Introduction Jabulani Dube
I greet everyone who is present and those who have joined us via livestream.
I could speak until tomorrow morning about the way the Lord is working. There is a fire burning within my heart. We see the gospel going forth because our leader is still with us. We praise the Lord. We visited a branch where three congregations had joined. It was raining but I had never seen the hall so full. After the service many stayed behind to make right. In Estcourt, it was the same, full in spite of rain. It was amazing. We saw God at work.
Let us not be like the man who was given a bucket full of sand, but along the way the bucket got heavy. The easiest for him was to pour out the sand which he did, and he walked further with an empty bucket. Just before he reached his destination, he filled the bucket with any soil. There was someone waiting for the bucket of soil and when he poured out the soil, nothing came out. The original soil contained gold or diamonds, but the carrier had poured it out and he was told that what was in the soil originally, belonged to him. May each of us hear and understand the message for us individually.
The Zulu song says, ‘May the revival, this special work, begin in me.’ May this revival start in me, not in my family, my neighbours, but me. May this be your prayer, ‘Lord, please speak to me.’ You will see God working and you will be blessed.
I greet you brethren in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We thank the Lord who has kept us and given us the opportunity to meet again.
Recently we visited the Eastern Cape. We visited a school and the principal of the school had visited the mission. He was shown the different activities, projects and the school. He saw the way the learners dressed, the way they sang and the general atmosphere at the school. The principal was o impressed by his experience that he decided to start a school like DSS there. That was the school we visited. It is a very rural school. We were asked to be at school at 6.30am.
When we arrived not one child was standing outside or walking to school, they were in the classrooms. Their uniforms were 200%. As you entered the classrooms, it was dead quiet. You would have thought the classrooms were empty. Each learner carried his/her own chair to the hall for assembly. They were absolutely silent. Their chairs made no noise. They sang beautifully. When they listened, you could hear a pin drop. The teachers dressed decently and professionally. The male principal dressed very well.
However, devil does not like something so beautiful. The devil entered a learner’s heart, and the learner posted a message with images that he/she had been beaten by the principal. The principal was suspended during the investigation which discovered that the learner had not been beaten. In the months that the principal was suspended, things went backwards.
The children were respectful. Their hair was neat and short. Their ties were in the right place, their shirts tucked in, their skirts were decent, it was beautiful to see. The badge of the school is on the girls’ skirts at knee level and the badge is not allowed above the knee. What do we call this, parents? Is this persecution or abuse of children? No child is allowed to carry a cell phone anywhere on the school grounds.
A parent of the school who was a truck driver said that he needed to bond with his child and talk via a cell phone. The principal, however, said that in his school no cell phones would be allowed. Is that abuse? The school has not quite achieved 100% pass rate but they are passing well. It seems as if the children will have something for their futures. The principal decided to follow up on the learners who left his school and found out that many went to university, studied medicine and had prominent positions in SA.
DSS learners are privileged to attend a school that is a mirror for others. They are privileged to have high calibre teachers who enrol their own children in the school. Their teachers have a heart for children. They have lovely accommodation. Their rooms are cleaned and polished. Their uniforms are washed. Their yard is cleaned. But they say that their parents pay so they are entitled. At that school, the parents also pay but they do not have what DSS learners have. I trust that they will understand the privilege they have before it is too late. There are others who look at them and want to be like them.
Jacob lived in the land of his father's sojournings, in the land of Canaan. 2 These are the generations of Jacob.
10 But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?” 11 And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind. 12 Now his brothers went to pasture their father's flock near Shechem. 13 And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers pasturing the flock at Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.” And he said to him, “Here I am.” 14 So he said to him, “Go now, see if it is well with your brothers and with the flock, and bring me word.” So he sent him from the Valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. 15And a man found him wandering in the fields. And the man asked him, “What are you seeking?” 16“I am seeking my brothers,” he said. “Tell me, please, where they are pasturing the flock.” 17And the man said, “They have gone away, for I heard them say, ‘Let us go to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan. 18They saw him from afar, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him. 19They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. 20Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits. Then we will say that a fierce animal has devoured him, and we will see what will become of his dreams.” Genesis 37:1 – 2; 10 – 20
I have read many verses about the very well-known story of Joseph. He was the youngest among his brothers and he was loved by his father because he was the youngest.
