Gospel Faith in the Old Testament
Genesis 37, 39-50
It is important to remember that Joseph and these saints of the Old Testament are not just tightening up their bootstraps and making things happen. These are not human achievement stories. These are not trophies of the human spirit. These are not stories of moral champions whose morality set the pace for their generation and led moral reform. These are saints who imitated the second person of the Trinity and found their human failures and triumphs to be monuments to the grace of God to save and redeem their existence for Father’s glory and their joy.
Joseph spoke of the future with a Gospel saturated faith that Father would visit his people and deliver them in order to bring them to himself. Remember, “Let my people go that they may worship me.”
Joseph spoke so confidently in the Lord that he gave instruction to his family to make sure they didn’t leave his bones in Egypt. Joseph, whether he fully comprehended the full scope of the global work of Father’s kingdom, believed the Lord would save his people and take them to his land and Joseph didn’t want to miss it.
In fact Father did visit his people, and according to Jude 5, Jesus visited his people and he rescued his people when he executed justice on all those who did not believe and passed over his people who were covered by the blood of sacrifice.
This glorious event of the Passover looked forward to the day when Jesus himself would come and be the sacrifice in order to spill his blood in perfection so that all who would come to him and take shelter under his sacrifice would be pardoned from the rebellion incited by our parents and be accepted as the justified child of Father and given the inheritance of his Kingdom that is an everlasting Kingdom.
Joseph’s looking forward to this glorious work of the Gospel made his life one that is not wasted nor lacking purpose in every detail.
Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus.
This meaning, Joseph’s life was lived and that life would find it’s meaning in the work of salvation that he is looking forward to in faith.
Now, Joseph’s life is one of the Lord’s great illustrations that we find great hope in. The reason is because that no detail of Joseph’s life is arbitrary or wasted.
The Gospel that Joseph was looking forward to purchased everything good in his life and it also purchased everything bad that Father turned for his good so that in all things good was working for Joseph and his life was not arbitrary, rather purposeful at every turn, and no hurt was wasted.
Joseph’s life points us to the hope purchased by the gospel that our successes, failures and forced hurts even by the hands of other people are not purposeless and in fact are redeemed and turned for our good.
What do we take from this for us today?
1. If the Gospel is your hope, then good things are glorious gifts of the Gospel to be enjoyed by the people of God through gospel generosity
James 1:17 ESV
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 ESV
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy (the next verse defines enjoyment not as hoarding but as sharing with God’s people the abundance). They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.
Joseph, given a glorious gift of being second in command, used that good gift to preserve the people of God.
1. Don’t hoard good
2. Give good
Let me be clear. This is not redistribution, that some have wrongly read onto the teaching of Scripture. Scripture does not advocate for communistic forced redistribution nor does it advocate for greedy capitalism either.
The Kingdom of Jesus Christ operates on stewardship. He is owner and we are managers of his resources and among the people of God there is to be full enjoyment by all of his people of all of his resources.
2. If the Gospel is your hope, then your hurts are events that will be turned for your good as glorious gifts of the Gospel
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
- Being hurt stinks. But the promise of the Gospel is that those hurts have good as their end
- As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:5 ESV)
- Do not rescue yourself from suffering in order to grow your trust in the Lord
(Please don’t hear in this statement that a person should not try to get themselves to safety if they are in danger. That is not what I’m saying. If you are in danger, then by all means, seek rescue from that situation)
The point here is that we can be tempted to manipulate our circumstances in order to make our situation fit us better.
Illustration: If you are obedient, following the Lord, exercising wisdom and difficulty comes upon you, trust in the Lord for your delivery not in your ability to rescue yourself. George Muller’s life purpose was to show that Father is faithful and answers the prayers of his people, so Muller set out to minister to orphans, a biblical mandate, to show Father was trustworthy. So, Muller met the orphan’s needs with asking Father and would not resort to raising funds by his own means. That, he considered, was self-rescue. And Muller believed that if you were going to grow in trust you could NEVER RESCUE YOURSELF!
3. If the Gospel is not your hope, then Father is not working for your good. Rather Father is working to bring you to justice
- Repent and believe the Gospel
4. If you have believed the Gospel, Father is a work in your life in ways you can’t even begin to imagine for supreme good in spite of what you perceive and know
“Judge not the Lord by feeble sense but trust him for his grace. Behind a frowning providence he hides a smiling face.” – William Cowper, God Moves in a Mysterious Way