Gen 41:45                              Savior of the World                                      1/9/2011          ßą   

 

 

 

#1.       A Man in Whom the Spirit of God Is (Gen 41:33-38, Col 2:3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2.       Zaphnath-paaneah, Savior of the World (Gen 41:45-46, Matt 1:21) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3.       The Seven Years of Famine (Gen 41:53-57, Acts 4:12, Mark 13:19-20)

 

 

 

 

Š      Buy Wine and Milk Without Silver and Without Price (Isa 55:1, Matt 7:13-14, 11:28-30, 20:16, 22:14)

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Genesis, chapter 41, Gen 41:25 (2X). This is a very long chapter about the two dreams that God gave to Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Today I will cover only one half of this chapter.

What did Pharaoh dream? Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, dreamed exactly what God wanted him to dream at this particular time and place, because Joseph, the 11th son of Jacob, was in Egypt in a dungeon, and God considered it the right time to get him out of there. So that night God gave Pharaoh two dreams, which were so troubling to Pharaoh that he called all his wise men to explain the dreams. Pharaoh dreamed that seven good looking, fat cows came out of the Nile River, and then seven very skinny and mean looking cows came up after them, and the skinny cows ate up the seven fat cows, and after they ate the fat cows they were just as skinny and mean as before. Then Pharaoh woke up. Then he slept again and he dreamed that seven ears of grain were coming up out of one stalk; these were seven good looking and fat ears of grain. Then seven very lean and dry ears of grain sprung up after them, and the lean and dry ears of grain swallowed up the good looking and fat ears of grain, and after they had swallowed up the seven fat ears of grain they were just as lean and dry as before. Then Pharaoh woke up the second time. And Pharaoh called all his wise men, but there was none that could interpret these dreams. What does that show us? It shows us that "the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God", and it tells us that only the man of God has true wisdom and light: Who was that man? It was Joseph, who was at that time God’s favorite. Then the chief butler of Pharaoh remembered that there was a Hebrew slave in the dungeon who had interpreted his own dream very accurately, and so they brought Joseph hastily out of the dungeon, and cleaned him up, and shaved him, and brought him before Pharaoh. Here we see a great example of the Providence of God. We read in Prov 21:

Prov 21:1  The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will.

Our God is the Almighty, who is in control of all the events in the world, even controlling the dreams of heathen kings such as Pharaoh. God caused Pharaoh to have these dreams, so that in the end "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose". We read in Gen 41:

Gen 41:25, And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, "The dream of Pharaoh is one: (i.e. the two dreams are one) God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do".

Then Joseph explained to Pharaoh the meaning of his dreams. The seven fat cows, and the seven fat ears of grain represented seven years of plenty, which God was going to bring throughout all the land of Egypt. These seven years of plenty were going to be followed by seven years of severe famine; so severe would be the famine that the seven good years will be forgotten. And Pharaoh saw that Joseph was a man in whom the spirit of God is.

#1.       A Man in Whom the Spirit of God Is (Gen 41:33-38, Col 2:3)

Then Joseph said unto Pharaoh, in Gen 41:33-36,

Gen 41:33-36   Now therefore let Pharaoh look out for a man discreet (lit: a man of understanding) and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine.

Now we can see that God sent Joseph to Egypt, to save much people alive that the land perish not. God arranged all these events for the benefit of certain people whom He wanted to save from the famine. In like manner the Lord Jesus Christ was sent into the world to save much people alive, that the world perish not in the spiritual famine that was raging after the flood. And Christ also was sent to save a specific number of people. We read in Gen 41:37-38,

Gen 41:37-38  And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants. And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? (2X)

When we look at the figure of Joseph we can't help but see a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are more than 100 analogies between Joseph and Christ. Obviously, in this sermon I am going to touch on just a few of those analogies. But here you see the first one: a man in whom the Spirit of God is. Joseph was wise in all his dealings with men. Joseph reminds us of Christ, of whom it is said in Col 2:3, “In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” What did Joseph mean when he suggested in verse 34 "Take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years". Historically speaking, that would be very unwise; 7 X 1/5 = 7/5, which would store for the land of Egypt less than 1 ½ years of food. But that is not what Joseph meant. We see that in verse 35, "Let them gather all the food of those good years that come". You see, the fifth part is here a representation of the whole. Perhaps you remember the word “Synecdoche”, which I mentioned in the past. I wrote the word on the board. A synecdoche is a fraction representing the whole. God uses this principle very often in the Bible. Now consider these facts: Joseph, in due time, was delivered from prison, a place of shame and suffering. Just like Christ, He was not there for something that he had done. And Christ was in prison because He became sin for us. Our sins really brought Christ to a place of shame and suffering, on the cross, and in the grave. But He did not stay there. Christ rose from the prison grave. Christ was exalted, and Joseph was exalted. We read in Gen 41:39-42,

Gen 41:39-42  And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet (lit: none so understanding) and wise as thou art: Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck.