Today I would like to look at the Lord’s plan for a person’s life. The Lord has a plan for each one among us. When we are born, we have no idea what the Lord has in store for us. But the Lord knows the plans He has for us.
God had a plan for Joseph’s family. The father wanted to understand what his sons were doing while they were shepherding. Young Joseph did an almost childish thing. He told the family about the dreams he had had. I believe that if Joseph had known that his brothers would hate him for telling his dreams, he would not have spoken. If he had known what was to happen in his future, he would not have shared the dream. The Lord does not make mistakes, no matter what situations we experience. This childish act of Joseph exposed the hearts of those older than him. God in His great wisdom uses something foolish to reveal what people cannot see. The Lord can use a child in a situation to heal a family. The Lord can use something foolish in such a way that it will purify His children. The Lord in His wisdom will come to those who think they are wise, and use something foolish to reveal what is in the heart. I can imagine Joseph arriving at the table when everyone is seated and excitedly sharing his dream. He did not realise that what he was doing would reveal the anger and hatred in the hearts. When he shared the dream, he did not explain it, but human nature took over. The older ones interpreted it as they thought but they got it all wrong.
11 And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind. Genesis 37:11
His father kept his words in his mind. He had already expressed his feelings in verse 10. It exposed what was already in their hearts. Even though their hatred and anger were revealed, God’s plan did not change.
Whatever difficulty you meet with, know this - the Lord’s plan for you will not change. The reason why the Lord put you there will remain. When a family member surrenders his life to the Lord, it seems as if a kingdom rises against that person. Even so, God’s plan will not change. Although the brothers were jealous, what was ordained by God would not change. Even though people oppose you because of the manner in which you serve the Lord, know this – the Lord’s plan for you cannot change. There are brothers and sisters in Christ who go through extreme difficulties, beatings, fire, (we have the gospel easily) but it does not change the plan the Lord has for each one.
Joseph’s brothers saw him as a child, but they do not realise that they were the children. They were the ones who needed to learn from him. God’s plan did not change. His father kept in mind what Joseph had said.
13 And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers pasturing the flock at Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.” And he said to him, “Here I am.” 14 So he said to him, “Go now, see if it is well with your brothers and with the flock, and bring me word.” So he sent him from the Valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. Genesis 37:13,14
Joseph had to travel for miles. When he arrived at Shechem, his brothers were not there. He was troubled and searched for his brothers because his father expected him to return with a report. This reminds me of our Lord Jesus who is concerned about our souls. He goes back and forth, and He needs to return to the Father with a report of your life and mine. Joseph does not realise that going up and down looking for his brothers would result in greater wrath from his brothers. A man saw Joseph, had compassion on him and asked him what he was looking for. This reminds me of the Lord Jesus who looks for us. He has compassion on our souls, as this man had compassion on Joseph. The Lord had compassion on us as we wandered up and down – no one had any time for us – but the Lord Jesus had time for us which is why we are here today. We do not know why this man was out in the fields and the desert, but the Lord put him there so that he could help Joseph.
17And the man said, “They have gone away, for I heard them say, ‘Let us go to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan. Genesis 37:17
‘What are you seeking?’ the man asked. When Joseph answered the man did not say, ‘What are your brothers to me?’ The man had compassion. Joseph could have said, ‘This is the report I will take back. I got to Shechem they were not there, and then I heard they had gone to Dothan.’ But Joseph followed them to Dothan. He did not realise that he was following God’s plan for his life, even to the pit. If Joseph knew where he was destined to go, he would have said, ‘No, let me rather go back home.’ Children of God, if there are situations where you can foresee where you are going, you would rather say, ‘No, I am not going there.’ But God has a plan for you. There are people who retreat when things get hot but true children of God realise that when the fire is at its hottest that is where the will of God is.
