Summary: From the life of Joseph we see three important keys to having spiritual authority.
Joseph – Keys to Spiritual Authority
2nd in a Series of Messages to Young People
So Pharaoh asked them, "Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God ?" Genesis 41:38.
With these words came the most amazing promotion anyone can imagine. Joseph was transported from being a prisoner to the top man in the nation of Egypt, next to the Pharaoh himself. Joseph did more than climb the ladder of success. He bypassed all the rungs and went from the bottom to the top almost overnight. How did he do this? What could possibly prompt an ancient pagan monarch to recognize the spirit of God in a man whom he had never met before?
In the first message of this series on the life of Joseph, we looked at the importance of God – given dreams. Every young person needs to understand that God does have a prescribed plan for his or her life. It is never too early to ask God to reveal his will for your life. It is my intention in this series of messages to encourage you to follow the dream that God gives you.
Success is never automatic. I remember my father, who is now with the Lord, saying that talent is just another name for hard work. Most people who succeed worked hard to attain their success. To succeed in the Kingdom of God also requires diligence and hard work. It also requires a great deal of faith, for success with God is not measured by the same standards the world uses.
In this message, I will focus on three very important principles that Joseph employed in his life that caused his eventual rise to prominence and authority. These principles are taught throughout the Bible and apply to us today.
Spiritual Covering – Learning a life of submission
When we last looked at the life of Joseph we noted the significance of his splendid coat of many colours. It was a gift from his father and is a type of the covering that we receive from our heavenly Father when we receive the gift of his Son. Jesus covers us in his righteousness lifting us from sin to sonship. Our identities change as a result of his covering.
The idea of “covering” is found throughout the Bible. It symbolizes dependence through submission and without it we are very vulnerable to Satan and his attacks against us.
In the Book of Ruth, a book sometimes referred to as “the romance of redemption”, there is an incident where Ruth stealthily lays at the feet of the man who would one day be her husband. The man’s name was Boaz and during the barley harvest, which demanded his full attention, he slept in the barn. Very quietly Ruth sneaked into the barn and proceeded to lie down at his feet. Here is how the Bible describes this event:
One day Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, "My daughter, should I not try to find a home for you, where you will be well provided for? Is not Boaz, with whose servant girls you have been, a kinsman of ours? Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. Wash and perfume yourself, and put on your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do." "I will do whatever you say," Ruth answered. So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.
When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. In the middle of the night something startled the man, and he turned and discovered a woman lying at his feet. "Who are you?" he asked. "I am your servant Ruth," she said. "Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a kinsman-redeemer." "The LORD bless you, my daughter," he replied. "This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character.
Imagine waking up in the middle of the night and finding a beautiful woman lying at your feet! That’s what happened to Boaz, and at first glance one might think of Ruth as being a seductress. However, that was not the case. By asking Baoz to cover her with his garment Ruth was asking him to marry her. Ruth’s former husband had died and afterward Ruth moved to Israel with her mother in law, Naomi. It was the custom in Israel for a kinsman to marry a widow in order to preserve the family name and inheritance. Ruth, who had no right to ask for marriage since she was a foreigner, took a great step of faith when she lay at the feet of Boaz. Boaz could have accused her of immorality and made things very difficult for her. Instead, in a spirit of love so similar to that of our Lord’s love for us, Boaz left his barley harvest to attend to the more important business of obtaining Ruth as his wife. Ruth’s act of submission changed her life forever and it was for the good.