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WHY IS WORK DIFFICULT ? (Vol 04) - ENEMIES MAKE WORK DIFFICULT – PART 1

Sunday English Service - 24 SEP 17

Transcript

Genesis chapter 3. We've been speaking about work. I said we'll teach it in three parts. The first part is about 'why work?'. We gave some Biblical reasons as to why we must work. And now we're in the second part where we're teaching about why work is difficult. This is a very interesting question. I am sure that this is in the heart and mind of so many people today. Why is work so difficult? A lot of people say we're living in a period where the earth is cursed. That curse has come in and curse is a factor and therefore, that makes work difficult and so on. I want to explain certain things. I have been talking about why work is difficult. I gave you the first reason. Sin makes work difficult. Sin makes work difficult. How does sin make work difficult?

In chapter 3 after man sinned, God came in and spoke to the serpent, the woman and the man. Do you remember? Starting from verse 14 onward. I'll come to verse 14 and 15, which is the subject for today but if you look at 16, He spoke to the woman. He said two things to the woman. In 16 he said that theher sorrow would be multiplied or the pain literally in childbirth and conception would be multiplied. "In pain, you shall bring forth children," He said. The second thing is, "Your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you." I interpreted it for you in light of the fourth chapter where Cain was about to kill his brother, he's raging with anger over his brother and God tells him, "Sin lies at the door." That means sin lies at the door and it desires to have you. That's the language that is used there. "Sin is lying at your door," He's telling Cain, "and it desires to have you." What does He mean? He means it desires to overcome you or it desires to rule over you, it desires to dominate you, it desires to make you do something with your anger. Sin wants you to act and express your anger. That's what it means literally, desires to rule over you. But you must rule over it otherwise that is going to rule over you. That is an indication as to how this must be translated here when it says, "Your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you." The same kind of language is used. So it literally does not mean that the woman will desire the husband and the man will dominate her. It means, when it says, 'the woman will desire the husband' her desire is to rule over him and that he will rule over her. If a woman desires to rule over the husband, I'm sure he's not going to keep quiet. He's going to retaliate by trying to rule over her.

These days when girls get ready to marry, I'm sure all her friends and people in her society, in her surroundings give her all kinds of instructions. I've heard about a young girl who was instructed by an old lady in the house. Her grandmother told her, "Listen, from the first day keep the boy under your control. When you tell him to sit down, he must lay down. Keep him completely under your control otherwise he's going to roll up his mustache and threaten you like your grandfather is doing to me for the last 50 years." That's the kind of training that people think is smart to give girls today. And I'm sure the boys will also train the bridegroom similarly. They'll say, "From day one, don't go behind her. Don't be doing everything that she says. You be a man." There is a tension there created. In marriage there is a tension as a result of sin. All marital problems had its beginning with sin. There is a tension, one trying to rule over the other, dominate the other, which is not God's intention. God wanted both of them to rule over everything else. Both of them join together, put their mind together, resources together and have one mind, be at one heart, be united, totally together. Talk everything out and live their life together as one person would, with one mind, then you have a great success. But with the fall, this kind of tension was created and that tension you can feel it even today.

The second thing is in childbirth there's going to be pain, multiplied pain. That's the punishment for the woman as a result of sin. For the man, the punishment has to do with his work because the work that a man does is a major part of his life. He was supposed to till the ground and protect his family, feed the family, take care of his family. And in the most important thing that God gave him to do, now there is a challenge. The earth is cursed because of what he has done so that it would not yield its full capacity. It's going to bring forth thorn and thistles which it did not bring forth earlier. But now as a result of the fall, thorn and thistle becomes a factor and therefore he's going to have a problem raising a crop and making a living. We talked about how sin made work difficult for man.

Secondly, we talked about how sin brought death and how that death makes work difficult. Last week we talked about that. Romans 5:12 says, "Through one man sin entered the world and through sin, death. And death ruled upon all men." Did you hear that? Through one man sin entered and through sin, death entered and death ruled on all men. That means everyone is subjected to death. There is not one person that is exempt from death in this world. All of us have to die. Sorry to say that. All of us, one day, will have to die. Death is an inevitable reality of life today for human beings. Ever since the fall came, death has become a reality of life. You cannot say no to death. Death has become a factor so much so that even a child, a few days old sometimes just dies and people say, "What sin did this child do for it to deserve something like this?" The child did not do any sin. Even a person who sinned is not dying because of his sin. Everybody that dies, does not die because of their sin. They're dying because of Adam's sin. When Adam sinned, our first man sinned, sin entered into the world and through sin, death also has entered and it has become a fact of life.

Death complicates life. That's why we went to Ecclesiastes and showed you how it frustrates man work. Frustration is a word that is used in the place of vanity. New International Version uses 'meaningless', the word 'meaningless'. It doesn't mean that there is no meaning. It means that meaning is clouded, that you don't understand meaning, you don't comprehend the meaning. It's like a vapor, it's like cloud hovering over it so you don't see the meaning, at point of life. You may say 'pointless' is another word you may use for it. Life, in all of its aspects, and work is a very important aspect, has become pointless because you don't see any point in working. Death has come and because death has come, the author of Ecclesiastes says, "What's the use of me working and achieving something? Earning, building a house, storing up for my years to come? Because death, you don't know when it's going to come. All of a sudden it comes." And all of a sudden there you go. You're gone. All that you earned and all that you built up and stored up is going to go to some other person. Who knows whether he is wise or dumb or good or evil, what he's going to do with it. You don't know. And plus, no matter how much you have achieved, how much you have studied, and how much you have worked, and how much you have labored and achieved, the death for the fool and for the wise is the same. They both die. "Both are forgotten," he says. That's the way he languishes about death. He says, "Everybody dies the same, the fool and the wise man. They die the same. They have the same death." And then after they are gone, they are forgotten. So what's the use of me trying so hard and achieving things? Work becomes pointless. The motivation behind work is gone. Work becomes very difficult. When motivation is gone, you don't feel like getting up, you don't feel like going, you don't feel like putting your best in work. So death, when it came as a result of sin, it has really affected man's work because it just frustrates man's work. He sees no point in working, he finds no meaning and so on.

