January 5, 2022
Thank you for praying each Wednesday for our prodigals and for revival.
It’s hard to believe, but here we are in 2022. The new year has begun and thankfully as we look forward, we have hope, because we know the One who is in control!
He is our hope! “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
When the way is uncertain, He is our hope! When the pressure is intense, He is our hope! When hopelessness fills our minds, He is our hope! When loneliness, despair, discouragement, or depression drain our hearts, He alone is our hope!
This was true for Joseph, the beloved son of Jacob and Rachel. He was hated by his 11 older brothers. He was torn from his family and friends as a teenager and sold into slavery. He was falsely accused and put into prison for at least 2 years. He was later raised to power and reunited with his family. He died in Egypt. The details can be read from Genesis 37 to 50.
Joseph made God his hope! While the heart-wrenching pain of being ripped from his family was intense, he had the dreams that God had given him that better days were yet to come. Later when he was thrust into an Egyptian dungeon, he was conscious of God’s presence (Genesis 39:21). After all his brothers had done, he fully forgave them and was able to say, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20).
At the end of his life, he stated a fact about Israel’s future and made a command about his own body. Both by faith:
“By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones” (Hebrews 11:22).
This text highlights three elements of Joseph’s faith.
First, his faith was lifelong. Joseph had been on this incredible journey with God, with many deep dark valleys, yet day by day, he lived out his faith. As his faith grew and developed, his character was refined and at the end he was a better man. He was a man of faith!
We may falter and at times fail, but God is seeking through all life’s circumstances to draw us closer to Himself and ultimately deepen our faith in Him.
Second, Joseph’s faith was solidly grounded in God’s past promise. His hope for the future was secure in the Word of God. He was a man of hope!
He knew that his people would be in Egypt for a time, but it wouldn’t be forever. God had sworn to his forefathers that the land was theirs. “And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob” (Genesis 50:24).
The only things in life we can be sure about come directly from God’s Word. The Hebrew writer stated this in the opening of the chapter, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for” (Hebrews 11:1).
Joseph was sure because he knew a promise from God could be depended on.
How do you know your sins are forgiven? How do you know that you will see Jesus? How do you know that Christ lives in you? All of these questions are answered in the same way. Because of God’s promises in His Word.
Take this last question for example. Paul, in writing to the Colossians, says, “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
Third, Joseph wanted future generations to know that he personally believed God. He was a man of encouragement. This was one of the reasons he wanted his bones to be carried back to the promised land.
Bones are bones. Whether they are in Egypt, Israel, or Timbuktu, it really didn’t matter one way or the other. Or did it? The faith that Joseph had in God for the future of His people became visible and tangible to those who were left after his death.
Every time someone thought of Joseph they would remember the homeland. Every time someone passed by his coffin or gravesite they would hear his words of faith echo in their own hearts. When days got difficult and slavery became commonplace, they would be encouraged by the faith of a good man.
May your faith in God be a source of encouragement and hope in the life of someone today!
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel