Forward in Faith #24
Joseph: The Death of a Faithful Saint
Well we continue in the 11th Chapter of the book of Hebrews, the Hall of Fame of Faith
Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, and his favorite son Joseph is where we find ourselves today.
Now I know your notes say that we are to deal with the parents of Moses. But that is for next week. So, you can draw a line through your notes on each Big Point and write in what is on the screen.
One of the duties that befall a Pastor that is sad, sometimes tragic, often difficult, but sometimes joyous, is the dealing with the Death of a Saint.
We got word on Friday evening that good friends of ours in Columbus had to say goodbye to their Father in this life. Some of you know our friends David and Debbie Mayhew. David’s Father passed from this life on Friday afternoon.
It is in times like these that each of us are faced with the reality of the truth we profess.
Do we believe what we say that we believe?
I have known Mr. Mayhew since I was in the first grade.
But he is more alive today than he has ever been in his 85 years of life.
So we find ourselves in the 22nd verse of Hebrews 11
READ Hebrews 11:22
So let me tell you the story of Joseph in a nutshell
Many of you know his story
Joseph might never have been but for the hand of God and the persistence of Jacob. Jacob was tricked into marrying Leah but Jacob loved Rachel and paid the price of love. But then Rachel was barren for years, and yet God in his faithfulness allowed her to give birth to two sons, later in life, Joseph and Benjamin.
You can pick up and read the life of Joseph, picking up in Genesis 37 and following through chapter 50. But let me give you the highlights
Joseph was a favorite of his father and he relished a bit that favor in his younger days and rubbed it in the noses of his brothers. Joseph was a dreamer, given visions by God of his future. He had two dreams at 17 years of age that showed his parents and his brothers bowing down to him as he rose above them. Their disdain for him driven by jealousy grew until one day while he was sent to check on them as they tended flocks they thought off killing him. Reuben, the oldest thought better of it and they decided to sell him and tell Jacob that he had been killed by wild animals and so Jacob grieved the loss of his favorite son, the firstborn of his precious Rachel.
So they sold him into slavery to traveling merchants who then sold him to a ruler in Egypt named Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard.
But God never forgot Joseph.
Joseph was wise, he was moral, he was ethical. Before long, he was in charge of all things in Potiphar’s house. God blessed Joseph and blessed the house he worked in
But Potiphar’s wife took a liking to Joseph and made advances on him. Genesis 39:6 says he was “well built and handsome”. She made romantic advances on him but he politely told her “no”. WHY? His answer in verse 9 “how could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”
The scripture tells us that she came after him “day after day”. But he rebuffed her advances. Finally, in her frustration she accused him of making advances on her.
Potiphar had him thrown in prison. Yet even in prison, the Lord was with him and favored him with the warden.
Oh some young man he must have been, now in his early 20’s … he was in charge of all the prisoners and all the affairs within the prison.
Years passed in prison. His reputation for interpreting dreams got out. It seemed that with all the good he did, he still languished in Prison.
But God had not forgotten him and at the right time he was remembered. Pharaoh had a dream that no one could interpret. Joseph was brought to the Pharaoh.
The interpretation of the dreams Joseph heard were revealed to him by God
7 years of prosperity were coming but they would be followed by 7 years of famine exponentially worse than the years of prosperity.
Joseph gave glory to God as the interpreter of the dream. But God had also given Joseph a plan. Joseph said, “you should find a wise man to oversee things and prepare for the famine while prosperity reigns.” He laid out a plan of storing the grain.
Pharaoh knew there was no better man than Joseph to care for his things. And so he made this son of Jacob, this slave, this falsely accused yet convicted criminal, this dreamer, this young man in his 20’s became Second in Command only to Pharaoh in all the land. And in that position he spent 7 years setting aside food for the time of famine. So then the famine came. The only place where food was available was in Egypt.
So after all these years, the sons of Jacob, not knowing what became of their brother come to Egypt to buy food for their families.
Joseph could have turned them away, but Joseph knew that God was in control all the time. That, while they had evil intentions, God meant it for good.
