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Thanks for joining us online this weekend! Continuing our study through the Book of Genesis, Pastor Doug Sauder taught from Genesis 45–48. In this message, we discovered why God gives and takes away for His purposes, how He uses adversity to prepare us for abundance, and how His purposes and plans are always for our ultimate good.
Dive deeper into this teaching on your own, with your family, or in your online group! Watch the video below to see a recap of this weekend’s teaching. You can also scroll down to check out expanded notes and summaries from the teaching, small group questions, and get informed on some of the great resources available to you.
To watch the message in its entirety, click here.
Let’s recap some of the key talking points from Pastor Doug’s message:
Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But then He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage, but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.—C.S. Lewis
God Gives and Takes Away for His Purposes (Genesis 45:8–11): In verse 8, Joseph assures his brothers it wasn’t actually them who sent him to Egypt—it was God! Now, after 17 years, Joseph can see it! He understands that God allowed him to experience the trials and tragedies he went through to bring him to this moment. Did Joseph always feel this way? Probably not. It’s likely there were moments through the years, during the hardest times and the darkest nights where he thought: What am I doing here? Why is this happening to me? I don’t deserve this.
And yet, despite this, what we see from Joseph is continued faithfulness, conviction, and goodness. This should serve as an example to us. As God gives and takes away, we won’t always know in the midst of the work what God is doing and how He’s working, and we don’t have to in order to trust Him, rest in His promises, and live faithfully.
Right now, this season has brought a lot of change. Much has been lost and taken away. And one day, we may see why we lost so much during COVID. Like Joseph, we may understand what God’s purposes are for this season, but even if we don’t, we can trust that He’s working for our good and for His glory, that He is drawing people to Himself, and that He‘s restoring all things. Remember, in demolition, God sometimes has to take away things to create space for the renovation. But when the renovation finally comes, it’s truly going to be above and beyond what we can ever imagine.
Adversity Prepares Us for Abundance (Genesis 45:16-20): Has God ever blown your mind by His goodness? Paul wrote to the Philippians from jail, rejoicing in His adversity. In Philippians 1, he talked about how his chains were actually serving to advance the gospel! The question is how will you view your adversity—as needless struggle or opportunity for influence and impact; as destructive trauma or as a season of spiritual formation and character building?
After being placed in the space God had been preparing him for and receiving the blessing of his sons, Genesis 41:52 (NKJV) tells us that Joseph named his second son Ephraim, because “God has caused [him] to be fruitful in the land of [his] affliction.” His affliction was the pathway to his abundance as his pain prepared him to walk in his purpose.
The God Who Was Faithful in the Past Is Faithful in the Future (Genesis 46:1–4): As we just established, most of the time we’re not going to know in the middle of the work, in the eye of the storm, what God is doing or what His plan is, but we can trust His plan is good. And one of the most effective tools we have at our disposal when it comes to standing strong in our faith and remaining faithful is our memory . . . We can remember all He’s done in the past—how He’s never forsaken us and has always been faithful. This allows us to have confident hope about today and tomorrow.
Like Joseph had the stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we have the Bible, we’re surrounded by what the author of Hebrews calls “a great cloud of witnesses” (the testimonies and God stories of believers throughout history and around us right now), and we have our own God stories and testimonies to remind us of His faithfulness and loving kindness. This allows us to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:1–2 NIV).
Joseph kept the faith; he clung to the stories of God’s enduring faithfulness. He didn’t lose hope . . . and after 17 years, he was reunited with his father. For both Joseph and Jacob, this reunion was more special and beautiful than either of them could have possibly imagined!
Our Experience with God Can Bless Others (Genesis 47:7–10): Jacob, the father of faith and friend of God, blesses Pharaoh, the “sun god,” in a way no one expects. He basically tells Pharaoh this is not our final destination. He shares that this life is hard, but this life is not the end. Our legacy is the only thing that will last. God gave Jacob the opportunity and place where he could share eternal truth with one of the world’s most powerful leaders of his day.
We may feel like COVID has left us alone at home in the dust, but God can give us opportunities to “get back into the story” like Jacob. And when He does, it’s up to us to make the most out of that moment!
