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Watch 2022 online sermons » Dr. Tony Evans » Tony Evans - The Pattern of Detours

Tony Evans - The Pattern of Detours

Tony Evans - The Pattern of Detours
Tony Evans - The Pattern of Detours
TOPICS: Detours, Patterns

Today I wanna look at the pattern of detours. Detours have a pattern about them that you should look for if you know you're not in the place that you had planned to be in. And there's not a person here today who is not in a detour, come from a detour, headed to a detour, because life is full of detours. There are three things I wanna talk about today about the pattern that detours take, the route of detours. 'Cause, you know, detours usually have twists and turns. You gotta go up here and turn here and come back here and go over there in order to get back on the main road taking you to where you plan to go, and where God wants you to go is your destiny.

The first aspect of a detour which we've kind of introduced is detours always involve test. Detours involve a test. I love 2 Chronicles chapter 32, verse 31, because it says, "The purpose of a test is to reveal what's in your heart". The purpose of a test is to reveal. God already knows what's in your heart, but the test is designed to reveal it. 'Cause, see, our hearts are deceitful, the Bible says. They trick us, and so God wants you to really see what's deep down inside of you, and it comes out with a test. So, a test is adverse circumstances.

Joseph is in a test because he's now a slave in a situation he never planned to be in, and it is adverse. He's in the pit, no water, sold into slavery by his own family, and verse 1 of chapter 39 says he's taken to Egypt and the captain of the bodyguard buys him from the Ishmaelite. He's been bought and sold like property. He's in a bad situation, but as we ended last week it says, "The Ishmaelites were taking him to Egypt," and when we fast forwarded to the end of the story, Joseph says, "God brought me to this place".

So, watch this now, don't miss this, when you're going through a test, I'm not talking about a test you create. I'm talking about one that God put you in. When you're going through a test, don't mistake the hand of man for the hand of God. Or don't mistake the hand of God for the hand of man. See, people put him in this situation. His daddy set him up for this situation, gave him a coat. His brothers were jealous of him, his brothers put him in the pit, his brothers planned to kill him, his brothers sold him, his brothers gave him to the Ishmaelites. These are people messing with this man's life. But if you only see what people are doing and you miss what God is doing, then you miss the divine purpose of the detour. People were allowed to be used by God to move him from where he was to the next step of where God wanted him to be.

So, don't think just 'cause it's people it's not God. It's only not God if it's sin, but if it's not sin, then look for the hand of God even though it's coming through the hand of man. Joseph has had many reasons to believe God has abandoned him. And you have those feelings when you're in a deep pit. Where is God? Why did God put me here? Why won't God get me out of here? Or if he got me out of here, why did he get me out of here like this so then now I'm nothing but cheap property? Where are you God? That's what happens during a test, it seems like God's phone line is busy, he's gone silent on you. But remember the purpose of a test is to develop you. So, many of us iron shirts or had shirts ironed before we came today, or maybe, ladies, you ironed your blouse, you did that to get the wrinkles out, you did that to get the wrinkles out. The blouse may have been clean, but it had wrinkles in it, you needed to get the wrinkles out.

Joseph had some wrinkles. We found out that he was a tattletale on his brothers, that he flaunted the coat in front of his brothers to show that, you know, he was the most loved son. We saw that he had some wrinkles, he wasn't a bad kid, but he was immature, so God had to put him in a situation to iron the wrinkles out. Now, why do you iron wrinkles out of your shirt and out of your blouse? 'Cause you plan to put it on and you wanna look good in it. So, what God does is he puts us in test and he allows the heat to hit us, and steam is rising out of us. It's not 'cause he's trying to burn us, he just plans to wear us and wants to look good when he puts us on. So, he allows the fire of testing to bring steam out of our lives. He's not being mean, he's not being mad, he just wants to iron out the wrinkles so that he looks good when he identifies with you.

The first aspect of the detour that God takes us all on, nobody escapes this who wants to be in God's will and experience God's destiny, is a test, an adverse circumstances that God create to allow us. And now Joseph is living a life he didn't plan on. His daddy didn't raise him to be a slave, but that's what he is now. It leads to number two, the second route on the detour to destiny of the pattern that God uses is training. We're told to learn through testing, so testing is designed to provide training. Look at verse 2. "The Lord was with Joseph, he became a successful man. He was in the house of his master. His master saw the Lord was with him, and God caused all that he did to prosper at his hand. Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant. He put everything he had under Joseph's charge".