Through a series of events, Joseph reveals himself to his brothers they go home, and reveal the sins of their past to their Father who can’t believe his son is still alive
God reveals to Jacob that all will be well and they will eventually return
And Joseph is able to provide for his family in the midst of famine
Andrae Crouch used to sing
THROUGH IT ALL
Through it all, Through it all
I’ve learned to trust in Jesus I’ve learned to trust in God
Through it all, through it all
I’ve learned to depend upon his Word
And through it all God is faithful
When it seems he is silent
He is faithful
When it seems he is unfair
He is faithful
When it seems to be too much to bear
He is faithful
Today I am telling you the life of a real man
He was a son, He was a brother, He was a father, He was a friend
Look at Genesis 49:22-25 and listen to the poetic way that his father Jacob describes the
Read Genesis 49:22-25a
(with blessings of the heavens above)
No matter the fiery darts fired by the evil one whether through family or through strangers; His bow, his faith, remained strong
All that the Lord had given him remained strong
Not because of him but because of the purposes and plans, the graces and gifts of God
And I had to tell you all of that to show you how a faithful one dies …
Turn the page to Genesis 50:22
Read Genesis 50:22-26
How did Joseph die?
Do you see the Death of a Faithful Saint?
“I am about to die” –
The YLT “I am dying”
The KJV says “I Die”
like saying, “I’m walking into the other room”
It is not a fearful thing for the faithful saint, it is just a change of dimension, a change of address, it is like saying “I’ll be there when you come in”
I am not saying that faithful saints are never fearful at times of death. We ARE human and we struggle between our human tendencies and our Spiritual understanding. But though I may not look forward to physical pain, or the pain of separation, or the unknown of the process
We CAN be at peace knowing we are in God’s hands and safely there
Psalm 91: 14-16 ‘because he loves me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.’
I have heard people after losing a loved one say “why didn’t God deliver them?”
If they KNEW him then he DID Deliver them
They have left the room, but not left LIFE
We can die in peace trusting
Psalm 91:2 I will say of the Lord, ‘he is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’
Everything Joseph had experienced in life solidified the truth in what he had always believed by Faith … that God is altogether trustworthy, he is altogether good, and we can die in peace because we can trust in him
Joseph was not a man of faith because he had peace
He had peace because he was a man of faith
Faith is reasonable and sensible
Secondly as a man of faith the Death of this faithful Saint was
“You must carry my bones UP from this place”
I love watching races. I don’t like RUNNING races but I like watching them. Human races, horse races they are all fun. I hate that man has made them into a way to abuse the proclivity that some have to try and get rich quick and turned them into a way to steal from the needy, but that’s for another message
But you know something interesting about when the race finishes. I am thinking now of when that beautiful thoroughbred presses for the finish line, moving with all his power and purpose, and then comes the finish line and he just STOPS.
NO … he keeps running, he eases up but keeps moving forward. He is still moving in the direction he was headed though the race is over
And if he is a winner he is moving on toward the winner’s circle to celebrate the win.
That’s what Joseph was doing in death
Or perhaps you could compare him to the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd leg of a relay race. They don’t stop after passing on the baton, they move on to the finish line, to the winner’s circle to celebrate with their teammate who gets to finish the race
Joseph ran his part of the race then passed the baton on to the next generation and then said “take me with you to the finish line, to the winner’s circle, let me celebrate with you … we are GOING SOMEWHERE”
Pass the baton
Pass on to those after us we are moving forward
There is more to this life than the ungodly world we live in
Egypt was not their home, Canaan was their home
There is more to this life than the draw of wealth, popularity influence, acceptance, comfort. Egypt was not their home
Joseph was telling them to keep moving forward
We are on a mission, We are on a pilgrimage
Did you notice that Joseph lived long enough to see his children have children and grandchildren to have children as well?
And now on his deathbed, Joseph was teaching his children and their children and their children’s children and every generation to come after him that they should never be distracted from their purpose and calling
They were not called to the ease of Egypt
They were not protected by the Pharaoh
They were protected by God Almighty
They were not cared for by the pharaoh but by God Almighty
They could not get comfortable in the east of Egypt or the lifestyle of Egypt, or the worship of Egyptian gods
The days ahead would seem long; The generations that followed would know provision followed by slavery and mistreatment
They would be tempted to just survive, They would be tempted to forget their God to forget their ways, to forget the promise
Joseph died at peace, passing on the purpose
And because of his faith … he died
Romans 5:1-5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given us
In the story of Joseph do you see why he had hope
Just as Paul had said, God had been pouring out his love into Joseph’s heart his whole life. And that love conceived faith which gave Joseph HOPE!
