New Wine for New Wineskins August 2009

By , July 31, 2009 12:27 pm
Let the Weak Speak

Let the Weak Speak

Let the Weak Speak

Part 12 – Joseph – The Father’s Favour (1)

As we continue with this series we remember that its purpose is to release the potential that is within us to build successful ministries, kingdom businesses, and to be world changers who really make a difference in this world.  Although that will inevitably involve change we are grateful to God that all of the change he requires is by way of exchange.  As we simply come to the place of exchange – the cross of Jesus Christ which is the gateway to the very Throne Room of God – we have the opportunity to trade our weakness for his strength!

We are no longer wearing ourselves out chasing signs and wonders – we are signs and wonders and so we are destined to be the most exciting thing that is going on wherever we are!

Isaiah 8: 18

18 Here am I and the children whom the LORD has given me!
We are for signs and wonders in Israel
From the LORD of hosts,
Who dwells in Mount Zion.

Joel 3: 9 – 10

9 Proclaim this among the nations:
“Prepare for war!
Wake up the mighty men,
Let all the men of war draw near,
Let them come up.
10 Beat your plowshares into swords
And your pruning hooks into spears;
Let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’”

IT”S TIME TO LET THE WEAK SPEAK!  LET THE WEAK SAY, “I AM STRONG!”

We have been looking at some of the people listed in the Hebrews 11 “Hall of Faith” and have seen that although none of them were perfect – and some were far from perfect – they all overcame their weaknesses by allowing God’s strength to manifest in and through them!

Last time we looked at Abraham – the father of all who believe and the superman of faith.  We saw in his life the necessity to speak the whole truth and to preach the full gospel if we are going to be blessed and be the blessing that God has planned for us to be!  We saw that the blessing of God makes rich and adds no sorrow with it!

The power of the blessing upon Abraham’ son Isaac was still operating to such an extent that when he sowed in the midst of a famine he began to prosper, and continued to prosper until he became very prosperous.  Isaac’s son Jacob received the blessing from his father but almost cut off its effectiveness in his life by praying a faithless and fearful prayer of, “I am not worthy of the least of your mercies!”  It wasn’t until his prayer changed to, “I will not let you go until you bless me!” that the blessing could be re-activated in his life.  The blessing was so powerful that he even got a name change – from Jacob (supplanter) to Israel (prince with God).

In this part of the series we are going to look at the great-grandson of Abraham – Jacob’s son, Joseph.

Hebrews 11: 22

22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones.

When you consider Joseph’s life and all that he endured and accomplished this seems at first glance to be a strange epitaph in the “Hall of Faith”.   But in fact it actually reveals the strength of Joseph’s faith in that it extended beyond the grave!  In verse 13 of Hebrews 11 it says, “These all died in faith…”  It is one thing to live by faith but it is another thing to die in faith.  Our faith should continue to reap even after we have gone!  The prayers we have prayed and the things we have believed for don’t have to die with us!

There are many testimonies of those who are saved as a result of the prayers that were prayed on their behalf by parents, etc who had already gone on to their eternal reward before the prayers bore fruit!

Joseph’s story is an incredibly inspiring account of tremendous faith and fortitude in the face of adversity.

LET THE WEAK SAY, “I AM STRONG!”

As I was meditating on Joseph’s life and seeking the key to any weakness there it struck me that Joseph’s weakness was his father’s favour!  When a parent favours one child over the others it creates weakness in the family – both in the favoured and the non-favoured.  The favour of men always sets us up in competition with others.  Joseph was his father’s favourite because he was the son of his old age (Genesis 37: 3).  Joseph was also the firstborn son from Jacob’s favourite wife, Rachel.  Jacob loved Joseph so much that he made him a special coat and it would appear that Joseph was not averse to bringing negative reports to his father concerning his brothers.  It was pretty obvious to Joseph’s brothers that he was their father’s favourite and so they hated him.  And so, when Joseph had a couple of dreams signifying that all of his family would bow down to him this simply intensified their hatred for him.

As long as Joseph was at home he enjoyed the protection of his father but when his father asked him to go and find his brothers and bring back a report on how they were doing he was instantly vulnerable to their plans to murder him.  The favour of man might feel good and serve us well in a particular environment but when we are out in the big bad world we need more than that!  This was Joseph’s experience!  What was an apparent strength for him in his father’s house was actually his weakness when he was away from his father’s protection.