Okay, let's deal with training number one, spiritual training. The Lord was with Joseph. Wait a minute, the Lord was with Joseph as a slave. The Lord was with Joseph being bought and sold. The Lord was with him, in other words, he did not let his circumstance compromise his spiritual relationship. See, it's easy to get mad at God in a trial when actually the trial is the occasion to draw near to God. It says, "The Lord was with him," watch this, while his life was going south 'cause he's a slave now. But it says, "The Lord was with him". Folk wanna run to God in the trial when they've had no God before the trial, wonder why they can't see God come out now that I'm in the trial, 'cause there was not closeness being accumulated along the way. But it says of Joseph, the Lord was with him. He had cultivated a spiritual relationship as his priority, and God was with him, watch this, and his life is going south. He's a slave now.

But he gives you the key, here is the key to making it during your season of trial. It says, "He became a successful man 'cause the Lord was with him". Not because of who he knew, not because of his contacts, not because of his notoriety, not because of his name, not because of his bank account. He said, "He became a successful man", listen to me, if the Lord is not with you, I don't care who you know, what contacts you have, what power you think you have. The reason he was a success as a slave is 'cause the Lord was with him. See, a lot of us know God without knowing Jehovah. Jehovah is when God reveals himself to you, so when it says the Lord was with Joseph, he's saying there was a relationship hookup here. This wasn't religion, this was relationship. They had a relationship, and the Lord was with him, and the Lord made him a success.

So, there must be the spiritual relationship that drives you, particularly when life has gone left on you like it did on Joseph. And the Lord blessed him as a slave so that he climbed the ranks to become his personal assistant, and everything underneath Potiphar's house was under Joseph. Now, watch this, watch this. The purpose of trials, one of the purposes is to develop us and to train us. Don't miss this. Joseph is now second in command in Potiphar's house, okay? But what Joseph didn't know is that down the line, he's gonna become second in command in all of Egypt. That's a whole nation. He doesn't know that yet 'cause he doesn't know the details of his destiny. So, what God does is he gives him a job as a slave, makes him second in command in Potiphar's house so homeboy could get some experience in leadership, management, handling staff, dealing with problems. He lets him as a slave develop a skillset, 'cause he knows in his destiny he's gonna be over all of this.

See, a lot of folk wanna be all of this, but they don't know how to be over all of this, and if you can't handle this, God's not ready to give you that. So, if you want that, you better take care of this so that when you wind up with that, you've got enough experience from this to handle that the right way. Watch this, he's working, watch this, for a non-Christian. Potiphar is a pagan, he's not a believer. He's working in a non-Christian company but look what it says about Joseph. Verse 5, "The Lord blessed Egyptian's house on account of Joseph. Thus, the Lord's blessing was upon all that he owned in the house and in the field". That means everything, all of his property.

In other words, the Christian was the best employee he had. You see where I'm going? Because it says in verse 3, "Now his master saw that the Lord was with him". But this is a pagan man. How a pagan man gonna see the Lord is with you? There's only two ways: word and deed. That is, he was a witness with his mouth, but he backed it up with his feet. He didn't talk about Jesus and turn in sloppy work, nor did he do good work and skip the fact that his faith was the basis of how he worked. It was word and deed. He didn't talk about Jesus all day and get nothing done, but he didn't get stuff done and leave Jesus out. It was word and deed, 'cause he wasn't just working for a paycheck, he was working for a person. And the Lord was with him. Is the Lord with you in your career?

Now, watch this, watch this, watch this, don't miss this, his job was not his destiny. 'Cause, see, a lot of us have made our jobs our destiny, you see? His job, this job, he getting ready to leave this job. In fact, in a few minutes he getting ready to get fired. Joseph is getting ready to get fired from his job. If he put all of his marble, "Oh, I'm second in command in Potiphar's house," if he put all of his marbles in his job, he's gonna be severely disappointed, 'cause he getting ready to lose his job, the man's getting ready to get a pink slip. So, your job is not your destiny. Your job may just be preparation for your destiny, 'cause he's gonna learn skills in his job that God is gonna use for his kingdom. But God cares more about the development of the dreamer than the experience with the dream, why? Because when he gives you whatever dream he has for you, he wants to know that your shoulders can bear the weight of the opportunity. 'Cause if you get to a place that fulfills the dream but you can't bear the weight of your character to handle the dream that you hold, you and the dream collapse.

So, he wants to develop the person before he gives you the purpose. And the detour is designed to develop that. Training, spiritual depth, skill development, and he still hasn't hit his destiny yet. It's gonna take 22 years for him to hit chapter 50, okay? And he's gonna get a major break after 13 years, and the total thing is 22 years, so chill. The third part of the pattern of detours, temptation. There was a test, there was training, and now there's temptation. Temptation is solicitation to do evil. It is solicitation to disobey God, it's being solicited to disobey God. Okay, let's get his straight, temptation is not sin. The Bible says that the Spirit of God, Matthew 4, led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil, yet the Bible says Jesus was without sin.

