THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 7-8-12
LESSON TITLE: “BY FAITH JOSEPH…”
Jesus once proclaimed, “If you love me, keep my commandments?” Are you obeying the commandments of your God?
Thanks for joining us this Lord’s Day! What a privilege we have this morning to spend time together in the study of God’s Living Word. We are happy you have chosen to be with us today and are excited about this opportunity we have together to glorify our creator. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in His sight and according to His Will. Now, let’s approach our Father’s throne in prayer.
It’s time to start our praise through song. This morning we are challenged with a hymn that reminds us of what awaits the faithful when this life is ore. So, won’t you join in with the congregation as we together sing, “Just Over In The Glory Land!”
(SONG # 1)
The Bible is full of examples and comments which show that many think they are right before God and acceptable - when really they are not proper before Him at all. I remember a verse in Matthew, in which our Lord deals with this very topic. Read with me from chapter 7, beginning in verse 21. There it says, “Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
Notice in this reading that many believe they are right and proper before God, yet they are not. Here these followers were even doing things in the name of God and some things according to His will! However, it is obvious that they were not completely right and that they were lacking something, because the Lord said, “depart from me - you who practice lawlessness.”
John understood this same idea, as is clear by his statement in 1 John 2:9. There we read, “He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.” Someone may think he is in the light and a good follower of Christ, yet if he hates his brother - John says this man is really in the darkness!
The point of these scriptures is to realize that it does matter what we do and say in this life! God judges all according to His will, just as we read above, the one “who does the will of My Father in heaven,” is the one who is acceptable before God. In other words, doing what God wants in God’s ways!
This idea can finally be seen in the book of Revelation, as we again find the words of our Lord recorded! In chapter 2, and verse 10 we read, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” True love for God and Christianity, depends on our willingness to do what God commands until the day we die. However, as we read here, it will be well worth the effort because we will receive the promised crown of life. So, are you giving your all to God and following His complete will as commanded?
Today we will be continuing our discussion on Faith!” Our specific lesson this morning will focus on this topic, …By Faith Joseph.” So please stay with us and in a few minutes I will return with this study from God’s Word. Now it’s time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, “Leaning On the Everlasting Arms.”
(SONG # 2)
BY RAY SULLINS
Thank you very much for continuing with us today as we now go to God’s word in just a few moments and look specifically at another great lesson on faith. Certainly, we have been having a great discussion for several weeks now and we look forward to many more good lessons concerning the faith of a Christian. Before that however, I would like to also say that we are blessed as we are able to sing praises to God every week on this program and in fact one of the things that many of you love and that we get so many good positive comments from is the congregational singing on the program. With that in mind I would like to make you aware that we are soon going to be having a new TV taping of songs at the Kansas Expressway Church of Christ which is located at 2540 N. Kansas Expressway here in Springfield. Many of you brethren often join us for that taping and so that I would like to go ahead and make you aware that on August 5 at two O’clock at our building there we will be having this taping. So that is only about four weeks away from this Sunday and so certainly put that on your calendar. Make yourself aware of that and I will try to be reminding you every few weeks or so that you might be a part of that if you would like to for our next TV taping of song there at the Kansas Expressway Church of Christ on August 5, the first Sunday in August.
With that then behind us, we think now into the great faith chapter of Hebrews 11. You might recall that now we have looked at many different aspects of faith, not only what it is but the fact that really by faith all believe in God or disbelieve in God in relationship to who he is, the creation of the world, and so on and so forth. We have had also a lot of good lessons I believe in relationship to the Patriarchs. In fact as we have read through the list of great Patriarchs we moved all the way through that age before Moses and we’re even heading to that time of Moses, which will begin even next week.
But in our discussion today we continue in the last of the individuals revealed in this chapter. Certainly there were others that might have been referred to as great Patriarchs and servants of God before the Law of Moses but the last one revealed to us here in Hebrews 11 is found there beginning in verse 21. And after Abraham has been spoken of including his wife Sarah, after we find there Abraham’s son Isaac is revealed to us in verse 18, and then Isaac sends that blessing on that promise on to Jacob there in verse 20. It then reminds us that after Jacob has certainly that opportunity of life he then blesses his son verse 21, “By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.” Then it says verse 22, “By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones.” When we think about the idea here of that son of Jacob, who here certainly stands out as Joseph. How significant? How interesting that of all those that might be mentioned next, not the one in whom the seed would continue Judah, but rather Joseph here who stands out among all the twelve sons that we know of there of Jacob. Who by the way, later is also referred to as Israel where we certainly know the concept of the children of Israel comes from.
