Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for the conviction of things not seen.”(ESV)
In the ancient land of Canaan, Abraham, the great-grandfather of Joseph, led his family in worship of YHWH, the Almighty Sovereign God and Creator of the universe. This family was strong in faith. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had a relationship with God but sometimes their faith was not 100% strong. They all experienced times of failing faith just as we do.
Joseph had heard the many stories of his family around the fire at night in the quiet times when his father had told him of the God of creation and what God had done in his own life. Jacob had told him of the promises God had made to Father Abraham and to Isaac and shared his own experiences with YHWH. What a special time Joseph experienced with his father during these many hours.
Were these just stories Joseph listened to for entertainment? Had he known and experienced God for himself? Or would it take an event so dramatic that Joseph would finally lose himself and be flat on the ground calling out to the God of his fathers? Only God knows the answer just as He knows exactly when each of us becomes His child. It is the moment when you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior for the remission of sin. It is very private time in the life of a believer. It is not a family decision. It has to be personal. Just you and God: no one else.
What is faith?
We talk a lot about faith. But what is it exactly? It begins by making a decision to believe in something or someone. Once the decision is made to believe in Jesus, the growth of faith begins. Learning to trust is a major step. Does faith come instantly like a fairy wand struck on the top of your head? No. Unfortunately for us, we learn to trust one step at a time. Faith grows as you place your trust in Him in every situation. It is hard.
Faith is also an assurance issue. Trust and assurance go hand in hand. Assurance means: knowing in what you believe no matter the circumstances and being confident or certain the one/the thing you believe in is true. Does that mean that first of all you have to know what and in who you believe? Of course it does. It means you know without a doubt that Jesus is who He says He is-the Son of God. It means you know that Jesus died for your sin and because you believe, you will have eternal life. It means trusting God in the circumstances. The more I trust Him to take care of me, the more assurance/confidence I have that He will take care of me. Learning to trust through trials and circumstances requires our confidence in knowing that He has our best in mind. He is working out a plan in which we are not aware.
Joseph had to learn to trust and have confidence in YWHW regardless of the horrible circumstances he found himself. He had to learn to trust that God was working out a plan for his life even when he could not imagine what that could be. At the appropriate time, Joseph saw the plan come together and understood truly His God had been in control. When he encountered his brothers after their father died and was buried, Joseph’s reaction to his brothers in his statement in Genesis 50:19-20 exhibited the fact that he understood the plan God had for his life.
Genesis 50:19-20 Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result—the survival of many people.”
Have you had a personal encounter with Jesus? Is your faith one of confidence and trust in believing God is working His will in your life? When your faith is tested, do you have the assurance/confidence that God is in control and He is working it out for His glory and according to the plan He has designed for your life?