When the Lord poured out His Holy Spirit, He consumed what should not have been there and we are the fruit of what the Lord taught our elders. When Rev Stegen said, ‘Let me close the window,’ the Lord’s will was happening in his life. That happened so that the self could be revealed and he could see that the self was still there. That is how the Lord uses different things so that His plan is revealed. Our elders entered that shed, there were other churches and big ones, but it was God’s plan that they would enter that shed. It was God’s plan going into fulfilment for them.
It is heart breaking when those who have not gone through that fire, say this is where the Lord has put us, and we put people there who have not gone through the fire with the Lord. They still need to go through it. They say, ‘Ntokozo is already old. He thinks he knows better than others who have gone that way.’ They go through the mill of their own ideas which is not what God planned.
Joseph continued with his quest. He continued with God’s will and plan as he searched for his brothers. On his way to Dothan, his brothers noticed him from far away. They called him ‘The dreamer’ now, not Joseph anymore.
How many do you know by the name you have given them, not their given names? You have given them other names because that is how you perceive them. The brothers saw Joseph in a certain position in the family, they did not realise that there was Someone who was leading Him to another position.
There are people who oppose KwaSizabantu. They want to destroy it without realising who is behind this work. They attack the leadership of the mission and throw them into a pit but they do not realise there is Someone behind the work, pushing it on.
How many people have you written off because they do not agree with you? To how many people have you said, ‘I will close my ears. I will not listen to what they say.’ Why? Because you have listened to what someone else has said about that person. You do not realise God has a plan with that person.
At school you may call teachers by their names but how many teachers have you given nicknames based on their dress or mannerisms? When I was still at school, a teacher taught us Biology. The teacher would say, ‘You know what you call …’ We would respond with, ‘You know what you call…’ When that teacher approached, we would say, ‘What you call chromoplast?’ is coming. How many do you call names? At work your manager may be strict so that things run well but you want to take a shortcut so you and your group call the manager a certain name. You will stand before God one day.
How many people are there in your life whom you have written off? ‘If only I had not met that person,’ you say. When we pray we say, ‘Forgive us as we forgive …’ Have you really forgiven that person/people? Do you hold it against people who have committed certain sins?
Joseph was called ‘The Dreamer’. He took the journey to Dothan. There was only one pit he could fall into and only at the point where God’s plan was fulfilled. There were many pits there and his brothers said, ‘Throw him into one of the pits.’ Before you became a believer, the road was smooth, but since you have given your life to Christ, there are many snares, traps and pits.
Now the fight began among the brothers. God’s plan for Joseph was being fulfilled. Joseph does not go to his brothers because he wants to. He was sent. God’s children do not preach because they want to but because they have been sent. Our leaders lead us, not out of their own will, but because they have been sent. Rev Stegen is not our leader because he chose it, he was ordained and chosen by God. On this journey he has met with different situations, but his desire was to do what his Father has sent him to. Can he honestly say, when he comes to God with that report, that we have supported him and given him what he needs so that he can give an honest report to God? You need to testify through your life that you were there to remove people out of the pit, not throw them into the it.
Rueben uses his right as the first born and stopped his brothers from killing Joseph, ‘Let’s not have blood on our hands.’ Using his right as the first born does not remove the fact that he was opposed God’s plan. He did not try to understand what Joseph had come to do. His right as the firstborn in stopping Joseph from being killed did not excuse him from the fact that he did not obey and do God’s will.
Now it was no longer just anger and hatred but lies. They reported to their father that Joseph had been devoured by a wild animal. Their story got longer and longer. All that Joseph faced did not hinder God’s plan from coming into fulfilment in his life. Whatever comes across your way, whatever difficulties, will not hinder God’s plan from being fulfilled in your life. Do you understand that?
