By Faith Joseph

Author Philip Yancey writes:

In high school, I took pride in my ability to play chess. I joined the chess club, and during lunch hour could be found sitting at a table with other nerds poring over books with titles like Classic King Pawn Openings. I studied techniques, won most of my matches, and put the game aside for 20 years.

Then, in Chicago, I met a truly fine chess player who had been perfecting his skills long since high school. When we played a few matches, I learned what it is like to play against a master. Any classic offense I tried, he countered with a classic defense. If I turned to more risky, unorthodox techniques, he incorporated my bold forays into his winning strategies. Although I had complete freedom to make any move I wished, I soon reached the conclusion that none of my strategies mattered very much. His superior skill guaranteed that my purposes inevitably ended up serving his own.

Perhaps God engages our universe, his own creation, in much the same way. He grants us freedom to rebel against its original design, but even as we do so we end up ironically serving his eventual goal of restoration.

If I accept that blueprint–a huge step of faith, I confess–it transforms how I view both good and bad things that happen. Good things, such as health, talent, and money, I can present to God as offerings to serve his purposes. And bad things, too–disability, poverty, family dysfunction, failures–can be redeemed as the very instruments that drive me to God.

Philip Yancey, “Chess Master,” Christianity Today (5-22-00), p.112

 

Today, let’s talk about Joseph and his faith. If you know of Joseph in the Old Testament he had quite a roller coaster ride. Beginning in Genesis chapter 37 it is written about Joseph being sold into slavery in Egypt. From seventeen until thirty years old Joseph was in slavery and/or prison in Egypt. (Genesis 37:2 and 41:46) Following his imprisonment he becomes second in charge of all of Egypt and God used him to rescue the people of Egypt and Israel. God preserved Israel through Joseph.

Now, we come to the end of the book of Genesis and Joseph’s final recorded words. First, let’s read Hebrews 11:22:

By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.

Now, turn to Genesis 50:22-26:

Joseph stayed in Egypt, along with all his father’s family. He lived a hundred and ten years 23 and saw the third generation of Ephraim’s children. Also the children of Makir son of Manasseh were placed at birth on Joseph’s knees.

24 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” 25 And Joseph made the Israelites swear an oath and said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.”

26 So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt.

 

My theme and application is that we can learn trusting God through Joseph.

What can we learn from Joseph’s faith and blessings?

  1. God has visited us as Joseph said He would. (verse 24)
    1. Do you see that in verse 24: God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”?
    2. By the way this is the first time we see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob mentioned together in this way. God promised the land to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but they never saw the fulfillment. Now, they are in Egypt. What are they to do? Joseph tells them that God will come to their aid. Joseph tells them that they will come out of Egypt.
    3. We learn trust from Joseph. Joseph was pretty much the Secretary of State of the nation of Egypt. He was highly revered. He could have trusted in Egypt but he did not. Joseph still clung to God’s promises. Joseph had faith trusting in the Promised Land.
    4. I think that Joseph had his own royal chariot and his own cooks and the ear of the Egyptian Pharaoh but his trust was not in that.
    5. God did come to their aid.  
    6. God has come to our aid as well.
    7. God came to Israel’s aid some 430 years later and he blessed the world through Jesus Christ.
    8. We can trust in the same promised that Joseph was trusting in.
    9. Remember: Immanuel: God with us. (Matthew 1:23)
  2. We have been redeemed; we are given the promise of the Promised Land, though we are not there yet. In Joseph’s context, the people were not yet redeemed out of slavery and given the Promised Land, yet Joseph prophesied this. (verse 24)
    1. Sometimes we have promises, but we have to wait on them.
    2. Joseph promised his brother’s that they will go to the promised land, but they had to be patient.
    3. Now, they could wait patiently and comfortably because at that point the Pharaoh was friendly to the Hebrews. (that is because they brewed good coffee, at least the “he’s” did) Eventually, Exodus 1 tells us the Pharaoh was no longer friendly to the Hebrews, but they still had to wait.
    4. Like they waited, we must wait patiently for Jesus’ coming Kingdom on earth. They waited, we must wait. We have a promise that Jesus is coming for us as He came for the Hebrews. Right now, we are pretty comfortable in the United States, but remember this is not the Promised Land. Someday we may not be comfortable and that will remind us that this is not the world God intended, but it is coming. In other places of the world currently they are uncomfortable and persecuted for their faith. In other places they are hungry and without food and clothing. Even in the U.S. some of these things are going on. This reminds us that this is not the world God intended. Remember, don’t forget, God is coming back for us through Jesus. This is not the Promised Land.
    5. Joseph had faith that God would come back for them and so must we.
  • Even though Joseph could have had an elaborate burial in Egypt he chose the Promised Land. No matter what this world can offer us we must look to the Kingdom of Heaven.
    1. Think of all that Joseph could have had in Egypt.
    2. You’ve seen the pyramids, right?
    3. I think he could have had that type of a burial. He could have been buried with gold in some pyramid. That is not what he chose. He chose the Promised Land.
    4. We must trust in God’s promises, not this world.
  1. God is in control we can trust Him.
    1. We can trust God’s promise as Joseph did.
    2. My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing that my God can’t do. We’ll come back to that.
    3. When life is falling apart as it was for Joseph we can trust Him.
    4. When we are caring for elderly parents we can trust God.
    5. When we lay family members and friends in the grave, we can have hope in the Resurrection and the life. (John 11:25)
    6. When we are caring for sick children we can trust God and we can look to a time without sickness. (Rev. 21)
    7. When we don’t know where to turn we can turn to God in prayer. (James 5:16)
    8. When dealing with children and grandchildren who are constantly getting into trouble you can hope in Jesus who can turn lives around. (2 Cor. 5:17 and 21)
    9. When you, yourself, are having trouble with sin, having trouble with addictions you can turn to Jesus who has promised to Help. (Matt. 11:28; John 4:14; 2 Cor. 5:17 and 21; Gal. 2:20)
    10. When the world is falling apart and you are afraid to turn on the news we can look forward to the Promised Land. (Rev. 21)

