Be A Blessing, Not A Virus!

Don't Be A Virus
Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash

Please turn with me in your Bibles to:

Genesis 47:1-10Then Joseph came and told Pharaoh, and said, My father and my brethren, and their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have, are come out of the land of Canaan; and, behold, they are in the land of Goshen. 2 And he took some of his brethren, even five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh. 3 And Pharaoh said unto his brethren, What is your occupation? And they said unto Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and also our fathers. 4 They said moreover unto Pharaoh, For to sojourn in the land are we come; for thy servants have no pasture for their flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan: now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen. 5 And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee: 6 the land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell: and if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle. 7 And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh: and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 8 And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou? 9 And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage. 10 And JACOB blessed Pharaoh …

One interesting aspect of this Coronavirus Pandemic is that I have learned a great deal about bacteria and viruses. I used to think the two were the same. They aren’t. Bacteria are free living cells that can exist inside or outside of a body. Viruses, on the other hand, are a non-living collection of molecules that must have a host to exist in. Once they enter a living cell, they take over the cell, and force the cell to replicate that virus.

Preach! Each virus is focused on – not benefiting what it attaches itself to – but making MORE of itself even if it destroys the host. Viruses act a lot like proud and selfish people do.

Illustrate If viruses could talk they would say “I’m all about ME. I’m just doing ME. I don’t care what the rest of the body wants or needs. I just want to make MORE OF ME, and less of anything else.” Viruses are God’s parable – and God’s warning for us today.

God does not want viruses in His Israel, nor in His Church, the Body of Christ. He wants His people working together for the good of the Head, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul wrote: 1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

Those who are indeed Christians are all – TOGETHER – to be a part of one body. We are TOGETHER the Kingdom of God. We are TOGETHER the Church of God. We are not to be like viruses – replicating more of ourselves. No, we are to be good members, good citizens that work together for the glory of Christ and the spread of the Gospel Kingdom.

God has always had a Kingdom on this earth. He has always had a BODY of believers who were to work together to spread the Good News of the Kingdom of God. In the Old Testament, God used Israel as His Body to share the Coming Messiah with a lost and dying world. In the New Testament, at this present time God uses the Church, a body of believers, gathered together for the glory of God. Old or New Testament, Israel or Church, when the members of that Body begin to act like viruses, they can infect the whole Body, and hurt Christ’s mission to the world.

What does this have to do with our text today? Simply this:

You can choose to benefit the Body you are in by minimizing yourself and glorifying God, or you can decide to be a virus, and do things YOUR way regardless.

Joseph Made A Choice To Magnify Christ In His Life

Genesis 47:1 Then Joseph came and told Pharaoh

When you read these words, you read them like an American. Then Joseph came and told Pharaoh. Big deal! What does this matter? Truth is, in ancient Egypt, the Pharaoh’s and other kings were often considered to be gods by their people. This is how they wielded so much power! You did not just come in and directly talk to a Pharaoh. You found his cup bearer, his secretary, and made an appointment. You went in to see Pharaoh on your knees. But Joseph just walks in, and talks to Pharaoh. How in the world did Joseph become such a confidant to the Pharaoh?

Joseph Lived For God’s Glory, Not For Himself!

As a young boy, Joseph was the favorite child of his father Jacob. The Bible says Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colors.(Genesis 37:3). Joseph was given special clothing that his brothers were not given. Further, Joseph dreamed a dream” (Genesis 37:5), and in that dream he dreamed that Joseph would reign over them. His brothers hated Joseph yet the more for his dreams” (Genesis 37:8). One day when Joseph was alone with his brothers, that the brothers threw him in a pit. Joseph’s brother Judah said:

Genesis 37:27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.

The Ishmeelites are the children of Ishmael, the son that Abraham had with his slave Hagar. These Ishmeelites were merchants, people who bought and sold slaves. Joseph’s brothers sold him into Egyptian slavery.

Joseph could have become bitter, losing his freedom, and being betrayed by his family. Instead Joseph did as the Apostle directed:

Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Do not be a virus! Life is not about YOU, it’s about God. We may not be able to control our CIRCUMSTANCES, but we do control how we react. Live for God!