In the end Joseph was thrown into a pit. Evil begets evil. They sold him and earned money from him and then had the courage to return home and lie. God’s plan was not hindered by any of these things. Through all the challenges and turmoil, he went through, they did not alter God’s plan for Joseph’s life.
3 His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. 4 So Joseph found favour in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. Genesis 39:3 ,4
Despite his suffering in the pit and being sold twice, Potiphar realised that Joseph had something. Potiphar, a heathen Egyptian (a country that represents the world), saw what others did not see. We may not see things, but those in the world can see that the Lord has a plan for a person’s life. This master of the world noticed that Joseph was different. Some people are blind, but a worldling can see. A child of the revival sees nothing. You have been a child of God for many years, but your spiritual eyes are closed to the plan of God. Maybe because you have been sitting in the light for so long, you need someone who lives in darkness to see that there is something going on. The Lord has chosen our leaders to that position. Do we see that it is God’s plan that they are there, or do we just see them as people?
The Bible says that everything Joseph’s hand touched was blessed. Who saw him? This master, a heathen of the world.
When people of the world meet those who have been through suffering and difficulty in God’s plan, they notice that there is something different. There are people who live near the fountain, even despise it, but those who come in from the outside realise that this is a fountain of life. There are people who yearn for this fountain and cry out because they are looking for it, and yet those close to the fountain throw stones and filth in it.
Joseph’s brothers did not grasp the secret. They did not see what God was going to do through Joseph, instead they called him names and hated him. They did not see God’s plan for this boy, the one they despised. The Lord gave him a dream, even though he might have been young and in time it would be fulfilled.
Do our lives put our leader into a pit or pull him out? We have this fountain but the water no longer quenches our thirst and all we do is throw evil at it. We no longer realise what we have. What kind of filth do you throw at it? Grudges or hatred. You don’t realise that the fountain has been placed there by the Lord to sustain us.
May the Lord have mercy so our spiritual eyes and ears would be opened and that we are not quick to judge but wait and see what the Lord’s plan is for His anointed.
We don’t see what a special place this is but others can see it. Do you hear that God is working? Pray that your eyes will be opened so that the Lord can have mercy on you.
We have been greatly blessed. A dream was read to us at Maphumulo: This gospel is like an ocean. If a person is not alive in this ocean, it will cast him out. The dream troubled us. We realised that this gospel would spew us out if we are spiritually dead. If we are not alive in the Lord, the gospel will cast us out and we will serve another gods. This is what the ocean does. If something dies, the ocean pushes it out. If we are spiritually dead, we will leave and go into the world. Hasn’t that happened? If you suddenly feel that you want to leave, you are no longer alive.
Jealousy has always been around. Cain was jealous of his brother, Abel. If you see someone with a beautiful house and lovely things, you are jealous. Job’s friends spoke badly about him, but the Lord heard. It touched Him. They spoke evil about God’s righteous child. Do you speak evil about God’s preacher and His servants? Doesn’t it trouble you? Such behaviour immediately reaches God. He notices it. Repent and make things right. The Lord sees it.
Jeremiah was a prophet who was thrown into a pit because he brought God’s message. People who speak the truth are not popular. Lies are told about them. The Lord says that such people should be happy and joyful because their reward is great in heaven. When you see that things not going well in your life and you are jealous, you have already killed righteous people. That is what killed Abel.
They named Joseph ‘the dreamer’ which is already evil. Your brother or sister is blessed, and you are unhappy about it. Bow under God’s hand. Go to a brother and ask for forgiveness. You may have not put a person into a physical pit, but spiritually there are many whom you have thrown into pits.
What will you leave with today? Have you got something to go into the week with that will help you live for the Lord?
Children, Joseph did not complain when his father sent him. Children nowadays always complain about being sent. We never read that Joseph complained. ‘I am always given this work,’ you say, and you cannot accept the situation. Joseph never fought his brothers, he bowed. The Lord had worked His work in Joseph’s life. May the Lord work in our lives.