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 Issue #92 Tue, 15 Aug 2006

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Female Number of posts : 2309
Age : 26
Real Name : Alyssa
Location : Eastern USA
Registration date : 2006-12-17

PostSubject: Issue #92 Tue, 15 Aug 2006   March 12th 2007, 00:07

Lessons From The Life of Joseph
PART I


Dear Youth,

There are many characters in the Bible that I admire for their integrity and steadfastness; many of these men and women were mere youth. I love the story of Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. As youth, there are many lessons we can learn from these four faithful young men. But today, I want us to look at the example of Joseph. Joseph's whole life is the fulfilment of God's promise: "Them that honour Me I will honour." (1 Samuel 2:30)

You know, someday we might be called to a life of imprisonment or torture for our faith. We may be called away from the comfort of our homes to testify in strange and unfamiliar lands. We may be taken before rulers and kings, set before the whole world to testify for Christ.

We hear this all the time, yet too often it doesn't seem to make any difference in the way we conduct our lives. We seem to doubt the fact that we could ever be one of those who forsake the truth in the midst of trial. But we are told that only a minority will make it through the last great conflict. We are not miraculously going to be made steadfast and strong when we are faced with difficult and unknown circumstances. It is the result of the character we build here and now! We are told of Joseph: "Whose rare personal beauty seemed but to reflect an inward beauty of mind and heart. Pure, active, and joyous, the lad gave evidence also of moral earnestness and firmness. He listened to his father's instructions, and loved to obey God. The qualities that afterward distinguished him in Egypt--gentleness, fidelity, and truthfulness--were already manifest in his daily life." (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 209)

Joseph learned well the lessons his father taught him, and from his early years he learned to fear and love the God of Israel. Yet up until his slavery in Egypt, Joseph had lived a fairly sheltered and easy life. His father "loved Joseph more than all his children" (Genesis 37:3) and as a result of this Joseph became familiarized to the warmth of his father's love. "Accustomed to the tenderness of his father's care, he [Joseph] felt that he was unprepared to cope with the difficulties before him, in the bitter, uncared-for life of a stranger and a slave." (Reflecting Christ, p. 326)

The Bible tells us that Joseph was about seventeen years old when his father made him a dignified coat of many colours. We also know that it was this coat that the brothers dipped in goats blood to conceal their guilt after they sold Joseph to the Ishmaelite traders. So we can see that Joseph was only a young man, but his faithfulness in the little things of daily life led him to find the strength and integrity to overcome the difficulties of living in the strange, idolatrous country he was brought to.

As the traders' caravan headed southward toward the borders of Canaan, Joseph recognized in the distance the hills in which his father's tents were pitched. "Bitterly he wept at the thought of that loving father in his loneliness and affliction. Again the scene at Dothan came up before him. He saw his angry brothers and felt their fierce glances bent upon him. The stinging, insulting words that had met his agonized entreaties were ringing in his ears. With a trembling heart he looked forward to the future. What a change in situation--from the tenderly cherished son to the despised and helpless slave! Alone and friendless, what would be his lot in the strange land to which he was going? For a time he gave himself up to uncontrolled grief and terror." (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 213)

In his agonized state, Joseph thought back to all that his father Jacob had taught him. His thoughts were turned to the God of Jacob, his father. He had often sat in his father's tent listening to the story of Jacob's night vision of the ladder, of the conflict beside Jabbok, and the flee from home, an exile and fugitive. Joseph had been taught the love and fear of God, and in that moment he decided that Jacob's God would become his God. Sometime, young people, you are going to have to make that decision too. Your parents have done all they can to bring you up in the fear and admonition of the Lord, but there will be a point where you will decide for yourself if your father's God will become your God. You may not make that decision during such a dramatic experience as Joseph did, but there will come a point in your life where you will make the choice between the God of your father or the gods of Egypt.

I find it interesting that Joseph made the decision to serve the true God BEFORE he came to Egypt. Once he was in Egypt he was surrounded by the gods and the idolatrous behaviour of the Egyptian people. But Joseph had made his decision ahead of time who he was going to serve. It is important that we too, make the choice between God and the gods of Egypt BEFORE we get to Egypt! The idols the Egyptians worshipped are really a symbol of the world and its customs and practises. Another strange "god" we might serve today is: sport, television, jewellery, material possessions, music, education, friends, or anything that we place above or before God.

Young people, we are making choices here and now that are going to affect our eternal destiny and the destiny of many others. Joseph's life gives us a beautiful illustration of what God can do for us if we will make the choice to serve Him and to stand for His principles despite whatever persecution may come our way as a result. If we bear testimony of a living and loving Saviour, it will never pass by unnoticed. God has chosen us to be His ambassador's who bravely hold His standard high! "Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people." (Isaiah 62:10)

--Stephanie Fox

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PLEASE NOTE: All Bible verses are taken from the King James Version, unless stated otherwise.
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