Living in the Land of Goshen: Prospering in the Midst of Crisis

turn in your Bibles with me to Genesis

chapter 41 and verse 15 and while you're

turning there I gotta ask you you like

my outfit I got this shirt and tie at a

nice little designer store I frequent

called good while and now I know some of

you like to call it Goodwill but I like

to call it good while this shirt is

itami got the little emblem right there

to prove it 65 bucks retail this tie is

a tommy 45 bucks a hundred and ten

dollars between the two of them and I

got them both for less than eight

dollars so why am I such a careful

shopper because we are in the middle of

a recession

since the recession began in December

2007 the unemployment rate has

skyrocketed to nine point four percent

that's the highest it's ever been since

the Great Depression and I don't know

about you but my world is changing all

around me things are changing on a daily

basis and if we were ever in the midst

of a crisis we're in it now and if we

ever needed direction solid direction we

need it now I think you know what I'm

talking about by a show of hands how

many of you have felt the effect of this

recession let me see your hands

all right that's most of you well you

need to listen carefully to the message

today because it is possible to prosper

in the midst of crisis and God's Word

shows us how Genesis chapter 41 and

verse 15 Pharaoh said unto Joseph I have

dreamed a dream and there is no one that

can interpret it and I have heard it

said of you that you can understand a

dream and interpret it and Joseph

answered Pharaoh saying it is not in me

God shall give Pharaoh an answer of

peace let's pray father I thank you for

this beautiful day it's the day that

you've made and I choose to

rejoice in it thank you for this

beautiful church and for these beautiful

people and I pray that you would anoint

your word today and see it cause new

life in our lives Lord let it bear much

fruit in the name of Jesus our provider

in the midst of crisis amen

sitting on a cold floor in his prison

cell Joseph looked back over the the

roller-coaster ride of his life

that led to his dreadful imprisonment

just twenty years before he was the

favorite son of a loving father a father

that loved him so much that even bought

him a special coat so that everybody

would know that he was his favorite

things were good for Joseph well about

that time Joseph had a dream and it was

an interesting dream that actually had

his mom and dad and his brothers and

everybody bowing down to him remember

that part by the way and you know he

gathered his family together and he

thought they were going to be excited

about this dream but much to his

surprise they were pretty upset with him

not long after that he went on a trip

out of town with his brothers and his

brothers were so angry at him that they

decided to kill him but one of his older

brothers stepped up and said no we can't

kill Joseph let's sell him yeah that's a

good idea let's sell him things were bad

for Joseph so he's taken into Egypt

where he's purchased by a man named

Potiphar who likes him so much that he

puts him in charge of his entire estate

Oh things were good for Joseph well the

problem was Potiphar's wife liked Joseph

- a little bit too much today we would

say she had the hots for him because he

wouldn't sleep with her she got offended

and she falsely accused him of rape so

her husband Potiphar has Joseph thrown


all things were bad for Joseph in that

kind of what life is like one day things

are good for you and the next thing you

know things are bad for you

suddenly there comes a shout from the

prison guard Joseph come with us next

thing he knows he's standing in front of

Pharaoh who says I hear that you can

interpret dreams I've had a dream and I

needed interpreted so Joseph answers he

said it's beyond my power to do this but

God will tell you what it means and it

will set you at ease in other words

Joseph is saying I can tell you what God

is trying to communicate to you Pharaoh

because although you can't hear his

voice I can Pharaoh goes on to tell

Joseph about not one but actually two

dreams he's had and Joseph quickly

interprets them and he says your two

dreams are actually one and he begins to

explain to Pharaoh that God is telling

him that there will be seven years of

prosperity followed by seven years of

famine well Pharaoh was so impressed

with Joseph that like Potiphar he puts

him over his entire administration

Joseph at the age of thirty is second

only to Pharaoh and that in name only

because in reality

Joseph is more powerful than Pharaoh

listen carefully to how Joseph makes

good use of the Word of God in the seven

plentiful years he gathered up all of

the grain in Egypt and brought it into

the cities Joseph gathered so much grain

it was as the sand of the sea until he

stopped counting it for it was

immeasurable that's a lot of grain and

the seven years of plenty ended and the

seven years of famine began to come just

like Joseph said and the famine was in

all of the lands but in Egypt because of

Joseph there was grain so when all the