Illustration We are to live our lives so as to glorify God – even in the bad stuff. God has a purpose for everything that comes our way. Periodically I stand in front of a mirror and give myself a good talking to. “Jesus loves you, David. You are a Child of God! Life’s not about you. Live to glorify the Lord!” Oh, life is so hard at times – but God is still there.

Genesis 39:1-3 And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither. 2 And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. 3 And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that {Joseph} did to prosper in his hand.

Joseph, attached to the body of Potiphar’s house, could have murmured and complained at his situation. But Joseph lived for the Lord. We studied this text last Sunday night:

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

When the valley comes, focus on the Lord Who loves you. When thrust into a bad situation, DO what the Scripture says:

Colossians 3:23 … whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men

If God allows you to be in the position of a slave, be the best slave you know how to be. Don’t be a virus! Add to, and benefit the host you’re attached to. When Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph, he told her:

Genesis 39:9 … how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?

How did Potiphar repay Joseph for his godliness? He had Joseph imprisoned! Jesus told us in John 16:33, “In the world you have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world.” Keep looking up!

Joseph was 17 years old when sold into slavery (Genesis 37:2), and Joseph would stay a slave imprisoned until he was 30 years old (Genesis 41:46). For 13 years Joseph looked to Jesus out of the pit that was his life.

If God Sends You To a Valley, Praise Him! Magnify Him! Live for Him. Don’t Be A Virus!If you live for Jesus, Jesus will live with you.

Genesis 39:21, 23 … The LORD was with Joseph {even in prison}, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favor …. the LORD was with him, and that which {Joseph} did, the LORD made it to prosper.

Joseph was always careful to put the Lord first. When in prison, and the butler and the baker of Pharaoh came to him with a dream, Joseph said:

Genesis 40:8 … Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me {your dreams}..

Joseph knew that the LORD loved him, and he, Joseph, loved the LORD. The LORD was not incidental to his life – but his very breath!

Two years later Pharaoh will have a dream, and will send for Joseph. When Pharaoh told Joseph that he wanted his dream interpreted, note how Joseph responded:

Genesis 41:16 … It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace …

As I said before, Pharaoh thought he was a god. But Joseph in effect says, “The TRUE GOD will give you the interpretation of your dream”. As soon as God used Joseph to interpret Pharaoh’s dream, Pharaoh said:

Genesis 41:38-40 …. Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? 39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: 40 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.

My Beloved, God will bless and use you, but only when you humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God (1 Peter 5:6). If you are saved, you are saved to serve the Lord Jesus. If you are NOT saved, you were made in God’s image, made to find your completion in Jesus Christ.

Joseph benefited any Body that he became attached to, because he looked unto the Lord. Attached to Body of Potiphar’s home, he lived for the Lord. Attached to the Body of a prison, Joseph lived for the Lord. Now attached to the Body of Egypt, second only to the Pharaoh, Joseph lived for the Lord.

Reunited with his brothers, the highest authority save for Pharaoh, Joseph did not seek revenge. He told his family:

Genesis 45:4-5 … Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. 5 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.

And NOW Enters Jacob & His Family

God speaks to Jacob (Israel), Joseph’s father in a dream, saying:

Genesis 46:3-4 … I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation: 4 I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.

God tells Israel, “Go to Egypt. Your son Joseph is alive. Go and see him, for I have blessed him”. So Jacob takes his family, and all his children and possessions, and heads toward Egypt.

Joseph has taken care to magnify God, to live to honor Him Who saved him. But now here comes his family! Joseph is going to introduce his family to Pharaoh. This is a great thing. Pharaoh has nothing but respect for Joseph, and has seen God magnified in Joseph’s life.

Pharaoh is very interested – and probably looking forward to meeting the REST of the family that this astounding young Jacob came from.

Pharaoh is in for a surprise.

Joseph tries to coach his family in how to approach Pharaoh. Joseph said:

Genesis 46:33-34 And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation? 34 that ye shall say, Thy servants’ trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.

The Egyptians loathed shepherds. Egypt was an agricultural society, and sheep, if allowed to graze untended, will strip the ground of all vegetation. Joseph told his family, “If you’re asked, you are HERDSMEN, not shepherds”. This was not really a lie, for Joseph was going to tell Pharaoh “they have brought their flocks, AND their herds” (Genesis 46:32). Joseph just wanted his family to emphasize their cattle. So what do the brothers do when introduced to Pharaoh? They do the opposite. The Pharaoh asks, “What is your occupation?”. Their reply?

