“Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” Isaiah 46:9-10
The story of Jacob’s son Joseph is one of my favorite stories in the Old Testament. It covers fourteen chapters in Genesis. It is a divine display of God’s wonderful workings. It begins with God giving a young seventeen year-old, two dreams or visions of something God was going to bring to pass. At the time, neither Joseph, his brothers, nor his father knew exactly what the dreams were foretelling. The dreams seemed to suggest a day would come when all of Joseph’s family would bow down to him, but that was as far as they went.
The probability of Joseph being voted the most likely son to succeed was slim to none. Most of his brothers had a jealous hatred for him due to his father’s love for him. So much so, that when the opportunity presented itself, they sold him to slave traders headed for a foreign country. They covered their tracks by deceiving their father into believing that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal.
Joseph wound up in Egypt where he was sold to a high ranking officer. He won the favor of his master who put all his house under Joseph’s immediate control. Alas, his master’s wife tried to seduce Joseph. When Joseph refused, she lied, accusing him of trying to rape her. He was thrown into prison where he stayed until a series of events brought him into the high favor of the king of Egypt.
God enabled Joseph to do what none of the magicians or wise men of Egypt could do: interpret some troubling dreams the king had. Joseph told the King that God was showing him Egypt was going to have seven bountiful years of crops, followed by seven years of severe famine. Because of his being able to tell the king what his dreams meant, the king made Joseph lord over all Egypt. What that meant was, everything in Egypt was under the authority of Joseph except the king himself.
As the story continues, the immediate purpose of God for Jacob’s family becomes clear: Joseph was sent ahead (God used the deeds of evil men to get him there) to save his family from famine by bringing them to Egypt and settle them in a rich land. But the whole story was a divine preview of a far greater plan that God had purposed before He ever brought the world into existence. In other words, the Lord God Almighty demonstrated through the story of Joseph, exactly what He would do some 3000 years later through His Son, Jesus Christ.
God sent his beloved Son into a foreign country; Jesus left the glory of heaven and entered into a world ravished by sin. Jesus came into this world to save sinners; to make them His brethren and bring them to a rich land He has prepared for them. Jesus Christ was born a Jew, and it was to the Jews first He brought His message of the kingdom of God and salvation. But His brethren hated and rejected Him, and when the opportunity presented itself, they had Jesus crucified as a common criminal.
But all the evil that was heaped upon Jesus, only served to place Jesus where God had planned on Him being—Lord over all! As Lord, Jesus has the power to bring all who call upon Him to a place of everlasting joy and happiness. God’s divine preview is a beautiful picture of what it means to be a part of the family of God.
Brother Bill is a Bible teacher and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org