We saw that this is the problem in Ecclesiastes and at the end, he gives the answer. He says, "The thing is, I don't see any meaning in life. The only thing I would suggest is live by the commandments of God. That's the only thing that's required of man. You don't know what's going to happen, you don't know when you're going to die, you don't know the meaning of life. So just live by the commandments of God. Whatever God has said, just follow it. God will bring everything to light. Whether good or bad, everything will come to light and everything will face God's judgment. So just do what is right before God." That's the conclusion he brings.

Today I want to look at verse 14 and 15 and talk about how enemies are there and when you factor in these enemies, you understand why work is difficult. Enemies make work difficult. Let's read chapter 3:14 and 15 where God speaks to the serpent. It says, "So the Lord said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle and more than every beast of the field. On your belly shall you go and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel." It's very interesting God is speaking to the serpent. He's literally pronouncing a curse upon the serpent. Among all animals, the serpent will be cursed because the serpent is the one that was used by the devil in the garden of Eden so pronouncing a curse upon it. And then He says, "I will put enmity between your seed and her seed, the woman's seed. He will bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel." This is the first prophecy of the coming Messiah they say in the Bible, Genesis 3:15, talking about how Jesus will come as the seed of the woman, of Mary, and crush the head of Satan one day and on the cross of Calvary, Satan would literally bruise the heel of Jesus.

The point you need to understand is what He's saying there is that humanity itself is going to go in two streams, it's going to be separated to two streams of people. One, called the seed of the serpent, the other called the seed of the woman. The seed of the serpent is the evil, wicked people that have the devil's nature. And the seed of the woman is the people that are Ggodly. You see this come true in the next chapter itself, in chapter 4 where Cain comes as the seed of the serpent. Actually he expects that this is a child that's born of God. She thinks that this child...she actually says in verse 1, "I have begotten a man from the Lord." But she was disappointed when he murdered his own brother. She found out that he is not begotten of the Lord. He is actually a person who carried the devil's nature into this world. He has come with the devil's nature. He has become a murderer. Great disappointment. And Abel was the Ggodly seed and then Seth is born as the Godly seengodly seed. Humanity now goes into two different streams. One is the Godly streamgodly seed and the other one is the Satan's seed and so there'll always be enmity between the serpent's seed and the Ggodly seed. The serpent's seed is wicked, unrighteous people, ungodly people, will always act against the godly people and God's purposes, will be enemies of God and His purposes, will always hinder God and His work and work against God's people and their achievements and therefore that creates a lot of problems in this world. In light of this only you can understand the promise that God made to Abraham.

The humanity proceeds from chapter 4, Cain and Abel's story then proceeds to go to Noah and to Abraham in chapter 12. In chapter 12 you see this. Just turn with me to Genesis chapter 12, "Now the Lord had said to Abraham, "Get out of your country, from your family, from your father's house to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation. I will bless you, make your name great and you shall be a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you and I'll curse him who curses you. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." We've read this so many times and we know so much about Abraham's blessing and all this. This passage has been very important passage to me because it's like a fulcrum around which everything revolves.

After Adam had sinned, God chosechooses this one man and works through this one man. He's like the second Adam now. God is going to start all over again. Adam lost everything, Adam has brought curse into this world, death into this world, the punishment into this world. God, immediately in speaking to the serpent, not only mentioned the punishment that'll come upon the serpent and upon the woman and upon the man but also mentioned the restoration that is going to happen in future, where everything is going towill be restored back to its original condition. Sin came and ruined everything. God is literally saying in chapter 3:15, when He promised the coming Messiah, He says, "One day the seed of the woman is going to crush the head of Satan, get rid of him and win the victory for all men so that what Adam lost will be restored back again." That's a promise that was made.

The promise given to Abraham is the extension of it or the expansion of it. That is stated in so many words here. The promise made to Abraham must be understood in that way. God promises him basically three things. One is the promise of the land. God says, "Get out of your country. I'm going to give you a land." That's His promise, right? The land. The land is what Adam lost. He lost the garden of Eden, that wonderful place. Eden means a place of pleasures. A place of every good thing where there was abundant living. Adam lost it. Now God says, "I'm going to take you to a wonderful land, land flowing with milk and honey. The land that you lost, the kind of life that you lost. I'm going to give it to you back. Sin and the devil and all that sin did has ruined your life but now I want to restore it back to you. I'm going to give you the land." Whatever was lost there is the focus of this promise made to Abraham. "I'm going to give you the land," He says.

Secondly, He says, "I'm going to give you a seed." The seed of the woman is about a seed and to Abraham, God literally promises...He says, "I'll make you a great nation." Nation. In Tamil it says [Tamil 00:17:26]peirya jaathi. That mansmeans I will multiply you in numbers so that you will be great in number. Here is a childless man, for many years he has never had a child and God promises him and says, "I will raise up a nation through you. You will become a nation." Starting with one man God says 'I'm going to make you a nation.' Starting with a childless man God says, "I'm going to raise up a nation with millions and millions of people through you." First, the land, secondly the seed. The seed is also in Genesis chapter 3. The seed of the woman, the godly seed, that's what Abraham's seed is going to be.

