Summary: We have been living through some tough times this year. We don’t always feel tough enough to endure through them. In the second half of Genesis there is a sweeping story of an amazing man who had faith no matter what came his way.
FAITH FOR THE TOUGH TIMES
Robert Schuller was famous for his saying (and book) “Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do.” We have been living through some tough times this year. We don’t always feel tough enough to endure through them. In the second half of Genesis there is a sweeping story of an amazing man who had faith no matter what came his way. Today I want us to look at that story and learn about having faith for the tough times, just like Joseph had.
Here’s a Quick Reminder of this familiar story!
-Joseph was one of the last two children born to Jacob by his favorite wife, Rachel. Jacob favored him.
-Joseph dreamed his brothers and father would one day bow to him (Genesis 37:1 – 11).
-There was a lot of sibling rivalry. When he told brothers about his dream, they were moved to get rid of him.
-His brothers sold him into slavery (Genesis 37:12 – 28).
-In Egypt he was a slave in Potiphar’s house - where he was highly thought of by his master. He was also highly thought of, in a different way, by his Master’s wife.
-She falsely accused Joseph of trying to seduce her, and Joseph was thrown into prison.
-In prison, Joseph helped his fellow prisoner, Pharaoh’s cupbearer, by interpreting his dreams. He only asked to be remembered when the cupbearer was free.
-Joseph remained a prisoner for two more years until Pharaoh had a dream he couldn’t understand and the cupbearer said he knew a guy.
-Pharaoh then promoted him as second-in-command over all Egypt. Due to his excellent planning, when a famine came, Egypt had plenty of food.
-Joseph’s brothers came to beg for food - they didn’t recognize him, but he recognized them.
-Joseph demonstrated great humility / faith assuring them that what they had planned for evil, God meant for good.
-He was reunited with his father and bothers. They moved to Egypt to live.
How Can I Have a Faith in Tough Times Like Joseph?
1. COMMIT YOUR LIFE TO THE LORD
Joseph had one of the most amazing faith stories ever.
His faith lasted in spite of his brothers hating him.
In spite of being sold into slavery.
In spite of being falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife.
In spite of being forgotten in prison
Building our life on a commitment to the Lord is essential - because so many of the hard events of our lives will try to take it away from us. Both the beginning and end of Jesus ministry, the Enemy attempted to derail his commitment. In the Wilderness and in the Garden - the Enemy did not give up … and we can’t either.
Psalm 37:5 Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.
This is a daily promise to God to stay on His path - daily prayer, daily reading, daily fighting good fight. We can have faith in the tough times when we commit to the Lord and when we…
2. LOVE WITH THE LOVE OF THE LORD
In spite of everything that happens to Joseph, we find him serving and caring for others throughout the story.
Serving with excellence in Potiphar’s house
Interpreting dreams of his fellow prisoners
Serving well under Pharaoh’s watchful eye.
Joseph puts his heart into every task set before him - he doesn’t let the circumstances surrounding him decide who he is as a man of God.
Every believer will be challenged to show love to others - especially in the cultural climate of today. Our decision to be a people of love is based on the two greatest commandments - to love God, love neighbor. The greatest example of that is Jesus - who prayed for those who were crucifying Him. Now why were you offended this week?
If we could put our whole heart into our work, family, community, loving others and serving others - then we will have a faith like Joseph - one that lasts through the tough times. That doesn’t mean that it’s easy, but it is our calling.
3. LEAN ON THE LORD
In one of the most crushing moments of his life, his brothers appear before him and do not recognize him - they are begging him for grain to relieve the famine they are living through. It is an opportunity for revenge - and who would blame him? Instead Joseph weeps before his brothers and embraces them. He can only do this through the power of God.
Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.
How are we leaning into faith today?
Many times we feel we do not have the strength to make it through the tough times we are facing. We may not!