Joseph’s Faith—An Encouraging Example!

Genesis 41:9–10, The chief butler spoke. Here the chief butler is recounting the events to Pharaoh of how he ended up in prison as if Pharaoh weren’t aware of these facts. It is quite possible that this was a new Pharaoh, and the Pharaoh who had put the butler in prison was now dead. If so, then this new Pharaoh was very young, since in Genesis 45:8 Joseph, who by now would have been at least in his late 30s, refers to himself as “a father to Pharaoh.”

YHVH’s timing is perfect. Do you have the trust in YHVH to believe that for your life? Had the chief butler remembered Joseph prior to this how would things have been different for Joseph? Would he have had the chance to interpret Pharaoh’s dream? Would he have returned to Canaan? How would the history of the nation of Israel been different? Would YHVH’s purposes have been fulfilled?

Genesis 41:16, Elohim. By this time, Joseph had endured multiple false accusations, murder attempts, enslavement and imprisonment. A man of lesser spiritual stature than Joseph might have lost his faith in Elohim along the way.

In this verse, what is the evidence that he hadn’t given up hope in his Heavenly Father, and that he had not lost sight of the dreams and promises that YHVH had made to him many years earlier?

As a form of witnessing, do you give honor to YHVH whenever you can—even to strangers as Joseph did? The fact that Joseph was able to proclaim his faith in front of one of the most powerful monarchs of his day is evidence of his strong and abiding faith in and fear of YHVH even in spite of years of mistreatment and false accusations.

Joseph is a powerful and encouraging example to the down-trodden of the world who have been persecuted for the their faith. It is possible to maintain faith in YHVH even in spite of dire circumstances, even as Joseph did.

 

What kind of faith do you have? Active, Passive or Presumptive…

Genesis 27:1–32, Rebekah and Jacob’s scheming. How often do we take matters into our own hands to “help” YHVH out in fulfilling his promises for our life. Where is the faith in that? (Read Psalm 37:3–7, 23–24, 34.) Analyze the actions of your life on the basis of these words. Consider the following concepts of faith:

  1. Dynamic or Active Faith: A person with this kind of faith knows when to move ahead and when to wait.
  2. Passive or Inactive Faith: A person with this kind of faith never moves, but always sits idly by waiting for things just to happen on their own.
  3. Presumptuous or Impetuous Faith: A person with this kind of faith always moves and never waits.

Which kind of faith did the faith heros of Scripture evidence? What kind of faith do you have?

 

Was Abraham saved by faith or by works or both?

Genesis 26:5, Because. Based on Paul’s teaching in Romans 4, we see that the Abrahamic Covenant is the model for salvation, which is salvation by grace through faith leading to or resulting in good works or righteousness (Eph 2:8–10).

From this verse, it might appear the Abrahamic Covenant wasn’t a faith-based covenant at all, but a works based one. In other words, Abraham had to do something to be counted righteous or to come into good standing with Elohim—a concept which is commonly referred to as “earning one’s salvation through one’s good works.”

The fact is that in the Abrahamic Covenant, Abraham only had to have faith and believe in YHVH to be justified or to be considered righteous by Elohim (Gen 15:6). It was on this basis that YHVH granted him “salvation.”

But this initial step of faith on Abraham’s part and the righteousness Elohim attributed to him was but the first step in Abraham’s faith walk. From that point, he had to walk out his faith and continue trusting YHVH (see also Gen 19:5).

The apostolic writers present the idea that one’s spiritual journey is a walk, not a one time event that occurs at the beginning of that walk. Our faith walk is more than just mental assent with a few emotions thrown in for good measure. It’s more than just following the golden rule about loving our neighbor in some nebulous sort of way. It involves faithfulness to YHVH’s instructions. James clearly states in his epistle that this is how one demonstrates the legitimacy of one’s faith when he declares that faith without works is dead (Jas 2:18, 20, 26; see vv. 12–26 for context).

Abraham demonstrated his faithfulness by his obedience to YHVH’s Torah or YHVH’s Word or voice. Furthermore, as a result of this obedience, YHVH promised to bless him beyond simply being granted initial salvation or righteousness.

This two-step approach or model still holds true in the Testimony of Yeshua. One is saved or delivered from the wages of their past sin (Rom 3:25), which is death (Rom 6:23) by their faith (initial salvation), and then one ceases from that sin by continuing in the good works of Torah obedience (Eph 2:8–10).

Moreover, Yeshua and the apostolic writers in numerous instances reveal that future rewards (both temporal and eternal rewards) come as a result of one’s good works (e.g. Matt 5:19). The ultimate reward is being granted eternal life and inclusion in the family of Elohim.

 

Abraham, a man of reluctant faith?

The story of Abraham leaving Babylon reveals the great mercy of Elohim in one man’s life. Romans 12:2 talks about finding the good, better and perfect will of Elohim for our lives. As much as we may respect and even venerate Abraham as the father of the faithful, it appears that he didn’t follow Elohim’s instructions perfectly at first. It wasn’t that Abraham was out of the will of Elohim, but that he may not have been in the perfect will of Elohim. Despite human weakness and reluctance to immediately follow the Creator’s instructions, YHVH was still merciful and gracious with the spiritual father of our faith.

Genesis 12:1, Get thee out of thy country. Did Abram immediately leave his father’s house and go directly to the country that YHVH would show him, or did he fulfill YHVH’s will for his life in incremental steps? (Compare Gen 11:31 with 12:1.) Did Abram leave his father’s house completely, or take part of his father’s house with him including his father and nephew? Haran is located in northern Mesopotamia and is nowhere near Canaan. When Abram finally made his way to Canaan minus his father, did he still have part of his kindred with him, something YHVH instructed him to leave behind (Gen 12:1)? Did his nephew Lot prove to be a help or a hindrance to Abram in fulfilling YHVH’s mission for his life in a new land?

What lessons can we learn from this account? First, YHVH is gracious to us even when we don’t obey him completely and immediately. Scripture still refers to Abraham as the father of the faithful or faithfulness (Rom 4:12, 16). Second, Abram was a man of prominence in Babylon (or Chaldea), was recognized as a mighty prince (Gen 23:6), and was 75 years old when YHVH asked him to leave the comforts of life in Babylon to trek across the desert to the backwoods region of Canaan. No doubt, this was not an easy move for Abram for the reasons stated above.

What did Yeshua tell his disciples about the sacrifices that would need to be made to be a follower of YHVH? (Matt 10:35–39). What did Yeshua say would be the eternal rewards of those, who like our father Abraham, set out in faith for a new spiritual destiny? (Matt 19:29) What physical obstacles stand in your way of fulfilling YHVH’s spiritual calling, mission and destiny for your life?

Presently, YHVH is calling his people out of the spiritual Babylon (Rev 18:4) of man-made religious systems that, to one degree or another, have supplanted the simple truths of YHVH’s word with doctrines and traditions of men. Anything that takes precedence in the hearts and minds of men that is contrary to the Bible is, by biblical definition, an idol. End times spiritual Babylon is full of idolatry. It is a confused mixture of truth and lies. YHVH called Abram out of Babylon, and he’s calling his people out of Babylon today to worship and obey him in Spirit and truth. His end time saints will be those who follow Yeshua the Messiah unconditionally wherever he goes (Rev 14:4–6). Their chief identification mark is that they follow the Torah-commandments of Elohim and have the faith of Yeshua—their lives have been transformed by the message of the gospel (Rev 14:17; 12:14).