Thirdly, God says I'll bless you. I'll bless you, make you a blessing. And through you all the nations of the earth or all the families, one translation says, shall be blessed. Everyone that blesses you I'll bless them, everyone that curses you, I'll curse them. So, three things; the land, the seed, and the blessing. Everybody say with me the land, the seed, and the blessing. Three promises. God says, "Listen, everything that man lost is in these three words. The land, man lost that good life in the garden of Eden. The garden of Eden represented the kind of life God wanted man to have. I'm going to give you the land back." The Psalmist says about the promised land, "You brought us to a wealthy place." Wealthy place, what does it mean? You brought us to a place where we lack nothing, everything was in abundance. This is the will of God. Some people say, "God's will may be this." No, no, no. God's will is never poverty and all these other things. God's will is always abundant life. "He brought us to a wealthy place," he says. The land represented the kind of life...the garden of Eden represented the kind of life that God always intended for man. So God says, "I'll bring you to a land, and I'll give you a seed. Your seed will be the godly seed. From your seed will rise up the man who will crush the head of Satan and you will be blessed." Not cursed. You find curse in Genesis chapter 3 that sin had brought. But now you're going to be a blessed people. So, land, seed, and blessing. Let's all say it again together. Land, seed, and blessing, right? This is very interesting. In the middle of these three things hethat was promised, God puts another thing. He says, "Everyone that blesses you, I will bless and everyone who curses you, I will curse." In other words, He is implying there there's going to be the seed of the serpent that will try to curse you, that will try to come and bring problems into your life, that'll be a challenge to you, that'll hinder your progress, that will get in the way. So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to bless those who bless you, bless those who help you achieve what I want you to achieve and I am going to curse those who curse you.

What does curse mean? What does blessing mean first? Blessing is an empowerment, is an empowerment to succeed. Blessing is a power, ability to succeed. That's the definition of blessing and we have spoken about it a lot. If the definition of blessing is the empowerment to succeed, what is the definition of curse? If blessing is empowerment to succeed, the strength to succeed, the power to succeed, the ability to succeed, the anointing to succeed, then curse is that which makes a person fail. God is literally saying, "I'm going to bless those who bless you. I'm going to give success to those people who are going to give you a lending hand so that you may achieve my purposes and my plan for your life. And those who curse you, those who try to defeat you and pull you down, I am going to curse them." In what sense? What does that curse mean? Curse means they are going to be a failure. They will fail but you will succeed. That's basically what He is saying, all right?

Enemies are taken into account there. Three promises are made but God remembers that there is an enemy. That enemy will use other people as enemies in this world and derail God's purposes and plans through these people. So, anybody that derails God's purposes and plans through Abraham's children is going to be cursed. Is not going to be empowered, he is going to lose their ability and power to succeed in anything. They're going to fail. That's what God says.

I say this to show you the third reason for why work is difficult. Work is difficult because of these enemies. Enemies make work difficult and I want to show you how in the midstpresence of our enemies God has prepared a table for us of victory and success. Enemies slow us down. Enemies cause life to be difficult and challenging many times. Enemies cause a lot of problems but God is on our side. That's how the Bible teaches it. That's what I want to show you. Enemies are a problem but God is the answer. Enemies create the problem, God is the answer.

In order to show you this, I'm going to take you through four stories from the Bible. I'm not going to be able to cover all the four stories today. I'm going to be able to cover one story, the story of Joseph. I want to go through the story of Joseph, the story of Daniel, the story of Nehemiah and the story of Ruth. Three men and one woman. Why these four? There are many others also but I'm going to spend time on these four, this week and next week maybe. I'll spend some time on thisthese because these are amazing stories. The stories of these people are highly relevant for Biblical understanding of work. Why? There are several reasons why their stories are highly relevant for our understanding of work. We want to understand work from the Bible, right? These stories will help us very much. Why these stories are very relevant for our understanding of work? Because these people worked and lived in situation similar to our world today, facing challenges of various kinds, facing problems of various kinds and these stories teach us that how in the midst of problems we can seek God's kingdom first. We can live in the kingdom of this world. We can live in this world which is full of worldly thoughts, worldly systems, totally opposed to God many times. We can live with godlessness all around us yet we can seek God and His kingdom first and we can be working for the kingdom. And we can have success even in spite of all the difficulties we face in this life. These stories are highly relevant because these people lived in situations very similar to what we're going through today.

Secondly, these people lived under foreign powers. Joseph was taken to Egypt. He lived under a foreign power. They worshiped other gods, their whole life was different, their values were different, everything was different. Joseph went and lived among them. It's a good chance to forget God, go their way because that's the way the majority goes. Forget all about what Abraham has taught, waswhat Isaac has taught and his father Jacob has taught and go in the way of the people among whom he lived, far away from his own land. But Joseph didn't do that. Joseph's story is a wonderful story. He lived in a foreign land and in the foreign land among hostile people, in spite of his lowly status, which he began as a slave, he was able to rise to the very top and come to the very top by God's grace. I want to show you that. That's a tremendous example for us as we live in our society today; the story of Joseph.

The second is the story of Daniel. He lived under the Babylonians. He was taken captive by the Babylonians. He was one of the captives and how he rises to the very top. They tried to destroy him there. They tried to do everything to destroy him there, everybody is against him. Everyone in that society was against him. They want the king to go after him and kill him literally. He not only survives their attempts to kill him but he rises to the very top and gains great favor. And He has used these 2 men Joseph and Daniel; and Joseph,both were used mightily by God in those foreign lands to deliver God's people. For the whole nation they were deliverers. God used them like that.

Nehemiah is also a person who lived in captivity. Under Babylonian captivity the people were taken and he was from that group. How God used him. How godly was Nehemiah. It's amazing story. Living in a foreign land, in a foreign culture, culture that is totally opposed to God's ways. Yet he lived so close to God, concentrated on the word of God, lived by God's word, loved God's word, loved God and did the will of God. These are amazing stories. If you come to this church we'll touch upon all these amazing stories sometime or the other. We'll never leave anything out. It's good for us. These are written for us to learn.

And then the story of Ruth. She's a foreign woman. She's a Moabite woman and the Bible says so many things against the Moabites. They were a part of the cursed bunch and she comes from that group and attaches herself to God's people. They were a wicked people. She comes from that background and she comes and attaches herself to God's people and becomes an ancestor of Jesus Himself. She's the grandmother of David. She becomes the grandmother of David. What can you do with a Moabite woman? Everybody thought a Moabite woman is worthless. But here she becomes the grandmother of David and the grandmother of Jesus Himself. She becomes the ancestor of Jesus, receives such great honor. How she thrives in spite of her birth and origin and all the disadvantages she has. If you ask the Jewish people of the day they'll tell her that she has no right among them for the blessings of God. The covenant is not for her, the blessing is not for her. Nothing belongs to her. She can claim nothing that they can claim as Abraham's children and yet she had everything that Abraham's children had, every blessing. Amen. These are four amazing stories and let's go into Joseph today, all right? Look at Joseph in the rest of the time that we have.

Joseph's story is truly amazing story. In order to understand Joseph's story, once again let's go from Genesis 1. Genesis 1 and 2 is the beginning with God's wonderful creation. The word 'good' is the most important word in Genesis 1. Seven times the word 'good' occurs. Everything that God created was good. God created a good world. In the second chapter, God plants a garden, puts man in it, gives him a job, gives a wife, gives responsibilities. Everything is going wonderfully well. Third chapter is where sin enters and as soon sin enters God, in pronouncing the punishment upon sin, He also adds with it, the a hope of the restoration to come through the savior that is to come in Genesis 3:15. He brings that hope in there.

And then we come to the story of Abraham. In Abraham's story, we find these three promises given, the land, the seed, and the blessing, right? You know that Abraham's son is Isaac, Isaac's son is Jacob, Jacob's son is Joseph and we're studying Joseph's story. I just traced it all the way to Joseph. Abraham was given the promise and I told you that promise is simply an expansion or an extension of the fact that the promise of Abraham deals with all the curses that came as a result of Adam's sin. Adam's sin brought punishment and curse and Abraham's blessing is something that deals with everyone of those things that happened as a result of sin, canceling out the effects of sin, bringing blessing, bringing the exact opposite effect of what sin brought. God loved Abraham. In chapter 18, I don't have the time to read but you know in chapter 18 there is a verse that says that God blessed Abraham because he taught his household the ways of God. Abraham's household must be something. It must have been like a church. We read in another place in chapter 14 that he had 318 household servants who he took to fight somea war against some kings. 318 are young people who are fit for battle. That kind of people he had. Just imagine what kind ofhow many people he might have had. One great Bible scholar says that 2,000 people must have been his dependents, in other words, they must have been working for him. Families must have been working for him. They were all having tents around him. Abraham was like a big Bill Gates. He was living there in the middle and he had all kinds of families living around him. All these people worked for him and they had families, they had children and if you calculate based on the 318 count, you will have something like 2,000 people around him. His whole household, him, his wife and children and all that and the household, together it was like 2,000 people. It must have been like church. And Abraham probably gave an exposition of the blessings of Abraham. It seems like it was so because God loved him because he was a man who taught his household about what God has promised him. He must have gathered them from time to time and taught them about the land, the seed, how they'll become a great nation, how God will give them the promised land, and how God will bless them. He kept teaching them and bringing that into focus so that they will focus on where they are going, what is the meaning of life, who are they in the plan and purpose of God? Why they are living? Why they are a people, why they are a family together, where they are headed, what's going to happen. He kept that in focus all the time for them. He taught them and God loved it the fact that he taught them so He blessed him even more.

How many of you believe in teaching your family? Our thing must not end with us. It must continue to the next generation and to the next generation. So, every family must be a teaching place or every household, everybody that is under our control must come under the teaching of this kind of a thing and Abraham did that. Isaac seems to have done that also and Jacob seems to have done that also because all these fellows know about blessing. You remember the story of Jacob? He actually tries to steal the blessing because he has learned a lot about blessing, he has inquired around about how his grandfather was how his grandfather was so great and how his father was so great, what made them so successful and he found out it's a blessing, the power of blessing so he wanted to get it no matter what, even by stealing. He tried to steal it because he knew the power of that blessing. And then finally comes Joseph. From generation to generation they were taught about the blessing and the promise that was made to Abraham because the promise not only belonged to Abraham but also belonged to his sons Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and the people of Israel all the way down to Jesus and through Jesus, to all of us. That's how it comes. This way you'll understand the whole Bible.

Going from there Moses writes this...Moses is the writer of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, the first five books. He writes this so you must always remember what we are reading. This is not like some historical account of what happened. This history is not the purpose of the writing of this. The purpose of the writing is to teach spiritual truths, right? Moses is not a historian. Moses is a spiritual leader. He's trying to teach some truth. He's like a pastor. I'm not a historian, I'm a pastor. When I'm preaching, I'm not preaching history or science or something like that. I'm preaching spiritual truth. Sometimes some science is mentioned, sometimes some history is mentioned, other things are mentioned but I'm not in any way knowledgeable about those things. My thing is the spiritual truth. Moses is writing to convey some spiritual truths and look at how he writes. He talks about the blessing of Abraham in chapter 12 and then goes on every chapter... chapter 12 is the promise made to Abraham, chapter 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 is all about how that blessing mentioned in chapter 12 works out in the life of Abraham, how it practically works out in various situations.

In chapter 12, for example, Abraham leaves his house, leaves his country and goes to the place wherethat God will show him. Lo and behold he goes to one place where God told him to go and there was a famine. Everyone is dying from a lack of food. And there God takes him to Egypt and miraculously provides for him. When he comes out of Egypt, by the set of circumstances that took place there, he came out as a very wealthy man.

Chapter 13 begins like this, "He was very wealthy with fame, male and female servants, silver and gold and so on." A few verses later it says, "The earth could not bear the weight of their wealth." So much cattle they had, Abraham and Lot. So, in the midst of famine God blesses him. Famine in the world but Abraham was becoming rich.

