Steven Furtick - The Power of Interpretation
Genesis 40:5. Let's jump right into the middle of it: "And one night they both dreamed, the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison, each his own dream, and each dream with its own interpretation. When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were troubled. So he asked Pharaoh's officers who were with him in custody in his master's house, 'Why are your faces downcast today?' They said to him, 'We have had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them.' And Joseph said to them, 'Do not interpretations belong to God?'" That was the question that got me started on this quest to preach this message today. "'Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me'"
Now, I'm going to do something kind of weird. I'm going to go to a "New Testament" scripture. One verse of scripture that doesn't seem to go together on the surface with the one that I just read, but it does. And it's going to seem like, you know, peanut butter and mayonnaise, but it's really jelly. So, go to 1 Corinthians 14:3. And here Paul is giving some instructions to the Corinthian church about orderly worship. And he says, "Therefore one who speaks in a tongue should pray for the power to interpret". Again, "Therefore one who speaks in a tongue should pray for the power to interpret". And I want to lift that phrase for my message title today, and talk to you about the power of interpretation. Very, very, very good stuff coming your way today from the word of God. Not from me, but from God. And that's really the starting point for me. I realize that you come to church not to hear my opinion, but to hear a correct interpretation of the word of God for your life. To really live successfully, or maybe we could say a more biblical word, faithfully for God, I need the correct interpretation.
Touch somebody next to you and say, "I need an interpretation". Yeah. I need an interpretation to be a good husband because men and women are different. And if I don't learn to interpret, if I don't learn to understand that nothing is wrong does not mean literally on the surface nothing is wrong. And by the way, most people, when they say literally, it doesn't mean literally. I literally died. I think you mean figuratively. Touch somebody, say, "I need an interpretation". I need an interpretation to be able to raise my kids, you know. Because I'll be thinking they're ungrateful, when really, they're just adolescent. And if you want to play back the tape from when I was their age, well, let's don't do that.
Touch somebody, say, "I need an interpretation". That's what Paul is talking about. And really, no one's life illustrates this more than the "Old Testament" character, Joseph. I mentioned him. And I read this scripture that I want to revisit now in Genesis 40, concerning the power of interpretation. But you know, Joseph's life could be used to illustrate injustice. He was abused and actually survived a near assassination from his brothers. And years later in his life, he was dealing with false allegations of sexual misconduct. And that landed him in prison, which is what put him in this position in Genesis 40. The situation that he was in. Okay.
Principle number one. And this is not coming up on the screen so, you know, write it down if it seems like it's worth writing down to you. If you just got to write something down, write this down. My situation in not as important as my interpretation of situation. I don't mean to sound Dr. Seuss to you, but what I'm trying to say is, a lot times we want an intervention from God in our situation. Instead of that, God will often give us a different interpretation of the situation. And he won't necessarily change it, He will change us in the way we see our situation. All right, so Joseph is in prison and should he be in a bad mood. He should be having pity party day number 743 of this pity party, since Potiphar's wife said, you know, that he tried to rape her. And he should be reflecting on all of his brothers trying to kill him. And yet, he had the presence of mind, like Reggie Miller in the "30 for 30" doc, where he says to these men who were in prison with him, "What's wrong? You look sad".
Now, imagine if you'd have his life, but you are still looking at others through the lens of what's wrong with them. And imagine you have so much resentment and you're in prison, but yet, you are able to still release empathy instead of living in your own resentment. Y'all I am preaching so hard right now, and I don't even have to raise my voice to do it. He said, what's the matter with you? You mad. And they said to him, we've had dreams and there's no one to interpret them. Joseph said, "Do not interpretations belong to God"? Now, notice what he didn't say, I have the power of Grey Skull. I have the power of interpretation. He said, God can make sense of this. Whoa. I believe deep down in your soul, that's why you came to church. Because only God make sense of some of the things that I feel, and that I'm going through. And I need God to make sense of this.
So, Joseph said, look at how polite he is, "Please tell them to me". Please I want to help you. And the chief cupbearer, who used to bring Pharaoh his wines said, well, it was weird, man. I'm going to just tell you like I dreamed it. Because in the "Old Testament", you know, they put a lot more stock in their dreams than we do today. And I don't think that you should necessarily think every dream that you have comes from God either. It's pizza a lot of the times. It has nothing to do with the Lord, or your purpose in life. But when the man started talking, he said, it was a vine that I saw in my dream. And then, there were like three branches coming off the vine. And the then the branches, they were like ripe right away. And all three of them were filled with grapes, so I start squeezing the grapes. And I was holding Pharaoh's cup, and I handed it back to him. What does that mean?