With that in mind then let’s go back over to the Old Testament because it is there in Genesis rather that we begin to see this idea unfold at the end of the book in chapter 50. And what we begin to see here is exactly what is made reference to of by faith what Joseph did when he was about to die. In fact you might notice with me there in Genesis 50 but verse 22 beginning it says, “So Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he and his father’s household. And Joseph lived on hundred and ten years. Joseph saw Ephraim’s children to the third generation. The children of Machir, the son of Manasseh were also brought up on Joseph’s knees. And Joseph said to his brethren, ‘I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.’ Then Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel, saying, ‘God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.’” And then verse 26 says, “So Joseph died, being one hundred and ten years old; and they embalmed him…” certainly being embalmed was a sign of his royalty that he would be really taken with such diligence and time that his body be preserved as the others. And so this might have made a big difference as well when Israel finally decides to take the bones of Joseph with him. At that time still being an honor to Israel but by the time they take his bones with them as they go on the Exodus we know that certainly those Egyptians would have no longer been interested in the bones of Joseph.
All these things being the case what is the faith that is being spoken of here of Joseph? You see the great faith of a man, the great faith of a man who not only believed in what God had done. You know it’s one thing to believe in what we have heard or what we ourselves have seen or lived, the power of God, and certainly Joseph saw that. But it’s another thing to believe in those things that are before or prophesied about or that are to come that we will never experience, at least in this life, what a great faith. Why would it be that Joseph would believe so strongly, Genesis 50 and there as it says verses 24-25, as it clarifies to us that he told the children of Israel that “God will surely visit you” he surely will come and remove you from this land that is not the land of Gods people and he will show you and give you the promised land. Where do you think Joseph had heard that? You reckon he had heard that from his father Jacob. Isn’t that a promise that was passed down from Abraham to Isaac, and then Isaac to Jacob, and now Jacob also really to all of his sons but specifically here it is being mentioned also that Joseph believed by faith. He didn’t say if you ever get out of here. He didn’t say if God ever visits you. He says when God visits you, you take me with you, you take my bones out of this place and you bury me in the land of God not the land of these Heathens, so to speak.
So, how interesting it is to see the faith of Joseph, a young man who certainly loved his God. He was a young man, in Genesis 30, that was born there to Jacob finally by the wife that he loved so dearly, you and I remember her name well, Rachel. You remember also that for a period of time Leah under the deception and having received her had several children for Jacob as well as some of the hand maids of Leah and Rachel. But then we finally see there in Chapter 30 that Rachel is visited by the Lord, she does conceive verses 22-following, as the Lord remembered her and she has Joseph. What is so unique about Joseph? Well, many things but really the first thing that we begin to learn that is so unique about Joseph and detailed is found in chapter 37 of Genesis. When there Joseph begins to grow into what we might say “teen years” and it is there introduced to us that he finally brings a report about his brothers feeding the flock. There in verse 2, it says, “This is the history of Jacob. Joseph being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brothers. And the lad was with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought a bad report of them to his father.” Joseph told on his brothers for whatever reason; they weren’t watching the flock, they were going into the cities as we see later happening, and maybe going in to be with prostitutes and other things that they should not have been engaged in, they were neglecting their duties that they should have been focused on. You see Joseph here now as a young man tells his father.
But what was unique about Joseph? Well, Joseph is also identified in the same text as being one in verse 3 that it says was “loved” by his father. Now Israel, and remember now that Jacobs name was changed by God to Israel, which later certainly the Israelites come through the twelve tribes of Jacob or Israel. There in verse 3, it says, “Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children…” Now Jacob had plenty of children but Joseph stood out. What was it about Joseph? “…he was the son of his old age.” it says but there is something more because actually you might remember Rachel, back in chapter 35, died in childbirth having Benjamin. So that was a child of his older age, he was one that was even younger than Joseph but what was unique about Joseph was he was the first son of the wife that he loved. He was the one that he really had bargained for, the one that he had wanted to marry, Rachel. This was their first child and in some sense in the mind of at least Jacob, this might have been in the sense of that first really legitimate child or child of his love. So it says that he loved him and because of that he gave him a coat of many colors. It was obvious to the other brothers, it was obvious in the gifts and really the great expressions of love that his father, Jacob, showed towards Joseph that he did love him more than the others. And he favored him and he gave him such, but why? Because this was his son, the son he had longed for with Rachel and also now that Rachel is dead how much more he would have loved Joseph, how much more he would have loved Benjamin. But I want you to also think about another thing. What is often unique about children? One thing that is often unique about children is that they look a lot like their parents and they even act a lot like their parents sometimes. Do you recon that maybe Joseph looked something like his mom? Do you recon that there were some expressions or words or things he did or said that reminded the father a lot of that one that he loved the most? Certainly there was. So what a beautiful, beautiful thought as he loved this dear child even all the more because now his wife that he loved was gone and he certainly treated him in such a way, a certain way that showed that great love.