In chapter 14 you see the power of blessing working again, against the enemies and so on. That's how the chapters go. Then when the story of Isaac begins, in chapter 26 just after the story of Isaac begins, a few chapters later in chapter 26, the chapter begins like this, "Just like there was a famine in the days of Abraham, there was also a famine in the days of Isaac." Have you ever read that? The first verse? Moses is writing like this. Just like there was famine in the days of Abraham there is now a famine in the days of Isaac and God comes to him and says, "Don't run, stay. Don't go to Egypt, stay here. I'll bless you. I'll be with you. I'll bless you." He stays there and reaps a hundredfold. Why Moses writes like that? Because he's trying to convey the truth about the blessing of Abraham. The blessing worked for Abraham. In many chapters that's a subject and now in Isaac's life is at stake. He is facing a famine just like in the days of Abraham there was another famine but the same God and the same blessing is now working in his favor. And so wherever he digs a well there is water and he prospers and he reaps a hundredfold and everybody is jealous of him and then everybody is afraid of him. That's how the story goes.

Then comes the Jacob's chapter. Like I said Jacob, in the first place, understood the power of blessing so much that he wanted to steal blessing from his brother. Then he runs away from his father's house, goes and attaches himself to his father-in-law and the father-in-law causes a big problem. He changes his salary 10 times. He was not working for some factories and experiencing some difficulties, he was working for his father-in-law. Sometimes it so happens the father-in-law can be worse than any other company or multi-national. This man is just giving him such problem. Finally, after so many years of working for him he wants to leave and the father-in-law wants to send him away empty handed, just wipe him out. Jacob says in the end...Jacob himself was a very cunning, crafty fellow, crook. He thinks he's better than everyone but he learns a big lesson by joining with his father-in-law that there are more better crooks than him in the world because his father-in-law was a better one. In all that, he was humbled by the circumstances. He was facing defeat, he was facing problem. He has run away from his father's house and he's come here and he's been cheated. They gave him the wrong girl and he had to live with her seven years then marry the other girl. All kinds of things happen. Now he's sick and tired of being with his father-in-law, he wants to leave and he's giving all kinds of problems. At that point he has an encounter with God and he understands one thing, that blessing is not something that you can steal or buy or rob or get somewhere. Blessing is something that comes by the grace of God in your life. When God blesses you and you come up in life. He tells his wives...finally, when he leaves, he tells his wives, "Your father is a very bad man. He changed my salary 10 times. He took advantage of me, he tried to wipe me out. But look what God has done. He took from your father the wealth he had and has given it to me." Literally he says that. "I didn't do it." If it was the old Jacob that ran away from his father he would have said, "Look how smart I am. Look how big a con man I am. I am better than your father. He tried to con me and I conned him better." That's what he would have said. But he learned a big lesson. He says, "Look, not my smartness, not my cleverness, not my wisdom or my power. It is God who took the wealth from him and blessed me. He gave me that wealth because God saw the injustice that was done to me. God was gracious to me because of the blessing of Abraham, my grandfather. God has blessed him and promised a blessing to me also. God has blessed me because of that. It's God who has done it." They've all been teaching one another and by the time Joseph came around, Joseph has learned all this teaching. He knows the power of blessing. Just imagine what would have been in the mind and eyes of Joseph and his brothers. What would have been their focus? Land, becoming a great nation and blessing. That's what is in their minds. They have been told so much about it. They're expecting to get a land, to be owners of a great land, a land with milk and honey. They're expecting to be a great nation, a great people. They're only a small group now, they're increasing but they're expecting that they'll be a great nation, that their name will be great and they are expecting that the blessing of God will follow them and fill them with every good thing. While they're expecting this, he is expecting a land and all of a sudden, lo and behold Joseph finds himself taken out of the land and taken to Egypt as a slave. Just imagine what he would have felt like. All his life he's been expecting to enjoy a land, owners of a land and now his brothers, his own brothers have tried to kill him. Threw him in a pit, tried to kill him and lo and behold he escaped from death by God's help. They found him and they picked him up, and sold him and he ended up, in the end in PortiphasPotiphar's house, a big official in the land of Egypt, as a slave. In those days, if you are a slave, you can't just pack your bags and go home whenever you want. You are a slave, that's it. Your entire life will just be spent there. You are just owned by that man who bought you. So, he goes and spends his time there.

He expected a land, but now the land is lost, no hope of the land, of ever seeing the land. Just imagine howwhat he would have felt like. Where is God? What is God doing? Why did He promise me land and now He's taking me out of my land and taking me to Egypt? Why all these difficulties in my life? Why life is such a battle? Why can't I just receive and enjoy God's blessing just like that? Why so many difficulties in the way. I'm sure all these questions went acrosswas going through his mind. Expecting a land, what he got in reality was another land, Egypt. He goes there and settles down there as a slave; the lowest category. He's expecting to be a great nation. That means children will be born to him, he'll have seed. Children will be born to him, they'll multiply and become great as a family. Now he's taken away from his family. Plus, in Egypt remember when he became the head of Egypt under the king, Pharaoh, he gets him married to a local priest's daughter. Local priest, another religion. That priest's daughter is married to Joseph. It's a good chance to change your religion itself, change God, convert to your wife's God. But Joseph didn't do it. He expected a seed, a nation to come out of him, but here he is. It looks like the chances are very bleak because he is now married to an Egyptian woman, a woman there not Abraham's daughter, not a daughter of Abraham, not from their own clan, somewhere else among another kind of people who believed in another way, who's culture is different. Married and now the seed is a question mark. Can it ever happen? He is expecting blessing and anybody that would look at him would say, "He surely is the most cursed person in his family." He lost his father and mother, havings no relationship with his brothers, have lost his land and married into another culture, come away and become a slave. What more do you want?" That's the most cursed life they would say. No blessing can be seen in his life.