Joseph's like, three branches, three days. In three days, We could preach about that, couldn't we? From the perspective of something else that happened after three days, but we're not going to do that today. He said, three days, Pharaoh's going to lift your head, put you back in your rightful position. This is the interpretation. Now, remember there were two men. And they both had dreams, and the other one's standing over, and he hears the interpretation that Joseph gave to the cupbearer, but he's Pharaoh chief baker. And apparently, Pharaoh is easily triggered because he threw both of them in prison, but we don't what for. Made he brought him pumpernickel, and he really wanted rye, or something like that. Or the yeast rolls weren't hot. And so when he brings it out, the bread, maybe Pharaoh flies of the handle.
And Joseph's life can be understood through many different constructs. But one way to look at it, is there are three major interpretations. This is the first one. He tells the cupbearer, three days, Pharaoh's going to put you back in your position. The baker hears this while Joseph is saying, and when you get out of here, mention me to Pharaoh, because I don't deserve to be here. So, don't forget your boy who came through, when you get out. And the baker, now he's waiting his turn in line. Because he wants out of Shawshank as well. And so, he says, oh, oh, oh, do mine. Do my dream. I had a dream too. Can you do my dream? And Joseph says, tell me your dream. "Do not interpretations belong to God"?
And so, he's expecting a favorable interpretation and he has a similar dream that's different in just a small, tiny, little way. He says, okay. I had three, not three branches on a vine, because I don't do the cupbearer thing. I had three baskets of bread, and they were all full of bread. And then, some birds came in my dream, I know it sounds weird, but they started eating the bread off my head. And Joseph said, oh, no. And he said, oh, no. He said, yeah. It means that, this was the interpretation. This is what it means. Three days, Pharaoh's going to lift up your head, uh-huh. And cut it off, and then the birds are going to eat your flesh. And then Joseph took up and offering.
But see, he didn't have the power to make the dream mean what he wanted it to mean. What he had to do was seek God to say, what does this mean? And one meaning was, you're going to be restored to your position. That's the stuff that preaches good. And one meaning is, you know, you're actually going to be dead three days from now. But it was the same power that enabled him to interpret both dreams. And it happened just like Joseph predicted. The interpretation was accurate. Three days later, the baker was dead, and the cupbearer was free, only he forgot about Joseph, until one day, Pharaoh: this is the second interpretation. And there are three. This one get more difficult. It kind of goes in stages of interpretation. Where Pharaoh has a dream, and he gathers all the magicians in his court to interpret his dream.
But watch what the Bible says. I believe it's Genesis 41:15. Pharaoh said to Joseph, "'I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.'" Now, how did Joseph get in front of Pharaoh? I thought he was in prison? Well, here's what happened. When Pharaoh had a problem, Joseph had an opportunity. I'm going to say that again. When Pharaoh came upon something that he could not solve with his resources, it created an opportunity for someone who knew how to interpret the times, the situation, and to bring forth a solution. Here's why I pointed that out. Because sometimes we run from stuff that God has introduced in order to bring us into the opportunity that we were praying for.
When Pharaoh had a dream, it was a strange dream. And he brought Joseph and he said, man I heard about you. And Joseph said, it's about time. That dude was supposed to tell you about me two years ago. But you see, sometimes God will allow people to forget about you because he knows where you need to be for the moment you need to come forth. And if you don't have a relationship with God, you won't know what to do with yourself in those times where you feel imprisoned and confined. All right, so he said, I heard about you. There's no one who can interpret my dream, but I have heard it said of you, that you are really, really brilliant at this dream interpretation stuff. So give it a shot. And Joseph answered Pharaoh, it's not in me. What a way to start your opportunity. Go for a job interview, and tell them, "I'm not the one".
But he said something similar to what he said in verse 40. And you're starting to see a pattern. He said, it's not in me, God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer. So, let's hear it. Because the power of interpretation is not in me. Because the power of interpretation is to get into the presence of God. Watch this and say, God what are you saying? What are you doing? What do want to speak? And Joseph from that place of humility hears Pharaoh's dream. And Pharaoh starts talking about cows. He's like, well, there were seven fat cows, and seven skinny cows. I don't know why Pharaoh's talking like this, it must be southern Egypt. But he's like, the fat cows, first came the fat cows, then came the skinny cows. And skinny cows ate the fat cows. And there were fat stalks and skinny stalks, it's a great story to read sometime.