Parents who favour one child over another may think that they are helping that child but in fact they are actually producing weakness in them!  Too often children who are favoured in that way become dependent upon that favour and falsely assume that everyone considers them the same way.  As they step out into the real world it can come as a shock to them that this is not the case.

LET THE WEAK SAY, “I AM STRONG!”

It is only when the favour of man is gone that we often recognise our need for a higher favour – the favour of God!  Such was the case with Joseph!

Psalm 118: 8 – 9

8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
9 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.

Who was Jacob? He was re-named Israel – a prince with God!  But Joseph’s trust in his father’s favour was no protection against the plans of his brothers to harm him.  This can be a hard lesson to learn for young people who have been raised in Christian homes and strong churches and who have in many respects been protected from a lot of the stuff that is out there in the world.  When they leave home or even just enter the world of employment or higher education it is essential that they have a strong personal relationship with their heavenly Father and are trusting completely in his ability to protect and provide for them.  It has been said that God has no grandchildren and so it is essential that we know him personally and are not trusting in our parent’s prayers and faith alone to get us through!

LET THE WEAK SAY, “I AM STRONG!”

Away from Jacob’s protection Joseph had to quickly exchange the weakness of his father’s favour for God’s supernatural favour!  Grace has been defined as “unmerited favour” and it is true that grace has been made available for all on the basis of God’s unconditional love and mercy but is is faith that attracts and accesses God’s favour.

Joseph hadn’t always acted wisely in his dealings with his brothers but there was something in him that set him apart from them – faith!  It was the weakness of man’s favour (Jacob’s) that brought him to the pit – but it was the favour of God that took him from the pit to Potiphar’s house.  It was the weakness of man’s favour (Potiphar’s and ultimately Potiphar’s wife’s) that put him in prison but it was the favour of God that took him from the prison to the palace!

The favour of men is always subject to change.  In fact, when Joseph shared his second dream with his family even his father rebuked him.  This exposes the weakness of man’s favour.  Similarly, in Potiphar’s house all it took was one false accusation to blow man’s favour out of the water!

You don’t always get to choose your circumstances but you do get to choose your attitude towards your circumstances!  Joseph exchanged the sometimes bad attitude that resulted from man’s favour for the attitude that attracted God’s favour.

You might not get to choose your circumstances but the choosing the right attitude will attract the favour of God that can supernaturally change your circumstances.

LET THE WEAK SAY, “I AM STRONG!”

Genesis 39: 2 – 5, 21 – 23

2 The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. 3 And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand. 4 So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. 5 So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had in the house and in the field…21 But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. 23 The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority, because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made it prosper.

A bad attitude will leave you as a slave under the circumstances but a good attitude will make you a master over the circumstances!  The favour of God will give us favour with men where we need it but dependence upon the favour of man can often lead us out of favour with God.  If Jacob had submitted to the favour shown him by Potiphar’s wife or if he had sought to maintain her favour he would have had to compromise his faith and so he would have fallen short of the favour of God.  Many people short-circuit God’s favour  because they seek to gain favour with men through compromise, etc.

LET THE WEAK SAY, “I AM STRONG!”

Listen to what is said concerning Jesus.

Luke 2: 52

52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men.

Listen also to what Jesus himself said concerning man’s favour.

Luke 6: 26

26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

At the end of the day Jesus maintained the favour of God, but through an unwillingness to compromise his message he often lost the favour of some of the men.

But Jesus also told us in the same breath how to deal with the effects of a loss of favour.

Luke 6: 27 – 38

27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. 29 And unto him that strikes you on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that takes away your cloak forbid not to take your coat also. 30 Give to every man that asks of you; and of him that takes away your goods ask them not again. 31 And as all of you would that men should do to you, do all of you also to them likewise. 32 For if all of you love them which love you, what thank have all of you? for sinners also love those that love them. 33 And if all of you do good to them which do good to you, what thank have all of you? for sinners also do even the same. 34 And if all of you lend to them of whom all of you hope to receive, what thank have all of you? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35 But love all of you your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and all of you shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 36 Be all of you therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 37 Judge not, and all of you shall not be judged: condemn not, and all of you shall not be condemned: forgive, and all of you shall be forgiven: 38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that all of you mete likewise it shall be measured to you again.

