Each week we webcast Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, morning public worship at 11a, and p.m. singing and sermon at 2:30p (sermon at 3:30); and the Weds. Prayer Meeting at 6:30p

Saturday, April 17, 2021

2021.04.17 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 50:22–26

Read Genesis 50:22–26

Questions from the Scripture text: Where did Joseph dwell (Genesis 50:22)? With whom? To what age did he live? Whom did he see (Genesis 50:23)? To how many generations? Who were brought up on Joseph’s knees? To whom does Joseph speak in Genesis 50:24? What does he say is happening to him? Whom does he say will visit them? Out of where will God bring them? Into what land will He bring them? What does Joseph “take” from them in Genesis 50:25? What are they called in this verse? What does He say will surely happen? What does Joseph put them under oath to do? What does Joseph do in Genesis 50:26? At what age? What do they do to him? Into what do they put him? Where?

Joseph is 56 or 57 years old when Jacob dies. So Genesis 50:21 describes what he did not only for his own household, but for his father’s household for more than half a century. And Genesis 50:22 summarizes it under the little phrase, “So Joseph dwelt in Egypt.” He was the key for all of them. Egypt was his stomping ground and he “provided for them and their little ones” (cf. verse 21). 

Genesis 50:23 heightens the sweetness and deepens the joy, as we see this last half-century of Joseph’s life surrounded by grand-children and great grandchildren, brought to Joseph’s knees at birth and growing up learning the faith from him. 

Now all these generations and all the extended family are gathered to Joseph again in Genesis 50:24. They quickly discover that this is the last time. “I am dying.” But his theme is the same as it has been. God is in the place of God (cf. Genesis 50:19). God is always intending you good and doing you good (Genesis 50:20). And now “God will surely visit you” (Genesis 50:24). 

Joseph’s message to his family is a God-obsessed message. He is the same God of relentless goodness, and Egypt is not His plan for you. He swore a promise to Abraham. He repeated that promise, swearing it to Isaac. He repeated that promise, swearing it to Jacob. God has sworn, and now Joseph wants them to swear an oath too (Genesis 50:25a). Joseph ties those two together by the repetition in verse 25 of that phrase, “God will surely visit you.”

What God will do is not in doubt. Joseph wants them to be ready to respond when God does so. They need to keep track of his bones, so that they can carry them up to Egypt. God will keep His promises, and they will return to Canaan. And God will keep the further promise of bringing Christ from the tribe of Judah. And God will keep the further promise of the resurrection.

So the book of Genesis ends in a way that reminds us that the story isn’t finished yet. “In a coffin in Egypt.” Sin has entered the world and death through sin. Joseph is in a coffin. God would bring His people up from Egypt. Joseph’s coffin is in Egypt. But the last thing he wants them to know is that God will keep the promise to bring them back to Canaan. And when God does so, they need to bring his bones, because God will also keep the promise of the resurrection. Jesus will defeat death by atoning for the sin whose wages was death. So don’t forget the bones!

As God is relentlessly keeping His promises, so let us relentlessly believe Him for those promises. Let us hear Joseph’s God-obsessed message of the certainty of God’s faithfulness to God’s promises. Let us live and die as those who are sure that God will do it. And let us make sure that our testimony to others is also a God-obsessed message of God’s faithfulness to God’s promises.

How does God’s sure faithfulness to bless His means instruct your time/activity choices day by day? What has God promised to do in the lives of Christians—how does God’s sure faithfulness to keep those promises shape your priorities and goals for your life? What has God promised to do in/after the deaths of Christians —how does God’s sure faithfulness to keep those promises shape your plans/requests about your death?

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH243 “How Firm a Foundation”

 

Friday, April 16, 2021

Working Out Salvation with Right Fear, Great Fear, and Great Confidence (2021.04.16 Family Worship in Philippians 2:12–13)

How should we respond to Jesus’s Lordship being displayed in His salvation? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. Philippians 2:12–13 prepares us for the evening sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these two verses of Sacred Scripture, we learn to pursue holiness with the right fear (for God’s eyes, not men), and with great fear (trembling at the greatness of what is being done as we are sanctified), and with great confidence (knowing that the God for Whose glory we pursue holiness is the God by Whose grace we pursue holiness).

