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Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries

The TREE OF LIFE weekly teaching summary from THE WEEK ENDING:
January 09, 2000

The Doctrine of A Personal Sense of Destiny

Abraham, Sarah and Joseph: Their Personal Sense of Destiny

A Personal Sense of Destiny Illustrated from Visible Heroes of the Old Testament.


Abraham is the pattern for salvation by faith alone in Christ alone (ROM 4:3-10), he received the imputation of divine righteousness and was justified by that faith in Christ alone as a Gentile long before he became a Jew. The imputation of divine righteousness occurred when Abraham was an uncircumcised Gentile. Abraham did not become a Jew when he was saved in Ur of the Chaldees but at age ninety-nine. There came a point in the life of Abraham when his personal sense of destiny had been attained in the same way we attain it through the use of the revealed word of God. God ordered him to be circumcised; this became the sign of Abraham's personal sense of destiny. The Judaizers who followed the Apostle Paul around confused this ritual of circumcision with the reality of salvation through faith alone in Christ alone. The ritual belongs to Israel only as a post salvation experience of the attainment of a personal sense of destiny (ROM 4:11). Abraham believed in Jesus Christ as He was revealed then, just as we believe in Jesus Christ now and he used the faith-rest drill as a believer when at age ninety-nine he was under the hopeless condition of sexual death. Abraham had a very strong personal sense of destiny. From this sense of destiny he had the confident expectation with regard to his heir through whom the promises of God would be extended. He had to overcome the fact he and Sarah were both sexually dead. If you live in your personal sense of destiny, you will have to overcome a lot of facts and odds that seem to be against you. Through it all, remember MAT 19:26 "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Or LUK 1:37 "For nothing will be impossible with God."

Abraham and Sarah finally realized a personal sense of destiny and the first thing they encountered was a test, sexual-death. But a personal sense of destiny never looks at life from the standpoint of human failure or impossibility, because of the strength in claiming the promises of God. Abraham learned that a personal sense of destiny is that status in which what the Bible says is always right no matter what. Abraham did not waver in unbelief; he no longer looked at the promise of God emotionally. Loser believers do not understand this principle because they fail to recognize that they never have to worry about what God doing what He promises to do. With a personal sense of destiny Abraham knew that God never works through dead things, therefore he submitted willingly to circumcision when God gave the commission to Abraham (GEN 17:10-11). So the moment Abraham complied, God restored the sexual ability of Abraham and Sarah. Abraham's personal sense of destiny looked forward to the future and the grace of God related to living in a resurrection body and in a new earth and a new universe. HEB 11:1-2 "Now faith [what is believed--doctrine] is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by means of it [doctrine circulating in the soul] men of old attained approval."

HEB 11:9 "By faith or by means of doctrine he [Abraham] lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise."

What is this promise? The answer is found in the land grant covenant or promise, often called the Palestinian covenant and in the doctrine of resurrection. This promise included an eternal city (GEN 13:14-16, GEN 15:18-21). The eternal city is described inREV 21:2. Abraham looked forward to this eternal city as part of his eternal estate, so that he continued to live in a tent rather than use his great wealth to build a city. Abraham knew a personal sense of destiny was related to resurrection.

More than anything in life Abraham loved his son. Even though he was mandated to sacrifice his son, He knew that God had some reason for it that was beyond human reason. Human sacrifice was contrary to everything in his life. The test was: are you going to believe what God requires and commands, though you do not understand it, or are you going to refuse to make the final step in spiritual growth? Abraham did not become emotional about the Lord's command to sacrifice Isaac. He concluded that God keeps His word. He came to a conclusion that led to action--to obey God. Only God could solve the problem because only God had the power to resurrect anyone. The believer who recognizes his personal sense of destiny realizes that what the Bible says is always right no matter what. Abraham did not waver in unbelief. He believed that what God had said and promised, He was able to perform and provide.


HEB 11:11 "By means of faith [doctrine] even Sarah herself received the power to conceive or for laying down the seed [to ovulate], even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised."

Sarah believed the same promise that was given to Abraham. She came to admire her husband; she had true fellowship with God, from which she had a personal sense of destiny. From that personal sense of destiny she had capacity to love God based on principle of Bible doctrine in her soul. This gave her capacity to love a man she admired.

Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph all died in doctrine without receiving the promises and were never disappointed because they believed in resurrection. HEB 11:13 "All these died in faith without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, they also acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth."

They realized that God is fair and that they did not have the capacity to enjoy that eternal city without a resurrection body, so they saw these things from a distance. By having a personal sense of destiny, you can see from a distance? If you live by this principle, sooner or later everything falls into place. They were occupied with Christ, and they did what we all need to do: not to look at the incapability of man but at the capability of God. It was not the impotence of Abraham at age 99 that was at issue, it was the omnipotence of God. Abraham and Sarah's personal sense of destiny in spiritual maturity was related to resurrection (HEB 11:17-19).


