Teaching Series
Friday—Wise Faithfulness in Power

Series: Citizenship
Message: Hopeful Faithfulness in Prison
Preacher: Tim Gillespie*
Reflection: Sam Millen
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Ame Fowler
Live Beyond: Chelsea Mensink
Live Purpose: Emily Ellis
Editor: Becky De Oliveira

*The guest speaker at Boulder Church on Sabbath, July 13, is choosing to preach on a different topic. If you would like to engage with a sermon that corresponds to the Daily Walk, you may watch Tim Gillespie preach about Joseph online.

Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.

Read: Genesis 41:41-49 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.

Reflect: During this series, we have carefully examined the life of Joseph, but if our reading of the text has merely uncovered object lessons (what to do or not do), then it is a secular approach. In other words, an atheist could appreciate many of the object lessons from Joseph’s story. How are we to view these narratives? I would hope we would want to read the Old Testament the way Jesus did. On the road to Emmaus, Jesus walked alongside two of his disillusioned and unsuspecting disciples. Luke tells us, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). Luke is referring to the Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures starting with Genesis) when he mentions “Moses.”  I wonder what Jesus on the road to Emmaus said concerning Joseph as he revealed a Christological reading of the text?

The religious scholars and leaders of Jesus’ day had combed the Torah for rules on how to live, and had come up with an impressive 613 laws! When Jesus healed on the Sabbath, they wanted to get rid of Him. Jesus tells them, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (John 5:39-40). Compiling lists of rules and looking for moral lessons in the Bible does not lead to eternal life. Upholding Joseph’s honorable character (despite me raising some doubts earlier this week) as an example for us all to emulate is not the primary purpose of the Scriptures according to Jesus. Why was Joseph’s story passed down to us? It is because Joseph points to Jesus. Jesus is the true Joseph!

Jesus, the most honored son sent to a foreign land to become a servant. Sold by His brethren for silver. In the life of Joseph as a deliverer, we see a foreshadow (pattern) of what Jesus would experience: 

Who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant (Joseph became a slave), being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death (Joseph was almost killed for his obedience), even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him (Pharaoh exalted Joseph) and bestowed on him the name that is above every name (Pharaoh named Joseph), so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow (they called out before Joseph, “bow the knee”), in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:6-11)

We may be tempted to think these associations are entirely coincidental, but not according to Jesus. The Scriptures, including this story, point to Him. Jesus is the true deliverer, and our deliverance came about through tremendous suffering. Yes, both Joseph and Jesus offer us examples of faithfulness and obedience, but examples don’t save us, even if we followed them strictly. Jesus saves us by making us new. First He supernaturally changes our self-centered hearts, leading to new ways of living, and then our decaying bodies will finally be changed at the resurrection. But He won’t do it unless we want Him to.

John Ortberg has broadened my view of salvation to include (supernaturally) becoming the kind of person who will long to spend eternity with God. In his book, Eternity Is Now in Session: A Radical Rediscovery of What Jesus Really Taught About Salvation, Eternity, and Getting to the Good Place, Ortberg asks a pointed question: “If I don’t want the unceasing presence of God in my life now, how could I truly want an eternity in the ceaseless presence of God?” (p. 14).  Joseph became that kind of person. His citizenship was in heaven.

Recalibrate: Given Joseph’s crushing descent from a highly honored son to the lowest status in a faraway land, all of which led to a spectacular exaltation, putting him in a position to save many (including those who “sinned” against him), what other similarities do you see between the life of Joseph and Jesus?

Respond: Reflect on Philippians 2:5-11 by listening to these powerful words put to music.

Research: Here is a list of more similarities between Joseph and Jesus. 

Remember: “So the king said to Joseph, ‘God has shown you all this. There is no one as wise and understanding as you are’” (Genesis 41:39, ICB).

Sam Millen is the pastor at Anacortes Adventist Fellowship in Washington State. After living in five countries on three continents (and five states), he feels at home on Orcas Island with his wife and three kids.

Read Here I Am with your little one. Imagine with your child all the things they would like to do and places they would like to go. Draw pictures with them of what they dream about. The idea “I am here to help, share, care, and love” is what we do not want them to leave home without. Help them pack these four values into who they are as they grow.

Read Acts 7:9-17. Joseph’s part in history was so important that Stephen used it about 1,900 years later as an example of God using someone to save His people. We are still telling Joseph’s story almost 4,000 years later! Can you think of a person from history who did something super amazing or memorable? Like Martin Luther King, Jr., or Alexander Hamliton or Anne Frank? What do you remember about them? What did they do? God was with Joseph. God helped him live for others. God gave him wisdom. What do you want people to remember about you? Ask Jesus to give you strength and courage to start living that way now.

Once Pharaoh had given Joseph his signet ring and the power to rule over Egypt, he clothed Joseph in the nicest clothing and put a gold chain around his neck. Then he made Joseph ride in his second chariot all over Egypt while the royal guards yelled out, “Bow down!”

When I read these verses, I can’t help but think about how celebrities act and how non-celebrities wish they could act. Celebrities wear the nicest clothes and jewelry, drive around the nicest cars and basically say, “Pay attention to me!” A lot of people wish they could have lives like that too. 

Human minds are so amazing. Did you know that you’ll start wanting whatever you spend your time looking at or listening to? If you like to watch a lot of celebrities, you’ll start wishing you had a life like them. If you watch a lot of basketball, you’ll start to want to play basketball; and if you spend a lot of time with God, you’ll start wanting to be more like Him. Wherever your time goes, that’s where your mind goes.

What do you spend your time on? Where does your mind go? What distracts you from spending time with God?

At the beginning of this quarter at school, I asked God to give me more faith. I thought it was a pretty good prayer because I was wanting to grow and deepen my relationship with God. However, I soon realized that when we pray for those kinds of things, God gives them to us but in a roundabout sort of way. You see, God doesn’t just give us faith on a silver platter. Rather, He permits us to go through a series of events that will cause our faith to grow. I remember about halfway through this season of my life, I was complaining to God about how hard it was and I quite literally had a breakdown in the middle of my college campus! Then God gently reminded me that He was fulfilling this promise in my life. My experience is nowhere near Joseph’s. But what I find interesting is that God had promised Joseph that he would be elevated above his brothers. However God didn’t just answer that promise right away, and maybe it was because Joseph’s pride would have gotten in the way of the miracle that God was wanting to do through him! Sometimes when we pray to God, we expect Him to answer is in a certain way that is most convenient for us. But the way God moves is so much more beautiful than that! He uses us in a way that is better for us and the people we will be ministering to. My encouragement to you is to see how God is answering your prayers. And in the moments where you feel like breaking down and you feel like God is distant from you, maybe that is where He is actually closest to you.

Zan Long is GRC director for faith development for ages 0-17. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Ame Fowler has fifteen years of youth and children’s ministry experience and has served as a leader with TOP kids. She and her husband enjoy ministry through coffee, and live in Chattanooga, TN.
Chelsea Mensink serves as the family ministries director at Crosswalk Church in Redlands, California. She is a delightful and talented children’s pastor who just oozes fun and love like a squished Twinkie.
Emily Ellis is a junior studying theology at Walla Walla University and interning at the Eastgate Seventh-day Adventist Church.

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