2021.04.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ Philippians 2:12–13

Read Philippians 2:12–13

Questions from the Scripture text: How does the apostle connect Philippians 2:12 to Philippians 2:11? What does he call them here? What have the Philippians always done? Under what circumstances? What are they to do? in what manner? Why (Philippians 2:13)? Who works where? To do what two things? For what?

How should our lives respond to the fact “that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father”?  We know what knees should do: bow. We know what tongues should do: confess. What should “beloved” (Philippians 2:12) believers do? Work out our salvation. “Therefore” at the beginning of verse 12 connects back to the exaltation of the risen Christ. “Therefore … work out your own salvation.”

Salvation, of course, is much bigger than mere justification, which is the word that means to come into a right standing before the justice of God. This happens the moment that we believe. But Christ’s salvation includes perfect holiness and blessedness. “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11, emphasis added). 

In justification, our part is literally to not work, but trust Him who justifies the ungodly (cf. Romans 4:5). But the rest of our salvation must be worked out—or rather worked “in” as more literally translated. Our little text tells us several things about this working that the Spirit here commands.

Work out your salvation with the right fear. From our infancy we have learned to obey out of fear. Fear of displeasing a parent. Fear of consequences. Fear of punishment. Fear of being thought less-of by others. The apostle knows that even after we are converted, we are tempted to keep operating this way. He knows that there are members of the Philippian church (probably all of them!) who are on their best behavior when the apostle is around.

So, he tells them to do the reverse. When he says “much more in my absence,” he is not saying that they should be lax about obedience when he is present. But since he knows that it requires more effort when “only” God is looking, the apostle counsels his beloved ones to focus all the more effort in his absence.

When others aren’t there to see us, we should work all the harder at what pleases God, because it is then that it is for His eyes alone that we are working.

Work out your salvation with great fear. One of the ways that we will know that it is fear of God that drives us is when this fear makes us to tremble. Work out your own salvation with fear “and trembling.” 

We rather easily lie to ourselves about what is going on in our hearts. It is an easy thing to play mind-games with myself, to think that I am doing something unto God and conjure up some feelings as if that were the case. The apostle knew that, and so the Spirit carries him along to say not just “with fear” but also “with trembling.” If it is the true and living God Whom we are fearing, we will tremble. Yes, we can imitate trembling too. But of this we can be sure: if there is no trembling, then it is not God Whom we are fearing. 

Work our your salvation with great confidence. Playacting at Christianity to be seen by others harms us in more ways than just by feeding spiritual self-deception. Spiritual self-deception is a great evil indeed; but its twin, spiritual self-dependence, is just as toxic and poisonous and deadly to the soul. 

But the self-deception leads to the self-dependence because it hides from our view the true and living God Who is our only power for growth in grace, our only hope for growth in grace. “Don’t live out your walk for the eye of man!” says the apostle. Not only because you will fail to pursue true godliness, heart godliness, persistent godliness.

But also because if you are not consciously considering the eye of God, you will take your own eyes off of Him “Who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” See how entirely your walk with Him must come from Him? It is not even that we are willing but unable to do. Without Him, we are unable even to desire and intend that which is truly good. 

Apart from God, sanctification is stillborn—dead even in the heart, lacking the opportunity to be born in our words or our deeds. God provides even the willing to do! So let us look to Him, that His smile upon our thoughts and deeds would be infinitely more to us than any approval of any mere man—knowing that He first smiles to work in us, and then smiles upon that work!

Whose earthly approval means the most to you? When do you need to “much more” work out your own salvation? In order to respond properly to the fact that it is God Who must work in you for all of your growth in grace, what other things must you “do” as you grow?

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH393 “Spirit of God, Dwell Thou within My Heart”


Thursday, April 15, 2021

Praying to the God Who Sees: Pleading Realities that the Wicked Suppress (2021.04.14 Prayer Meeting Lesson)

The state of things, v1.
The discovery of this state, vv2–3
The delusion of this state, v4
The danger of this state, vv5–6
The desire of the righteous, v7

2021.04.15 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 17:11–19

Read Luke 17:11–19

Questions from the Scripture text: Where was Jesus going (Luke 17:11)? Through where did He pass? What does He enter in Luke 17:12? Who meet him there? Where did they stand? What did they lift up (Luke 17:13)? What did they call Jesus? What did they ask Him to do? What does Jesus tell them to do when He sees them (Luke 17:14)? What happened as they went? What did one of them see (Luke 17:15)? Where did he go? What did he do with a loud voice? Upon what did he fall (Luke 17:16)? Where? What did he do there? What was his ethnicity? What three questions does Jesus ask in Luke 17:17-18? What does He say this one has done (verse 18)? What does He call him? What does Jesus tell the Samaritan to do (Luke 17:19a)? What does He say has saved (literally) him (verse 19b)?

The evangelist gives us a surprise about the one grateful leper at the end of Luke 17:15. “And he was a Samaritan.” Many commentators rightly note that this fits with Luke’s theme of the kingdom gathering in “the least of these.” Of the four gospels, it is especially through Luke that the Holy Spirit highlights women, foreigners, and other “unacceptables” coming into the kingdom. 

In fact the phrase at the end of Luke 17:19 “your faith has saved you” (literally) appears in Luke here, Luke 7:50 (a woman who was a “sinner”), Luke 8:48 (a woman unclean for 12 years from a blood flow), and Luke 18:42 (a blind beggar that everyone had tried to shut up). All “unacceptables.”

It seems that Luke is hinting at that by holding back the ethnic info at first. Why include that he’s a Samaritan? It doesn’t matter that much if you’re a leper. It didn’t matter to the other nine. Pharisees and priests can bother to steer clear of Samaritans. But if you’re all lepers, what’s the use?

Here is a key to squashing our wicked despising of people from other classes, nations, and languages. Seeing our common sinfulness and misery in Adam reduces those differences to the status of inconsequential.

Of course, while their temporary and superficial acceptance of one another can put us to shame, it did them no ultimate good. Even being cured of their leprosy did not do them lasting good. Nine of them didn’t return to Jesus (Luke 17:15a). Nine of them failed to give glory to God (verse 15b, Luke 17:18b). 

If failing to glorify Him for what you see in the creation is so damning in Romans 1:21, what does it say when you fail to repent and give glory to God even after receiving temporary benefits from encounters with Jesus? The unconverted church member who has had “moments with Jesus,” and good sermons, and fellowship with the saints is under a greater condemnation than the sexually abominable worldlings of the second half of Romans 1.

So, while we are rightly rebuked that leper Jews and leper Samaritans were able to find some common ground, when so many Christians don’t… let us not make the mistake of thinking that when the wicked and miserable join hands that there is something redemptive occurring. God be praised for every restraint of every sin! But only one of these lepers was saved. 

Being a leper doesn’t save you. Enjoying Jesus’s benefits doesn’t save you. Overcoming ethnic/class division doesn’t save you. Only faith saves you. Luke 17:19 applied to only one of these lepers.

And this is why we need to stick with the literal translation of the phrase, “Your faith has saved you.” All ten were made well. Only one returned. Only one glorified God with a loud voice. Only one fell at Jesus’s feet—finally able to come near. Only one gave Jesus thanks. This is what faith-saved people do. I wonder if those things are true of you. Has your faith saved you?

Have you turned your life away from everything else to turn it totally to Jesus? How intensely do you glorify God in every part of life—when it’s with a voice, how loudly do you feel like shouting or singing His glory? Have you fallen at Jesus’s feet, taking advantage of being able to come near by paying homage? Have you thanked Him?

Suggested Songs: ARP72C “God, Give Your Judgments to the King” or TPH72A “O God, Your Judgments Give the King”


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

A Picture of Our Faithful, Fruitful, Invincible King (Family Worship in 2Samuel 10)

What is it like to have God’s anointed as king? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. 2Samuel 10 prepares us for the first of the two serial Scripture readings in public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these nineteen verses of Sacred Scripture, we see that great David is an lovely but inferior picture of his greater Son, Jesus: the covenantally faithful, spiritually fruitful, invincibly victorious King.

2021.04.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 10

Read 2 Samuel 10

Questions from the Scripture text: Who died in 2 Samuel 10:1? Who reigned in his place? To whom did David propose to show kindness (2 Samuel 10:2)? Like whom? Whom did David send to do what? Who speak to Hanun in 2 Samuel 10:3? What do they suggest is the real reason David has sent servants? What does Hanun do to David’s servants (2 Samuel 10:4)? Why does David send them messengers to meet them along the way (2 Samuel 10:5)? What does he tell them to do? What do the people of Ammon see in 2 Samuel 10:6? How many Syrians do they hire from what places? Who hears about this in 2 Samuel 10:7? Whom does he send? Who come out and array themselves where in 2 Samuel 10:8? And where are the various armies of the Syrians? What does Joab see in 2 Samuel 10:9? Whom does he choose to fight against the Syrians with him? Under whom does he put the rest of the army, against whom (2 Samuel 10:10)? What does he say is the plan, if one of them start to lose (2 Samuel 10:11)? For whom does he say to be courageous and strong (2 Samuel 10:12)? Whom does he suggest will determine the outcome? According to what criteria? What happens between Joab’s select force and the Syrians (2 Samuel 10:13)? What did the people of Ammon see (2 Samuel 10:14)? What did they do? Where did they enter? Where did Joab go? But how do the Syrians now respond to their own defeat (2 Samuel 10:15)? Who is their king, and whom does he summon to where (2 Samuel 10:16)? Whom does David now gather to where (2 Samuel 10:17)? Who initiate the battle? What do the Syrians do in 2 Samuel 10:18? How many charioteers does David kill? How many horsemen? Whom else? Who see what in 2 Samuel 10:19? What do they do about it? What were the Syrians now afraid to do?

Ever since chapter seven, the Holy Spirit has been building David up for us as the prototype of the Messiah. Yahweh has been keeping His promise to establish David and his kingdom (chapter 8). And David has been the loyal, faithful-ḥessed king (chapter 9). Now we have one more chapter of this, before it all comes crashing down in chapters 11–12, which is the beginning of a long line that leaves us desperate for King Jesus.

The covenant-faithful king. David starts chapter 10 very similarly to chapter 9, looking to show steadfast love/faithfulness (ḥessed) to someone (2 Samuel 10:2a). This time, it’s the new Ammonite king whose father may have helped David when he was having his problems with Saul (verse 2b). 

Some commentators devalue what David does by arguing that it was customary, mere formalities. But the passage itself shows that even the formality of kindness isn’t necessarily customary (2 Samuel 10:3-4). Nothing like the behavior of some Ammonites to use as a backdrop to highlight David’s kindness by contrast. King Jesus is faithful in all His commitments, and here is the Lord’s anointed being an imperfect picture of that to us. 

Wouldn’t it be awful if by some grumbling about the present or anxiety about the future, our suspicions about our anointed King’s intentions put us in league with these Ammonite princes?

The spiritually fruitful king. It’s not surprising that Joab and Abishai would be valiant in battle. We are rather astonished, however, to find such good theology on Joab’s lips in 2 Samuel 10:12. Just as in other places we find those under Joseph or Daniel with good theology that they have learned from them, it speaks well of David that when pushed to extremity, Joab falls back on good doctrine. Indeed, Joab will be a surprising, godly voice on several occasions (cf. 2 Samuel 19, 24, etc.).