HEB 11:22 "By faith, Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel and gave orders concerning his bones."

In GEN 50:24-26 Joseph was the prime minister of Egypt. Here we note again a very important principle: Our personal sense of destiny is related to resurrection just as Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Our personal sense of destiny does not end in time; it continues in the eternal state, we have a destiny for time and also for eternity. However, just like many believers never fulfill their destiny in time, many also will not fulfill their destiny for the eternal state. They will not receive all of their escrow blessings, which were designed for them in eternity past and therefore will remain on deposit as a memorial to the justice of God.

GEN 50:24-26 "And Joseph said to his brothers, "I am about to die, but God will surely take care of you and bring you up from this land to the land which He promised on oath to Abraham (GEN 13:14-14), to Isaac (GEN 26:3) and to Jacob (GEN 35:12) Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear or take a solemn oath, saying, God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones up from here (Egypt)."

Joseph's coffin would remain unburied for 400 years as a testimony to God's faithfulness.

He believed that God would fulfill His word and bring His people back to the promise land.

Now, after Joseph died, there is an elapse of 400 years and in every generation the Jews would take their children to the sarcophagus or the stone tomb of Joseph. They would tell the story of God's timing and how God remains faithful to each generation. How God will fulfill His word and someday take the Jews out of Egypt and into the Promised Land and they would bury Joseph's bones there.

Joseph teaches us that if we are going to live in our personal sense of destiny, we will have to trust in the timing of God. 400 years later, when Moses left Egypt he took the bones of Joseph with him (EXO 13:19). Two million people were marching out of Egypt and one of the many millions of things that they carried were the bones of Joseph. For the next forty years, the coffin of Joseph was always ahead of the march as they wandered around in the desert. When Joshua led the second generation of Israel into the Land, they buried the bones of Joseph which is recorded in JOS 24:32.

Joseph wanted to be buried there because his father Jacob, his mother Rachel, grandfather Isaac, great-grandfather Abraham were buried there. The resurrection was so real and significant to Joseph that when the resurrection would take place, Joseph wanted to be together as a family as they went up. Joseph also knew that although he had control over his life while living, he had no control over the time, the manner, or the place of his death. The death of Joseph was a matter of the sovereign wisdom and integrity of God.

The importance of the Timing of God.

Joseph was not buried until 475 years after his death as a testimony to the faithfulness of God, God's timing and a memorial to the certainty of resurrection. Just as the believer has no control over the time, the manner, or the place of his death, he has no control over his resurrection. The grace policy of God has provided everything the believer needs for time and everything needed in resurrection and for all eternity. When his brothers threw Joseph into the pit, it was God's timing for Joseph, which, at the time, he failed to recognize (GEN 37:23-24). As he sat in the pit, he rejected or ignored the doctrine contained in the dreams (i.e., that he would rule over his family).

There are certain circumstances under which God's plan for our lives cannot be fulfilled, In His perfect timing, God removes us from those circumstances, and it is always very difficult at first, like Joseph in the pit. Our timing can only make us miserable and terminate in disaster. We not only have a personal sense of destiny but God has perfect timing to reach that destiny one step at a time. Under God's timing, if we stick with Him, He works all things together for good. Joseph was the victim of great injustices but that was a part of God's plan. This is the way that God molded the greatest leader of that day. The point is that God is the one who put him there, God is the one who planned for him to be kidnapped, thrown into a pit, sold into Egypt as a slave, and yet it was all a part of his personal sense of destiny.

Joseph learned two major lessons while fulfilling his personal sense of destiny and the timing of God: He learned how to grow under adversity and undeserved suffering and how to prosper and handle blessing. From age 17 to age 30, Joseph was a slave, but what he learned in slavery made him realize that circumstances do not make or bring happiness. Only God can do that, only God can promote and only God can give you a meaningful and purposeful destiny. Joseph was totally helpless as a slave, and will continue to be a slave until he is promoted to the second highest office in the land, then be put into the pit or a prison for a second time. He is still in the right place at the right time. God's timing requires that Joseph spend more time in a second pit through the lies of Potiphar's wife, and it was still a part God's promotion for Joseph. All along the way God is preparing him to be the greatest man in his era. God's timing in the circumstances of life must precede God's promotion. You have to be on God's timing before you can ever be truly promoted. God promotes one step at a time and some of those steps take you to the pit. And how you handle the pit determines your capacity for promotion.

Joseph has passed the people test of hatred, envy and jealousy from his own family. Joseph has passed the prosperity test in the palace of Potiphar. He has passed the temptation test in the seductive advances of Potiphar's wife. He has passed the injustice test of being imprisoned as an innocent person. In Gen 40:1-8, we see Joseph passing this test, he will do double-duty as a slave, and do it without complaining. In these verses we see God's perfect plan and timing and Joseph's advance in his personal sense of destiny come into the picture. Joseph has been faithful and competent in functioning as a slave, therefore God now honors his faithfulness in the little things by using dreams to teach doctrine and to promote Joseph.

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