In spite of all this, that's why I like Joseph's story, in spite of all unfortunate circumstances, difficulties, things happening totally contrary to everything that God has in plan and purpose for him, against every promise that was made to him. He was toldtaught again and again that land, seed and blessing is the promise to Abraham's children. But now everything is happening exactly the opposite way. Why is the big question in his mind. But yet, did you notice that in the most beautiful story of Joseph there is never one word mentioned about any sin that he has committed. He never committed a sin. That's amazing, for a young man with all the opportunities. He goes to PortiphaPotiphar's house and becomes the head of the house. Plenty of opportunities to sin but he does not sin. He does not sin. He completely keeps himself from sinning. How can that happen? How can he be like that? Because the blessing of Abraham is working inside of him in his life causing him to succeed in the midst of challenges. Are challenges there? Difficulties there? Yes, it is there. Are challenges and difficulties there in this life, in our world, in our circumstances, in our families, in our places where we are living? Yes, there are plenty of challenges and difficulties. Is there opposition? Is there persecution? Is there all kinds of difficulties in our way? Yes. But what does it mean? In the light of all that, how should we live? Learn from Joseph. That is why I like Joseph's story. He never sinned, instead he actually prospered. Look at Abraham's blessing at work.

Is there a curse? Is this a fallen world? Is this a woldworld where everything is imperfect? Yes, you have to agree. It's not a perfect world. It's a fallen world. There is sin, there is fall, there is curse. Yes, there is lack and want and insufficiency. There is all kinds of problems; wickedness, injustice, evil in this world. The world is full of that. What kind of justice is there for a young man like that ending up as a slave in someone else's house? What kind of justice is this when your own brothers sell you to a foreigner? There is no justice in this world. Yes, there are a lot of problems in this world. But look at how blessings work in the midst of what the curse is doing, in the midst of what the fall and it's effects are doing, how the blessing is at work. The Bible says Joseph prospered.

Look at chapter 39. Let me take you to chapter 39, a very interesting. It says, "Now Joseph," verse 1, "Joseph has been taken down to Egypt and PortiphaPotiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian bought him from the Ishmaelites, who had taken him down there. The Lord was with Joseph." Now listen to this, "The Lord was with Joseph." Is he going through difficult times? Yes. Is he facing problems? Yes. But the good news is the Lord was with Joseph and he was a successful man. How many of you know in the midst of all kinds of challenges and difficulties, when it looks like everything is going wrong you can still be a successful man? You know what success can be defined by? If God is with you, on your side, then you are a successful person, you got everything all right. If God is standing with you, you are a successful person. Everything looks like it's gone wrong. He's become a slave, lost his father and mother, gone away to another land, taken by force, kept in another house but he was a successful man because the Lord was with him. "And he was in the house of his master Egyptian and the master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made that all he did to prosper in his hand." Look at that. Everything he did prospered in his hand. Everything that Joseph did prospered. What a wonderful thing to know that everything that you put your hand on will be blessed, it will prosper, it will go well.

That's what success is all about. The curse is out there, working. It's working on the earth so that the earth does not yield. Curse is working out there because people are your enemies. They want to pull you down, they want to keep you in chains, they want to keep you as a slave, they want to pull you down as low as possible. But the blessing is at work. The blessing, in spite of all that is happening around you, is causing you to succeed in everything that you put your hand to do. And everything that is given into his hands, the Lord is causing it to prosper. Everything works out very well.

"So Joseph found favor in his sight, in Potiphar's sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house and all he had he put under his authority. So it was from the time that he made him overseer of his house and all that he had, 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 on the field." Total charge was given to Joseph. Here is a foreigner and a slave, young boy literally, very young. By the time he became head of Egypt, he was only 30 years old so he was much younger here. Very young man and Potiphar is big guy living in that country, he is the higher ups of that nation in the government, he's probably got a lot of businesses and enterprises going on, a lot of ventures he's involved in and who's in charge of all that? Who's the CEO? Joseph. Who is Joseph? A slave. Who's he? He's a young man. Who's he? He's a foreigner.

People say a foreigner cannot come come up. You can come up. God say you can come up. Joseph was right up there. He was the head of everything. Everything was given in Joseph's hand. Verse 6 says, "And then he left all he had in Joseph's hand. And he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance." It says everything was left in his hands and the man didn't even know what he had except the bread which he ate. It tells me that Joseph was a highly trustworthy person, a man of character. This man, over a period of time employed him, kept him as a slave and gave him charge of several things and found out this guy is impeccable, clean. He's not corrupt, he's not wiping him out. He's not a lying, cunning, crafty cheater. Here's here as a good man. Here's here as a man you can totally trust and depend and believe everything that he says.

Where did he get that from? Why is he like that? A young man, so faithful that big guy would just turn over his business, all his finances, everything in his hands just waiting for the bell to ring so he can go for dinner. That's all he cares about. Everything else, Joseph takes care of it. So trustworthy. Did not even ask him what was going on. Everything was going on fine, everything was successful, everything was making money, everything was going good. What made him like that? Plus, on top of his faithfulness and sincerity and integrity, he can live he was man who can liveovercoming sin. Listen to the next verse. Verse 6 ends with how he was handsome in form and appearance and that became a problem.

Verse 7, "It came to pass after these things that his master's wife cast longing eyes at Joseph. And she said, "Lie with me." But he refused and said to his master's wife, "Look. My master does not know what is with me in the house and he has committed all that he has to my hand. There is no one in this house greater than I nor has he kept anything back from me but you because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?" Amazing. What a great lesson for young people. Here is a young man who's prone to sin, prone to fall into temptations, easy to be tempted by everything happening around and really being tempted given an opportunity to live the wrong kind of life by his master's wife. HShe probably tried in a nice way but then threatened him also that if he did not budge then he'll be in trouble. But no matter what happens he says, "How can I sin, not just against my master, but against my God?" He feels a sense of obligation to his master who has given him everything and kept nothing from him except his wife. He feels a great sense of obligation toward him but he also feels even more obligated to God whom he does not see but he's faithful to. He says, "How can I sin against God?" This shows where he was spiritually. What kind of a person he was spiritually. He was deeply connected with God. He was in contact with God, he was living in another culture. He's not going to church there and he's not worshiping in a nice place getting all kinds of [] fellowship and support and what support he had. He had nothing. He had nobody encouraging him to follow his God and be faithful to him and coming and praying in his house all the time.

