- Sermon Notes
He’s Still the God of Wonders
Psalm 105:1-5; 16-22
Read: Psalm 105:1-5
The Psalm we turn to today, Psalm 105, is categorized as a Psalm of remembrance. In the Psalm, the writer reviews God’s acts of redemption, providence, and provision in the past, and the purpose is to encourage God’s people right where they are at and encourage them to look at what God has done, and to put their faith and trust in God as they go forward.
Because the first 15 verses of Psalm 105 are also found in 1 Chronicles 16:8-22 as a Psalm of Thanksgiving David gave in that chapter, many believe this to be a Psalm of David, though there is no author listed in the superscription of this Psalm.
The Psalm begins by encouraging people to given thanks to the Lord presently, to call upon His name, to make His deeds known among the people. The writer continues, “sing praises to Him, tell of His wonders, to have joyful hearts in seeking Him, and then in verse 5, “remember the wonders which He has done…”
What the writer will then do as the Psalm continues on, is go through parts of Israel’s history, remembering the wonders God worked for His people, and then will end in verse 45, imploring the people to “Praise the Lord!” So, they look back, look to the Lord, and then praise Him as they go forward.
The title of the message this morning is “He is Still the God of Wonders,” and I titled it this way because in the first five verses of the Psalm, the people are told to “tell of all His wonders,” and to “remember His wonders which He has done…”
A “wonder,” as referred to here, is something that is marvelous, an amazing miracle, or a wonderful deed. There are many Psalms that tell of God’s wonders:
Psalm 40:5, Many, Lord my God, are the wonders which You have done, and Your thoughts toward us; there is no one to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, they would be too numerous to count.
Psalm 86:10, You are great, and you do wondrous deeds; You alone are God.
There are other Psalms and Scriptures that direct us toward how to respond to His wonders as His people:
Psalm 78:4, We will not conceal them from their children, but we will tell the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His power and His wondrous works that He has done.
Psalm 107:2;8, The redeemed of the Lord shall say so… They shall give thanks to the Lord for His mercy, and for His wonders to the sons of mankind!
Isaiah 25:1, Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; for You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.
After encouraging the people to tell of and remember God’s wonders, the Psalmist provides a list of some of the amazing things the Lord had done throughout their history, things they could praise Him for presently, wonders that would display who He had been and would be and the list is amazing, but there is one section of wonders in the Psalm that cause me to pause, or wonder in a curious way and it is that particular section that we will spend the bulk of the rest of our time looking at this morning because it is a story that is powerful and important in our understanding of God’s wonder working ways in our lives today.
Here is the general outline of the Psalm: It opens with a call to praise God for all He has done for His people. Then there is a summary of the history of Israel in verses 6 to 15; His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; His promises of land He would provide. The Psalm will continue looking into the life of Jacob’s son, Joseph (where we will spend most of our time today), then onto the time the Israelites time in Egypt, how God made them fruitful there, stronger than their enemies in number. How the people in Egypt would begin to hate them, but the Lord would deliver them, performing wondrous acts so that Pharaoh would let His people go. Moses would deliver them out, God would provide for them in wilderness, cloud covering by day, fire by night, water from the rock, bread from heaven daily, a provision of quail when they asked. The Psalmist ends in verse 45, “Praise the Lord!”
A Psalm with many of the wonders of God! But as I mentioned, there was a situation mentioned in the middle of it all, verses 16 to 22, that I can only look back on and imagine did not seem too wonderful to be going through when the young man mentioned was going through it.
Psalm 105:16-18, And He called for a famine upon the land; He broke the whole staff of bread. He sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. They forced his feet into shackles, He was put in irons…
In remembering God’s wonders, the Psalmist looks to the life of a young man named Joseph. The Psalmist will continue Joseph’s story, giving some detail into how God worked wonders in Joseph’s life, but I want to stop at verse 18 for right now because it bring us to the point in Joseph’s life where he might have been wondering if God was still the God of wonders, or if God had forgotten about the plans he thought God had for him.
- He Has a Purpose For Your Position
- Joseph’s story begins in Genesis 37 and makes up about ¼ of the book of Genesis. In the beginning of chapter 37, we are introduced to Joseph when he was 17 years old. Joseph was the son of Jacob, the firstborn son of Rachel, the wife he had first fallen in love with.
- What we know about Joseph, was that he was openly favored by his father… His father loved him more than all his other brothers and made him a multicolored tunic. A multicolored tunic was literally a “coat of many pieces” or “big sleeves.” It was a sign of his father’s favor, and none of the other sons had a coat like it.
- In Genesis 37:4 we read that his brothers say that their father loved him more than all his brothers, so they hated him and could not speak to him on friendly terms.