He knows that their courage and strength exist for the glory of God and the good of God’s people. But he also knows that Yahweh has liberty to do whatever is good in His sight—and that isn’t always the same as what is good in our own sight.

Here in 2 Samuel 10:12 is profound spiritual insight, in an intense crisis, from one whose track record is riddled with sin. And it comes as the fruit of God’s blessing that attends those whom God gathers unto His anointed servant David. How much more so for you, dear Christian, whom God has gathered to His anointed servant, the Christ—Jesus! Though your spiritual history thus far be as cringy as Joab’s, God’s grace upon His Servant promises spiritual fruit for you.

The invincibly successful king. As the Holy Spirit continues to draw this sketch of King Jesus, one of the recurring themes is how invincibly successful David is. We know that the Davidic kingdom eventually falls (even if it’s well after the northern kingdom), so the invincibility of God’s anointed underwhelms us in places like 2 Samuel 10. 

But the point was not lost on “the servants of Hadedezer” in 2 Samuel 10:19. He should have learned his lesson in v13. But after the rest of his allies are routed, he and they all decide that helping Ammon against Yahweh’s anointed is a losing proposition. As with morality, so also with victory—where mere man must ultimately fail, the God-Man must ultimately succeed. Jesus Christ is building His church, and the gates of Hell cannot prevail against it. It is that small stone that grows into a mountain that fills the earth, shattering all of the kingdoms of men(cf. Daniel 2:34–35, Daniel 2:44–45; Psalm 2).

Don’t let that point be lost on you, whether at Helam (cf. 2 Samuel 10:162 Samuel 10:17) in 2 Samuel 10 or in America in 2021. Christ’s kingdom is invincible. No corporate headquarters or legislature or capitol building can withstand the congregations that gather in worship being led from the throne of heaven. 

In what circumstances do you need Jesus’s reliable faithfulness to strengthen you against grumbling? Against what worries do you need Jesus’s reliable faithfulness to encourage you against anxiety? What spiritual discouragements about yourself need the reminder that your King’s leadership is sure to produce spiritual fruit in His people? Against what discouragements in the culture and the church do you need to bring the truth of Christ’s inevitable and invincible victory?

Suggested songs: ARP72B “Nomads Will Bow” or TPH421 “Christ Shall Have Dominion ”


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

The One Man's Obedience (Family Worship in Romans 5:12–21)

How can it be fair for Adam to sin and we be punished (or for we to sin and Christ be punished)? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. Romans 5:12–21 prepares us for first portion of public worship on the coming Lord’s Day, showing that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him in “O Fountain of Unceasing Grace.” In these ten verses of Sacred Scripture, we marvel at Jesus’s obedience and the grace that comes to us as a gift thereby.

2021.04.13 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 5:12–21

Read Romans 5:12–21

Questions from the Scripture text: How did sin enter the world (Romans 5:12)? What entered through sin? What had all men done (verse 12)? What was already in the world before it was given on Sinai (Romans 5:13)? What happened to men from Adam to Moses, to show that the law was already in effect (Romans 5:14)? When Adam’s offense and Jesus’ grace are in competition, which does Romans 5:15 say “abounded”? How many offenses of Adam did it take to condemn us (Romans 5:17a)? From how many of our offenses did Jesus justify us (verse 17b)? What kind of gift did Romans 5:16 call this? How were many made sinners (Romans 5:19a)? How were many made righteous (verse 19b)? When the law came to be written on stone and scroll, instead of only on hearts, what abounded (Romans 5:20)? But when Jesus came and was obedient in our place, what abounded even more than the offense of those sins? Whose kingly reigns are in competition in Romans 5:21? What do each of these produce? Whom does verse 21 identify as having made this glorious difference? 

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, Song of Adoration, and Prayer of Confession all come from Romans 5:12–21, so that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with O Fountain of Unceasing Grace

In this passage, we have one of Scripture’s great comparisons between the first Adam and the last Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Some dislike the idea of Adam’s sin being counted against us. But the fact of the matter is that if we cannot be considered in our federal head, then this takes Jesus away from us. We are sinning and dying plenty for ourselves. How we ought to rejoice that there is a free gift of righteousness and eternal life for us in the obedience of Jesus Christ!