There is definitely wisdom in exercising discernment regarding who you share your visions and dreams with.  Personally, I can think of two occasions when sharing a God-given vision with those whom I assumed to be close friends led to a definite change in our relationship and a “pit” experience for me as my brethren seemed to enter into a conspiracy against me.  Still, “pit” is simply an acronym for “prophet in training”!

It is in the pit that you get to find out who you are trusting in!  It is in the pit that you discover what needs to exchanged!  David put it this way!

Psalm 40: 1 – 4

1 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. 2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my activities. 3 And he has put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. 4 Blessed is that man that makes the LORD his trust, and respects not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

The enemy wants to use your weakness to pull you down but God uses it to lift you up!

LET THE WEAK SAY, “I AM STRONG!”

The one thing that will keep the blessing of God’s favour activated in your life is a positive attitude!  Faith people always have a positive attitude!  A positive attitude recognises that we have a high
calling and will always give thanks in every situation which will inevitably lead to the maintenance of clean hands and a pure heart!

1 Thessalonians 5: 15 – 24 (God’s Word Translation)

15 Make sure that no one ever pays back one wrong with another wrong. Instead, always try to do what is good for each other and everyone else. 16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God’s will in Christ Jesus that you do this. 19 Don’t put out the Spirit’s fire. 20 Don’t despise what God has revealed. 21 Instead, test everything. Hold on to what is good. 22 Keep away from every kind of evil. 23 May the God who gives peace make you holy in every way. May he keep your whole being–spirit, soul, and body–blameless when our Lord Jesus Christ comes. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.

What does a positive attitude say?

“I AM STRONG!”

Joseph was in Egypt – away from his father’s house – but his positive attitude created space for him  and attracted the favour of God that eventually brought him to a position of influence and power.  A good attitude will always give you influence in this world.  Joseph never saw Egypt as the end.  By faith he saw it merely as a temporary stopover before entering into the fullness of God’s plan and purpose!

Listen to the positive attitude of this man of faith!

Genesis 50: 24 – 25

24 And Joseph said unto his brethren, “I am dying: but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land which he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 25 Then Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit (give attention to) you, and you shall carry up my bones from  here.”

Men’s favour will pick you up and put you down at a whim but God’s favour will always take you UP!  Faith is always rewarded – even if it is hundreds of years after we are gone!  Why die in fear when you can die in faith?  Fear opens you up and makes you vulnerable to a spirit of death but David said in Psalm 23 that even though he may walk through the valley of the shadow of death he would fear no evil because the LORD was with him.  When it is tryly your time to die – and this should be at the end of a long and fruitful life – there will be grace available to supernaturally empower you and carry you through the process.  If you recognise that there is no grace available then resist every attempt to bring you under the intimidation of the spirit of death with all of its attached fear and proclaim, “I shall not die but live and declare the works of the LORD!” Such a statement of faith will access the grace to live and not die!

LET THE WEAK SAY, “I AM STRONG!”

Exodus 13: 19

19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had placed the children of Israel under solemn oath, saying, “God will surely visit (give attention to) you; and you shall carry up my bones from here with you.”

Remember what the word says:

Hebrews 11: 6

6 But without faith it is impossible to please him, for he who comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.

A positive attitude will always take you UP!  Your attitude will always determine your altitude!  You can choose to peck around on the ground like a chicken – always in a flap but hardly getting off the ground!  Or you can choose to exchange your weakness for the LORD’s strength and soar like an eagle who only flaps 10% of the time that he is in the air – and effortlessly rise to where no chicken has ever gone!

Joseph exchanged the weakness of his earthly father’s favour for the supernatural favour of his heavenly Father and so he was always on the way UP no matter who dropped him or sought to put him down!

Micah 7: 8

8 Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me.

Joseph’s attitude continually moved him from being a ‘victim’ under his circumstances to being a ‘victor’ over his circumstances!

What Joseph’s brothers meant for evil God turned around for good but it was Joseph’s attitude that  was the key to releasing the favour of God that turned it around!

IT’S TIME TO LET THE WEAK SPEAK!  LET THE WEAK SAY, “I AM STRONG!”

Are you ready to exchange the negative attitude that thinks all is lost because we don’t have the favour of men for the positive attitude that attracts the favour of God?  Remember – if God is for us it doesn’t matter who is against us!  If we have God’s favour we don’t need the favour of men!

IT’S TIME TO LET THE WEAK SPEAK!  LET THE WEAK SAY, “I AM STRONG!”

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