So, being tempted is not equal to sinning. Sinning is yielding to the temptation, not having the temptation, okay? We all face temptations, okay, that's not a sin, it's the yielding that makes it sin. So, the Lord is with Joseph, the Lord sent him to Pharaoh's house, and he runs into Mrs. Potiphar. We're told in the end of verse 6, "Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. It came about after these events that his master's wife looked with desire at Joseph," verse 7 says, "and said, 'Lie with me.'" This is not a subtle sister. Sister is getting to the point. "Come on, Joe, let's knock some boots". But verse 8 says, "He refused and said to his master's wife, 'Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all things that he owns in my charge.'"

And now he gives the zinger. "There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God"? He has now been solicited by Mrs. Potiphar. He's been solicited for a sexual relationship. She's come right out and said it. Verse 10 says, "And she came to him day after day". So, she not gonna leave him alone. And there's no place he can go, 'cause he works there. But Joseph says, "No," and there are two reasons we say no to temptation when we do. One is fear of consequences, that's the negative reason. We don't want the reprisal that could take place, and so the negative reason is, even if I wanna do it, I won't do it, 'cause I don't want the consequences of having done it, so the fear of consequences.

Joseph knew that everything had been placed under his hand, and he knew that could be jeopardized here. But then he gives the positive reason and the dominant reason, he gives it at the end of verse 9, he says, "How then could I do this great evil and sin against God"? Here it is, and we all need to learn this principle. The reason we sin more is because we love God less. People who love God hate sin and hurt when they do it. People who don't love God get over the hump. Joseph didn't sin because he valued his relationship. He did not want to displease God, he did not want to unravel the God who had brought him to this place of blessing, even as a slave. And one of the reasons God allows detours is to become extended is development has not occurred enough for us to choose him over the most enticing things in our lives. It is when we choose him over the most enticing things in our lives, and I'm talking about sinful things, when we choose him, it shows that we've grown in our love for him. Even the thing that calls our name the most.

"Abraham, give me your son Isaac, the one you love the most". That's not easy, that's not hard, he's gotta say no every single day, and so if you are in this situation of a temptation, the thing is to cultivate this relationship with God so that you love him more so that you hate that more, even if it's something that is appealing. Well, she accuses him of rape. It happened, verse 11, "That he went into the house. None of the men were there. She caught him by the garment," verse 12, "She caught him by the garment, saying, 'Lie with me,' and he left his garment in her hand and fled and went outside. And when she saw he had left his garment in her hand and had fled outside, she called to the men of the household and said, 'See, he brought this Hebrew to make sport of me. He came in, I screamed, and he left his garment.'"

Now, here's the situation. He's in a no win deal. He can't win this one. He's been accused of rape, nobody saw it, and she got the material in her hand to prove it, and she the boss's wife. He can't win this one. Anybody in here ever had anybody lie on you? And they win, the lie wins, 'cause nothing you can say can get you out of this one, no appeal you can make, 'cause she's got the evidence even though she's the liar. She can prove that you tried to rape me. I can prove it. Her husband comes home, and when her husband comes home, she speaks to him, verse 17, "Then she spoke to him with these words, 'The Hebrew slave who you brought to us came into me and made sport of me, and I raised my voice and screamed. He left his garment beside me and fled outside.' Now, when his master heard these words from his wife when she spoke to him, saying, 'This is what your slave did to me,' his anger burned, so Joseph's master took him and put him in jail".

That's called a pink slip. He's fired, and he's been the best thing going. But remember, Joe is on a detour. He's on a detour to destiny, and detours involve negative experiences that God either creates or lets somebody else create. Therefore, don't mistake the hand of God for the hand of man, 'cause God was letting the lie of a woman move Joseph to the next layer of his destiny. And that's why you gonna learn, I think, in the fourth message leading up to the "Destiny" series why forgiveness is critical to you realizing your destiny, 'cause God will use evil to get you there. So, you're on a road, you're on a turn, or you will be. That's cause God loves you enough to take you somewhere and develop you till you get there. You can prolong the detour, but you don't have to prolong it if you will draw near to him in the midst of it, say no to that which breaks his heart and yes to that which brings his heart joy, confess any failure you had yesterday. You can't change yesterday, but if you start today, you can move toward a better tomorrow 'cause you're still here.

When God brings us to detours, he's bringing us into a place of development. He's creating or allowing a trial in order to train us to trust him. Because of the uncertainty and the unexpected nature of detours, do we trust him when we can't see him or feel him simply because we're operating on his Word? That training includes even temptations. He even will allow the devil to try to draw us from him to see how serious we are about our commitment to him. So, when you're on a detour knowing that you're taking a test and now it's time to pass it so you can go to the next spiritual level of growth.
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