land of Egypt was famished the people

came to Pharaoh for bread and Pharaoh

said listen don't come to me go to


and whatever he tells you to do do that

Joseph opened up all the storehouses of

grain and sold it to the Egyptians and

the famine became so severe that all the

countries came to Joseph in Egypt to buy

grain now there's a twist to this story

that's so fascinating that you've really

got to read it for yourself sometime but

remember those angry brothers that sold

Joseph into slavery

well they and their father Jacob's house

were all suffering from the same famine

time really doesn't permit me to tell

this whole story it's just rich rich

with excitement and meaning but the peak

of the story comes when they to go to

Egypt and come face-to-face with none

other than Joseph and guess what they do

yes just like the dream said they bow

down to him but they didn't recognize

him because after all it had been 22

years by this time so taking advantage

of the situation Joseph decides to play

a little cat and mouse game with his

brothers and accuses them of being spies

and in their defense of trying to

convince him that they're not spies they

tell him that they're in a family of 12

brothers 10 which are before him one a

younger brother that's back home with

dad and another brother that well he got


so Joseph sends them home with the

command to return with that youngest

brother and he holds one of them as

hostage to make sure that they return

smart guy now it takes some convincing

for dad to allow them to take the

youngest brother back with them because

he's terrified that the same thing that

happened to his other favorite son could

happen to this one but one of the boys

convinces his dad to allow it or else

dad we're going to starve to death so

with the youngest brother they all go

back to Egypt and when they arrive

Joseph is first of all so emotional

about seeing his younger brother you see

this is his only

oh brother the others were half-brothers

this brother was a full brother by the

same mother and he's so emotional to see

this this little bully now grown that he

actually has to excuse himself to gain

his composure or else he'll be found out

so he does that he comes back and then

he begins to try his best to spur

jealousy in the older brothers towards

that youngest one you want to know why

he wants to see if they will treat that

youngest brother the same way they

treated him and guess what they passed

the test Joseph finally reveals to them

that he is their long-lost brother and

at first they're terrified because they

assume that he's going to want revenge

you could assume that but they're soon

convinced that all is well and Joseph

along with Pharaoh convinced them to go

home and get their father and all of

their families and bring them back to

Egypt where they'll live in a beautiful

city set apart from all the other

Egyptians perfect for raising cattle

which is what they did by the way it is

the best of the land a place called

Goshen now remember this is in the

middle of a famine well the story goes

on to tell of how Joseph took good care

of his father and of his brothers and I

saw to it that they had everything that

they needed in the midst of famine but

the rest of Egypt there was not even

enough bread to go around so Joseph

started selling all of the grain that he

had stored up and brought the money from

that into Pharaoh's house and when the

money ran out they all came back to

Joseph again and said give us bread or

we're going to die

so Joseph made them a deal he said all

right nice cattle you got there trade me

your cattle for the bread and they did

two years after that they come back

again and they say look we're not gonna

lie to you Joseph we're all out of money

all out of bread you've already got all

of our cattle all we have left is our

lives and our land Joseph made them

another deal he said okay sell me your

land and they did every man except for

the priest I like that part they

the preachers alone after that Farrow on

all of the land in Egypt Joseph was a

kind man and he did above and beyond

he gave them enough seed to plant in

their fields so that they would be able

to have crops every year and feed their

families but with one stipulation you

have to give 1/5 of your increase every

year to Pharaoh very smart once again

and the people came to Joseph and they

said surely you have saved our lives the

story goes on in chapter 47 verse 27 so

Israel referring to Jacob and his sons

the house of Israel Israel dwelt in the

land of Egypt in the country of Goshen

and they had possessions there and grew

and multiplied exceedingly and the

people in Egypt were just getting by on

the conditions of the crisis but

joseph´s family prospered greatly in the

midst of crisis do you get that picture

there's a group of people the larger

group in the country they can barely get

by and Joseph's family is prospering in

the land of Goshen you know I want to

step back a few points and take you back

to the point where Joseph was testing

his brothers that might seem cruel to

some that little cat-and-mouse game but

I don't think it really was Joseph

wasn't trying to see see if they had

changed so much for his benefit he

wanted to see for their benefit what

they could handle and what they couldn't

you know God will test you but God

doesn't test you to see where you're at

God tests you to show you where you're

at Joseph has tested these men and sees

that they have changed and now they're

living in the land of Goshen what made

the difference between the people who

barely survived the conditions of the

crisis and the few who prospered in the

midst of it one man who could hear the

voice of God and obeyed it now Joseph in

this story

the type of Christ if you're a Christian

he is in a sense your brother and he

knows that you basically sold him out in

your sin but he tests you to see if

you've changed so once you commit

yourself to him and you rid your life of

all of the things that block your


he speaks direction to you and he shows

you the directions to a place in your

life like Goshen Anne in spite of crisis

you will enjoy his provision listen to

live in the land of Goshen to prosper in

the midst of crisis you must hear the

voice of God and obey it now my guess is

that there's someone here today that is

frustrated because you can't hear the

voice of God as a matter of fact you

wouldn't know him if you were standing

face-to-face with him you haven't seen

him or heard his voice in so long just

like Joseph's brothers you wouldn't even

recognize him as a matter of fact you're

probably jealous of somebody like Joseph

they could hear his voice you know there

was no delay in his interpretation to

Pharaoh Pharaoh told him the dreams

Joseph interpreted it he knew God's

voice he knew what God was trying to

tell Pharaoh and you might be jealous of

Joseph because he could hear God's voice

well there's good news for you today you

can hear him too God is no respecter of


he doesn't favor Joseph more than you he

doesn't put the coat of many colors just

on Joseph and say I'm going to speak to

this man and give him the unique ability

to hear my voice God doesn't do that he

gives us all the ability to hear his

voice and he speaks to every single one

of us on a daily basis you can hear him

too but what you have to do is get rid

of everything in your life that's

standing between you and him and begin

to cut off all of those things that are

just muffling the channel between you

and God keeping you from hearing his

voice you'll maybe not hear it in an

audible voice like you're hearing mine

today but you will begin to sense his


correction in your life you may see it

in the circumstances around you you may

see it in his word as you study his word

you may see it in the wisdom that comes

from your Christian friends you may see

it in messages like this one in church

but you will begin to see and hear the

voice of the Lord and step by step you

will make your way into a place in your

life like Goshen several years ago I was

sitting at master control in a

television station it was in the evening

and my cell phone rang and as soon as I

answered it I recognized the voice it it

was my daughter Renee and not only did I

recognize that it was renamed I could

tell with her hello daddy

that something was wrong you know how

that is you know your children's voice

you know the difference between a dad

and a dad you know their voice and they

know yours and I could tell something

was wrong and I said what what's wrong

and she says daddy I don't know how to

tell you this but I am lost some friends

of hers at Christmas time had asked her

to take them from southeastern to the

Tampa Airport so that they could go home

and spend the holiday you know they were

gonna show her how to get there and then

they said to get back all you have to do

is just retrace your steps back to the

to the college and then from there she

was going to come on home so that was

the plan the problem was at some point

along the way she took that dreaded left

turn off of i-4 and ended up in the

middle of nowhere I began to ask her

what do the road signs say and she said

that's just it I haven't seen road signs

in a long time no exits no road signs no

nothing daddy well I was panic-stricken

you know my first thought was forget the

television station forget FCC rules that

it has to be man 24/7 I'm getting in my

car and I'm going to my baby girl to

rescue her and then it dawned on me I

have no clue where she's at

I don't even know what road she's on so

I said look just stay on the phone with

me don't hang up

so she stayed on the phone with me and I

said take the next exit you can she took

the next exit it was one of those ghost

town exits where there was like a gas

station there but it nobody was in it

you know it had been boarded up so then

I help her navigate back to the highway

and she stops at the next exit which

took a while to get to and I said okay

number one fill your tank up with gas

number two ask someone where you are

so she's filling up her tank and next

thing I hear is her voice saying could

you please tell me where I'm at what

what exit and I hear a man's voice and I

