God's amazing promises can be trusted

Psalm 105:16-17 (NRSV) says:

When [God] summoned famine against the land, and broke every staff of bread, he had sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. His feet were hurt with fetters, his neck was put in a collar of iron; until what he had said came to pass, the word of the Lord kept testing him.

When he was 17, Joseph was promised greatness in two dreams from God. The two dreams used different imagery to reveal the same thing: that Joseph’s brothers, mother and father would bow down to him.

But Joseph’s life didn’t look so great immediately after that. His brothers sold him into slavery. In slavery, Joseph advanced to a great position because of his looks, skill and ability, but then he was falsely accused and thrown into prison, where he was forgotten for years.

When Joseph was called from prison to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams, Joseph told the ruler that even though the Pharaoh’s two dreams had different imagery, the meaning was the same. Joseph said, “The doubling of Pharaoh’s dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about.” (Genesis 41:32, NRSV)

When said that, Joseph was 30. Joseph had been waiting 13 years for his own two dreams to come true. Joseph had no personal experience to back up his claim that two repeated dreams means “the thing is fixed by God and God will shortly bring it about.” What he did have was hope and confidence in the future God had revealed to him.

It would be another eight years (or more) before Joseph would see the fulfillment of his own set of two dreams. But he could see it already by faith, in spite of the unexpected way his life had gone over the past 13 years.

Hebrews 13:1 says, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” This was certainly the case in Joseph’s life.

Joseph continued to have faith throughout his life. Hebrews 11:22 (NRSV) says, “By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave instructions about his burial.”

Joseph told his family that when Israel left Egypt they should take his bones with them and bury them in the land promised to Abraham. It’s likely that Joseph knew what Abraham had been told: that the exodus from Egypt was still more than 300 years in the future. But Joseph believed it would happen, and made plans for when it would come to pass.

John 16:13 (NRSV):

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

What do you believe in (or hope for) that other people can’t see yet?

What has God revealed that you are still waiting for?