Summary: Joseph stands as an outstanding example to every believer as he exercises extraordinary faih in submitting to God’s plan.
Joseph: Faith Put To The Test
Joseph stands as an outstanding example to every believer as he exercises extraordinary faith in submitting to God’s plan.
Introduction - What Is Faith?
According to Webster:
1 a allegiance to duty or a person: LOYALTY.
b fidelity to one’s promises.
2 a (1) belief and trust in and loyalty to God.
(2) belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion.
b (1) firm belief in something for which there is no proof.
(2) complete confidence.
3 something that is believed especially with strong conviction.
The Biblical Definition: Hebrews 11:1
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
§ Faith is the foundation (substance) for everything we expect (hoped for) from God.
§ Faith is the proof (evidence) of the unseen deeds (things) God will perform.
Illustration: The Cliff
A man fell off a cliff, but managed to grab a tree limb on the way down. The following conversation ensued:
“Is anyone up there?”
“I am here. I am the Lord. Do you believe me?”
“Yes, Lord, I believe. I really believe, but I can’t hang on much longer.”
“That’s all right, if you really believe, you have nothing to worry about. I will save you. Just let go of the branch.”
A moment of pause, then: “Is anyone else up there?” (Bits & Pieces, June 24, 1993, p. 3.)
I. GOD MAY CHOOSE NOT TO IMMEDIATELY REVEAL HIS WILL. Matthew 1:18-20a
Note: Gabriel appeared to Mary before the conception took place, but Joseph was not informed until after the conception. Luke 1:26-31
A. God May Test My Faith With Impossible Circumstances (18).
Illustration: I Can’t See You
One night a house caught fire and a young boy was forced to flee to the roof. The father stood on the ground below with outstretched arms, calling to his son, “Jump! I’ll catch you.” He knew the boy had to jump to save his life. All the boy could see, however, was flame, smoke, and blackness. As can be imagined, he was afraid to leave the roof. His father kept yelling: “Jump! I’ll catch you.” But the boy protested, “Daddy, I can’t see you!” The father replied, “But I can see you and that’s all that matters.” (Donner Atwood.)
1. Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible.
2. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible.
3. Faith begins where man’s power ends. (George Muller.)
B. When God Tests My Faith I Am To Submit To His Will (19).
Illustration: Alter Your Course!
The captain of the ship looked into the dark night and saw faint lights in the distance. Immediately he told his signalman to send a message” “Alter your course 10 degrees south.” Promptly a return message was received: “Alter your course 10 degrees north.” The captain was angered; his command had been ignored. So he sent a second message: “Alter your course 10 degrees south—I am the captain!” Soon another message was received: “Alter your course 10 degrees north—I am seaman third class Jones.” Immediately the captain sent a third message, knowing the fear it would evoke: “Alter your course 10 degrees south—I am a battleship.” Then the reply came “Alter your course 10 degrees north—I am a lighthouse.”
In the midst of our dark and foggy times, all sorts of voices are shouting orders into the night, telling us what to do, how to adjust our lives. Out of the darkness, one voice signals something quite opposite to the rest—something almost absurd. But the voice happens to be the Light of the World, and we ignore it at our peril. (Paul Aiello, Jr.)
Note: Joseph didn’t yet have all the facts, but he was willing to submit to God’s will.
C. When God Tests My Faith I Am To Exercise Patience (20a).
Illustration: You’ll Git All You Can Hold
The following letter was found in a baking powder can wired to the handle of an old pump that offered the only hope of drinking water on a very long and seldom-used trail across Nevada’s Amargosa Desert:
“This pump is all right as of June 1932. I put a new sucker washer into it and it ought to last five years. But the washer dries out and the pump has got to be primed. Under the white rock I buried a bottle of water, out of the sun and cork end up. There’s enough water in it to prime the pump, but not if you drink some first. Pour about one-fourth and let her soak to wet the leather. Then pour in the rest medium fast and pump like crazy. You’ll git water. The well has never run dry. Have faith. When you git watered up, fill the bottle and put it back like you found it for the next feller. (signed) Desert Pete. P.S. Don’t go drinking the water first. Prime the pump with it and you’ll git all you can hold.” (Keith Miller and Bruce Larson, The Edge Of Adventure.)