But Joseph said, oh, that's easy. Seven years of plenty. That's the fat cows. Seven years of famine. That's the skinny cows. And if you save up during the fat years, you can make it in the lean years. And Pharaoh said, I need somebody smart to put in charge of saving up during the fat years. I need somebody to manage my fat cows. And Joseph said, well, hey if you need somebody to manage your fat cows, maybe the guy that told you about the fat cows, would be the one to manage the fat cows. And Pharaoh said, you're the man. And he's second in command of all of Egypt. Because of what? The power of interpretation. And if he would have given his opinion in that moment, or if he would have interpreted that opportunity through the lens of his own pain, he would not have had the clarity to see God, and see what God is doing.
The second interpretation. And here's the third one. Okay. There's a pattern here. It's three branches on the vine. It's three interpretations and in Joseph's life. And this one, this last one that I want to show you is going to be the most difficult of all. Because now, Joseph has to interpret not the prisoner's dream, the cupbaker — Cupbaker, it's a new thing, it's cupbaker, bakes cups. The cupbearer and the baker. The second interpretation of Pharaoh's dream was easy in comparison to Joseph's final test, when he had to interpret his own dream. And to do that he had to face his own pain because, remember I told you when he was 17-years-old, he had a dream. Where he saw all these sheaves of grain that his brothers were out in the field harvesting. And his was at the middle, and they all bowed down to him.
And perhaps, in his immature eagerness to be important, he went and told his brothers what he saw. And that's one of the reasons they hated him. I mean, there were many reasons. His father like him better because he came from the wife, Rachel that Jacob really loved. And his dad gave him this Gucci coat. And so many reasons why he was hated. And there's were from Target. But it's crazy because, you know, now he's standing in front of them, I'm going to read you the passage. And you imagine how emotional this would have been because the famine that Joseph predicted is now in full swing. It's been seven years of plenty. Joseph has stored up all the supplies and so they're ready for it. But he wasn't ready for this because two years into the famine, seven years of plenty and two years into the seven year famine, Jacob sends all of his boys, Joseph's brothers to Egypt because he heard there was grain there. And Joseph is the one who's in control of the pantry.
Now sometimes God will test you by putting you in a position to see how you will deal with somebody who hurt you. And you interpret that moment has everything to do with what happens next, and how much God can trust you. And I'm going to read it to you just like it says in verse 1. Start from Genesis 45:1. He's been with his brothers, this is the second time that he's seen them. He's been dealing with a wide array, I'm sure of different instincts and impulses of how he should deal with them. He hasn't let them know yet who he is because he's dressed like and Egyptian, and so, they don't recognize him. You know, some people in your life don't recognize the you that you are now. Not only because of what you've been through in life, but because God has taken you to a different place. But when he finally decided to reveal himself to his brothers, it triggered that trauma of the day when he was so hated by them, that they dipped his robe in animal blood and sold him to the Ishmaelite caravan and he ended up separated from everything that he knew.
And the Bible says, verse 1: "Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him. He cried, 'Make everyone go out from me.' So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers". He's all alone in front of the thing that hurt him. In front of the unfair situation that started this whole chain of events in his life. And now he has to decide how to interpret this encounter. I'm preaching right to your life today, because you're standing in front of something that hurt you. You're standing in front of some things that happened to you or didn't happen for you that should have. And standing before his brothers, Joseph has a decision to make. What is the interpretation of this? And now, perhaps, he remembers his dream that he had over 20 years ago, where he saw all of his brothers bowing down to him, but he realized they would not be bowing down to him, so that he can show off in front of them, but so that he can serve them in this moment.
It's very powerful. Very powerful what happens next. He's crying and he's hurting, and finally he reveals himself in verse 3: "Joseph said to his brothers, 'I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?' But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. So Joseph said to his brothers, 'Come near to me, please.'" Because you really can't interpret what God is doing in your life from a distance. And he has to call the thing that has cause him so much pain closer, in order to see what God would have him to do. And when they come closer, he identifies himself again and said, "'I am your brother, Joseph.'" Doesn't disassociate himself from them. He acknowledges his position before them. And then he mentions what they did to him, "Whom you sold into Egypt". In other words, this is your fault I'm here. Verse 5: "'And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.'"