Here he is, alone in the place. Nobody even knows his God, nobody even cares. But he is so faithful to God. He says, "No. According to my God, this is wrong. My God says this is wrong. I can't do it. I cannot sin against God." Here is a very spiritual guy, deeply connected with God and He really believes that God sees everything and that he cannot engage in this kind of thing because he lives for God.

Then something very sad happens. He's caught because she says that he's the one that tried to seduce her and so on and thrown into jail and there he spends more than two years in jail. Just imagine two years just going by like that. Two years for nothing. He did no wrong. In fact, he was the most righteous guy. He feared God. Didn't want to sin against God, didn't want to go against his master who has given him everything. The same master who elevated him to the top most post now has thrown him into prison. When he's there in the prison, he meets a couple of guys there who used to work for the king. They have a dream and he interprets it for them and saystells them, "Look, one of you will be killed in the end. The other one will continue in his work serving the king. And when you go to serve the king, please remember me. Please put in a word of recommendation so that I will be freed. I didn't do anything wrong. I am here unjustly. I didnt do anything wrong. Just tell the king what the truth is, that I am an innocent person languishing in jail like this so I can be relieved."

Both guys went out, one was killed, the other was serving the king, very close to the king, always in front of the king, serving him yet forgot Joseph completely, allowed him to go on like this. Finally one day the king himself saw a vision, a horrible vision which just caused him such unrest. He had to call for somebody to interpret it for him and that time this guy remembered that in jail there is another guy who can interpret their visions and he calls him and Joseph gives the most marvelous interpretation by the grace of God. He tells the king what's going to happen, literally a prophetic dream that was.

It's about seven years of plenty that was going to come and after that followed by seven years of famine like the world had never seen. Not only did he give the meaning of what is going to happen, but he gave also the answer, the solution to solve the problem. He said, "Appoint somebody over everything. During the seven years of plenty, gather one fifth of everything that you reap and put it in great godowns and store it so that during the seven years of famine it can be used so that no one will die in your land of poverty. Make arrangements for a man to manage all this." The king looked at him and said, "You are the man. You are the man." And made him the head over the whole empire just imagine. Over the whole empire and literally says that without your order no one should move his hand or leg. Read the Bible. It says, "Joseph, without your order, no one moves a hand or a leg here." No authority other than you. You are the guy. Totally hands over everything. This guy is amazing to me because everywhere he goes, all charge is given to him. He was in Potiphar's house, everything was given to him. He was an expert at work, he was good at work, he is full of integrity. He went to jail, he became the jailer. There was a jailer but he gave the job to him. He said, "You take care, I'll take rest because you seem like a good guy, a good management guy. You manage everything, you take care of everything, you are faithful, you are sincere, I believe you. Take care." And the jail ran wonderfully. And then he now comes to the king and the king makes him the head over the whole empire and nobody can shake a hand or a leg without his permission.

That's how the whole thing was set up and here was Joseph, 30 years of age, such a young person in the top of the world. Abraham's blessing is working for him. Abraham's blessing picked him up from where he was as a slave and everyday was working inside even when it looked it was not working. Even in jail when it looked like where is God? Has God forgotten me because I've been here two years. But for two years God was making arrangements to make him the Prime Minister. God has a wonderful back office. He's not always upfront. He's working in the back making everything ready, getting everything set up to elevate you, to bring you up.

We are crying out saying, "Doesn't God see the injustice? Doesn't God see what's happening? Doesn't God see what people do to me? Doesn't God see all that is happening to me? I'm suffering. I'm righteous but I'm suffering. Where is God? Where is justice?" If you're a true Christian my friend you should never cry out like that. If you're a true Christian you must always take consolation in the fact that God is there, that He is with you. Even when you feel your worst, in the most difficult circumstances that God is with you and His favor is upon you and the blessing of Abraham which Jesus died on the cross to earn, to obtain and give to you is yours through Jesus Christ. Believe that. When things are going at its worst, when it looks like your business is failing and the work of your hand is not doing well, believe infor God's wisdom, believe for the ability to come from above, believe for power from above to take you through that situation and deliver you from that situation and give you the answers for your life. Expect God's wisdom and God's knowledge. Expect that God will make a way where there is no way. When you think all ways are exhausted, all doors are shut and there is no way, God knows at least a thousand ways, a thousand ways. But the thing is, you must be sure in your heart that God is with you.

Did Joseph believe that God was with him? Yeah. If he didn't believe that God was with him, he would have easily sinned. Where is God? He is forgotten. He has left me as a slave so I might as well go with this lady and have some fun time. Because I don't see God. Where is His power? Where is He? He's not taking care of me so let me just have some fun. He said, "No. I don't see God but I'm going to walk by His commandments. I don't see God in my life, I don't see Him doing anything special for me. I don't know what's happening, I don't understand the whole thing. But I'm going to do one thing. I'm going to do what's right before God. I'm going to obey God's word and just live by His word." When you don't know anything, you can't make sense out of anything that is happening around you, just do what His word says. Isn't that a good idea?

