Monday, November 21, 2016
TheLifeOfJoseph : Genesis 50:22-26 (Conclusion)
And so we come to the end of Joseph's life. With all of his life behind us, I am struck with the ending. Of course, as we all know that life ends in death, but there is so much more to be said about eternity (perhaps another post is waiting). As simple a statement as that is, it still begs the question, 'If we all know that death is ever-sure, why aren't we making the best of our lives here and now?'
Joseph's life is a testament of someone who trusted and had faith. He appears in the 'Hall of Faith' (see Hebrews 11:22) because he is a model for us of faith.
"When you stop to consider the matter, it’s really remarkable that Joseph had any faith at all. He had lived apart from his family for many years, and a powerful false religion in Egypt surrounded him. There was nobody in Egypt that we know of who could encourage his faith. If Joseph had resorted to the excuses people use today for rejecting God’s promises, he would have ended up a pagan himself. His “believing” brothers had treated him cruelly, the Lord had caused him to experience severe trials, and the people he helped forgot about him in his hour of need. “If that’s what a life of faith is all about,” he might have argued, “then I’m not interested.” But Joseph’s faith, though tested, didn't falter. All he had to go on were his dreams, but he clung to the promise that one day his brothers would bow before him, and the Lord didn't disappoint him." (Wiersbe OT Commentary)
The LORD didn't disappoint. As I read those words from Wiersbe, I am convicted with my own faithlessness. How on earth could you say that the LORD didn't disappoint?! Joseph, as a young man, was thrown into a cistern by his brothers! Sold into slavery! Thrown into prison under false accusation...oh right...he was also brought into Egypt and brought to the highest level of leadership in Pharaoh's counsel, and he, by this position, was able to save his family because of the famine. It's all in the perspective, isn't it? Yes, Joseph truly lived a life with many ups and downs, but in the end, literally on his death-bed, we can read of a man who was faithful to the end. And through his faithfulness, he saved many. Joseph's life is the essence of trusting in the LORD's Sovereignty.
Maybe as you read the story of Joseph, there are different things that stand out for you. For me, Joseph stands out as a man who was willing to face whatever life threw at him (or, said better, whatever the LORD saw fit to allow). He wasn't a perfect man by any stretch, but he chose to live his life trusting in the LORD. The second-most clearest message that I hear from Joseph's life is his ability to forgive. He was a man of both great faith and great forgiveness. He could have easily shot back at his brothers and condemned them, literally, to death. He had the power to do so, with the position that Pharaoh gave to him. Yet he chose not to use his leadership unrighteously or for his own gain. Due to the circumstances that his family found themselves in, they were perishing. Unknowingly, Joseph was their only help. Unknowingly, at the time, his brothers helped in their future time of need by selling their brother into slavery. How's that for a better perspective on the phrase, 'What goes around, comes around'? If Joseph wasn't in Egypt when his brothers traveled there, it would have been very possible that his family would not have survived.
But here is where their lives and ours intersect. Here is where our stories become intermingled with Joseph and his family: Because of Joseph's stick-to-it-edness, the line to Jesus was preserved (see Matt. 1, specifically vs. 2). Because of the life of Joseph - no, because of the difficulties and successes of Joseph's life - it paved the way for the generational line to be preserved for us to receive Jesus as our Saviour (see Matt. 1:16). But let's not forget that the slavery of the Egyptians and the 40 years wandering in the desert is still to come...but, that too, will be another post at another time.
The Life of Joseph is an amazing story of a man who had faith. A man who forgave. A man who, through his life, paved the way, so we know the Saviour! Joseph was a man who trusted in the LORD's Sovereignty. He is a great example to us today.
May we all take this story of Joseph and believe that in our struggles, weaknesses and times of greatest questions, the LORD still weaves in our stories His truth and His love and His faithfulness. May we trust in the LORD's amazing story of preserving the life of Joseph and his family because it was directly through this provision that we were given Jesus (Gen. 50:20).
Thank you for walking through the Life of Joseph with me. It has been a privilege.