Episode 43: Lessons from the Life of Joseph
Do you ever look back on your life and think, "that didn't turn out like I thought it would?" You would probably identify with no Bible character more than Joseph. After God's promise to make him great, his life took a turn that no one would have predicted. However, God uses all things to work towards His will and Joseph is a story that shows us the reward of faith. As we finish well, let's learn from the life of Joseph together as an example!
Dr Randy Hess 0:07
Good morning, everyone. And welcome back, or welcome to finishing well podcast. It's morning here in Dallas. And we are glad to be here talking on our podcast again. And we're glad you're here. Our objective is to help seniors improve and lead lives that allow them to finish well. And I just want to emphasize that if you're under 65. Boy, do we welcome you just as much. We're glad you're here. And we hope that you might get some things out of our discussions that allow you to, perhaps think ahead about what you would like to do to line things up in a way that makes sense for you to finish well, also. So thank you for being here. And I'm here with the founder of finishing well, ministries how Harberger and my good pal and I'm glad to be here with how today, anyhow, how are you doing this week?
Dr Hal Habecker 1:17
Um, well, Randy, fighting just a tad of a cold but doing very well. Looking forward to this month, this month of December, we're recording this, and maybe this will get out before Christmas, and encourage people but glad to be here with you. Again, thanks for partnering with me, in this project.
Dr Randy Hess 1:36
I'm glad to be here too. So I understand we're going to do a kind of, I think it was a really special session how, and that is a, a really sort of a model or teaching or us out of the Bible itself and out of out of a life of a character in the Bible that you have found, speaks to you, in many ways, and I think speaks to all of us. And so I'll I'll just kick it back to you, Hal. And if I can jump in and say anything, I Well, but I'm gonna I really look forward to listening to your thoughts about this character in the Bible and, and some of the, some of the implications of his life.
Dr Hal Habecker 2:21
Sounds good. Sounds good. Randy. I want to look today at the life of Joseph. Couple introductory comments before I even get to him one of our goals in these podcasts. And one of the goals in our ministry of finishing well, is to keep biblical characters in front of us as examples of men and women who finished well. And Joseph serves as a great example. You know, in the future, one of the other ones I like is Daniel. But Joseph serves as a wonderful example. We study him from his youth, straight to his death at 110. Brandy, I'm glad you mentioned, you know, a lifelong process for those younger. You know, Joseph illustrates the power of all, all the decades of life. We're going to look at him in four seasons, his youth, you know, his early years in Egypt, his years of reining and ruling in Egypt with Pharaoh, and then his final years, and you can adapt that to any individual, men, women, young person, older person. So I want you to see yourself in Joseph, and apply yourself. The other thing that I think about Joseph, you know, Joseph is a type of Jesus. And Christmas is all about Jesus. And Joseph is an illustration of prefigure man, you might say, of Jesus in the Bible. So there's a lot of overlap as you think about Christ coming to the world and God's plan for his life. And we are grafted in as we trust Him for our salvation, and our spiritual life and our growth. A Joseph is an example of all of that. So he's a good background person to think about in terms of Christmas, you know, as a type of Christ, but he's also a wonderful example of finishing well. So without that kind of an introduction, let's jump in. I want to say a few things about each of his seasons in life. Maybe we reflect on each one as we go. The first one, I want to take a picture of his youth. You know, we meet him in Genesis 37, at the age of 17. And one of the things the Bible says about Joseph was that he was a man of integrity. You know, often think about that, where does integrity start? You know, it starts in your own heart and in your own life as you begin to grow and develop. You know, at the age of 17. He was a committed follower of God, his faith was very deep. The Scripture notes that he was a man of biblical integrity. His father trusted him. You know, he brings home a bad report of his brothers. I tell you, you know, it's hard to speak the truth, if you're going to be persecuted in your family, but Joseph did that. You know, he has these dreams as a young man. Uh, you know, again, he's only 17. And he articulates these dreams. Now many people criticized Joseph for being a little bit egocentric. Well, why did he share all those? Well, let me tell you, if God does something in your heart, you need to share it, regardless of where the chips may fall. His brothers ridiculed him because of that, you know, I want to say they weren't men of integrity of God speaks to somebody around you, will you listen? Or will you discount them? Interesting. Older people often discount younger people, you know, is that whether or not as wise as I am, and Joseph's brothers illustrate that, you know, they ridicule their younger brother for speaking out for God, and the dreams that he had given him. The scripture makes careful note of Joseph's father, he took note of all these things in his heart. I mean, he knew his son's integrity, he knew his son's faith.