With that in mind we again think about Joseph, Joseph a man who dealt with many things throughout his life. We certainly do not have time to look at all of them but we are mindful of the dreams that he has and the brothers are angry and the father even cautions him. But eventually we later learn that those dreams do come true, that he does rule the brothers as he becomes second in command of Egypt. They eventually become so angry that they throw him into a pit when he comes to again check up on him. They are already angry at him but when he arrives they throw him into the pit, they sell him as a slave, and he goes to Egypt. But you know what is neat about Joseph, God continues to use him to his glory and his purpose and he blesses him. Do you remember that? He goes into Egypt he is bought by Potiphar, and before you know it what is he? He is over the house of Potiphar, in fact Potiphar doesn’t even know what it is that he has or owns or controls because Joseph does such a great job. He has placed everything under this purchased slave.
He eventually ends up in prison because of a lie of Potiphar’s wife and what happens there? Very quickly, and I believe maybe Potiphar had something to do with that, his usefulness is noticed by the keepers of the prison and when he is found there he also is put over the prisoners and he does a good job caring for and watching over the prisoners there even in prison. And he is found to be elevated there once again and eventually what does God do after he continues to show this pattern of care, and blessing, and protection, and giving him another step up? He finally is brought before Pharaoh himself and he tells him what it is that the dream means when all the other magicians and all those others who claim to be followers of false God’s could do nothing. He says, God interprets dreams and then Pharaoh says, who else has God like Joseph and who else can be so righteous or proper to lead us into these years of plenty as well as these years of famine to come? And we know the story he gives him there a robe and a ring and he uses one of his chariots basically Joseph begins to rule because of the blessings of God, rule Egypt. Only second in command to Pharaoh and once again Pharaoh probably didn’t know half of what was going on because Joseph was placed in that position of authority to prepare for what? The famine. And when the famine came guess what took place? God using Joseph. And Joseph focused on God is again prepared and he is not only to feed the Egyptians but people from all over the world are coming including what? The family.
We know the story, the family finally comes and there are some things that take place, it’s really a neat story. But eventually the family moves there to Egypt and that’s really where again the Hebrew writer begins to focus because now it was God’s providence that brought all these things together so that when the famine came, guess what? God’s people were protected; Jacob/Israel and his sons who were carrying on the promise that God had given all the way back to Abraham. They were protected and cared for in the land of Goshen, the very best that Egypt had to offer and there Joseph was leading Egypt with all of his brethren now that came also to dwell and live with him there. Finally, what does he ask there in Genesis 50? That when I die take my bones with you, the Lord in coming and He is going to deliver you. And so when we enter into Exodus there how significant that most believe about four hundred years have passed. In Chapter 1 of Exodus it begins to tell us that there are those in that day, in fact of Pharaoh, who does not any longer know the God of Joseph or really what it means is no longer respect the God of Joseph. Then eventually what takes place? They still are sent away after all the plagues they are sent away by the Egyptians and guess what it is that they do with Joseph’s bones. If you look there in Exodus 13:19, it says, “And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had placed the children of Israel under a solemn oath, saying, ‘God will surely visit you, and you shall carry my bones from here with you.’” You see there by faith he believed it. Joseph didn’t have to say, “I wonder if this is gonna happen, I wonder if God will do it, I wonder if they will listen?” But Moses knowing the promise of God and knowing the commitment of Israel fulfilled what God had desired. That Joseph might be buried with his fathers and that he might finally be laid to what we might say a proper rest being faithful to God.
Do you notice the great faith of a man? Do you notice how God protects his own, how he cares for his own? And do you notice how that although it might not seem that important to me how that even by faith he knew and believed that God would make sure that his bones rested eternally, that he was righteous. Can we be like Joseph? Can we learn more to put God first? Can we show great faith as the Patriarch’s?
(SONG # 3 - “Let The Lower Lights Be Burning!”)
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord’s Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.
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What a beautiful picture of a child of God find in Joseph. May we all learn from his great faith and strive to be found more pleasing before a worthy God.