I'm going to be honest with you, I really had to pray about that verse because it seemed like such a contradiction. He said, on one hand, please put it on the screen for just another moment, "You sold me". You see that? "You sold me". So he is placing the blame for his situation on his brothers who stand before him. He's not denying their hand in bringing him into this situation. Nor is he denying the dysfunction of it. "You sold me". And it was wrong. You sold me out, you let me down. You are the reason, on one hand, that I'm here. I would not be in Egypt. I would be back home if it were not for you. But watch the shift. This is the message that God gave me for somebody today, and I pray that you'll have ears to hear it, and that God will enlighten your spirit to receive it. He said, "You sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life".
And what I was praying about, is which one is it? Did they sell you? Or, did God send you? And I kept praying about that because it sounds like he's talking out of both sides of his mouth. "You sold me, for God sent me". Notice the construct. He doesn't say, you sold me, but God sent me. It's not even that he's contrasting the two. The second is a continuation of the first. God help me preach this Bible verse right now. This is the most anointed verse I've read all year. He said, you sold me and it hurt me. Not but. "You sold me, for God sent me".
Don't be mad about it. Don't even punish yourself, and don't cower in my presence. You don't need to spend another day tormented by it because now I see through it. It's been a lot of years since you pushed me in that pit. It's been a lot of years since you broke my heart. It's been a lot of years since my dad left me. It's been a lot of years since they walked out. It's been a lot of years since I went down. It's been a lot of years since they lied on me. It's been a lot of years since they said I did. And it's been a lot of years, and now, I've got an interpretation of the event. I've been studying about this and I realize it is not the event that determines the outcome. It is your interpretation of the event that determines the outcome.
And so, watch this. Y'all be good. Sit down. The first one is the event, "You sold me". The second one is the interpretation, "God sent me". Which one are you going to live in? The event? Or, the interpretation? And here's a better question. Here's a better question. Who is your interpreter? Are you interpreting your God through your life? Or, your life through your God? Because see, your interpreter, sometimes, it's not what's happening, it's how you are interpreting what's happening, right. I thought she was sleeping, but she was really praying. I thought they didn't love me, but really they just couldn't be there for me because they were going through some of their own issues. It's not the event, it's the interpretation. I thought the fire came to kill me. But I found out God was using the fire that I thought was going to kill me to refine me. So God would use the fire that Nebuchadnezzar started to refine me and bring me forth. I don't just need the Spirit of God to help me interpret tongues. I need God to help me interpret trauma, and trouble, and trials. And so, I'm praying like Paul told the church to pray for the power to interpret.
I need the power to interpret. How many of you need the power to interpret by the wisdom of the Spirit of God? Listen. You don't need the Spirit of God to give you goosebumps. A lot of things can give you goosebumps. I don't need the Spirit of God just to give me a feeling. If it's a feeling, great. But I need the Spirit of God to give me focus. The unique property of the Spirit of God, you know, you've got the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father, that's the legislative branch of the government of God. He's the one who makes the laws. You've got the Son, who is the executive branch of the government of Heaven, who enforces the grace of God, and takes the penalty of your sin because you can't keep the law. And then, you've got the judicial branch, which is the Holy Spirit, which lives inside of you, that you to get in a situation and say, I don't know what to do. I don't know what say. But God will you give me an interpretation of what the people in my life need right now? This season I'm in right now?
I need the Holy Spirit. Or, I'll get it wrong. I'll get it wrong. And some of us have the wrong interpreter. We are interpreting our present through our past. We are interpreting our purpose through our pain. We are interpreting our entire life through one little situation. We are interpreting our future through our flaws. When you have the wrong interpreter, it messes everything up. The first time I went to speak in a country where they didn't speak English, the first international speaking trip that I remember was Australia, that they speak kind of English. Have to pick on the Aussies. They shorten everything. They kind of speak English, but they nickname everything. They call pray songs, "praises". And that's weird. And when I go over there, they don't call me Stephen, they call me, "Steve". And there's an "N" on my name for a reason. My mom put it there. Will you please let my consonants come through customs and put the "N" on the end of my name?