And Joseph lives a young man of integrity. I want to say, you know, finishing well starts wherever you are serious about God. You know, for me, I trusted Christ as a six year old kid. And finishing well for me, takes me back to my early years. And knowing that God really changed my life as a kid. And I'm continuing that process, but you want to do it all you all your life long. And I want to just parenthetically say if you come to Christ, as in your 20s, or 30s, or 40s, or later on life, it's really the same thing. When you begin to trust God for your life, things change. God's integrity begins to carry your heart and your mind, and you become fixated on things that he cares about. So again, we see Joseph being persecuted his brothers hated him. His father sent them out to care for his brothers to bring them food, and they see him come in, and they say, this is our chance to change his life and to teach him put him in his place. They first decided they wanted to kill him. But then they relented, and they sold them to the Midianite. The Ishmael like traders, and he kept his carried off to Egypt. And then on top of that, they lied to their father about Joseph demise. They take his coat, which they didn't like they resented his father's favoritism of them, which by the way, was not Joseph choice. And he wasn't proud that his father favored him. He just lived a life of integrity and where the chips fell, that's what he lived in. So he enters his brother's persecution. And he has sold into Egypt. And I, you know, he's just a tremendous example of wherever you're at in life, will you live a life of integrity, knowing that God has a plan for your life? I mean, I think it's terribly important for people in their 30s and 40s, just beginning to, you know, work in their careers, or you're out of college, trusting God, where to go, you know, God has a plan for your life. He has a plan for Joseph, he's the one who gives you your years. And I think it's a tremendous thing that older people can say to younger people, and younger people can even speak back to older people. You know, God has a plan for life, trust Him. And it's the best thing aging people can say to younger people. They've trusted God with their life. And they should encourage every younger person to trust God with their life. And they should listen to every younger person celebrate God's control and God's trust in their own lives as they grow up. Does that make sense? Randy?
Dr Randy Hess 9:10
Does how I think that's a key learning that a senior can bring to anybody, other seniors or younger people, younger people in their family. That's a good point.
Dr Hal Habecker 9:24
We're all in this together. You know, one of the things I love about finishing well, ministries, it's a multi generational message, you know, and inner generations are designed to be a part of each other's life. And of course, we see that here with Joseph. So let me go on to the next season of life. You know, he's in Egypt as a foreigner. I mean, none of us like being foreigners living in it's nice to visit a foreign land and come home. And by the way, he serves as a picture of Jesus here again, Jesus went down to Egypt, with his parents when he was persecuted in Bethlehem. So Joseph is the precursor, he goes down to Egypt to a foreign land to save his family. And, you know, life is he sold and he gets into a good job. He serves as Potter furs, you know, running his household and his affairs and things like that. But Potiphar serves the Pharaoh, and Joseph prospers, but he's betrayed again by PATA for his wife, who tries to seduce him. But again, you see this mark of integrity. And Joseph like, he says, How can I sinned against God and my master, you know, he is deeply convicted, that God has a purpose and a plan for his life, that he doesn't like the fact that he's going to go to jail. And by the way, he's going to go to jail for 13 years. You know, we meet Joseph again, when he's 30. And the dream there again, but a couple things about these years in prison, you know, he trusts God in them, and God prospers him. You know, if I trust God with my life, I know he's at work. Now, I may not prosper like Joseph, or, in fact, he did prosper him in jail, he didn't get out of jail. But you know, God prospered him, and he began to run the jail and everything else. So you see this man in his early 30s, you might say, having a career of integrity and trusting God, you know, if I could give a message to every young man in their 30s and 40s, starting their career, you know, make it a ministry of integrity in your work. Make it a ministry of honor your wife and your kids. Be. Consider them as sacred before God. You know, understand your job, understand your marriage, understand your kids, understand everything, because that's where life makes up its mind starts in the home, but it's, you know, re invented, you might say, in the decades that follow as you begin your career, you know, in these dreams, me, I'll wrap this up, Joseph has the dream of the baker and the butcher, in wasn't a butcher, who was a baker, and I forget the other guy. They were there, they each had a dream. And Jacob or Joseph says again, God is the interpreter of dreams. So, you know, I think it was a cup bear, you know, he gets let out. And Joseph says to him, remember me when you get up into Pharaoh's house? Well, he forgot about him. And he's left in jail for another two years. And then Pharaoh has a dream. And the cup bearer remembers that Joseph interpreted dreams in prison. So again, you're back in that faithfulness of integrity to God, it's never about me, it's always about God. You may have gifts, and people have gifts, and God gives them. But remember, it's about God who gives the gifts it's not about me. And those gifts are mine. So Joseph, finally, in this next section of life, you know, as he goes into Egypt, and is in prison, he is free because of a life of integrity. And God honors him and he goes into pharaohs. Office himself, his throne, and interprets the dream. And then as we know the story, the pharaoh as Joseph, to lead through elite Egypt, through this dream, fascinating to me, you know, it's important to understand that God is the giver of every good and perfect gift. And he will put you where you need to be at the appropriate time. So again, this is Jake Joseph second category in life. And he comments on that, Randy, as we think about it,
Dr Randy Hess 13:51
now, just the amazement, just the amazement, how the, in the story itself of, you know, going from being in prison, to the leader of the great nation, almost, right.
Dr Hal Habecker 14:06
That's so true. But and what I what's in the back of my mind is, Joseph remembers all of these dreams, and what he really remembers more than anything else, is that God has a purpose in his life. You know, I don't see, I'm 72 I don't see the next 20 years. You know, when I was 52, I didn't see the next 20 When I was 32. I didn't see the next 20. But God has a pattern of leading his people along in all of life, and every stage of life has its significance. And I think it's one of the things we can take away from Joseph. And as we age, we see that in our lives now we don't see the future yet. But we know from the past that God is in charge of our lives. And that's our message. It's a message of integrity and trusting God and putting him first in every facet of our life and leaving the result To him makes sense
Dr Randy Hess 15:01
to things. He was great. He was strong in his faith. Throughout, correct, he was. And secondly, he grasped the idea that I am following a plan for my life that is ordained and and designed by my Lord. And so Joseph understood those things from early on.
Dr Hal Habecker 15:31
He did and you know, another, I'm not sure I ever thought about this Steven right now, I'm sure he heard the stories of faith from his father, and his grandfather, Jacob, Isaac, and even his great grandfather, Abraham, he heard the stories of how God led and he talked about being in from a mixed up family, hearing the story of his father, and his wives and how all that unfolded. And here's Joseph, does it pay to follow God? Do I want to have a chaotic family like my dad had? Well, not really. But having understood that there was a plan, even in the chaos, and God always has a plan. And that's the thing that I think Joseph speaks to us about. God has a plan. So we go to the third season of Joseph's life, that's, you know, the Pharaoh says, if you're the one who interprets the dream of the fat cows, and the skinny cows, and what's going to happen, the plenty and 14, seven years of plenty and seven years of famine, I'm going to point you in charge. Again, I think of Joseph, trusting God in his life. I don't think he ever dreamed when he was sold in Egypt, what's going to happen? I don't think when he was in jail in Egypt, he never dreamed of what's going to happen. And then he hears this dream by Pharaoh and he interprets it. And Pharaoh says, You're the guy. So lead us. So I think Joseph thinks back to those dreams early. And you know, I want to say Joseph never forgot his family. And from this season in life, and where he saves a nation. I mean, that's incredible. He not only saves the nation, he saves his family, and he saves his people. Now, I just need to camp on that for a second. You know, my spiritual integrity, as I live these days, I have no idea, the salvific effect, or the salvation effect, then I don't mean anything in terms of spiritual salvation, but it has an effect of helping people around me. So in a sense, as we follow God, we're being used by him to help others all around us all the time. And Joseph had a firm grip of that in his mind. So as he served God, he realizes God has saved a nation. And maybe that's one of the reasons God put me here. And like I said, Before, I don't think he ever forgot about his family. I had those dreams he had as a young man, you know, he says to himself in his 30s, and 40s, and 50s, and 60s, we got 14 years. So that takes us up to 44. But I think he served in this position for the next 30 years up through 60. And I'll tell you about that. I'll tell you why, in a little bit, but that is a picture of how God uses him to save others. And then, of course, the most astonishing thing, when the years of famine start, I don't know whether it's in the first year, the second year, or whatever. And Joseph is pushing 40 right now. And of course, his brothers are much older, all of a sudden, his brothers show up. And I wonder if the lights start to go off in J Joseph's mind, about what God was doing all along. And I think about that, even though life I mean, when you know, as you age, you can follow God's patterns in your life and see how it intersects in all kinds of ways. And at my age of 72, I just thank God for how he has led my life and how all these intersections happen. And I never dreamt about that at all. And I think that's what Joseph must have felt about saving his family and saving his father. Is that not incredible? You know, God, I think Joseph ever realized how well I see my father again, and all of a sudden he shows up, and Joseph takes care of him. That is that incredible story. Randy is just
Dr Randy Hess 19:40
amazing. And then it's just beyond our imagination almost. But we know that God orchestrates things and that there is a purpose to it. And that we just simply sometimes are oblivious to what's going on around us until We stop and reflect. Maybe like you said, how we get to be a senior, we start reflecting a little bit more. Why was that happening? Why did that seem to take place? What was that connection all about? And then, as you said, lights go, or fireworks to offer lights go on something to that at that point, and you say, wow, wow, I see, Lord. But I do see now some things. And so I'm trusting you, hopefully, how the, the impact of that on me is that we grow from that we grow in our understanding and faith even further.
Dr Hal Habecker 20:44
And, you know, that's the message that I would tell younger people in their 20s, in the 30s, and their 40s, in their 50s, in their 60s, you know, God has a plan for your life. You know, he determines our years, and he determines the seasons of our life, and the productivity of our life, and to be a man or a woman of integrity, as we develop our spiritual lives and understand as a young man, that God has a purpose in your life, as a young woman, as people getting married as people beginning their families. We don't live in a random universe, every individual who follows Jesus is part of his plan for their lives. And I'm excited about that. I mean, that's the message of Joseph. And it's a message every young person needs to hear and be challenged and encouraged with. Yeah, for sure. So let me go on to this last season of life. And this last season. If you look at Genesis 50, verse 20. Let's say Joseph is about 60. And that verse and 20, and Joseph family came in, they live, that verse covers a 60 years span, generally, you know, from being 60, to actually a 50 year plan. Joseph died at 120. So there's 50 years that that verse summarizes, wow. So you know, I think about that, I may, I don't think I'll live to be 110, but the last season of your life, think about this ought to be a season of living well with your family, and taking care of those who have preceded you, and those who are coming after you, Joseph's father and all of his brethren. And by the way, I must point out, there was no bitterness in Joseph's mind or his heart for what had happened. You know, Genesis 50, verse 20, you know, you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. You know, Randy, you and I, as we talk to a lot of seniors, we run into a lot of people who are bound up by past hurts and bitterness, exactly. parents whose children won't speak to them, and vice versa. I mean, we're talking about people in their 70s and 80s. And you see the rifts, amongst relationships, Joseph never had that, because he trusted God. And he kept bending over backwards to serve those who abused him, may rather remarkable. So in these last 50 years, we see Joseph living in Egypt, caring for his parents. I mean, I think of the conversations, he caught up with his father all those years when he came down, you know, Dad, I got to hang out with you, I got to hear what happened, and how God provided and reflect on life together. And I think he had that with his brothers. You know, I think of my own siblings, and people that I know, you know, these are years of important reflection on life, and helping each other put piece the pieces of the puzzle together, so to speak, and understand clearly what God has been doing in your life all along. And then of course, the other thing I have to say about Joseph, you know, he offers his family a voice of hope, and encouragement, and he does it with his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. He does it with his grandsons. He does it with his great grandsons, and even his great great great grandsons there for generations there. You know, his sons, their kids, their kids and their kids. So Joseph has a chance to reflect with four gentlemen generations, following him, encouraging them of the faithfulness of God in his life. And I can I, I'm moved by this. You know what a great benediction. Older people can bring to life by celebrating God's faithfulness in their lives, and in their kids lives and in their parents lives. And that's the message of hope we have In this world, you know, there are trials all around us. Joseph is an illustration of how to persevere in great trials in life, but he never forgot a vision of God in his life. That's what he passed on to he Firmoo. NASA. That's what he passed on to his kids. That's what he celebrated his with his father and his brothers. He said, You know, our family was mixed up when we were young. But let me tell you, God had bled all along. I take great encouragement in that, you know, for families that have struggles, you know, God has a plan. And the best thing people can do is submit his plan, and say, I want to live a life of integrity, and keep compelling. Keep sharing that message with every generation that's following me in every generation that's ahead of me.
Dr Randy Hess 25:45
Amen. Amen. It's just an amazing story, period. But it's a powerful story. I'm glad you. You summarized it. For us. It's a it's a valuable piece of knowledge for anybody who wants to finish well, isn't it?
Dr Hal Habecker 26:04
Boy, it is, Randy, I know a little bit about your family. You know, your message, to your children, to your grandchildren, to your great grandchildren, is to keep trusting God with your life. And you do that out of your own experience? It makes all the difference in the world?
Dr Randy Hess 26:21
It is. It is of course you have to you have to do that yourself before you can you do it before you can be really believable when you convey it to your family or whoever else you're conveying it to. If it hasn't worked for you, and you're doubting it, you're not going to come across very well. Are you out?
Dr Hal Habecker 26:41
No, you will. And that's the message of Joseph at every point in his life. When he was a young man 17, listening to the voice of God listening to the dreams, fighting through the persecution of his brothers being sold in Egypt, he continues to submit his life to God. So I say that as an older man, I don't you know, we all have trials in life. But whatever they are, you stand as a man, as a woman as a young person of spiritual and biblical integrity, knowing God's in charge of your life, and you want to keep serving him and let him help you figure it out. Because he will,
Dr Randy Hess 27:17
he will be well, and in maybe in moments, he will be the only resource you have, that you feel, speaks to your heart. And you can rely on the only one but but it's all the difference, all the difference in the world.
Dr Hal Habecker 27:33
So let me wrap this up. You know, we're in December, and God willing, we will have family time together over the Christmas season, in all kinds of various ways. I think of Joseph as the end of his life, and he gives a vision of hope. You know, the best thing grandparents and great grandparents, and parents, and any age group could share with each other is the importance of spiritual integrity in your life, listening to the voice of God and encouraging others. So I would challenge every one of our peers who are grandparents, and our great grandparents, in spite of the problems or challenges we may have physical, emotional, spiritual, whatever they may be. Let's give a voice of hope, and encouragement, and spiritual integrity of trusting God with our lives. Everyone around us, I can't think of a better Christmas gift with the gift, the gift that keeps on giving generation after generation, as we
Dr Randy Hess 28:37
follow God in our lives. So true. So true.
Dr Hal Habecker 28:41
Well, thanks for being with us. I've talked more than I like to talk, I guess, this podcast,
Dr Randy Hess 28:48
but it's really been good out. It's been good.
Dr Hal Habecker 28:50
I'm just blown away by Joseph's life and the biblical example he is, and may he encourage every one of us, not only in our days and our years wherever we are, but especially this Christmas season. And I want to just wish every one of you with a Christmas blessing. May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith and they you being rooted in granted him may be able to know the joy of following Jesus like Joseph did, and trusting Jesus with our life. So thanks for being a part of this podcast and share with others as you have the opportunity and pray for us as we finish this year, and go into 2022 or another year of serving Christ through finishing well ministries that God bless you richly. In the name of Christ we pray, Amen.