Joseph TRUSTED God
You know if we are doing our job with our children and our grandchildren, we tend to become heroes to them
But Joseph taught them something in his death
I AM GOING TO DIE
I am not superman!
But Joseph knew what Job knew and stated in faith
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth
He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, and I will live to enjoy the light
Joseph died Hopeful saying
“I Die” but
“God will surely visit you”
“God will come to your aid”
I won’t spend much time here but notice the certainty that gave him hope. The words he used for “will visit” or “surely will visit” –verb in the infinitive, absolute, active tense, … you put them together and they mean “to attend, visit, muster, be counted, recorded
The infinitive absolute is like saying “EAT, you WILL eat” and it is ACTIVE … on the one who is the Subject so … Joseph is saying “THE LORD and not someone he sends, the Lord Himself, will come and come he will and he will inspect and find you his and provide what is needed” it is CERTAIN …
God, the Eternal one, the Living one, the Holy one, HE is our Superhero
He is our Refuge and Strength
He is the One we look to for HOPE
Joseph was saying ... “This world is not my home. So do not leave me here, take me to the place of promise”
We too can know with faith that our bones will not stay in the ground
“we do not want you to be ignorant about those who have fallen asleep … The Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of god and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be acought up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” (1 Thes 4:13-17)
Paul taught us that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord
So, those who have died ahead of us are in the very presence of Father, Son, and Spirit. They are at peace, they have achieved their purpose. They are Inheritance, his joy, his crown. And so we too have HOPE. His hope does not disappoint us …
Why did Joseph want his bones carried there? Did he believe that if his bones didn’t go there he couldn’t be resurrected? No, of course not, but he wanted to be a personal testimony to every generation that deliverance was coming, until the day it came
I want to live my life in such a way, that even after I am gone, I will still be a testimony to my children and my grandchildren, my great grandchildren, and if there is anything left, any story of my life, it want it to point to the hope we have in Jesus Christ.
My Grandfather, and his father, and his father’s father all wrote accounts of their lives and faithful ministry to the Lord. That tells me that there is a reason we have hope, there is a hope for the future. And I want to leave it behind as well
The death of a faithful saint speaks of the Hope we have in Jesus Christ
Can you imagine that for 400 years, someone in each generation had the responsibility of caring for the bones of Joseph.
Each generation then had to recount his story
Each generation had to remember his words
Each generation had to know that deliverance was coming
Matthew Henry in his commentary speaks of the testimony of these bones of Joseph he writes that they testify
- 1) though he lived and died in Egypt he did not live and die and Egyptian
- 2) he preferred a significant burial in the land of Promise than a magnificent burial in Egypt.
- 3) though he couldn’t go as far as he would he would go as far as he could
- 4) he believed in the resurrection of his body and that one day he could commune with them when body and soul were united
- 5) that God would still be with them through it all and would deliver them at the right time in the right way
As the Lord comforted Joseph in his time of dying with this assurance, he passed it on.
Saints we cannot choose how we die, but as the Lord gives opportunity take every opportunity to pass on your hope to the generations behind you
One final thing … Be sure of this, Joseph did not have faith because he learned to be Peaceful and had a Higher Purpose and held on to Hope
NO … His FAITH, a result of the drawing love of the Father … caused him to be at peace, have a purpose and have hope
How will you die?
Whether it be tomorrow or 50 years from now
I will die Peaceful, Purposeful, and Hopeful
Johnson Oatman Jr. wrote
I’m pressing on the upward way;
New heights I’m gaining every day –
Still praying as I’m onward bound
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”
Lord, lift me up and let me stand by faith on heaven’s table-land; a higher plane than I have found – Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
Isaac Watts wrote
We’re Marching to Zion
Come, we that love the Lord,
And let our joys be known;
Join in a song with sweet accord,
And thus surround the thrown
We’re marching to Zion,
Beautiful, beautiful, Zion
We’re marching upward to Zion,
The beautiful city of God