said no no Renee he told don't ask a man

don't tell a man you're lost go in and

tell the lady clerk you know don't tell

a man but it was too late he tells her

that she is at the intersection of i-75

and highway 51 which I was not familiar

with so I'm on my computer on MapQuest

I'm zooming into that general area you

know to try and see where she's at and I

can zoom in and zoom out and I look and

I I made the mistake of saying oh my

goodness Renee you're halfway to Georgia

well that panicked her and she freaked

out and she said oh I'm never gonna get

home I'm gonna die I'm gonna die

so I said don't worry don't worry I

shouldn't have said that well we're

gonna get you home well I could zoom out

and first of all I thought you know

technology is incredible I could zoom in

and I could see the top of the gas

station where she was you know you do

that Street View it was amazing

so I told her I said alright when you

pull out of there turn left you're gonna

be on a road called highway 51 and just

follow daddy's instructions so she said

okay so she turns left and I could I

could go ahead of her and I would say

okay you're about to cross over a

railroad track Renee and she would say

yes I'm coming across it right now and

then a little while later I could say

all right the next intersection that

you're going to come to is Harper Road

and she'd say yes daddy yes I see it

right now

I'm at the stoplight at Harper Road and

then I said you know okay you're gonna

go a while now and it it might seem kind

of scary but it's okay there's nothing

but like pasture land for a long time on

your left and your right it's gonna seem

like you're out in the middle of nowhere

but you're safe and eventually you're

gonna see a huge lake off to your right

and we talked all that way to keep her

calm as she drove through that

wilderness area and eventually she said

yes daddy I I see the lake now I see the

lake and I took her all the way to the

Florida Turnpike which she was familiar

with so that she could get on the

turnpike and come on home to safety with

us to celebrate Christmas and boy did

she get a hug when she got home you're

never going to drive a car again I'm

taking the car away that'll make you

safe no I couldn't do that but boy what

an experience we had and somewhere

across the middle of highway 51 the

thought hit both Renee and me at the

same time this must be what it's like

for God he sees his children in the

middle of a life-threatening crisis

thinking all hope is lost but he can see

the quickest route to safety and get us

there he sees us in our crisis knows

where safety is and knows how to get us

there now for just a moment try and

remember that same story but think about

it this way what if Renee had a terrible

relationship with me one so bad that she

couldn't bear to pick up the phone and

call me you know because every time I

talk to dad it turns into an argument

he's going to tell me I'm stupid for

getting lost out here he's going to

condemn me because I didn't follow the

instructions better that I was supposed

to now I've got myself in a mess

I'm not even going to call him that's

where a lot of Christians are where a

lot of non-believers are but she didn't

have a relationship like

that she had a great relationship with

her daddy

she knew his voice and he knew hers

we're gonna open up these altars in a

few minutes because I want to give you

just a little bit of time and an

opportunity to to clear the channel

between you and God whether it's about

this economic crisis that we're in or

maybe it's another type of crisis that

you're experiencing in your life and you

just don't have direction you may be a

Christian already but hearing God is

kind of sparse for you one day it's good

one day it's bad or maybe you've had a

long period of time where you just

haven't heard a thing it's not that he's

stopped talking

it's that you've stopped listening we

give you an opportunity to clear up that

channel and for those of you maybe that

have never even committed your life to

Christ accepted him as your Lord and


you hear stories like the one about

Joseph and the one about my daughter

Renee and you wish you had that type of

intimate connection with your Heavenly


so that you could connect with him and

get direction for your life that can

happen and it can begin today so we want

to open up these altars and give you

that opportunity as a matter of fact why

don't you stand with me I want to

encourage you you might be saying Lord

I'll get things cleared up with you just

after this crisis has passed

once this one's over I promise all I'll

make things better but I want to remind

you that the famine remain until Jacob

and his family were nearly starving as a

matter of fact I believe that if the

famine had lifted Jacob and his family

would have never made it to the land of

goshen so don't wait another day

to clear this up God may not be causing

this crisis but he will use it to bring

you back to safety to live in the land

of goshen

to prosper in the midst of crisis you

must hear the voice of God and obey it a

man would you come