- In verse 5 we learn that Joseph had a dream, he then told it to his brothers, and they hated him even more… Joseph would actually be given two dreams.
- In the first dream, he was out with his brothers tying up bundles of grain, suddenly, his stood up, and all of his brothers bundles bowed down to his.
Genesis 37:8, His brothers responded, “So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them. (NLT)
- In the second dream, the sun, moon and eleven stars all bowed down to him. What these dreams indicated was that Joseph would rise above his family. He told it to his father and to his brothers…
Genesis 37:10-11, His father scolded him. “What kind of dream is that?” he asked. “Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow to the ground before you?” But while his brothers were jealous of Joseph, his father wondered what the dreams meant.
- It was not long after he shared his dreams that his father sent him to check on the older brothers who had gone away to pasture their father’s flock. When the brothers saw Joseph from a distance, they decided that they were going to kill him, but decided they would put him in an empty cistern in the ground to let him die instead.
- Rueben was planning to secretly rescue him, but before he could, his other brothers took him and sold him to some Midianite traders for twenty pieces of silver.
- They would take the robe his father had given him, and dip it in the blood a young goat to make it look like Joseph had been attacked by an animal and killed.
- It worked, Joseph’s brothers took the robe that was dipped in blood to their father, and ask if it was Joseph’s robe, and he responded, “Yes, it is my son’s robe, he must have been attacked by a wild animal and he mourned for Joseph.”
- Meanwhile Joseph was sold by the Midianite traders into the house of a man named Potiphar.
- In Potiphar’s house, Joseph succeeded in all that he did. He was an exceptional servant, so much so, that Joseph became Potiphar’s personal servant. Potiphar put Joseph in charge of all that he owned, and the Lord blessed Potiphar’s house because of Joseph (Genesis 39:2-6).
Genesis 39:6, He left Joseph in charge of everything that he owned; and with him there he did not concern himself with anything except the food which he ate.
- As the story goes on, Joseph is noted as a handsome man in form and appearance. And Potiphar’s wife is noted as having her eyes on him. She asked him repeatedly to sleep with her, but Joseph repeatedly refused. He told her that he would not sin against God, he would not do such an evil thing.
- Finally, she cornered him on a day when it was just the two of them in the house, she grabbed him and again said, “sleep with me…” Joseph then ran, but she was still holding onto his garment.
- She then screamed and made up a story that Joseph had come to her, to “make sport of her” but that she had screamed, and he left his garment behind (Genesis 39:17-18)
- Upset, Potiphar would take Joseph and then put him in prison and confined. This is where his feet would be put in shackles.
- We then read that in prison, the Lord was with Joseph and He extended kindness to him. Joseph would again gain favor in that place.
Genesis 39:22-23, The chief jailer committed to Joseph’s charge all the prisoners who were in the jail; so that whatever was done there, he was responsible for it. The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph’s charge because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made to prosper.
- Joseph would be there for some time, and then he would be joined in prison by the cupbearer and baker of the king of Egypt.
- Joseph was then put in charge of them, and one night, both of them would be given dreams.
- They had dreams, but nobody to interpret them and Joseph would ask them to tell him their dreams as God could interpret them.
- And the Lord would give him the meaning. The baker would not be restored back into the king’s service, his life would end. But the cupbearer would be restored.
- Joseph told the cupbearer to remember him when he returned to the king…
Genesis 40:14-15, Keep me in mind when it goes well for you, and please do me a kindness by mentioning me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this prison. For I was in fact kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing that they should have put me into the dungeon.”
- The cupbearer would be restored, but Joseph would not be remembered for another two years (Genesis 41:1).
- Finally, the king of Egypt had a dream and he tried to find anyone he knew of in all the land to give an interpretation of the dream, but nobody could.
- It was then that the cupbearer remembered Joseph. He told the king about the time when Joseph interpreted a dream for him and it came to pass.
- Pharaoh would then call for Joseph to be pulled out of prison, he would tell Joseph the dream, and Joseph would make sure that God receive the glory for any interpretation that might come.
- He gave the interpretation of the dream to him in Genesis 41:25-36: There would be seven years of abundance, followed be seven years of famine.
- Someone wise then needed to be appointed to administrate the storage of food and resources for 7 years, so they would have reserves for the time of famine.
- Pharaoh then appointed Joseph in that place. He was then second in command in all the land. Though he was not the king, the people would follow his orders. Whatever he said, they were to do…
- Joseph would administrate it all. He would store up during the plenty, and then famine would come upon the entire world.
- Joseph was 30 years old at this time. It had been 13 years since his brothers had sold him into slavery. 13 years of being a slave, being falsely accused and lied about, being put in prison, being forgotten and remaining in what he called a “dungeon.”
- The psalmist looks at Joseph’s life and sings… “Remember God’s wonders!”
