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The Persistent Faith of Joseph
Heb.11:23, Gen. 37-50


The third man in the list of pronouncing blessing before dying is Joseph. Though his life is a mixture of ups and downs, he didn’t lose faith in the Lord. In the Book of Genesis, his life story is the longest recorded. Some of the people I know cried when they read about him. Truly his story touches lives and leaves a lasting memory in the hearts of people whether they are true believers or not. It’s no wonder that Joseph’s life foreshadows or has similarities in the life of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Also, like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the heroes of faith listed here in Hebrew 11, Joseph saw things to come and were persuaded that the almighty God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would fulfil His promises.

I. Joseph
A. Joseph means “may God add”. He is the 11th son of Jacob (Gen. 30:24), the first son of Rachel. He is Jacob’s favorite son which he obviously shows by making him a special colourful coat. For that, he was hated by all his brothers. His dreams also which shows his exalted position added more fuel to the fire that his brothers want him dead. Their opportunity to kill him came and they could have done so but Reuben disagreed. He was finally sold as a slave to Egypt to Potiphar an officer of the Pharaoh. Falsely accused of a crime he didn’t commit, was imprisoned and by the grace and providence of God, after interpreting Pharaoh’s dream, he became the Prime Minister of Egypt.

Illustration/Application: Mordecai Vs Joseph on Wrongs
There are two ways of dealing with your enemies—the wrong way, the way that Haman took toward Mordecai (Esther 5:14); and the right way, the way that Joseph took toward his brethren who had sold him into slavery (Genesis 45:5).
Let us consider the wrong way, or how not to get the best of our enemies.
Haman built a gallows fifty cubits high on which to hang his enemy, Mordecai. In the early morning light, passers-by in the city of Shushan saw a body dangling from a gallows fifty cubits high, and the vultures already circling around it.
But it was not the body of Mordecai, for whom Haman had built the gallows, but the body of Haman himself. He was a victim of hate and revenge—not another’s, but his own.
Since every soul can hate, every man has in him the making of a Haman.
Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of the Times.

II. Joseph: A type of Christ
A. God was in each of their births. Gen. 30:22-24, Joseph: Lk. 1:30-31, Jesus
B. Each was beloved by their father. Gen. 37:3, Jn. 17:24
C. Each knew that he was to be exalted. Gen. 37:6-9, Matt. 16:21
D. Each was rejected by his brethren. Gen. 37:18, Lk. 19:14, John 1:11
E. Each was hated without a cause. Gen. 37:4, John 15:25
F. Each was sold for a price of a slave. Gen. 37:28, Matt. 26:15
G. Each was sold Judah (Hebrew), Judas (Greek). Gen. 37:26-27
H. The garments of each were taken away. Gen. 37:31, Mark 15:24
I. Each was condemned by false witnesses. Gen. 39:17-20, Matt. 26:59-61
J. Each suffered for the sins of others. Gen. 39:20, 2 Cor. 5:21
K. Each became a ruler over those who rejected them. Gen. 46:5-7, Zech. 14:9

III. Key Events in His Life
A. His dreams (Gen. 37:5-10)
B. Sold by his jealous brothers (Gen. 37:12-28)
C. Imprisoned in Egypt (Gen. 39-40)
D. Interprets Pharaoh’s dreams (Gen. 41:1-36)
E. Becomes prime minister at the age of thirty (Gen. 41:37-57)
F. Helps and forgives his brothers (Gen. 42-45)
G. Settles his family in Egypt (Gen. 46:1-47:12)

IV. Persistent Faith was not affected by difficult and painful times
A. Being rejected and hated by your own brothers, is already painful and heart breaking. How much more when they want to kill you. By the grace of God, he was just sold to Midianites who finally sold him to an Egyptian named Potiphar where he became a slave. Loneliness, self-pity, depression, sorrow, being treated as a slave who has to do everything his master wants him to do is enough for other’s faith to be shaken and weaken. Not for Joseph, not a word of complaint, he didn’t even ask the Lord why? The Lord sees the heart of Joseph and He knows what is in his mind. That is why it is written in Gen. 39:2 And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.

V. Persistent faith is not affected by success and prosperity
A. In times of difficulties and hard times, we cling to God and ask for mercy. I know people who in the midst of their afflictions became closer to God. I ‘ve seen people also who forgets God in good times. In times of success and prosperity, people tend to be proud and forgets about God who blessed them and gave them their riches and success. It was not so with Joseph. He was lowly in heart and dependent on God alone when he was a slave, a prisoner, even when he became a prime minister in Egypt. In front of the Pharaoh, Joseph was uplifting the God of heaven before he interpreted the Pharaoh’s dream. Genesis 41:16 And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace. Joseph is a humble man.

VI. Persistent faith can resist temptation
A. In the house of Potiphar, his Egyptian master, God prospered Joseph. Potiphar perceived that God was with Joseph so he made him an overseer of his house and all that he has (Gen. 39:2-6). Soon Potiphar’s wife was attracted to him that she boldly asks him to lie with her. A lonely young man less than 30 years old, at his age, resisting a woman to have a sexual encounter or sexual relationship with a woman is not so easy. However, because of his faith in God, he was able to resist it and run away from it. In his defence against the attack of the devil, he mentioned he cannot do wickedness against his master and sin against God (Gen. 39:8-9).

Illustration/Application: Temptation
That which moves us to sin. God cannot be tempted (James 1:13). But we can be tempted by our lusts (James 1:13-15), money (1 Tim. 6:9), lack of self-examination (Gal. 6:1), and the boastful pride of life (1 John 2:16), to name a few. We are commanded to pray to be delivered from temptation (Matt. 6:13) for the Lord is capable of delivering us from it (2 Pet. 2:9).
Source unknown

VII. Persistent faith can withstand injustices
A. Joseph was falsely accused by Mrs. Potiphar for a crime he didn’t commit. He was imprisoned but the Lord is still with Joseph and shewed him mercy and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison (Gen. 39:21). There was a time when the chief butler and the chief baker offended the Pharaoh and they were cast into prison where Joseph is. Both of these men dreamed and Joseph interpreted their dreams rightly. The butler who was restored to his duties forgot Joseph when he was freed. This could have been another blow to weaken his faith and cause him to be ungodly, yet he stayed strong finally he was rewarded by the Lord. He became the prime minister of Egypt. Despite of all the odds, Joseph was victorious. The Lord is pleased with his faith that He was with him not only in good times but also in difficult times.

VIII. Persistent faith looks at the future where God fulfils His promises.
A. In his death bed, by faith he made mention of the departing of the children of Israel to dwell in the promised land called Canaan. He looked into the future and gave commandment concerning his remains to be carried there when the time comes. His wish was fulfilled for it is written in Exodus 13:19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you. Also, in Joshua 24:32 And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.

IX. Conclusion:
Joseph’s faith was persistent in the sense that it was not affected by difficult and painful times, not affected by success and prosperity, it can resist temptation, withstand injustices, and lastly looks to the future where God fulfils His promises. Among the Bible heroes, Joseph is an excellent example for us to follow. Would you be like Joseph also my friend?

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