Genesis 41 & Transcendent and Immanent

God’s transcendence and immanence are related.  Because His holy glory is so transcendent, it is immanent (Isaiah 6:3).  God’s glory cannot be contained, it is infinite, immeasurable, vast; it is even right here.  In our text we see God’s transcendent sovereignty mingled beautifully with His immanent mercy.  In fact we learn that they are never separated.  His immanent mercy is a transcendent sovereign mercy.  You cannot dissect God and His attributes.  Consider what we learn of God here.

1. God is sovereign. He raises up kings and brings them down (Daniel 2:21).  Their hearts are in his hand (Proverbs 21:1).  He uses them as his tools (Isaiah 10:5-7).  God gives Pharaoh this dream and is Lord over feast and famine (Psalm 105:16; Genesis 41:25, 28).

2.  Not only is God sovereign, but He also has a plan. Strength without wisdom is a dangerous thing.  In God infinite power meets infinite wisdom.  All His sovereign power is moving all things to His purpose (Isaiah 46:8-10).  It was God’s plan for Joseph to go to Egypt (Genesis 45:5-8).  God desired for the chief cupbearer to forget for two more years.  God wants to relocate His people to Egypt for a time, and He is orchestrating all of this, exercising His sovereignty to achieve His plan (Genesis 15:13-16).

Too many are sloppy theologians, they compartmentalize and rarely harmonize.  For instance, I think few connect the doctrine of God’s omniscience with the doctrine of God’s omnipotence.  Why is it that God knows the future?  Because He has a plan and nothing can thwart it.  He knows the future because he does the future (Proverbs 19:21, Job 23:13, Isaiah 14:27, Psalm 115:3).

3. Not only Is God sovereign, not only does He have a plan, but He also discloses His plan to His people. Two generations before Joseph God told Abraham of these things (Genesis 15:13-16).  Joseph as a young boy was given a dream that is controlling this final narrative of Genesis (Genesis 37:5-11).  Now God is revealing to Joseph what He is about to do.  God does nothing without revealing His secret to the prophets (Amos 3:7).  We are not prophets as Amos speaks of, but we have the word of the prophets.  Jesus makes known to His own His plan (John 15:15; 1 Corinthians 2:6-16).

4. Not only is God sovereign, not only does He have a plan, not only does He disclose His plan to His people, but He also graciously uses us to accomplish His plan. Joseph becomes the means God uses to preserve, unify, and sanctify the covenant family.  Joseph is the means God uses to disperse the bread of life.  In a greater way, not lesser, God catches us up into His plan, to proclaim the Bread of Life that has been broken.

Oh what transcendence!  Oh what immanence!

Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is great like our God?
You are the God who works wonders;
you have made known your might among the peoples. (Psalm 77:13-14)

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