 

14 Reasons to Believe the Bible and to Obey Elohim

  1. One is a sinner (he has broken the laws of the laws of the Creator) and needs to get right with the Creator of the universe.
  2. One needs to worship, obey and serve YHVH Elohim simply because he is the GOD/Elohim of the universe and the Creator of all things and because he demands and deserves it.
  3. The Bible is the only book that lays out the path of reconciliation with the Creator of the universe through which man must come to terms with his sinful nature that is opposed to good and Elohim.
  4. Each person needs a moral compass to point him in the right direction.
  5. One needs a guardrail on the road of life to keep one from falling into the a spiritual ditch, or off of the spiritual cliff.
  6. One needs a spiritual, moral, emotional foundation upon which to build one’s life.
  7. Each person needs to understand why he was born, who made him, his purpose in life, where he has come from and what the future of holds for his life.
  8. One needs to understand the meaning of life.
  9. One needs be able to answer the deep questions of life without running from them, ignoring them or masking over them.
  10. One needs the support of a spiritual community in times of need that other like-minding believers bring.
  11. One has to decide whether one will put one’s faith in the philosophies of men, and in the reasonings of secular humanists who philosophize about Elohim, or in the divine revelation of the Creator himself as revealed in his Word, and as demonstrated by the fruits of the lives of his servants and miraculous power and anointing in which they walk. 
  12. Each person needs to get a personal revelation of who made them, why they were made them and what their purpose and destiny is.
  13. Faith helps you to understand who your are, why you’re here and where you’re going. 
  14. Man needs something outside of himself to direct his heart, focus, thoughts towards—something that can lift him upward when he is down, something beyond himself that will give him a transcendent hope, something that will give him a higher purpose and reason for living. Man has a need for this in the depths of his soul. Nothing temporal or physical will fill this need. Those who refuse to recognize this will often turn to physical, mental or emotional crutches,  to addictions or false spirituality to mask over this need. But like an air bubble that cannot be forcibly held under the water, but must rise to the surface, likewise this human spiritual need unfulfilled will rise to the surface to reveal the leanness or vacuous nature of all other things that have been used to keep man’s deep inner spiritual need suppressed.

Can you think of some other reasons to believe? If so, share them with us in the comments section. 

 

Salvation by Works or Grace?

Ephesians 2:8, 10, Saved … good works. Are we saved by faith through grace or by our good works? This verse clearly answers this question. One is saved by the free gift of YHVH’s grace through faith (in Yeshua). Salvation isn’t based on good works (Torah obedience), or else prideful man would boast about how good his is, and that YHVH must have saved him on the merits of his good works. However, once one is saved, and a result of his salvation one will produce the fruits good works, which is Torah-obedience. This is the definition of biblical righteousness (Ps 119:172) and shows us how to walk in the Spirit by loving YHVH with our all and our neighbor as ourself. When we live out this pattern, we become Elohim’s workmanship through Yeshua.

 

James vs. Paul: Are we saved by faith or by works or what?

James 2:20–24, Faith without works is dead. James is here referring to the works of faith, not the works of the law. No man can live a good enough life to be saved by his Torah-obedience or the works of the law (Rom 3:20, 28; Gal 2:16; 3:11).

However, faith in Elohim is more than just mental ascent—“a knowing in your heart.” It has to be backed up by action (and we’re not talking about the works of the law). For example, when Elohim told Abraham to leave Babylon or to sacrifice Isaac, he obeyed by leaving that country and moving to Canaan. Moreover, many were healed in Yeshua’s ministry because they had faith in the Master and backed that faith up with corresponding action, which was the evidence of their faith.

This faith-action continuum had nothing to do with Torah-obedience per se, but had everything to do with “putting your money where your mouth is” by backing up your faith or belief with action. It is this kind of faith that James is talking about here, and this in no wise contradicts the teachings of Paul who said that no man is justified by the works of the law.

When Paul declares in Ephesians 2:8–9, “For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of Elohim, not of works…,” he was correct and not opposed to James. What’s more, Paul goes on to say in verse 10, “For we are [Elohim’s] workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua for good works…that we should walk in them.” These good works (i.e. obedience to the Torah) are the fruits, evidence or proof of our salvation and are the works that back up our faith.

So, in summary, the Bible teaches that we need the faith (a heart that believes and wants to obey Elohim) to lead us to salvation, as well as the works of faith after we have received Elohim’s free gift of salvation as evidence that we are saved. This fact in no way contravenes the reality of salvation by grace through trusting belief in Yeshua the Messiah, which is apart from the works of the Torah-law.