Conclusion:

Man Finally Finds Meaning in his Father’s Murder

In 1986, a Christian worker named Steve Saint was traveling through the country of Mali when his car broke down. Stranded and alone, Steve tried to rent a truck, despite warnings that he wouldn’t survive in the Sahara Desert. After he failed to find a truck, in his fear and discouragement, Steve’s thoughts ran to his father, Nate Saint, a former missionary in Ecuador. When Steve was only five, natives speared to death his dad and four other missionaries. Now, thirty years later, Steve found himself questioning his father’s death. Steve reflected, “I couldn’t help but think the murders were capricious, an accident of bad timing.”

When Steve asked some locals directions to a church, a few children led him to a tiny mud- brick house with a poster on the wall showing wounded hands covering a cross. A man in flowing robes introduced himself as Nouh Af Infa Yatara. Nouh started sharing with Steve about his faith in Christ. After becoming a Christian, his family disowned him. His mother even put a sorcerer’s poison in Nouh’s food at a family feast. He ate the food but suffered no ill effects.

When Steve asked Nouh why he was willing to pay such a steep price for following Christ, he simply said, “I know God loves me and I’ll live with him forever.” But Steve pressed, “Where did your courage come from?” Nouh explained that when he was young, a missionary gave him books about Christians who had suffered for their faith. Then he added, “My favorite was about five young men who risked their lives to take God’s good news to people in the jungles of Ecuador. The book said they let themselves be speared to death, even though they had guns and could have killed their attackers!”

Utterly shocked, Steve said, “One of those men was my father.” Now Nouh felt stunned. “Your father?” he exclaimed. Then Nouh told Steve that God had used the death of those five brave missionaries to help him, a young Muslim who had become a Christian, hold on to his faith.

Possible Preaching Angle: Steve realized that if God could plan the death of his own Son, he could also plan and use the death of Steve’s dad, Nate Saint, to accomplish his sovereign purpose—including reaching one young Muslim for Christ and orchestrating this God-ordained meeting of two men at the ends of the earth.

Adapted from Randy Alcorn, If God Is Good (Multnomah, 2009), pp 400-401

Joseph faced hard times, but God was in control. We may face hard times but God is in control. God has a future plan. Trust Him as Joseph did. Trust His promises.

My God is so big, so strong and so mighty
There’s nothing my God cannot do
My God is so big, so strong and so mighty
There’s nothing my God cannot do

The mountains are His, the rivers are His
The stars are His handiwork too
My God is so big, so strong and so mighty
There’s nothing my God cannot do, hey, hey

My God is so great, so strong and so mighty
There’s nothing my God cannot do
My God is so great, so strong and so mighty
There’s nothing my God cannot do

The mountains are His, the rivers are His
The stars are His handiwork too
My God is so great, so strong and so mighty
There’s nothing my God cannot do

My God is so big, so strong and so mighty
There’s nothing my God cannot do
My God is so big, so strong and so mighty
There’s nothing my God cannot do

The mountains are His, the rivers are His
The stars are His handiwork too
My God is so big, so strong and so mighty
There’s nothing my God cannot do

There’s nothing my God cannot do
There’s nothing, nothing, nothing He can’t do
Read more at http://www.songlyrics.com/veggie-tales-veggie-tunes/my-god-is-so-big-lyrics/#64CqmcpSPCjqLYt1.99

Repeat after me: God is in control, God is in control.

Ps 89:13

Your arm is endued with power;

your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.

(from New International Version)

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

Notes:

Hebrews 11:22:

Now, turn to Genesis 50:22-26:

My theme and application is that we can learn trusting God through Joseph.

What can we learn from Joseph’s faith and blessings?

  1. God has visited us as Joseph said He would. (verse 24)
    1. Remember: Immanuel: God with us. (Matthew 1:23)
  2. We have been redeemed; we are given the promise of the Promised Land, though we are not there yet. In Joseph’s context, the people were not yet redeemed out of slavery and given the Promised Land, yet Joseph prophesied this. (verse 24)
  • Even though Joseph could have had an elaborate burial in Egypt he chose the Promised Land. No matter what God can offer us in this world we must look to the Kingdom of Heaven.
  • God is in control we can trust Him.
    1. We can trust God’s promise as Joseph did.
    2. My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing that my God can’t do. We’ll come back to that.
    3. When life is falling apart as it was for Joseph we can trust Him.
    4. When we are caring for elderly parents we can trust God.
    5. When we lay family members and friends in the grave, we can have hope in the Resurrection and the life. (John 11:25)
    6. When we are caring for sick children we can trust God and we can look to a time without sickness. (Rev. 21)
    7. When we don’t know where to turn we can turn to God in prayer. (James 5:16)
    8. When dealing with children and grandchildren who are constantly getting into trouble you can hope in Jesus who can turn lives around. (2 Cor. 5:17 and 21)
    9. When you, yourself, are having trouble with sin, having trouble with addictions you can turn to Jesus whose promised to Help. (Matt. 11:28; John 4:14; 2 Cor. 5:17 and 21; Gal. 2:20)
    10. When the world is falling apart and you are afraid to turn on the news we can look forward to the Promised Land. (Rev. 21)

Joseph faced hard times, but God was in control. We may face hard times but God is in control. God has a future plan. Trust Him as Joseph did. Trust His promises.

My God is so big, so strong and so mighty
Repeat after me: God is in control, God is in control.

Ps 89:13

Your arm is endued with power;

your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.

(from New International Version)

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