I know of one Bible scholar who has discovered more than a hundred ways in which Joseph was a type of Jesus Christ. Yet, as much as I believe Joseph was a type of Christ, I also believe He was a type of last-day remnant - a people whom God is raising up right now to show His church how to break out of its spiritual famine!
Let me show you the Joseph Company - a small body of last-day believers wholly given to the Lord. They commune with God daily. 'They are led by the Spirit in every detail of their lives. And at this moment they are coming out of great trials and testings to enter a place of revelation, wisdom and fruitfulness. God is working in them, giving them His truth and knowledge. And the time is coming soon when He is going to call upon them as He did Joseph!
Right now, the church of Jesus Christ is growing increasingly worldly, sensual, wicked and cold. Our ministry receives literally thousands of letters from pastors and laypeople who are burdened down by the condition of their church. People complain that they don't hear convicting, life-changing sermons. Pastors complain that few want to hear the truth.
Yes, there are some powerful "lamp-stick" churches in America - full of light and glory and the holiness of God. The pastors are on fire, preaching righteousness, and God is moving mightily among the people.
But for the most part the church today is experiencing widespread spiritual famine: shallow sermons, dead hearers, "lively" worship that is not backed up by righteous living. A Laodicean blindness has fallen like a cloud over the eyes of multitudes who once were on fire for God. Many true ministers of God are becoming disheartened. One pastor wrote recently:
"A great number of godly pastors are being fired or forced out by their churches. I resigned my church last December 31. A colleague just ten miles away also left his church under a cloud. A third pastor sixty miles away submitted his resignation under duress, A fourth was fired by his church in October....
"In my region, churches are not growing by making new converts, but from Christians moving around, shopping with a consumer mentality. It's a revolving door.... Please find out for yourself how many men of God are heartbroken, defeated, discouraged - yet also saying, 'Even so, come, Lord Jesus'!"
What Is God's Solution to Such Backsliding and Famine?
God has always been at work far in advance of every spiritual famine in His church. In every generation He has moved ahead to prepare a way out for His people!
The seventy-five members of Jacob's clan would have died in the great worldwide famine (and the promise of Israel would have been destroyed) had not God been working ahead of it all. In fact, some twenty years before the famine hit, God was already setting in motion a plan to save His people from destruction.
He sent Joseph ahead to Egypt! For twenty years God worked on this man - isolating him, trying him, preparing him for a place of authority - because Joseph was to become the life-saver of God's chosen, He kept Joseph from the limelight - to be discipled for a coming day of chaos and death!
Beloved, just as surely as God isolated Joseph, He has a Joseph Company today that is hidden from all eyes. These are in the furnace of affliction, prisons of testing, battlegrounds of trials and temptation, They are dying to this world, wanting nothing of its fame, honor, money or pleasure. And they are growing hungry to become more intimate with Christ - to know His heart and His voice.
You may not understand all the mysterious testings, trials and troubles in your life. But if your heart is fully set on following Christ, you can rest assured God has purpose in it all: He is wanting to bring you into His Joseph Company!.
There are three things that went into the making of Joseph as a tried and tested servant. An d you too will experience these things if you are a part of this last-day company:
1. Joseph Responded to the Spirit's Call to a Holy, Separated Life.
God's Spirit has always been calling mankind to Himself - to holiness, purity of heart and a separated life. Tragically, few ever respond - but in every generation God has a small remnant who do answer His call. They separate themselves, purify their lives and give them selves wholly to Him.
Joseph responded to God's call at a very early age. And he had ten older brothers who received the same call to surrender, walk righteously and separate themselves. But they chose to remain in the world - and their walk with God was halfhearted.
There were at least two occasions when all of Jacob's sons received the Spirit's call very clearly. The first was at Shalem, in Shechem, where Jacob built an altar to THE GOD OF ISRAEL. Jacob called his sons to the altar to become worshipers with him - to kneel before the Lord and follow Him wholeheartedly.
But Joseph's brothers instead turned to revenge and bloodshed. When a Shechemite defiled their sister Dinah, they rushed into the city, burning it down and killing every man, woman and child (see Genesis 34). These ten brothers hadn't given themselves wholly to trust and serve God. No - their violence made Jacob a stench among the Canaanites!