Just like with Christ, his place of shame and suffering was exchanged for one of high dignity and glory. Who delivered Joseph from prison? God did it. God gave him the interpretation of the dream and God made Pharaoh trust Joseph instantly, so that Joseph became ruler over all of Egypt on that day. Just like God raised Jesus from the grave because "It was not possible that He should be holden of death", and that was when "all authority in heaven and on earth was given to Him". Joseph's exaltation can be seen in the signs given to Joseph. First of all, the ring. What is a ring for? You might say: It is a wedding ring, or it is an engagement ring. Well, you did not get that information out of the Bible. This particular Hebrew word, translated ring, is found 49 times in the Bible. Out of these 49 times, 40 times it was used for the Tabernacle in the wilderness, or for the priest's garments, 6 times it has been used for the king's ring to seal a document or a seal a decree from the king, and only 3 times it has been used as a jewel. What does that tell us? It tells us that a ring was a sign of royalty, or a sign of authority from God or from the king. The king's ring was truly a sign and a seal. Then what about the vestures of fine linen? The vestures mean garments. The words "fine linen" are actually one Hebrew word, which occurs 42 times in the Bible. Out of these 42 times, 41 times it was used for the curtains of the Tabernacle in the wilderness or for the priest's garments, or it was used for the garments of royalty. So here again, the "vestures of fine linen" were a sign of royalty and authority. Joseph was exalted as a picture of Christ who was exalted after He endured the sufferings for our sins on the cross and rose from the grave. God speaks of Christ's exaltation in Phil 2:9, and there we read,

Phil 2:9  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

In this picture of Gen 41 Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, represents God and Egypt represents the Kingdom of God. Normally we think of Egypt as the House of Bondage. But at this point in time the children of Israel have not yet been in bondage. Moreover, Joseph is now ruler in Egypt, and Joseph as a representative of Christ has been a great blessing to Egypt. The Egyptians adore Joseph. Only after Joseph died did the Egyptians forget his blessings.

Gen 41:43-44  And Pharaoh made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt. (2X)

Is this not a strange way to express the authority of Joseph in Egypt? “Without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot.” But it is not strange if you think of this as a picture of the exaltation of Christ. When the Lord Jesus said: "Without me ye can do nothing" He expressed His Deity. It is true, without God we cannot even lift a finger. Remember that God wrote the Bible, and God chose to preserve these words in such a manner that we would be able to see the picture of Joseph in Egypt like as Christ in the Kingdom of God. God says that one day every knee shall bow to the Lord Jesus. We do not see this at the present time, but when Christ comes for the second time, He will come as the Judge of all that dwell on the earth, and then will be fulfilled the prophecy of Phil 2:10,

Phil 2:10  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;                         (Either we bow the knee now, or we will do it later; but then it will be too late.)

Why is it that when Christ came the first time, He came as the Savior? It was because mankind needs to be saved from going to Hell. Ever since Adam's sin, all mankind comes into the world as sinners in rebellion against God and haters of God. O, they would want to worship a god of their own liking, but they hate the God of the Bible because He is so abstract, and so domineering,  and He throws people in Hell. Nobody wants a God like that. But that is the God of the Bible, whether we like it or not. God, in His omniscience, knows that nobody likes Him as He is. Therefore, God's Righteousness demands that all these rebels shall be under the wrath of God, and that God must cast all those rebels in Hell forever. But God, in His compassion for mankind chose to do something about that, and God chose to save a people for Himself out of this miserable mess of rebels. But before God could take His people into heaven, someone must take their place and satisfy God's righteousness on behalf of the sins of His people. That is why Christ came into this world, to save His people from their sins by suffering for them the wrath of God upon their sins. What was the price that Christ had to pay? To satisfy the righteousness of God, He had to pay the full price of the wrath of God, which is the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. This is the only way any sin can be forgiven: The Lord Jesus Christ must have paid for that sin on the cross at Calvary. All other sins still have to be satisfied on the last day, which is Judgment Day. Christ came into a dying world, and Christ came to save only His people from their sins. Now compare this with Joseph:

#2.       Zaphnath-paaneah, Savior of the World (Gen 41:45-46, Matt 1:21)       We read in Gen 41:45

Gen 41:45  And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnath-paaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.

