Summary: Old Testament Challenge: Joseph

The OT Challenge: The Faithfulness of Joseph

There are certain Old Testament personalities that emerge in the writing of the Old Testament that call for an examination. There are stories that we should not only know but hand down to our children and grandchildren. We draw on these stories to gain insight on living by faith and learning to trust God when life seems like it’s about to overwhelm us. We learn from studying these stories that God is on our side but longs for and expects us to be in process. He has always been about calling a people who will be holy. A people who will live in this world but take their cues on life from another world. A people who will live in the world but will not necessarily be of this world. We hear the call of God in our lives and live in His Kingdom aligning our lives, our priorities and relationships according to God’s will and way.

This summer we are going to be in a series entitled The OT Challenge. Each week we will challenge ourselves with another OT character who lived to serve and honor the one and only God who deserves that kind of devotion.

Today we look at a young man named Joseph. I would encourage you to read his story. You can find the whole story in the first book of the Bible in chapters 37-50. It is a compelling look at one of three men in the OT who stayed faithful to God no matter what life through at them.

Faithfulness: We all have to deal with this at every level of our lives. If you are married you promised to be faithful. If you have a job you should be faithful to show up and work as you promised. If you borrow money you are in a contract to be faithful in paying it back.

Joseph sets the bar and is a standard bearer for faithfulness in all circumstances of his life. Let me tell you his story. In the midst of his story we are going to learn principles of faithful living.

The bible says that Joseph was about seventeen when we get introduced to him. He was the youngest son of a large and blended family. I was blended because in those days it was common for a man to have more than one wife and so children would be born who were half brothers and sisters. Joseph worked for some of his half brothers. We jump into Joseph’s life with a narrative found in Genesis 37, telling us that Joseph was his father’s favorite son. We all know you shouldn’t have favorite s but it is obvious that Jacob loved Joseph so much that he gave him a coat of many colors to set him apart from others in the family. Joseph loved his dad but developed a little habit that was the beginning of all his problems. He would report back to his father all the things that his half brothers were doing wrong. In fact the bible says that his brothers were so upset with him that “they couldn’t say a kind word about him. It is in this part of the story that we find our first principle about faithfulness.

1. Telling the truth is always important but sometimes it might be better to not say anything.

Now please understand I am not in any way suggesting that there is any circumstance where you should tell a lie. In fact I don’t believe that there is any situation where you should tell a lie. I know there are some people who believe and teach situational ethics meaning that you should have a different standard of ethics for different circumstances in your life but as Christfollowers that is not something we should embrace.

Telling the truth was not Joseph’s problem but knowing when to talk and how much to say was something he apparently had no restraint in.

It’s a little like having a girlfriend or wife asked you if she looks fat in a certain dress. Now what are you going to say to that? She may already knows she looks fat or she wouldn't be asking you the question in the first place. But if you fib and tell her that she looks skinny, she knows it's not the truth -- and she'll punish you not only for lying to her, but also for noticing that she's been packing on the pounds [if you tell her the truth]. She might even break into tears because, "You don't love me for who I am." Either way, you can't win. Sometimes it is better to just say nothing. (note to guys only: You could say you look just perfect but you have to be telling the truth when you say it)

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