The Life of Joseph: God Will Surely Visit You
Genesis • Sermon • Submitted • Presented • 52:53
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Genesis 50:22-26 Looking Forward in Faith (God Will Surely Visit You) Introduction: As we come to the very last verses of the book of Genesis we have a great word of exhortation from one of it’s main characters. Joseph, about to die, said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.... God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” The writer of the book of Hebrews comments on this passage. He says, “By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.” -Hebrews 11:22. Joseph makes the hall of faith not by faithfulness and perspective in prison and slavery but concerning future events and his own burial. Throughout the book of Genesis we have looked many times at the subject of faith. The scripture defines faith as, “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” All the times we’ve looked at faith in the book of Genesis it seems to be put in the light of miserable, hopeless, circumstances. Things are bleak, it seems that the promises of God have failed, or it seems that the odds against the characters are too great. But here with Joseph we see another aspect of faith, that we must highlight as we close out this great book. 1. Where does Joseph speak from? a. What I mean is, what is the context out of which Joseph is speaking? i. God’s chosen people, Jacob’s descendants, have settled in the land of Egypt. God directed Jacob, that he was to indeed go down to Egypt, that this was all a part of God’s plan to preserve his people. ii. When Jacob and his family came to the land of Egypt, Because of Joseph’s position, and the fact that their occupation as shepherds was an abomination to the Egyptians, they were given a separate piece of land from the the Egyptians. Not only was it separate, but it was the best of the land of Egypt. iii. Joseph, Jacob’s favorite son was the ruler over all the land of Egypt. They (God’s people) were secure, abundantly provided for, they were separate from the Egyptians, and in a sense, under the rule of one of their own. (again it’s important to remember that at this time Egypt is THE world power) iv. Not only that, but think what Joseph went through to get to where he was? Attacked by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused and thrown into prison. 17 years of hardship, 20 years separated from his family. v. Because of their situation, one would be tempted to think, we don’t need anything else, we have all we need right here. God has done enough. We are comfortable, what more could we ask for? This is the good life, it’s everything we could ask for. 1. So Joseph is speaking from a place of security, and comfortability, but notice Joseph isn’t complacent, he is not comfortable he is not settled. He looks to what is ahead! a. Joseph says, “God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.... God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” i. Commentators have said, that there seems to be a tone of defiance in Josephs command. Carry my bones with you, he denies the comfort or identity of Egypt because Joseph believes God has future blessings for Israel. 2. Joseph speaks out of comfort and security, but he speaks in faith. a. Joseph was full of honors in Egypt; he had founded a family, of which none was more highly placed. Yet his last act was to disown Egypt, and to choose the lot of Israel—poverty, contempt, and pilgrimage: to renounce the present, in order to cleave unto the future. - Edersheim b. Joseph like Moses after him would renounce the pleasures of Egypt and set his affections on the promises of God! i. God had told Abraham, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” ii. God had told Jacob that he would go down with him to Egypt and that he would bring him up again to the land of promise. iii. Joseph believes these promises, and he request NOT to be buried in the land of Egypt and not immediately in the land of Canaan. He says, when God visits you like he has said he will, then you carry me up with you and burry me in the land of Canaan. 1. And so for 300 plus years the bones of Joseph would be a physical reminder of what God had promised to do!! Saying to the Israelites this is not your home, don’t settle down, don’t get comfortable, don’t be complacent, Surely God will visit you! 3. Faith in the word of God is not only needed in times of despair but also in times of comfort. Comfort in the wrong things. a. You see to have comfort in Egypt is to have comfort in the wrong thing. i. Faith is to not despair in dark times and times of trouble. Faith also is not to hold on to comfort in times of ease and prosperity. The clinging to what can be seen. Faith continually moves out into the unknown, believing what God has spoken. ii. This side of faith is actually a little closer to home for most of us who live in the west. We aren’t necessarily dealing with suffering and persecution(barriers that might inhibit our faith). iii. We are dealing with a whole other beast, and it is the issue of comfort. Spiritual comfort, emotional comfort, physical comfort. These are things that will try to replace faith and dependance on God. iv. This can manifest itself in many ways. v. I think it’s easiest to put it like this: 1. Contentment with the wrong things. a. Contentment with where we’re at in our knowledge of God’s word. b. Contentment with our ability and opportunity to serve. c. Contentment with our amount of evangelistic opportunities. d. Contentment with our understanding of our spiritual gifts. i. We are too pleased, too comfortable with where we are spiritually, and God wants to do new more in our lives. I think if it were up to us we would settle for far less than what the Lord has for us. God help us!! 2. Discontentment in the wrong things. a. Our daily needs. b. Health. c. A good job d. A great community around us. e. Our spouse 4. Looking to what is ahead. a. Just as Joseph’s bones were a continual reminder to the Israelites of God’s future visitation and deliverance; We are also to remind one another of God’s future visitation and deliverance, and are to live lives like Joseph that are at unrest, not settled, not storing up treasure on earth but storing our treasure in heaven. i. The men and women of faith in Hebrews 11: 1. “For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.” Hebrews 11:10 2. “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” Hebrews 11:13 3. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” Hebrews 11:16 a. Notice that these verses do not say that they looked past the hardships and barriers, it says they looked through prosperity, power, fame, earthly comfort, and set their hearts on pilgrimage! ii. In times when we are tempted to be too comfortable, to at home in this world, remember Joseph’s bones, and remember that you yourself have died and your life is hidden in Christ and when Christ appears than you shall appear with him. 1. We aren't despairing when life is hard, and we aren't settling down and getting fat and comfortable when things are going well. That's what true faith does in our lives. It constantly pushes us forward. a. “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 3:12-14 Conclusion: What am I trying to say? 1. Press on. Don’t settle down, don’t get spiritually comfortable. Your in Egypt, this is not your final destination. Don’t invest too much here. 2. Seek the kingdom of God today. Invest in the kingdom of God. a. “We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.” - John 9:4 b. There is a day when we will rest, there is a day when we will lay down in comfort so to speak. But that day isn’t here yet, and you know what else it says of that day? - no one can work. i. Now is the time to labor for the kingdom of heaven. ii. Now is the time for evangelism. iii. Now is the time for acts of mercy. iv. Now is the time for compassion. v. Now is the time for action. vi. Now is the time for holy boldness. vii. vii.Now is the time for faith. 3. Because surely God will visit his people. He is coming and he has a reward with him!