Pharaoh gave Joseph a new name: Zaphnath-paaneah is an Egyptian name. The Egyptian meaning of it is "Savior of the World". Is it not amazing how God used an Egyptian heathen king to give glory to Christ? How fitting was this name for Joseph, because he did not only save Egypt from starvation, but he also gave food to the surrounding nations, which also suffered from the famine. But Joseph is a picture of Christ. How fitting is this name for Christ, because He came into a dying world, and saved that world by giving the Bread of Life to all those who were hungering for that food. Did Christ also receive a new name? Yes He did. The Angel of the Lord appeared to another Joseph, 1877 years later, and said to him, in Matt 1:21, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for He shall save his people from their sins.” He received a new name: JESUS, or in the Hebrew He is Joshua. That was a new name, because His old name was Emmanuel, God with us, or Jehovah. But His new name is Jesus, "Savior", for He shall save His people from their sins. Who are His people? Are YOU among His people? I hope you are, for if you are not among His people, you are left out. But He could not save His people from their sins until "He had borne them in His own body on the tree", until He had risen from the dead, until He returned to heaven and sent forth the Holy Spirit to apply the benefits of His work on the cross. But when He ascended on high He became Savior in fact. God exalted Him to sit at His right hand "to be a Prince and a Savior". Therefore God Himself gave to His beloved Son the Name which is above every name, the Name of Jesus, which means "Savior". In like manner, just after the period of his shame was over, and Joseph had been exalted by Pharaoh, he then received the name which means "The Savior of the World". Now turn to Gen 41:46,

Gen 41:46 ¶ And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.

Joseph was thirty years old when he began his task of gathering the harvest for Pharaoh. Amazingly, the N.T. records that Jesus was about 30 years old when He began His ministry of preaching the Gospel, and began gathering the harvest for His heavenly Father. Joseph was no slouch. Both in verses 45 and 46 we read: "Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went out over all the land of Egypt". Joseph warned the land of Egypt of a coming danger. Jesus also warned the people to make ready and be prepared. When did Jesus go about all Galilee, preaching the Gospel? Jesus began His public service right after He was baptized in the Jordan, and when a voice from heaven spoke, saying: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased". Then the Lord Jesus started out His public service from the Father's presence.

Joseph's exaltation was followed by a season of plenty. We turn now to verses 47 through 49,

Gen 41:47-49  And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls. And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same. And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number.

What were the seven years of plenty a picture of? The number seven indicates it is a perfect number of years of abundant harvest. This is a picture of the period of God's abundant grace, spread out over almost 2000 years, from the beginning of Christ's ministry until the beginning of the Final Tribulation Period. The harvest truly has been abundant, because Jesus said in John 12:24, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” Jesus promised that His vicarious life and death would bring forth much fruit. Never before in the history of the world did God send so many of His messengers out into the entire world, to proclaim to every sinner that they must believe that a free and full salvation through Jesus Christ has been purchased. And as many as were ordained to eternal life shall believe.

Look how few were saved during the centuries that passed from the days of Abel up to the Flood of Noah's days. Look how few in the world were saved during the time of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Look how few in the world were saved until Christ came and preached the Gospel. Is this not wonderful to be in the service of the God of all the earth, and to be participating in a glorious work that cannot fail? God says in Isa 55:11, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Moreover, did you see that Joseph has a wife given to him, and that his wife was an Egyptian; she was a Gentile. Is she not a picture of the Bride of Christ, who has been chosen by God, and given to the Lord Jesus Christ, from every tribe and tongue and nation and people, from all over the world? Joseph's marriage was an arranged marriage; it was arranged by Pharaoh. Does that not remind us of the prearranged marriage that the Father made for His Son? Jesus told a parable about that. He said in Matt 22, "The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son". What was the Father doing when He chose His people from before the foundation of the world? The Father chose a Bride for His Son. That is what election is. What is so bad about that? And even though election is plastered over all the pages of the Bible, the word election is a bad word in many churches. Herein we can see that we are close to the end of time, because most churches today will deny that God has chosen a group of people whom He calls His elect.

Gen 41:50-52  And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah, priest of On, bare unto him. And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.