Genesis 47:3 … Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and also our fathers.

Viruses. They do not listen to Joseph. They will not heed godly wisdom.

Genesis 47:4 For to sojourn in the land are we come; for thy servants have no pasture for their flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan: now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen.

I am sure that, for Joseph’s sake, the Lord touched Pharaoh’s heart. If I were Pharaoh, I would be tempted to run these knuckleheads out of Egypt on a rail! But Pharaoh is gracious. He says:

Genesis 47:6 … the land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell: and if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle.

God is so good – even when we do not deserve it. God not only offers free land to Joseph’s family, but also offers jobs to anyone who needs it. Then Jacob comes forward to meet Pharaoh. The Pharaoh asks Jacob, How old art thou?. Notice Jacob’s reply:

Genesis 47:9 … The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.

few and evil”? Jacob had lived a blessed life – a better life than he deserved. Elder Mike Allison {Madison Baptist Church, Madison, Alabama} said it best:

Think about Jacob for a while. He was brought up in a rich man’s house – Isaac was a rich man. He was bought up with servants to take care of his needs. Not only that, he was spoiled by his mother, and tolerated by his father. And then, when he did finally leave home at the age of 77, he spent the next twenty years having thirteen children and working for his uncle; who, even though {his uncle} tricked him over and over again, still he continued to get richer and richer. He {will spend} the last seventeen years of his life {from this moment on} living off the fat of the land of Egypt while many of its citizens were starving. With his son the number two man in the country, and he is given without cost the very best of the land. And here he is. He’s asked how old he is, and he uses that opportunity to tell how old he is – to complain. … He has an opportunity before a heathen king to give testimony to how God had taken care of him throughout his long life of 130 years, and he uses that opportunity to complain.”

Those who live like viruses may be Christians, for I believe Jacob was a saved person, but they leave little of the Kingdom of God on the earth when they depart. Their lives do little to change others.

Illustrate Periodically I look at obituaries of those who have passed on from this life into eternity. Often what is written is “She loved cats and dogs” or “He never met a stranger”, with little to no mention of what they did for the Lord in this life. Did you know that there is a Heavenly Obituary that God put in the Bible, found in Hebrews Chapter Eleven. In Hebrews 11 we read of many of the great saints, and the things they did for the Kingdom of God.

Abel honored God, even in death.
Enoch walked with God, and skipped death.
Noah listened to God, and floated above death.
Abraham lived for God, and through him we are blessed with Jesus,
Jesus who promise we who believe in Him will never die.

What is Jacob memorialized for? We read:

Hebrews 11:21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshiped, leaning upon the top of his staff.

This is all Jacob did in his life that God felt was commendable. The Bible says that “Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years” (Genesis 47:28). Jacob lived 147 years, and all he ever did that God thought was worthy of praise was to bless both the sons of Joseph.

If you will be a BLESSING and not a VIRUS, you need to bind yourself to Jesus Christ. Jesus said in Luke 6:49, “But he that heareth {my words}, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great. Bad things happen to everyone … but they happen more frequently to those who reject God’s Word. Live your lives for Jesus. If you are believers in Christ, do not live in yesterday, but pursue Jesus. The Apostle said:

Philippians 3:13-14 … this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

To be called into God’s family by faith in Christ is a HIGH calling. Live your life for Jesus. Live your life, not as a virus, but as a valued child of God. We all suffer. We all go through valleys. Look up! Look up, like the pastor John Bunyan. Though imprisoned, he wrote the wonderful book Pilgrim’s Progress. Though blind from childhood, Fanny Crosby wrote the words to over 8,000 hymns, many found in our hymnal.

Be a son or a daughter of God.
Be a blessing to others, light in darkness.

The Bible says in Genesis 47:10, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. Jacob went through the motions of blessing Pharaoh, but only ISRAEL can truly bless Pharaoh. Jacob’s blessings to Pharaoh were but empty words to that man. Beloved, give glory unto the Lord Who saved you. Live, letting Him shine through your life! May God touch your hearts with His Word and His Spirit. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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