I love Australia. I been there many times. But one time I went to preach in a place where they didn't speak English, and I called a wiser minister, who had preached many times in an international settings, and said, give me some just different things I need to know about preaching through an interpreter? Translator is for written. Interpreter is for spoken. I said, I need some of Your wisdom on speaking through an interpreter. He gave me a few things. But one thing he said that stood out, he said, first, pray that you get a good one. He said, because you'll think that he's saying what you said, and sometimes you can tell. I said, how will I tell if I have a bad interpreter? He said, one thing, he'll talk longer than you. When you finish your sentence, he'll say three sentences. That mean that he's putting something in that you didn't intend to say.
Can I tell y'all something? The Devil has been putting some stuff in, come on, between what God has spoken to you. He puts thoughts in people's minds about you in your mind that they weren't even thinking about you. Makes you paranoid. Oh, man, look at how they're looking at me. They don't like me. No, they actually don't like their husband. And they came to work in a bad mood because of something that had nothing to do with you. But the Devil will make you think that they don't like you, because he's an interpreter that likes to add. He puts all the... Have you ever had this happen before, in a situation, where you start interpreting it wrong? And now, all of the sudden you're thinking they said things or thought things, that they didn't say or think? He said, the other extreme you got to look out for, sometimes they won't say everything that you just said. They'll cut it short. He sometimes they'll leave stuff out.
And that's what the enemy will do when you let Him interpret your life. He'll only show you what's wrong with you. But He won't let you see how God is going to use everything that you consider to be a deficiency, to bring you into your destiny. So He won't only keep you confined. Come on, church, that golf clap. That's not even worth doing. If you're going to praise God, and worship God for what He's spoken over your life, and the fact that no man can add to it, or subtract from it. If He said it will happen. If He said in three days He will rise, I might be on a cross now baby, but resurrection power is in my, my future. So, before we leave this place today, I just want to give you five things to pray for. Don't get nervous, we are now approaching our initial decent. Make sure your Bibles are securely open. But I thought we would just spell out the word dream. Because Joseph interpreted not only the dream of the prisoners, not only the dream of Pharaoh, but his own dream that he had at 17-years-old. Not through the lens of what he had lost in his life.
You know you keep doing it? You keep focusing so much on who left you and the opportunity that you wasted, that you keep bringing that forward with you into the next opportunity. And it's messing with you. And you need the Holy Spirit. That what the Holy Spirit does. Speak in tongues, that's awesome. Shout at the top of your lungs, that's awesome. Get a goosebump, I'll get one with you. We'll rub our goosebumps together. It's all wonderful. But what I really need the Spirit of God for, is for those groan that words can't express. And I give them to you and we'll go, and it a day, and we'll call it a series. But the first one that I'm praying for the power to interpret, like Paul said. Because I know that interpretations belong to God. So, I need God, God, help me to interpret my desires.
I don't sometimes know why I want what I want. And neither did Paul. He was like, what I wanna do, I don't do. What I don't wanna do, I don't do. That doesn't make any sense. If you wanna do it, you wanna do it. What do you mean, you wanna do it, you don't do it? He's like, well, there's flesh, there's the spirit. I got a new nature. I love God, and then four minutes later, I really still love God, but I love something that's the opposite of God too, and I don't know what to do. And I need the Holy Spirit to show me why I want what I want. Because if the Holy Spirit doesn't interpret my desires, I will run around my whole life trying to get what I want, and then when I get it, I won't even want what I've got.
God, help me interpret my desires. Because sometimes what will happen is, it's not like one desire is divine and one is demonic. And, you know, there's no devil and no angel. Sometimes what the enemy will do to me is, he'll take a God given desire and distort it. And what I really want, it's not a bad thing, it's not a bad desire. I notice a lot of people these days seem to want to be famous. Famous for what? Famous so I can be famous. Have you noticed that fame is the number one cultural value now? And I was thinking about that, as to why everybody wants to be famous. I mean, you think about it, fame is kind of a weird thing. People aren't really built to receive that amount of attention.
And when you see the number of famous people who are famous, and don't even want to go on living, it should cause you to question, what is the real thing that I want? Is it really fame? Is it really followers of some platform full of people who don't even know me but only the presentation and projection that I choose to stage? The props that I put in my life, is that really what I want? Do I really want to be noticed? Or, do I really want to be known? Because I think a lot of time, we're trying to be noticed, and the real desire is we want to be known. And the Spirit of God can show you your real desire to say, I know that you're doing all this to try to get people to notice you. But I'm the only One who really knows you. And see when people know you from a distance, and they notice things about you, but they don't know the real you and you still feel lonely.
It's so important that you ask the Spirit of God things like this, What am I really spending 14-16 hours a day working for? Is it really to give my kid the life that they... Is it really that? Are you really trying to prove something to somebody that's not even paying attention? Like early in Joseph's life, he's like, you are all bowing down to me, it was awesome. Twenty years later, he's the one crumbling on his knees, because he realizes that the desire God gave him was not so he could be important, but so that he could have influence. Not so he could have status, but so that he could be a servant. So, God, show me my desires. Show me which ones come from you. And help me.
You know, I used to always pray Psalms 37:4. It says: "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart". And an immature interpretation of that is, God's going to give me what I want. You know, God's just peeling them off. You know, what you want? What you want? You want this? Now, I look at it like, He will give me the right desires. He will give me, impart unto me the right desires. So, I don't just come up wanting to impress people. But I start asking God, how can I be a blessing? Because I cannot simultaneously be a blessing if I'm trying to be impressive. So, I want to get out of my own way, and ask God to interpret my desires. God, I want You. I want Your presence in my life. God, I want Your pleasure. Your smile. God, I want harmony, and peace with You, even if it costs me, sometimes, position with people. God, I don't want to just be popular, I want to live a life of purpose. I want to know that this matters and means something at the end of it all. So, I need the power of interpretation for my desires.
And see, you can't really have that if don't get past rejection. So, the second thing is, God will help me interpret my rejection? Will you help me look at my brothers, not just through the lens of what they did to me, but through the lens of what you want to do through me? I did not expect an Amen right there. But I didn't expect that level of silence. I tell you that right now. That was, that was just over the top. Praise the Lord, and hallelujah. Hallelujah, hallelujah. Hallelujah, all of them. Yeah, because he says two things. He says, you rejected me, but God protected me. You see it? You want to see it again on the screen? Do you? I can show it to you on the screen. They'll push a button and it'll come right up on the screen.
Genesis 45:5: "You sold me, God sent me to preserve life". So when I was 17 it felt like rejection. But now that I've grown, and now that I've experienced the grace of God, and now that I've let go of the resentment, and I refuse to hold on to it, I see that what man calls rejection, sometimes God calls protection. Some of the people who left you, God was removing them. God wanted to do some things for you that only He could do. And if He had let them say yes, you wouldn't have been ready for what was next. I'm going to come back to these and preach a whole series on them, each one. I'm going to preach a series on dream. I promise you, I will do it. If you stay here long enough. I will do it. I might be 93-years-old. "...point number three". I'm going to preach this thing. Because I got to get God to help me interpret what my desires and rejection. And then, I gotta make sure God filters my emotions.
So, God, help me interpret my emotions. Because I know what I feel. But let me be honest, as a man, sometimes I don't even know what I feel. And being married has helped me so much with interpretation. I really love my wife. I jokingly call Holly, the Holly Spirit. It's only half joking. She's a great interpreter. She interprets things. One time, we were fighting about a bill. I think it was $3.243. And guess what I didn't have in the bank account, $3, 240 whatever I said dollars. And I got so angry. And I don't yell. I'm not the kind of guy that goes around yelling at his wife, but I was yelling at her this day. This was years ago, you know, the early stages of marriage.
And so, you know, you'll forgive me for being angry. But she... She.. At one point in the argument goes, why are you so angry? I said, I'm not angry. Head spins around. You know what? I was telling the truth. I wasn't really angry, I was afraid. And it was expressing itself as anger. But she was able to interpret the fear that was driving my anger. And when she realized that I wasn't mad at her, I was mad the attorney who sent that bill and mad B.B.&T. for not having enough money in my bank account to pay the attorney who sent the bill. See how an interpretation can change everything? She was able to realize, it's not me versus you in this moment. It's us versus this bill, and let's figure it out together. But if you don't pray for the power to interpret, you will just live at the level of the emotion, and will never know what is beneath the surface, and you will repeat the emotion on the next person who steps into the line of fire of your unfiltered experiences.