Two sons, before the years of famine came. The famine is a picture of the Final Tribulation Period. The number two, if it has any spiritual meaning, almost always points to the Church; in this case it is pointing to the N.T. Church. Who do those two sons represent? One was called "Manasseh", which means "Forgetting", and the other was named "Ephraim", which means "Fruitful". God is telling us here that there are two sorts of people in the N.T. corporate Church: One group of people is "Fruitful" and is doing the Lord's work with great success. But the other group of people are "Forgetting" the cross of Christ. They are forgetting what the Gospel stands for. Not only are they forgetting the love of God, but they are also forgetting the justice of God; the righteousness of God. These are people who have never been saved. They have heard the Gospel over and over, many times, but they have not become "Doers of the Word, but hearers only". They are deceiving themselves. They have come very close to salvation, but like Lot's wife they have never become saved. God says to them in 2Cor 6:2, “I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored (or helped) thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” In other words, God says: It is still time to plead to God for mercy. We must examine ourselves and see where we stand. Do we belong to the group that is called "Fruitful", or do we belong to the group that is called "Forgetting"? God wants us to know where we stand. Take heed to the warning, because the seven years of famine are at hand. Then the Gospel will be scarce. Then it will be hard to find the truth. Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation. Let us consider that the seven years of famine are at hand.

#3.       The Seven Years of Famine (Gen 41:53-57, Acts 4:12, Mark 13:19-20)

What is the focus of this chapter 41 in Genesis? The famine is really the focus. Remember the title of this sermon: A Savior is needed. Joseph came that the land perish not. And likewise, Christ came that the world of the elect perish not. Physical death is not in focus, but spiritual death is. Physical death is only a shadow of the second death. For example, during the seven years of plenteousness in Egypt there were people physically dying at the normal rate. But that was not of great concern to Pharaoh, or to any of his officers. But the seven years of famine were a great concern to everyone. It was also of great concern to God, and that is why God placed this story in the Bible. And what was the reason why this famine was so important? This famine represented the famine of the word of God. Let us read verses 53-57,

Gen 41:53-54  And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended. And the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said: and the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread.

Do you know what a "dearth" is? It is spelled "dearth". I wrote the word on the board. Print it in your memory. It means "a lack of something". Here it refers to food. The dearth here means the lack of food, or a famine. The famine was in all the lands, also in Egypt. But in Egypt there was bread, because Joseph was there, Christ was there. He is the Bread of Life. The seven years of famine represents the perfect number of years that God has planned for this famine to rage. No one knows how long the Final Tribulation Period will last. Only God knows.

Gen 41:55-57  And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do. And the famine was over all the face of the earth: And Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt. And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands.

Is it not amazing how this story is written as if Joseph was the only person who was opening all the storehouses in the land of Egypt and sold grain to all the people in Egypt? Joseph could not do that. But it is not so amazing if we remember that Joseph was a picture of Christ. Christ only can give us spiritual food so that we do not perish. There is no other mediator. God says in Acts 4:12, "neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other Name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved". Today the spiritual famine has spread to most churches, but not many churches will admit that we already are in the midst of the Final Tribulation Period. The Lord Jesus describes it in Mark 13:19 as an affliction upon all mankind. We read in Mark 13:19-20,

Mark 13:19-20  For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.

However, we should take note that this affliction is not a physical, but a spiritual famine.

Please turn to in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Amos, Amos 8:11 (2X). So bad will this famine be that our grandchildren, and maybe our children will all end up unsaved. But it is a promise of God that He will shorten the final tribulation period, so that the famine of the Word of God will not run its full length, or else there would be no one saved when Christ returns. We read in Amos 8:11-13,

Amos 8:11-13 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it. In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst.

 They shall run to and fro, and shall not find it.” That too is a promise of God. It is God's plan that He will introduce the final tribulation period, which is the famine of the Word of God. We read in Dan 7, 8, and 12 and in Rev 11 and 13 very clear language that Satan will be successful in conquering the Church, and that Satan will be successful in silencing the Gospel. There is no sense denying it. It is definitely God's plan to bring on the seven years of famine of the Word of God, but only God knows how long. How long will the final tribulation period last? When do we begin counting and until when will the famine be? No one knows for sure, for if we would know this we would be able to predict the day of Christ’s return. God says in Matt 24:29,

Matt 24:29  Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

In other words, the final tribulation period will last until the end of time. The truth of the Word of God will be harder to find as time goes on, and the apostasy in the churches will grow worse and worse. Will our Church remain faithful to the end? I do not know. Only by the grace of God will we remain faithful. But just like the story in Genesis 41, the famine will be worldwide. That is also a promise from God. The good news is that there was bread, but only from Joseph. Today, the bread of life is not found in most churches, but it is found only in the Christ of the Word of God. The bread of life is not found in any other savior, but only in the Christ of the Bible, and this Bible must be not more and not less than the complete Word of God from cover to cover. Here is God's advice from Gen 41: Do we want to live? Then buy bread from Joseph. Better yet: Receive the bread of life from the Christ of the Word of God. He is the only one who has spiritual bread. Did the Egyptians have to pay for that bread? Indeed they did. They paid with money and they paid with land. And here you can see the 5th purchase of land peeking around the corner. I have already spoken about four land purchases thus far. If you missed it, you can still hear it from the tapes. Next week we will get into that 5th purchase of land. Please turn now to Isaiah 55:1 (2X)