That's exactly what Ecclesiastes says. He says, "I've gone into wisdom trying to find meaning in life, totally lost, vexed because wisdom does not give meaning to life. I've tried everything, learned everything. I know more than everyanybody else but it didn't give me meaning for life. I'm sick and tired." Then he says, "I went into pleasure and I did not leave even one thing out. Every pleasure that can be enjoyed and had in this lifeworld I had it. Everything I tried out under the sun and nothing brought meaning to me. At the end of it all, see while I was having the pleasure there was some pleasure but at the end of it all, there was only emptiness and vexation. No meaning can be seen. And finally, I thought work will bring meaning into my life. I'll just achieve something through my work. I will just pour my time and my efforts into my work and give myself totally into work because work is meaningful. It will give me meaning in life." And he goes into his work. What is his answer? He says, "What am I working for? I'm going to die all of a sudden and everyone's going to forget me. They are not going to remember me for my excellent work. After I work and earn and build my house and do everything, someone's going to take it. Is he going to be good or bad? Wise or fool? Who knows? They're not even going to be remembering me, not even going to be thankful. Besides I don't even know when I'm going to die. Whether I'm going to enjoy the house that I built, whether I'm going to enjoy the money that I'm saving. I don't know. I'm vexed, I'm tired. I'm tired thinking about these things. Meaningless, meaningless, meaningless," he says. "Vanity, vanity, vanity. Everything is vanity. It doesn't make any sense. Why should I work? Why should I go through the whole thing?" After he says all of that, after he says that wisdom did not bring any meaning, pleasure did not bring any meaning, and work and achievements through work did not bring any meaning, he says, "Then what do you do?" He says, "I got only one advice to give you." What is the advice? We read last week. Ecclesiastes chapter12 the last two verses. "Fear God and keep His commandments."

You may look at him and say, "Hey, we ask for meaning of life," "That's what I'm not able to find. I'm not able to make sense. I don't know. Nothing makes sense to me. I'm not able to understand anything. I don't understand why things happen the way that it's happening." He says, "One fellow goes out and works and gathers and stores up and the other person enjoys it, who has not done anything." "It's meaningless life," he says. "I don't know. It doesn't make any sense." So what do you do? He says, "Remember your creator in the days of your youth. Fear God and His commandments." That means respect, fear is a word better translated as reverence or respect. Reverence God and His commandments for this is man's all. This is the only obligation that you have toward God. Just listen to God, just do what He says. You may not understand anything but be like Joseph. Joseph's life is the practical outworking of Ecclesiastes chapter 12 the last verses, Fear God and do His commandments. Joseph says, "I don't know why I'm here. I don't know why I became a slave, I don't know where God is. I don't know what God is doing. I dont know whether He's even seeing what is happening. I don't know. But I know one thing, I respect God. I'm going to live by His commandments."

We complicate everything. That's what it's all about. When you don't know anything, when nothing makes sense, just say, "I'm going to do what God says. I'm going to live by God's word." That's it. For God will bring every work into judgment including every secret thing whether good or evil. You may cry about injustice, you may cry about all kinds of things that is happening to you that is wrong, people doing wrong to you and all that. God says, "Don't worry about all that. I'll bring all that into justice. Everything will come out one day, who was right, who was wrong. Everything will come out. There is a judgment. You simply just go about living your life doing what's God's word commands you to do." How many think that's a good deal? I think it's a good deal.

Abraham's blessing is working in his life. That's why this guy keeps away from Potiphar's wife, that's why he gets favor with all the people everywhere he goes in Potiphar's house, in the jail and before the king and that's why God shared with him the wonderful plan and idea for food for Egypt during the time of famine. That is why...because Abraham's blessing was there in his life because he was so blessed. Blessed every which way he turns, blessed in every way. When his brothers came to him after doing such evil against him, he can be very generous because he has no complains. After all that they did to him, they could not suppress him and they could not get rid of him because he is doing better than what he was doing before. So he forgives them and blesses them, gives them a good place to live and protects his whole family.

In Psalm 105 in verse 17, the psalmist says, later on after Joseph's life was over, he says that God sent a man ahead of them, Joseph who was sold as a slave. He is recounting all that happened and he could see, the psalmist could see this is God's plan. God sent Joseph ahead of the whole family so that he can make a place for them so they can go and stay there and multiply and grow as a nation and then come out of there because otherwise they would have been eaten up alive by the famine. God has made a way through Joseph. God sent Joseph ahead but did Joseph know it? No, Joseph didn't know. That's the thing. Joseph didn't know that God sent him ahead to make way for his family to come and multiply and grow as a great nation. When they come out they were a great nation of about 30 lakslakhs people. Went in as 70 people, came out as 30 lakslakhs people after 430 years. God had a plan.

Many times when God has a plan for us, we don't understand. If God starts talking to you about 430 years, you'll go crazy. You'll say, " Wait a minute. I'm talking about 2017 and maybe 18. Our mind cannot grasp more than that." But God's plans are so great. It's beyond you to your next generation and to the other generation and to the next generation. To a thousand generations, God plans and purposes everything. The only way to live life in this difficult world, in the midst of difficult, challenging circumstances, especially at work where everything is frustrating in this evil world, is to trust in God, do what His word says and move on knowing that you have the victory in the end because God has planned everything perfectly and beautifully for you. Amen? How many of you believe that?

I believe that. I used to worry so much about what's going to happen 10 years from now, 15 years from now when I was a young man. I was very thoughtful, so worried about how I'm going to make it and all that. But I have learned in life one thing. God is much smarter. I am not even capable of planning that far ahead. But if I just do what He says and just follow Him and do what is given in my hand faithfully, whether it looks like success or failure it doesn't matter. One fellow came to me I remember he said, "Five years I am in that place pastor." He's also doing Ministry. He said, "Only five people are coming." I said, "What do you want me to do man? You want me to cry with you or what?" He said, "Five people are coming brother. What do you say?" I said, "Preach closing your eyes thinking there are 5,000 people. You're not preaching for five people or 5,000 people. You're preaching because God has told you to preach. Just preach. Just preach with all your heart. Do it with all your heart, with all your strength. Serve God." And then after a few years he has a great success. Now I told him, "You want to leave that place? I'll take it." He said, "No, no." I said, "[Foreign language 00:01:14:13] Now I can't even beat you and drive you out of there because it's so good there. You like it there."

We can't see what God is doing but God is always on your side doing good things for us. I want you to be encouraged today. No matter what the challenges are, I say to you God is on your side. Just wait and see what God can do in and through your life. Don't lose heart, continue doing what God says. Obey His word, walk in His ways, be close to him and you're going to come out right on top. Amen? Shall we all stand together.

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