Okay. I'm going to download this podcast myself, I think, all right. So, God, help me interpret my emotions. So, I say, I'm depressed. I'm in depression right now. Well, maybe you are depressed. You know, sometimes it's just Monday. You always feel this way on Monday. You just haven't been outside yet. Yeah. But if you don't ask God. Do not interpretations belong to God? That's what Joseph knew. That's what Joseph knew, because on one hand, emotionally, he's angry, he's crying, and he sends everybody out of his presence. But then beneath the emotion, he realized the reason. Now, here's a good question. Are you living at the level of reaction, or reason? Because if you always just react, react, react, but never ask God, what is the reason I'm acting this way? You will fix the wrong factors. And this is where a lot of preaching gets so mean and hateful and impossible. Because we're correcting behaviors, but addressing the beliefs that drive the behaviors.
So, you'll hear a preacher sometimes preach against addiction. But why is she drinking six glasses? Or, you hear it preached against, you know, pornography, or sexual addiction. And the preacher will never address the fact that you're reaching out for God when you log on at that site. You just don't know it's God that you're reaching out for, so you're trying to fill it with something that leaves you more empty, but you're really reaching out for God. But what you really want isn't sex, it's connection. So you run around for sex, but you don't get connection, because it's empty, because you never asked God why. And this takes reflection. And this takes sitting alone with God and even other people that you trust. And joining an e-group and sharing some stuff that makes you uncomfortable. Shameless plug. Today, there's tents outside, join any group. So you can interpret.
Pharaoh said, I need someone to interpret my dream. The prisoner said, I need someone to interpret the dream. But really, I need God to help me interpret not only the hard things I've been through but. look at Joseph now, he's in a position of power. Not only does he have the power of interpretation that God has given him, but he has the power to punish his brothers, or provide for them. And what's he gonna do with his advantage? That's the fourth one. God, show me the advantages that You've given me, and show me why You gave them to me? Because when people receive advantages, but they think that the purpose for the advantage is so that they can call attention to themselves. That's when leaders become toxic. That's when rich people become oppressive. The hard thing is sometimes recognizing the advantage because remember when David killed Goliath? And Bible says that after he killed him he took his sword.
I always thought that was an illustration of how today's attack can become tomorrow's advantage. You sold me. For God sent me. And the whole time that people were pushing me in a pit, God was preparing me so that I could provide with the power that he's given me. And maybe the reason that you went through the attack is so that you could have an advantage, do you to hear me? Just forget I'm talking. Hear this from God. He wanted to say this to you and he's just using me to do it. Quit calling it an attack. It's an advantage. Quit calling it a weakness because it is in your weakness that He is strong. Quit being ashamed of it. Quit trying to run from it, hide it, and numb it, and cover it up. The attack is the advantage. And you know what Paul said? He said, I am convinced that the sufferings of this present time are not even worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed.
So I interpret my pain through the lens of God's purpose. And my feelings through my faith. So God, give me the power to interpret. Not just to interpret when I get there. Not just to interpret when it's all better. But God, help me to interpret when I'm in the middle. I'm in the middle. Joseph spent 20 years with a dream. They contradicted everything he was facing in his situation. And yet, the most frequent line that is repeated in the account of his life is this: "The Lord was with Joseph". You know, that's not something you always feel. That's not something that you can always prove. That's not something that you always have facts to back it up, but I don't need facts, I got faith. I don't need feelings, I've got faith. God I want to interpret my life as it unfolds through the lens that You love me and that You're with me.
And I need a faith interpretation because you know, church, the world is trying to give us a fear interpretation every single day. And if you read the paper, it's a fear interpretation. But when I come to God, I can look at everything in my life and look at it through the lens of what He's spoken to me. And the power of interpretation is to confess the presence of God in every situation, whether you feel it or not. And if you need God to show you something, right now, in your life, stand to your feet so I can pray for you, because this message was not meant for those who just want to live by your five senses. And this message was not intended for those who just want to spend the rest of their life blaming people. And this message was not for those who everything is easy, and you can always explain it, and you understand it all.
This message is for someone who needs an interpretation. God, I don't need You to explain everything to me. You're God and I'm not. But I need to know, God what You are doing in this moment of my life? I don't want to spend the rest of my life projecting stuff. I need an interpretation. Paul said, pray for the power of interpretation. You can't get this on your own. You can't get this by logic. You can't see this on a spreadsheet. You cannot consult bank accounts, and other people, and books in a library. This only comes from God. God, I need an interpretation. I need to know why my kids are acting crazy right now. I need to know God why my money is acting funny right now. I need to know why they said no. I need to know why this keeps happening. I need to know why this pattern keeps emerging. And I need to know, more than anything, that You are with me in this moment, even I don't feel it.