Some dislike the idea of Jesus being punished for the sins of others. But let them see that He willingly went. It is grace! It is a free gift! It is not some horror of injustice, but a mind-boggling quest of love and power!

And let all remember that apart from Jesus and His grace we are perishing. God’s law has always been on our hearts. There is no escape. One great purpose of His proceeding to give that law also in plain words was to intensify this urgency. How great is our offense against God!

And yet, it is precisely the gospel that enables us to say, “How great is my offense!” As we go through life, realizing this over and over again, we are not terrified to death, but rather more and more amazed at our eternal life.

Every time we say, “How great is my offense!” The Lord Jesus comes along in the gospel and says, “How greater is my grace!” There is no extent of the believer’s realization of his sin and death that Christ has not already answered with forgiveness and eternal life. For the believer, wherever sin abounds, grace has already abounded all the more!

How often are you amazed at your sin? Is it possible that not being amazed enough at it is keeping you from being as amazed at Jesus as you might otherwise have been?

Suggested songs: ARP51B “From My Sins, O Hide Thy Face” or TPH458 “O Fountain of Unceasing Grace”


Monday, April 12, 2021

2021.04.12 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 50:15–21

Read Genesis 50:15–21

Questions from the Scripture text: Who saw what in Genesis 50:15? What did they say Joseph might feel/think? What did they say that he might do? To whom did they send (Genesis 50:16)? Whom did they say had done what and when? For whom did they say Jacob had given them a special message (Genesis 50:17)? What did they say Jacob had asked him to do? How did Joseph respond to these words? What do the brothers also do in Genesis 50:18? What do they say? What does Joseph tell them not to do in Genesis 50:19? What does he ask them? What had the brothers meant (Genesis 50:20)? Who else meant something? In order to bring about what? What command does he repeat in Genesis 50:21? What promise does he make? What does he continue to do after this promise?

The guilt that can control you. It’s been about 40 years since the brothers sold Joseph into a slavery that was calculated to murder him, but the guilt of it has haunted them all that time. Nineteen years ago, when the vizier of Egypt had imprisoned one of them and demanded that they bring Benjamin back (Genesis 42:19–20), their thoughts and conversation had gone back 21 years further to the cries of Joseph still ringing in their ears two decades earlier (Genesis 42:21), with Reuben still clinging to how it wasn’t his fault (Genesis 42:22).

Now their father has died, and what’s the first thing on their minds? “Perhaps Joseph will hate us and may really pay us back all the evil we did to him” (Genesis 50:15). The brothers are so fearful, in fact, that at first they don’t even come near to him, but opt to send to him by others’ mouths (Genesis 50:16).

What a horrible thing it is to have a guilty conscience! To always be wondering whether people know. To always be worried that payback is coming. To be unable to respond rightly and healthily to situations because you’re focused on navigating the consequences of the sin that hasn’t been dealt with. To live not with the unflappable confidence and joy of a child of the king but the constant insecurity and fear of a criminal on the run.

Let us keep short accounts with men and shorter accounts with God. Come clean! There is absolutely certain welcome for you in Jesus Christ.

The God that can forgive you. One of their great problems here is that they are looking to Joseph for something that can only come from God. They use three different words for what they had done to Joseph: “trespass,” “sin,” and “evil” (Genesis 50:17). The word that they use for “forgive” has the sense of lifting away a burden, and how great is the burden of their guilt!

But that’s exactly why Joseph isn’t able to do what they ask. It’s not only that it isn’t his place. It simply isn’t within his power. They give lip service to God, but they do so not as those who are actually His servants but as part of their current strategy, for they call Him “the God of your father.” 