Š      Buy Wine and Milk Without Silver and Without Price (Isa 55:1, Matt 7:13-14, 11:28-30, 20:16, 22:14)

Do we have to pay for our salvation? Absolutely not! God has a message for His people. God has not only promised that He will unleash the seven years of famine, God not only promises that He will unleash the final tribulation period upon the Church, but God also promises that all those who have put their trust in the Christ of the Bible will be safe throughout the final tribulation period. God will not let us down if we trust in Him. But do we trust in the true God of the Bible, or do we trust in a god of our own making? Will there be many who have put their trust in the Christ of the Bible? No, there will be few, because the Lord Jesus said in Matt 7:13-14, "broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat, and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it". Why is that so? That is God's economy. Who are we to question God on how He rules this sin cursed earth? Whatever God does is right. God is still sending out His ministers of the Word to call upon everyone in the world to believe and put their trust on the Lord Jesus Christ. No, not on any Jesus, but only the Christ of the Bible. God's compassionate call, written in Isa 55:1 is still proclaimed in the entire world:

Isaiah 55:1 ¶ Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

God calls everyone to come to the living water, which is the Gospel that flows like a fountain of words. God calls people to eat and drink from the Lord Jesus Christ, for His words are truly food and drink for our souls. What Christ purchased for us on the cross has infinite value. Receive it without money and without price, because you cannot pay even the smallest fraction of it: 0.001% of infinite is still infinite; any scientist can tell you that.

Besides, we have nothing to offer. All our money is tainted with sin. All our works that we might give the Lord are tainted with sin. That is why God calls everyone to buy wine, a symbol for the blood of Christ, and buy milk, a symbol for the milk of the Word, without money and without price. It was paid for already by Christ on the cross. If we realize what Christ has done already, we come to Him with a broken and a contrite heart. God says “Come!”

Isaiah 55:6-7 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

God's mercy is beyond our understanding. We are guilty of nailing the Lord Jesus Christ to the cross, and we are guilty of causing excruciating pain in His body and in His Soul. We are guilty of killing the Lord's Anointed. And yet, God says: "Come". The Lord Jesus said it a little differently. He said in Matt 11:28-30,

Matt 11:28-30  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

How many will come? Very few will come. Many are called, but few are chosen (Matt 20:16, 22:14). Only those whom God has given the grace to regenerate their dead soul into new life will come. Only those whom God has chosen to give that grace will turn to Him believing what He has said. They are the only ones who believe that His yoke is indeed easy, and His burden is light. This Gospel is so unbelievable that it takes the grace of God to believe it. Without God's life giving power, man remains dead in trespasses and sins, and man remains stubborn and proud and unbelieving, and man wants to do some-thing for his salvation. Man wants to accept the Lord Jesus as his savior, rather than just receive Him freely. The Gospel of free grace is the only good news from the Bible. It is the only message of salvation that gives all the honor and glory to God, and no honor or glory to man. That is why this Gospel is not popular with most of mankind. But who sets the rules for salvation? Who is in charge? God says: Come, without money and without working for it; for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

And so, what have we learned from this story in Genesis 41? Have we understood the spiritual meaning of this historical account? There is one new name that we have learned from this story; it is “Zaphnath-paaneah” (2X) meaning “Savior of the world” which historically was given to Joseph, but in all honesty we must say that it was given to the Lord Jesus Christ, for Joseph was not the savior of the world. Joseph was only a type and or a figure of the Lord Jesus Christ. And how did this name come into being? It was generated because of the seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine. That was really the focus of this story, especially the seven years of famine. And God reminded us that this is a pattern of the history of the spiritual food on this earth. The seven years of plenty are now past. We have had Pentecost, and the phenomenal growth of the church which overcame even the Roman Empire. We have had the glorious days of the Reformation. And now we are in the years of the famine. It is not a famine of bread, but it is a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. Many churches have turned away from the true Gospel, and have turned to a feel-good-gospel, to please the people. And now the real question is: How do we stand up to a feel-good-gospel? How can we tell if we are faithful to the true Gospel? Let us hope that it really is our desire to believe only the true Gospel.                        AMEN.           Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.