Yet God called cut to them clearly once more, this time at Bethel. Jacob knew his sons were bound with idolatry and were rejecting God's call to purity and righteousness. So he warned them: "Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: and let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and 1 will make there an altar unto God" (Genesis 35:2-3).
Beloved, this is one of the clearest calls in all of God's Word! The phrase "change your garments" in Hebrew means a moral and spiritual purification of the mind and heart. Outwardly, Jacob's sons surrendered: "And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings" (verse 4). But their repentance was only on the surface - they never had a true heart-change. They went right back to their rebellion, becoming full of hate, envy and strife!
Yet there was something different about Joseph: his repentance had been from the heart. He had responded to the Spirit's call - and from the age of seventeen, he was wholly set on following the Lord. In the midst of a wicked, evil environment, Joseph maintained clean hands and a pure heart.
Now, Jacob had other sons who were born to Bilhah and Zilpah, his maid and concubine. These sons cared for the family flocks, and Joseph was sent out to the fields to work among them, But he was soon grieved - because his brothers spoke and lived like heathen! His pure heart was crushed by the wickedness in his own family.
"And Joseph brought unto his father their evil report" (37:2), Joseph unburdened his heart to his father: "You wouldn't believe the way they live, Father. They speak against your God and mine. They're grieving Him!"
Beloved, this is a mark of the Joseph Company: they have a grief for sin! They have forsaken all idols and are in love with Jesus - their hearts are aflame with His holiness! They see the sin in the land, but they are grieved most of all by the sin in the church. They cry out from their souls, "Oh, Father - look at what is happening among Your children!"
If you are a part of this last-day company, you can't overlook sin. Rather, something has to rise up in you that says, "Oh God, I can't stand what they're doing to Your name!" You begin to pray - not against people, but against the in roads of demonic powers into the church of Jesus Christ!
Joseph's Father Favored Him, Clothing Him With a Special
Garment That Made Him Stand Out Among His Brethren!
Does our heavenly Father favor certain of His children? Or doesn't the Bible say God is no respecter of persons?
When it comes to eternal salvation and His wonderful covenant promises, God treats all alike. But God also responds to all who respond wholeheartedly to His calling. He puts His special favor on those who yield their lives to Him entirely!
Job said: "Thou hast granted me life and favour" (Job 10:12). And David said: "For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield" (Psalm 5:12) . "Lord, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong" (30:7). Scripture also tells us: "And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the Lord, and also with men" (1 Samuel 2:26).
The fact is, our heavenly Father puts a special garment on those who seek after Him and give Him their heart completely: "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness" (Isaiah 61:10).
Joseph responded to the Spirit's call, surrendering all - and he received favor from his father. He was given a robe that set him apart. But that favor of his father was costly! It cost Joseph every relationship. It brought him rejection, misunderstanding, mockery: "All his brethren... hated him" Genesis 37:4).
Why did Joseph's brothers turn on him? The key is in verse 11: "His brethren envied him." When they saw the robe Joseph wore, they knew it spoke of favor, righteousness. And they hated it - because it reminded them of the Spirit's call they had rejected! Joseph was a reproach to their halfhearted life-style!
You see, Joseph's brothers sat around trading in petty gossip and self-centered talk. Their hearts were occupied with land, possessions, their future, But Joseph's was elsewhere. He spoke of the things of God, of supernatural dealings. God had given him dreams, which in that day was synonymous with hearing the voice of God.
Yes, Joseph was of a different cloth - and that difference made him hated and envied among his brothers. And beloved, the same thing will happen to you if you have sold out to Jesus!
Lukewarm believers around you will want to talk about their cars, houses and jobs - but you'd rather talk about eternal things, about what God is saying to you. Soon you'll become a reproach to their halfheartedness. They'll envy you - because you represent the call of the Holy Ghost they turned down!
Indeed, those of the Joseph Company remnant know all about rejection. They know the pain of being tagged a fanatic, a spiritual kook, an "unbalanced" believer. Even preachers mock them, calling their separation and devotion to Jesus "spiritual pride." They tell their congregation, "This one is too far out. God does not expect such fanaticism!"