No wonder Joseph weeps. Surely there are many reasons, including that here after all his efforts at reconciliation, they still quite obviously don’t trust him. It’s a very lonely picture. The messenger standing in front of Joseph. His brothers not even there. Just Joseph and their untrusting words. Weeping, grieving over how his brothers are still neither reconciled to him nor to God.

But the messenger relays back to them the weeping reaction, and now the brothers are willing to come themselves (Genesis 50:18 a). The strategy shifts; they change their tune; they forget about God.” It’s before Joseph that they fall down. It’s Joseph whose servants they call themselves.

Joseph sees that they have a fear that he can’t cure, so he urges them not to be afraid, directing them to the only One who can take away that fear. “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God?” (Genesis 50:19). Only God can forgive them. Only He has that power. And those who have a forgiving God don’t have the option of refusing to forgive. So, it is not Joseph’s place or prerogative. Of course Joseph will forgive them.

The good that forgiveness guarantees both for yourself and others. When Joseph forgives them, he is doing for them what God has done for him. The reason that all things are working together for good for Joseph is that God has forgiven him his sin; God has called him according to His purpose; God has replaced Joseph’s sinful heart with one that loves Him (Romans 8:28). The God who does this by giving His Son will surely also give Joseph all things (Romans 8:32).

Notice that Joseph doesn’t let his brothers off the hook in Genesis 50:20. Their intentions were evil. Their actions were evil. But God’s intentions were good. And God’s actions were good. And not just for Joseph’s good. 

God has “saved many people alive.” That’s not ultimately a blessing for all of them. There are a large number of Egyptians whose guilt and punishment are worse because they have been against the grace of God that spared them in that famine. But God has done a temporary good to a great multitude here. 

And for some of them, it was a true blessing, because God was bringing them to faith. And for all who would come to faith (including you, I hope, dear reader, if you believe in Christ!), God was saving them through this great providence. For from Judah would come Jesus, Who saves all who believe in Him! Joseph could rest and rejoice in the truth all of his suffering had glorified God Whose goodness was done and shown in it. And Joseph could rest and rejoice in the truth that God was working that suffering together for good for all whom God is saving. 

You too, dear believer, can rejoice over this in your trials. God is in His proper place. God is working His good and will be shown good, as He glorifies Himself by your trial. And He is doing a variety of good to a variety of people through your trial. The good that He is doing you may be just the tip of the iceberg by comparison to the great good that He may be doing to many. Often in our trials, we want to know how they are working together for good for us, but we forget that in God’s wise providence, the good that comes from our trial may end up being primarily for others.

The forgivingness that comes from this good God frees you to forgive others. Finally, we see in Genesis 50:21 how free Joseph’s heart is to forgive. God is in His place. He has not only done Joseph good, but God has also brought Joseph’s heart into line with His own. Not only does he forgive them, and also promise to provide for them, but we can see the display of true forgiveness in his manner with them. He comforts them and speaks (tenderly) to their hearts. This is true forgiveness, and it comes from a heart that has been set free by knowing that God is in His place and has forgiven you!

Who has done you evil? What has God done you in that situation? How can you be sure? How will you respond?

Suggested songs: ARP51B “From My Sins, O Hide Your Face” or TPH440 “Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Wretched”


Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Triune Glory of Jesus (2021.04.11 Evening Sermon in Philippians 2:9–11)

Jesus is exalted because it is the right of His Person.
Jesus is exalted because it is His due for salvation.
Jesus is exalted because it is the pleasure of His Father.

The Place of God (2021.04.11 Morning Sermon in Genesis 50:15–21)


1. The guilt that can control you, v15
2. The God that can forgive you, v16–19
3. The good that forgiveness guarantees, v20
4. The forgiving-ness that comes from this good, v21 God's complete forgiveness in Christ means that His complete rule over all things frees us to love Him and others


WCF 14.2.2–3 Saving Faith Obeys God's Commands and Trembles at His Threatenings (2021.04.11 Sabbath School Lesson)

By faith a Christian acteth differently upon that which each particular passage of the Word containeth; yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings