Summary: A talk on the lives of Jacob and Joseph, and how we can learn from them to cling to the promises and faithfulness of God.
Text: Heb 11:21-22, Title: Neither the Egg nor the Omelet, Date/Place: NRBC, 3/18/12, AM
A. Opening illustration:
B. Background to passage: these two men were looking to the same event. They desired and foresaw the suffering and deliverance of their people. This was a promise/prophecy that was made 200-250 years earlier, and would be fulfilled 350-400 later. So these guys were like the peanut butter and the jelly between the bread, or the runny, swirly mix of slimy eggs before the skillet gets hot. They neither heard the Lord say it, nor for they see Him fulfill it with natural eyes. But they both looked for its occurrence. These men clinged tightly to what seemed to be a dream.
C. Main thought: So this morning we are going to glean some truths from the final days of the lives of these men.
A. Jacob (v. 21)
1. We looked at how Jacob “stole” the blessing and the birthright from Esau two weeks ago. The next incident recounted by the writer of Hebrews is when Jacob is on his deathbed. Many years had gone by, both boys had married, and had children. Spiritually Jacob had his ups and downs, but here at the end, there is no indication of anything but of solemn obedience to the will of God. The lost and found story of Joseph colors many of the things that take place in the remaining verses of Genesis. He had called Joseph to bring his two sons as he was about to die. The oldest two of Jacob’s sons were being removed from their positions of prominence in the family (because of their disobedience and sin), and replaced officially with Joseph’s children, Manassah and Ephriam. This ceremony completes that process, and gives them a double portion of the inheritance of the land—that they will receive 360 years from then. Tell how Jacob crosses his hands and puts the greater blessing on the younger Ephriam. This explains why the writer of Hebrews includes him a a man of faith—he has lived in and out of the promised land for years, never knowing the freedom of inheritance. And now, all of the family is out of the land, and living in Egypt of all places. But in his dying reflections, he calls to mind the faith he has in the promise that God made to Abraham and Isaac. And he commissions the land to his grandsons as their inheritance. He dies; looking for the promise he never heard nor saw.
2. Gen 15:13-16,
4. Many of these early examples of faith have pointed us down a road of endurance and faith that is very long. Enoch, Noah, Abraham, now Jacob and Joseph. We complain about hours, days, weeks, or months, but many of their faith’s let them wait for years, or lifetimes. We are soft! God is big enough to get them through decades of pain and make it worth it. I think that a battle we fight, more so as younger generations is our willingness to endure and wait. We live in a more more faster faster generation, and we get upset if the computer doesn’t open up a file fast enough. Marks of maturity in faith are an increasing ability in endure suffering well, and a deeper faith in the long term goal of God.
B. Joseph (v. 22)
1. Immediately after the account of Jacob’s on-looking, we see the account of Joseph’s deathbed experience, even though chronologically it has 50 years separating it, but only two chapters in Genesis. Note: these two men’s faith was good enough to get them through last and greatest crisis—death. Joseph has spent his entire adult life in Egypt. He has an Egyptian title, and Egyptian wife, land, houses, clothes, etc. During those times he has endured some incredibly painful circumstances, and been away from the godly influences of family and faith. But facing death his heart is still longing for the promises of God. He wants to be buried in the land of promise, but not yet. He could have had them take him like they did Jacob. But he said when God visits, and takes you all out, take me too. Maybe he thought that his bodily presence there was needed, or maybe good for his family. Maybe he knew that his bones would be a testimony and a reminder to the prophecy that had now been past down for 250 years, but had 350 to go. Joseph was concerned about his family enough to ensure that their faith lasts.
2. Gen 50:24-26, Ex 13:19, Josh 24:32
4. This teaches us that environment doesn’t determine your morals or values ultimately. It teaches us that faith can endure, and even be strengthened in suffering. Joseph was willing to do whatever it took to provide for his family spiritually until the deliverance. He wanted people then to know where his heart truly was, and when deliverance came, he wanted the whole world to know that the last resting place of his body would be the realization of the promise that God had made. Everyone would know where his lot was cast. And just by the way, it did happen.