2 . Joseph's Greatest Trial Was the Word of God He So Loved and Trusted!
"He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: until the time that his word came: the word of the Lord tried him" (Psalm 105:17,19). Joseph was tested and tried in many ways - but his greatest trial was the word he had received!
Consider everything Joseph endured: At only seventeen, he was stripped down and cast into a pit to starve to death. His cold-hearted brothers laughed at his pleas for mercy. He was sold to Ishmaelite traders, taken by caravan to an Egyptian slave market and then sold as a common slave.
Yet Joseph's greatest trial wasn't his rejection by his brothers. It wasn't the human indignity of being made into a slave or being cast into prison. No - Joseph was confused and tried in spirit by the clear word he had heard from God!
God had revealed to Joseph through dreams that he would be given great authority, and that he would use it for God's glory. His brothers would bow before him - even the sun, moon and stars would bow! He would be a great deliverer of many people.
Yet I believe none of this was an ego trip for Joseph. His heart was so set on God that this word instead gave him a humble sense of destiny: "Lord, You have put Your hand on me to have a part in Your great, eternal plan. Oh God - why choose me?" Joseph was blessed just by knowing he would play an important role in bringing God's will to pass!
But all the circumstances in Joseph's life were just the opposite of what God had put in his heart. He was the servant - he had to bow! How could he hold to such a word from God, that he would one day deliver multitudes, when he was a slave himself? He must have thought, "This doesn't make sense. How could God be 'ordering my steps' into prison - into oblivion? He said I was going to be blessed. He didn't tell me this was going to happen!"
For ten years Joseph served in Potiphar's house faithfully - but in the end he was misjudged and lied about. His victory over temptation with Potiphar's wife only landed him in jail. During such times he must have pondered the awful questions:
"Did I hear correctly? Or did my pride invent these dreams? Could my brothers have been right - that I'm too given over to this word? Maybe all these things are happening to me as discipline for some kind of selfish desire....
Beloved, there have been times when God has shown me things He has wanted for me - ministry, service, usefulness - yet my every circumstance was the very opposite of that word. At such times I thought, "Oh God, this can't be You speaking - it has to be my flesh," I was being tried by God's word to me!
I know a dear pastor who is being tried by God's Word. He believes what the Bible says about healing - yet, for the past five years he has watched his wife deteriorate with a rare disease. He prays for the sick at his church - and then he comes home to feed, dress and bathe his wife. He believes God for her healing, yet she grows worse every day.
Yet I see revealed in this man the grace and patience of Christ. He is one of the most loving, caring men of God I have ever met, the tenderness he shows his wife now comes out in his ministry to his congregation!
A dear sister wrote recently that over a year ago she finally determined to go all the way with Jesus. God began to reveal Christ in her - yet soon after-ward, she discovered her husband was seeing prostitutes. He was staying out every night in bars and brothels.
This woman was forced to leave her home and get a job to support her three children. The more devoted she became to Christ, the more her husband turned away from God, She couldn't under stand why, when she set her heart on Christ, such an awful tragedy would happen. But I sensed in her letter a power, a heavenly strength.
She too is being tried by the Word! God has given her His promises - yet her circumstances are the exact opposite!
Even in the Midst of Every Trial and Hard
Place, God Prospers His Joseph Company!
Even while Joseph was a servant in Potiphar's house, he was blessed by God. And soon after he landed in prison, he prospered there as well. How did God prosper him? It wasn't with money or possessions; it wasn't with position. No - all along God was prospering Joseph's spirit - speaking to his heart, giving him dreams and interpretations!
This is what kept Joseph going on with God. He had faith that, in spite of all his hardships and situations beyond his control, God was with him. Joseph was never for a moment without the manifest presence of the Lord - and that constant, abiding presence produced a peace within him.
I believe God must have longed to show Joseph the end of the story - to whisper to him, "Don't worry, Joseph. This is how it's going to end...." But He dared not - because Joseph was still in school!
You see, Joseph didn't know that one day he was going to "teach (Pharaoh's) senators wisdom" (Psalm 105:22). Yet how could he teach God's wisdom to Egypt's leaders unless he first had learned it himself? God's children learn such lessons only by faith! We get God's wisdom through trials, tribulations, hardships and testings. We don't pray it down - we live it out!
