Unexpected Course of Life Back to all sermons

Date: October 6, 2019

Speaker: Sean Grossman

Series: Galatians

Scripture: Genesis 45:16–46:4

  • Genesis 45:16-46:4
  • Unexpected Course to Life

16 When the report was heard in Pharaoh's house, “Joseph's brothers have come,” it pleased Pharaoh and his servants. 17 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Say to your brothers, ‘Do this: load your beasts and go back to the land of Canaan, 18 and take your father and your households, and come to me, and I will give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you shall eat the fat of the land.’ 19 And you, Joseph, are commanded to say, ‘Do this: take wagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and for your wives, and bring your father, and come. 20 Have no concern for your goods, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.’”

(Genesis 45:16-20, ESV)

21 The sons of Israel did so: and Joseph gave them wagons, according to the command of Pharaoh, and gave them provisions for the journey. 22 To each and all of them he gave a change of clothes, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels of silver and five changes of clothes. 23 To his father he sent as follows: ten donkeys loaded with the good things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain, bread, and provision for his father on the journey. 24 Then he sent his brothers away, and as they departed, he said to them, “Do not quarrel on the way.”

(Genesis 45:21-24, ESV)

25 So they went up out of Egypt and came to the land of Canaan to their father Jacob. 26 And they told him, “Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt.” And his heart became numb, for he did not believe them. 27 But when they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. 28 And Israel said, “It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.”

(Genesis 45:25-28, ESV)

1 So Israel took his journey with all that he had and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2 And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am.” 3 Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. 4 I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph's hand shall close your eyes.”

(Genesis 46:1-4, ESV)

Main Point

  • These verses describe the brother’s return to Canaan and Jacob’s decision to got o Egypt
  • They are invited to the best lands
  • Jacob decides to go to Egypt
  • But before he leaves the promised land he sacrifices to God
  • God reveals Himself to Jacob and lets him know He will be with Jacob and His family during their sojourn
  • In the end God promises to bring them out of Egypt Himself

Application Points

  • Unexpected Course to Life

In Jacobs story we find a family who has guilt to reconciliation

We go from a family on the brink of death to a family who has been promised and guaranteed life

What does it require?

That they leave the Promised Land

I suspect all of us who have ever read it for the first time really expected that

I suspect we should be surprised where the story is heading

In order for the family to survive it is necessary for them to go to Egypt

It is necessary for preservation and life for the family to do this

This reminds us how God works

He works in unexpected ways

He takes the tragic and turns them into good, the people we would never expect and lifts them up for His glory

Application Points

  • Unexpected Course to Life (2)

We see this especially in the crucifixion

How something as tragic as the death of God’s only begotten Son would bring us from death to life?

We can expect to find the unexpected with God

Whether it be abundance from famine, or even life from death

The second point is that we as individuals might be called to places where we might not normally go

We see this with salvation itself, as it is God who brings us salvation

We can see it in men and women who have been so greatly changed

Individuals we would not have expected, individual who were like Paul

Application Points

  • Unexpected Course to Life (3)

I can even speak of myself concerning this

Growing up I had a great fear of public speaking

God can use even those of us who have such fears for His purposes

With Jacob we can see how it doesn’t matter ones age

God doesn’t call only the young, but the old as well

There are fewer greater things to witness than the continued faithfulness of individuals in their old age

But it isn’t only with individuals

The Third point recognizes the community itself must travel to Egypt

We know God calls us to use our various gifts

But what we get from this passage is that God can very often call even our congregations in a far different direction

Application Points

  • Unexpected Course to Life (4)

This is incredibly important for rural congregations

The majority of small town and rural Churches are similar to what we find in Westfield

They are congregations who have a few faithful members, but as time has gone on they are starting to see we are not in Kansas anymore

We all see it

In youth group recently Pastor Kyle asked whether the kids lied

They said, “Yes” and even said sometimes they purposefully do so

There seems to be at best a recognition of the wrongness of lying but it comes with apathy

We are seeing a growing post-Christian society

We find many small town and rural congregations believing they can continue as they’ve always done as though nothing has changed

Application Points

  • Unexpected Course to Life (5)

In the process we ignore we are in a severe famine

When so many congregations are closing their doors, and many don’t care about the Church or the historical Christian faith, we can call that a famine

So the question, “What can we do?”

We need to be faithful

With the change in our society we might need to change accordingly

It is possible a drastic change is necessary in order for us to be most faithful and obedient to God

He may be calling us away from Canaan and into Egypt

Where God is leading us a different direction

Application Points

  • Unexpected Course to Life (6)

God purposefully sent Joseph in order to preserve life

Jacob is to go to Egypt with his family in order to find life

It might be time we need to recognize we can no longer be floating isles separate from one another

It may be time for us to recognize the differences of our past are not nearly as significant as the death of the future

It might be time for many of our small town rural congregations to not ask, “what do we want…?”

Not even to ask, “What can we do to preserve our past and present?”

But to ask, “How can we best preserve the future”

And most importantly in all of this, “What would most glorify God?”

You would think this question harmless…but the answer can often rock what we consider foundational

Application Points

  • Unexpected Course to Life (7)

But what do we find with Jacob?

God is with him and his family

If we are to ask these questions we can be encouraged that God is no less with us than He was with Jacob and his family

We can also trust that if God is leading us out of Canaan and into Egypt, that there is hope that it is for a purpose

It is in Egypt that there was abundance

In Egypt there was life

If we ask these hard questions and come to hard answers perhaps God will remind us that in His will there is preservation of life

That maybe being led by God into these places will not lead to our hearts being weakened…but strengthened by God’s faithfulness

Application Points

  • Unexpected Course to Life (8)

What is going to happen with so many congregations? I can only guess

But what I do know is that God is faithful

It is our responsibility as individuals and as congregations to seek God’s will and humbly follow wherever that might lead

In the end Jacob and his family are passing from the shadow of death into the light of life

They are not taking the expected road

Our God’s ways are often more a mystery to us than not

His ways often lead us on an unexpected course, but that course leads to life

Application Points

  • The Gospel of Christ