God’s Good Plans Are Beyond Our Imagination (Genesis 48:11): Back in Genesis 37, in the midst of mourning his son’s death, an inconsolable Jacob believed he’d never see Joseph again. But God had different plans . . . plans neither Jacob nor Joseph could see in that moment. And now in Genesis 48, we get to witness this beautiful moment where not only does Jacob get to be reunited with his beloved son, but he even gets to meet Joseph’s sons, his grandsons! So, he says, “I had not thought to see your face; but in fact, God has also shown me your offspring” (Genesis 48:11 NKJV). Do you see that? What God has for us is greater than what we can imagine for ourselves; what He’s purposed for us is far beyond anything we could ever hope to get out of this life. As it says in 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV), “’What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’—the things God has prepared for those who love him.”
Quote to Remember: The joys of redemption outweigh the pain of what was.—Pastor Doug Sauder
As you think about this weekend’s teaching, here are a few questions to reflect on and consider with your family, your circle of friends, or in your group.
Ice-Breaker: Describe an experience or season in which your expectations were blown out of the water!
Ephesians 3:20–21 (NIV) tells us, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
Discussion Question 1: This weekend, Pastor Doug shared that God gives and takes away for His purposes, and those purposes are always for our good and His glory. Why is this sometimes hard to believe and to maintain this perspective?
Discussion Question 2: Share about a time when God took something out of your life (for a season) and it turned out to be good.
Discussion Question 3: Seasons of adversity are not meant to destroy you, but to prepare you. How have you seen this to be true in your life? In what ways have the trials of life helped prepare you for the seasons of blessing and prosperity?
Discussion Question 4: How can our experiences with God bless others?
Discussion Question 5: What can you do to remain faithful to the Lord in difficult seasons?
Ponder: In what ways has God opened your eyes to the bigger picture of His great work in and through your life? What are you doing with what He’s shown you?
Practice: Are you stuck in a rut, going down the rabbit hole of social media, politics, and paranoia, feeling the effects of months of isolation? This week, be intentional with your time. Replace the hours you would have wasted travelling down those rabbit holes and invest it in relationships. Sit with friends, have important—even hard—conversations, and hear someone’s story—even share yours! Allow God to use the people He’s put in your life to refresh you.
Pray: Are you in a dark season or struggling with a trial? In your prayer time, ask the Lord to give you a Joseph-like perspective so you can see your trials through His eyes and receive comfort in knowing He’s moving and working deliverance in, through, and around you.
Parents, here are a few questions to go over with your kids around the dinner table or during dedicated family times.
Ice Breaker: Share about a time when you did something you didn’t want to, but you ended up loving it!
Discussion Question 1: Has anything ever happened that made it hard for you to believe God is good? What did you do when you felt that way?
Discussion Question 2: Have you ever really loved something—like a toy, a friend, a blanket—but you lost it or got it taken away? Do you think there was any good reason for that?
Discussion Question 3: Sometimes, things just don’t seem fair! Do you have an example of something really hard or sad that you went through in your life, like practicing really hard but not winning the game even though your team should have won? Do you think that tough situation helped you to be more thankful when something really great happened in your life?
Discussion Question 4: Do you love it when someone tells you a really awesome story? Do you think that talking about the cool things that happen in our lives make others happy and believe that good things can happen to them, too?
Discussion Question 5: What is one thing you can do to trust God, even when you don’t want to?
Looking to dive deeper into your relationship with Jesus this summer? Want to grow in a specific area, or need some answers to some really difficult questions? We’ve got you covered! Sign up for one of our latest Bible plans! From brand-new plans on studying the Bible and prayer to plans on relationships, sharing the gospel, experiencing peace, overcoming anger, finding fulfillment, or studies through books of the Bible, we have a variety of awesome resources for you, no matter what season of life you’re in, to grow in your faith and study the Bible.
To view our reading plans, click here.
As we continue to track the news and information about COVID-19 and its effects both worldwide and right here in our surrounding cities, this week we will continue to hold services ONLINE.
Join us this Wednesday for our final week of the powerful Alpha class. Then on the weekend, we’ll continue our study through the Book of Genesis as special guest Alan Platt takes us through Genesis 49. In this message, we’ll look at Jacob’s final blessing to his sons and why it’s so important to speak the blessings of God over one another.
We look forward to spending another awesome week with you!
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Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.