If you are in God's last-day Joseph Company, then you are learning to lean on Him in your trials. You're learning to trust and not complain - to rest in Him completely. You may not comprehend all the mysterious ways God has led you. In fact, everything around you may seem the very opposite of the word God has given you.
But you're learning that in all things, Christ is your resource. And God is keeping you in school for the day when He will call on you!
3. The Day Came When It All Made Sense to Joseph! God Brought Everything Together - And Every Word and Promise Was Fulfilled to The Letter!
I believe it happened during Joseph's darkest hour -. when he was lonely, downcast, about to give up his dreams, questioning his place in God. Suddenly, the call came from one of the king's guards: "Joseph! Get cleaned up - Pharaoh is calling for you!"
In that moment, the Spirit of God must have come upon Joseph mightily. I believe his heart leapt - an excitement grew within him: he was about to understand what it was all about!
As Joseph shaved and trimmed his hair, he probably thought, "This is the beginning of what God promised me. Now I know I heard from Him! The devil was not in control - my life hasn't been wasted. God has been directing everything the entire time!"
In a matter of minutes, Joseph was standing before Pharaoh, listening to his dream. He gave the interpretation of the coming famine and told Pharaoh he had to gather and store the nation's grain: "Someone must be in charge of the storehouses. You have to find a man who's full of wisdom to oversee it all!" (see Genesis 4l).
Pharaoh looked around - and then he turned to Joseph: "You, Joseph! I appoint you second ruler. Only I will have more power in the kingdom than you. You will oversee it all!"
How quickly things had changed! Within an hour, Joseph had gone from being a forsaken, unknown prisoner to the second most powerful man in Egypt. As he rode a royal chariot through the streets, the people were bowing before him - and suddenly he realized, his dream, was being lived out!
I can just see Joseph riding along in deep but joyful contemplation. He must have relived every hard time of the past twenty years. He thought of all the trials and tests - of his brothers' rejection, and of being sold by them into slavery.
But now a joy came into his heart - because everything was coming together! He said, "Now I can see it! A famine is coming - and God is wanting to save my father and my brothers. He sent me ahead of them. This was His plan all along!"
The day came when Joseph stood before his brothers and was able to say: "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive" (Genesis 50:20).
"God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt" (45:7-8).
Joseph was saying, "God was behind this, every step of the way! Every hardship the devil brought upon me - even the harm you meant to do to me - God turned to good and made a part of His eternal plan!"
Dear saint, if you are a part of this Joseph Company, very soon you're going to understand your present fiery trials. God is going to bring you into the promise He gave you - and suddenly it's all going to make sense. You'll see that He has never forsaken you. He had to take you this way - for He has been training you, preparing you, teaching you to trust Him for everything . He has planned a time for you to be used - and that time is just ahead!
The Last-Day Evangelists Will Not Be Primarily
in Pulpits: They Will Be in the Congregation -
Avoiding Attention, But Mightily Used!
A time is coming soon when there will be a spiritual famine such as the world has never seen . People are going to be starving spiritually on all sides. Yet the broken and famine-stricken will be taken one by one and told, "Come with me - I know someone full of Jesus. They've been tested, they've been through the fire, and they're full of the Holy Spirit. They will have a true word of deliverance for you!"
Beloved, already I see this happening! I know a number of the Joseph Company by name, because I've talked to them. They are able to give out the Bread of Life to the starving - because they have the keys to God's storehouse! They know the ways of the Lord, because they have come through their tests and trials with a grip on God. Something powerful is being revealed in them - and that is a heart fully persuaded that God answers, prayer!
How are you responding to God's mysterious dealings with you? Are you fully persuaded that God is at work in all things, fulfilling His promises to you? Can you say, "It's enough right now that I know Jesus is with me - and He's prospering my spirit"?
Hold on in faith! Don't be afraid - because you are in Christ's school. Everything is under His control. Suddenly the hour will come when your battle will end and your victory will be made real. You'll come out of the fire a vessel of honor - to do His will as part of the Joseph Company!
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