. By my response, attitude, action, thought
LORD I NEED MORE PRUNING, CLEANSING, PURGING to bear better (the word more means better) fruit
We do not know ourselves until the day of adversity: Peter no lord I will not deny you. Thomas you will doubt me I?m sure Thomas would have said no lord I will not it is the seasons of adversity that determine weather we are ready to bear more fruit
- A strong definition of purpose sourced in God:
They have found meaning to life: many people and even Christians still ask what is life about? They have not been able to define purpose to life
It is clear that persons who live close to their capacity who continue to activate their potential, have a pronounced sense of well- being and considerable energy. They see themselves as leading purposeful and creative lives.
They do not view life in a fatalistic sense: to them life is not full of obstacles it is full of opportunities. To Joseph life was for living in the times of adversity and in the times of prosperity. He never allowed anything to crush his confidence about living life.
So pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon.a little interjection. when he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before pharaoh. (Genesis 41:14)
HE DID NOT SHOW PHAROAH HIS REJECTION.
Poor old me Pharoah see what I?ve been through, here is a man who has a good self esteem and image about himself. Like Nelson Mandela you can but me in prison but you cannot but prison inside of me.
Fruitful people in Life are people who do not let the pressures of life squeeze the sap out of them
They ride defeats to victory
Temporary setbacks to success
- They realise seasons of change and run with it:
Whoever watches the wind will not plant, whoever looks at the clouds will not reap. As you do not know the path of the wind. Or how the body is formed in a mothers womb so you cannot understand the workings of God. THE MAKER OF ALL THINGS..SOW YOUR SEED IN THE MORNING.AND AT EVENING LET NOT YOUR HANDS BE IDLE.for you do not know which one will succeed..wheter this one or that one, or whether both will do equally well. (Ecclesiastes 11:4-6)
Ships like men move best when it is slightly opposed to the wind, when it has to keep its sails tight and attend to its course. Ships like men do poorly when the wind is directly blowing, pushing them sloppily on there path so that no care is required in steering or in the management of the sails;
THE WIND SEEMS FAVOURABLE, FOR IT BLOWS IN THE DIRECTION ONE IS HEADING, BUT ACTUALLY, IT IS DESTRUCTIVE, because it induces a relaxation in tension and skill. What is needed is a wind slightly opposed to the ship. For then tension can be maintained, and juices can flow and ideas can germinate; for ships like men respond to challenges.
Joseph at home would have become a spoilt brat, God launches him like a ship from the habour to face the changesand challenges of life and become fruitful.Joseph is a fruitful vine the archers shot at him he could have wiltered and withered, become sour and shriveled up but he becomes succulent and strong.
This deals with seasons and so did Pharoahs dream- Fruitful people understand times and seasons that they come and they go. They Know how to interprete times and seasons and to respond to them appropriately. They are not bewildered by dry seasons nor overawed by fruitful seasons, for in him they live and move and have their being.
As someone said do not wish for less problems wish for more skill, do not wish for less challenge wish for more wisdom.
Seasons are not governed by the clock on your wrist but by revelation and truth, there is a kairos season- open window season lets grab it and run with it those of you that have spiritual ears are running with it. It started with our response to Gods call to give.
- A pleasing personality:
IF YOU DO NOT GET ON WITH PEOPLE in life you can forget being fruitful. It never ceases to amaze me that when we speak of excellence like when we speak about prosperity we have reduced it to exteriors.
Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and the princes because an excellent spirit was found in him; and the King thought to set him over the whole realm. (Daniel 6:3).
This statement had nothing to do with Daniel?s exterior it had all to do with the substance on the inside of Daniel- Character...
But they could not find not find any fault: forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.
Most of us would rather be admired for what we do, rather than for what we are, we are willing to sacrifice character for conduct, and integrity for achievement.
Can we find such a one as this is a man in whom the Spirit of God is? Forasmuch as God as shown this to you there is none as discreet and as wise as you. (Gen 41:38-39)
Excellence showed up in Daniel by his faithfulness, it showed up in Joseph by his wisdom.
WHY IS A PLEASING PERSONALITY IMPORTANT?
Because life is made up of interaction between people, fruit that maximizes its potential is never self-serving it is self sacrificing. Fruitfulness thmaximizes its potential is never self- serving. Hear the words of Joseph loud and clear
For God did send me hear before you to preserve life. (Gen45:5b)
- Fruitful people do not lack self-control:
Discipline comes through self-control. This means one must subjugate every negative quality not by oneself but by submission to the pruning knife of the vine dresser. Before a person can control conditions they must control themselves
A man without self-control is as defenceless as a city with broken down walls. (Proverbs 25:28)
They are easily run over by the enemy. Joseph was able to resist the sexual advances od portiphars wife even though he knew it could impede his progress. The sexual urge is one of the most powerful of the emotions and stimuli which move people into action. Reuben forfeited fruitfulness because he went up to his fathers bed, he slept with his fathers wife. Simeon and Levi forfeited fruitfulness because they killed a man in selfwill.
Our body so easily gravitates to evil. Howbeit self-control is out of fashion of all the Christian virtues mocked and discounted today self-control is seen as the least desirable
Abraham Lincoln said of all the people that could hinder him from becoming president, it was not Breckinridge from the south or Douglas from the north but it is the very man Abraham Lincoln that I am very much afraid of. If I am defeated it will by that man.
- Fruitful people have a well defined power of Decision: Genesis41:32-36
Let pharaoh look out a man (Leadership)
Let him appoint officers (personal)
Let him gather all the food (action plan)
Fruitful people reach decisions promptly and change them, if they do very slowly. Men who fail reach decisions if at all very slowly and change them very frequently and quickly. Indecision and procrastination are twin brothers. Where one is found you are sure to find the other.
It is one thing to have the knowledge it is another thing to have the courage to apply that knowledge. The Lord?s injunction to Joshua was be of god courage. There is a boldness with which Joseph is speaking that convinces pharaoh that this young man knows what he is doing.
Over-caution: the person who takes no chances generally has to take whatever is left over when others are through choosing. Over-caution is as bad as under-caution. Over-caution is what kept Israel in the wilderness for forty years.
Each day offers us distinctive chances, challenges and opportunities. if you make indecision a habit, and procrastination a virtue, one day one will long for a past that cannot be recovered. In the twenty four hours that make up a day, you build your future. When that future arrives what will we have built of lasting valuein all those yesterdays that we thought to far removed from tomorrow to be important today?
- A pronounced sense of well-being:
You can make me sit down on the outside but I am standing on the inside, you can lock me in prison but you cannot but prison inside of me. Whether I am in prison or in the palace I am a statesman (Nelson Mandela)
Then Pharaoh sent for Joseph and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came into unto pharaoh.
It was easier to be an ambassador for God looking decent than looking shabby and unkept. Being happy with who one is, knowing there is no two of you. if the grape tree trid to be the pear tree guess what, yes you got it right it forfeits bringing forth its own kind of fruit.
Pastor Edward Adeagbo
Precious stones Christian centre