Sunday Sermon: ‘Joseph. Words of Hope’

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This morning we bring our study of the life of Joseph to an end. Many of you have commented about how much you have benefited from this study. The story of Joseph is one of the richest in all the Bible and no doubt the Spirit will lead us back to it again and again. Today I would like to direct your attention to the final days of Joseph’s life and some important things he said.

Genesis 50:22 And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father’s house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years. 23 And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation: the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph’s knees. 24 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 25 And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. 26 So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt. 

Joseph was 110 years old when he died. We know that he was seventeen when he was first taken to Egypt, which means that he spent ninety-three years there. For many of those ninety-three years Joseph held the very prominent position of prime minister. Now at the ripe old age of 110, his life comes to an end. But just before he dies, Joseph speaks something very important words to his family.

24 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 25 And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. 26 So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt. 

I. Joseph’s Words of Hope

“… God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence…”

In essence Joseph was saying three things to his family:

A. God will:

  1. Come to Your Aid
  2. Deliver You From Your Affliction
  3. Bless You in His Land of Promise

B. Why were these words important?

There would come a time when Joseph’s family would not enjoy the freedom and blessings they did while under his care. There would be a new Pharaoh who would come to the throne and view the Israelites as a threat to his kingdom and therefore put them into bondage. They would suffer as slaves in Egypt for several hundred years.

During such times it’s very easy to lose sight of God. It’s very easy to be overcome with fear and worry and to be tempted to think that God has somehow abandoned us. Therefore during such times we need something solid to hold on to. We need something that will give us hope.

Scripture says –

Psalm 31:24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.

Psalm 33:18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy;

C. Importance of Inspiring Hope in Each Other

The longer I am a Christian the more I realize how important it is that we strive to build each other up in our faith. I can’t tell you the number of times I have been encouraged by another believer expressing their faith in God. Their faith gives me hope.

Concerning this the Bible says –

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today…

Rather than allowing ourselves to speak negatively or foolishly, we should seek to say things that will build each other up spiritually and thus cause those listening to have more faith in God. The more faith someone has in God, the more they will experience the grace of God and the more they experience the grace of God, the more they will give Him glory!

D. Joseph’s Words of Hope

The Spirit led Joseph to leave his family with words of hope.

Genesis 50:24 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

Were Joseph’s words true? Consider what the LORD said to Moses when He called him to deliver His people–

Exodus 3:7 And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; 8 And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey…

II. Biblical Hope

For the remainder of this message I want to focus on what I am calling ‘Biblical Hope.’ It was AW Tozer who said – “… hope is really the direction taken by the whole Bible. Hope is the music of the whole Bible, the heartbeat, the pulse and the atmosphere of the whole Bible.” (Quoted from www.PreceptAustin.org – The Believer’s Hope)

Psalm 31:24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.

A. What is Biblical Hope?

1. Earthly Hope

What does it mean to have hope as it is expressed in the Bible? Some try to apply an earthly definition of hope to what hope means in the Bible. An earthly definition of hope refers to something that we wish for, yet there is a sense of uncertainty. It’s like the little boy who said hope is wishing for something that you know probably ain’t gonna happen.

Is that what the Bible means by hope? Is that the kind of hope that gives us courage and strengthens our heart? I don’t think so. Surely biblical hope must mean something else.

2. Biblical Hope

a) What Is Biblical Hope?

In contrast to earthly hope that is based upon the uncertainty of a wish; biblical hope is based upon confidence and assurance that whatever God has promised, He will do.  Note the power of such hope –

Ps 62:5 My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.

The word ‘expectation’ is translated most frequently in the Bible as ‘hope.’ Biblical hope is having confidence in God’s faithfulness and therefore living with an expectation of His help and blessings.

In many ways, hope is the manifestation of our faith. A lack of hope is evidence of a lack of faith in God. If we have true faith in God, we will have hope!

b) What Does Biblical Hope Do?

The number of passages in the Bible concerning hope are too numerous to mention. Let me try to summarize some of them.

(1) Biblical Hope Protects Us Against Satan’s Attacks

1 Thessalonians 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

Note that the hope of salvation serves as a helmet of protection against Satan’s attacks. If our hope of salvation and eternal life is based upon some uncertainty, what protection is that against an enemy who attacks us with doubt and fear? A helmet of hope must be a helmet of iron-clad confidence and security. Concerning this confident hope Paul wrote –

“ …I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” (2 Tim 1:2)

We read also from scripture –

Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.

Before the world began God knew that man would sin. He also knew that man would not be able to redeem himself out of his sin. The only hope man would have would be for God to do something for man that man could not do for himself. God did that when He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus, to this earth to die for our sins. On the cross Jesus received in His body the wrath of God against sin. In exchange, God offers to us complete forgiveness and eternal life. Our assurance of heaven is not based upon our own goodness or worthiness. It is based upon God’s graciousness. Paul said that such hope is a promise from the God who cannot lie.

Concerning this we read from the book of Hebrews –

Hebrews 6:19  Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

The hope of salvation through Jesus Christ is an anchor of the soul. An anchor is something solid and secure. It is a certainty that holds us fast.

(2) Hope Provides Strength to Persevere

Psalm 31:24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.

Joseph knew that the generations that would come after him would go through some very difficult times. They would be slaves to the Egyptians. That revelation was given to Joseph’s great-grandfather, Abraham. Yet God promised that God would surely one day visit His people and bring them out. In addition to the promise, there was a physical reminder – Joseph’s bones!

Genesis 50:25 And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. 26 So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt. 

Joseph’s body was embalmed and placed in an Egyptian coffin. Exactly where that coffin was kept we’re not told, yet we do know this concerning his bones –

Exodus 13:18 But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt. 19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you.

Joshua 24:32 And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.

Though the bones of Joseph were now several hundred years old, they were carried out of Egypt and buried in the Promised Land, just as he said.

It is by continually reminding ourselves of the promises of God that we are able to find hope and persevere through difficult times. It is so easy to let our emotions run wild. Trust me – I know! But we must constantly come back to our source of truth and remind ourselves of the promises. As the old song says –

Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God.
Words & Music: R. Kelso Carter

(3) Hope Gives Us Comfort During Troubling Times

Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

It’s not hard to see the connection between true hope and comfort. What greater comfort could there be during a difficult time than our hope in God and His goodness. Again I point out that such hope must be based upon a certainty and not a wish.

(4) Hope Gives Us Peace and Joy

Romans 15:13  Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

What a great title for God – ‘the God of hope.’

(5) Hope Causes Us to Praise God

Psalm 42:5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

David included this statement in three of his psalms. In a moment of despair, he has to give himself a good talking to. Why are you cast down? Why are you so discouraged? Rather than worrying, hope in God. In so doing you will praise Him for how He will lift your spirits.

Biblical hope is not wishing for what you know probably ain’t gonna happen. Biblical hope is resting in the confident assurance that God will do everything He has promised. Such hope affects us regarding our past, present and future. We have hope regarding the past knowing that in Christ, all of our sins have been forgiven and we have been declared justified in the sight of God. We have hope in the present knowing that God’s grace will be sufficient for our every need. And we have hope in the future knowing that one day Jesus is coming again!

c) Where Can I Find Biblical Hope?

(1) Biblical Hope is Found in God

Psalm 146:5 Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:

Psalm 147:11 The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.

Psalm 33:22 Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.

The reason our hope is certain is because it is based upon God and not our circumstances.  Jeremiah the prophet wrote –

Jeremiah 17:7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.

(2) Biblical Hope is Found in Word of God

Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

Psalm 119:81 My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.

We should read God’s Word not just because someone tells us to or because we think that it is our duty. We should read God’s Word because it is there that God speaks to us and gives us His assurance. It is from reading God’s Word that our hope is made secure.

(3) Biblical Hope is Found in Our Relationship With the Holy Spirit

Romans 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Galatians 5 tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness and self-control. But I believe that it could also be said that love, joy, peace and patience, gentleness and self-control is the fruit of hope. True biblical hope produces love. True biblical hope produces joy. True biblical hope produces patience. The reason true biblical hope produces this is because true biblical hope is empowered by the Holy Spirit. Like the alabaster box the woman used to anoint the head and feet of Jesus, true biblical hope fills the church with a sweet aroma.

Conclusion

Do you have true biblical hope?  I’m sure that you’ve read the sign that says –

No God, No Hope
Know God, Know Hope

The reason people lack hope is because they do not have a real relationship with God. Their hope is filled with uncertainty because it has no foundation. To have hope, we must first know Jesus Christ as our Savior. We must put all of our hope in heaven in Him. Secondly, we must trust Him on a daily basis. The Bible tells us that rather than walking around through life, filled with doubt and fear, we must have hope in God and His goodness. We must trust in His grace.

If you need help with your relationship with the Lord, please contact me at: pastorterry@twinoaksbapt.org

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