Illus. We’ll See.
- For Joseph, the Lord had a purpose for His position.
- And famine would hit His father’s household. It was so severe that they would be sent to Egypt to find food, and while there, they would be brought before Joseph.
- At first Joseph is disguised to them, they do not know it was him, but there here is powerful story of how his identity ends up being revealed and when it does, Joseph acknowledges through some of the worst times in his life, the Lord had purpose in his positioning.
Genesis 45:4-8, Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come closer to me.” And they came closer. And he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold to Egypt. Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me ahead of you to save lives. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. So God sent me ahead of you to ensure for you a remnant on the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household, and ruler over all the land of Egypt.
- Josephs entire family would come to Egypt. He would be reunited with his Father.
- It was an amazing story of how the Lord used Joseph to go before his people, to preserve the nation and save God’s people.
- Joseph was granted a heart of forgiveness, but also perspective that God had sent him into the difficult situation to bring about deliverance and salvation for his family and throughout the worldwide famine.
Psalm 105:19, Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord refined him.
- Accept His Refinement in Your Confinement
- Verse 19 of Psalm 105 gives us insights into the fact that while Joseph was going through all of those difficult times, 13 years of it, in his time of confinement, he was being refined by the word of Lord.
- And being refined is something that the Bible speaks of at times, so there is no doubt that there are times in our lives where the Lord is refining us, even and often, through the trials of life.
- When the Psalmist wrote that the word of the Lord “refined” Joseph, the word for refined is to try, test, refine, or purify.
- In 1 Peter 1, we read about trials, and the fact that they refine us through testing or being tried.
1 Peter 1:6-7, In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which perishes though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ….
- Joseph was refined by God’s word, until God’s word came to pass in his life.
- Peter wrote, trials refine us. “Your faith is more precious than gold that perishes, though tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
- Various trials come, but at the very end when you see Jesus Christ, your life will be that much more refined.
Illus. The picture.
Illus. Tested and Refined: Proverbs 25:4, Psalm 66:10.
Proverbs 17:3, The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests hearts.
Matthew 5:8, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Genesis 42:6, Now Joseph was the ruler over the land; he was the one who sold grain to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down to him with their faces to the ground.
- God’s word would come to pass in Joseph’s life, but it would take time, until that time, God’s word was refining him.
- May that be true for me and you, that we would cling to God’s Word, hold onto His promises, and allow How word to refine us until it all comes to pass.
Isaiah 48:10, Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
Job 23:10-11, But He knows the way I take; when He has put me to the test, I will come out as gold. My foot has held on to His path; I have kept His way and not turned aside.
Illus. Which number?
Romans 8:28-29, And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son…
- Though great troubles were lined out for Joseph, though he was stuff, bound up and stuck in the dungeon of confinement, the Lord had an assignment for Joseph, and that assignment would come with both fire and refinement, but God’s work would surely come to pass.
Psalm 105:20, The king sent and released him, the ruler of peoples, and set him free.
- Remember, Psalm 105 is a Psalm of remembrance…Its purpose, to remember what God has done, to look to Him, and then have faith and trust in Him in the midst of whatever we are in…
- Remember His Wonder Working Ways, Today…
- It is recorded in Genesis 50 that after Joseph’s father passed away, his brothers became worried.
Genesis 50:15-20, When Joseph’s brothers had seen that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!” So they sent instructions to Joseph, saying, “Your father commanded us before he died, saying, ‘This is what you shall say to Joseph: “Please forgive, I beg you, the offense of your brothers and their sin, for they did you wrong.”’ And now, please forgive the offense of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to keep many people alive.
- This scene took place nearly 40 years after Joseph was sold into slavery.
- They are worried that Joseph is now going to pay them back for their wrongs. They understood his power and authority.
Psalm 105:21-22, He [The King of Egypt] made him lord of his house, and ruler over all his possessions, to imprison his high officials at will, that he might teach his elders wisdom.
- Joseph’s response to them is a powerful one. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good, to accomplish what is not being done, the saving of many lives.
- If he had not been sold by his brothers, he would not have gone to live in Egypt in Potiphars house; had he not gone to Potiphar’s house he would not have been falsely accused and imprisoned. Had he not been imprisoned, he would not have met the cupbearer of the king; and had he not been forgotten by the cupbearer of the king, he would not have met the king at the time he was needed which was two years later when Pharaoh had a dream.
- God was working wonders, and he was weaving it all together for the present result in Joseph’s life, to present many people alive.
- Perhaps today you need a reminder that our God is still the God of wonder, He is still the wonder working God and He weaves and works things together, meaning them for good, even the things that aren’t easily understood.
1 Corinthians 13:12, For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully, just as I also have been fully known.
Psalm 27:13, I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Illus. Let God Work the Wonders.
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