Summary: THE BOOK OF GENESIS TELLS US ABOUT THE BEGINNINGS OF FAITH. JOSEPH LIVED BY FAITH AND HE DIED WITH HOPE.
Living By Faith—Dying With Hope
Text: Genesis, Chapter 39 through conclusion of Book
Have you ever known someone whose life became terribly complex? Incredibly painful? Apparently hopeless?
Did you ever look at someone else’s situation and wonder how they managed to hold on during a time of incredible stress and uncertainty? Now these problems may have resulted from the death of a loved one—the breakup of a marriage—a bout with mental illness—the failure of a business, or even a terrible injustice. I mean their life is a mess! And you might think, “I couldn’t live through those circumstances!”
Do you believe in the providence of God? Does it amaze you to see God working through human lives to make bad things good? To snatch victory from the jaws of defeat? To bring a person from a terrible situation into a holy end? We can sum up these situations with the term “Divine Providence”.
To understand God’s providence, there is no better study than the life of Joseph, which is found in the Book of Genesis. We’ve seen how this 17-year old was snatched from his father’s house, terrorized by his brothers, sold into slavery, carried off to Egypt, accused of attempted rape, and sentenced to prison!
Thirteen years after his horrible ordeal began, Joseph will dramatically and abruptly be elevated to the position of Grand Vizier of Egypt. Second in power only to the pharaoh, Joseph effectively ran Egypt’s internal affairs for at least the next 14 years. Joseph was God’s instrument to save not only Egypt’s economy and people, but also the Covenant Community, which God had begun with Abraham.
You know, it’s easy for us to read the story of Joseph in Genesis, Chapters 37-50 and not feel panic. We read about his brothers’ plot against him and Potiphar’s wife falsely accusing him, and we feel no panic. That’s because we know how it turns out in the end. However, Joseph didn’t know all these things would be overruled in order that God’s purpose be served.
However, Joseph didn’t know the end of the story from the very beginning. Only God knew, and the virtue of Joseph through all these terrible events was that he trusted God! Joseph lived his life by Faith and, in the end, he was able to die in Hope!
How did these events transpire from the depths of an Egyptian prison?
If you’ll remember, there was a great attitude Joseph displayed toward life. Even if he could not be a son in Jacob’s house, he would be a trustworthy slave in Potiphar’s house. When he could no longer be a slave in the important man’s house, he would be a model prisoner in Pharaoh’s jail.
Joseph just seemed to accept each confusing turn in his life’s path without complaining, and his goal was simple—it was to obey the Lord and be faithful in every situation! Joseph’s life exemplifies what Jesus spoke of in Luke 16:10.
---10---“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.”
The life experiences of Joseph makes what the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:28 very meaningful.
---28---“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
I’d like to look at that scripture—but first, let’s see the facts of how Joseph went from prison to palace.
From Prison to Palace.
---20---“So Joseph’s master took him and put him in jail, the place where the King’s prisoners were confined; and he was there in the jail,
---21---But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the Chief Jailer.
---22---And the Chief Jailer committed to Joseph’s charge all the prisoners who were in the jail; so that whatever was done there, he was responsible for it.
---23---The Chief Jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph’s charge because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made to prosper.”
---1---“Then it came about after these things, the cupbearer and the baker for the King of Egypt offended their lord, the King of Egypt.
---2---And Pharaoh was furious with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker.
---3---So he put them in confinement in the house of the captain of the bodyguard, in the jail, the same place where Joseph was imprisoned.
---4---And the captain of the bodyguard put Joseph in charge of them; and he took care of them; and they were in confinement for some time.
---5---“Then the cupbearer and the baker for the King of Egypt, who were confined in jail, they both had a dream the same night, each man with his own dream, and each dream with its own interpretation.”