Joseph – the beloved son ( Genesis CH. 37 to 46)
After the life of Jesus, we would refer to Salvation as the way of the Cross. But all our Old Testament heroes walked the way of the cross too. They all had to die to self to be used by God for God’s purposes. Richard Rohr speaks of the false self, dying for the true self to be revealed. The pattern of life is death and resurrection. The Story of Joseph is one of the most powerful testimonies to this in the Old Testament.
Joseph’s life follows the pattern, he is called, he endures hardship and as he builds a life of faith in the midst of adversity, (in his case, slavery and gaol) but never loses sight of his place as a beloved of God, and God raises Him up and uses him.
It is interesting that on the birth of Joseph Jacob says to Laban (Gen 30: 25) “send me on my way,” Joseph through Jacob is called out, and on the move, on their return to Esau to be reconciled, Jacob Wrestles with God (Gen 32:22). Eventually in Genesis 35, after much has happened Jacob heads off for Bethel, destroying all the foreign gods in his household. (Genesis 35:2). Joseph was in the advance party for the meeting with Esau (Gen 32:23).I mention this because we often begin the story of Joseph with his dream (at age 17) but he had been through a great deal in those 17 years.
Joseph was the beloved of Jacob (Genesis 37: 3). I love the imagery of the rainbow coloured coat (See how God covers Adam and Eve with a cloak (Genesis 3:21) and of course we remember Noah and the Rainbow (Genesis 9:12)– the symbols of Covenant and Salvation.
Joseph dreams of what God will do through him, I am sure he did not perfectly understand the dreams but, he knew that God had plans for him, and I am sure that he remembered that through every trial. To put it plainly, in the pit, in the slave caravan, in Potipher’s house in the gaol cell, Joseph would have remembered, “I am a special my life has purpose, God has a plan for me.” “ I know the plans I have for you, the plans to prosper and not to harm” ( Jeremiah 29:11) is the principle that would have consoled Joseph and it must console you. Our “dark night,” “dungeon”, experiences are not as a result of God abandoning us, though in them we cry out, “ My God my God why have you forsaken me” ( Psalm 22:1) they are God drawing us deeper and closer. We need to know that Christ is sufficient for us. Our deep-water experiences remove the delusions of power and control and make us solely dependent on God. We all have a clearer glimpse of this in our lives during this pandemic.
But remember the dream – God is using us to bring salvation, our life experiences are part of His plan. Pharaoh could trust Joseph, for his life was “tried in the fire” he was authentic, he faced the unrighteousness and unfairness of life and overcame. When the time is right God will use you too, you will be recognised even by your enemies.
Joseph’s life was filled with what we would term suffering and persecution, but it came to be understood that all that experience was for the purpose of saving the world through faith in God and “building and Ark” gathering what God requested (in his case grain) so that the known world would be saved from the devastation of drought (a flood of hunger).
Question: Can you see how Joseph’s life is an example/illustration/ how it is consistent with the principle of the Sermon on the Mount?
Let us pray.
Lord God, teach us to understand that suffering in our life is the crucible of purification and sanctification, keep us focused on the vision of our lives having a significant impact on others when we are obedient to you and endure all things through Christ who strengths us. (Phil 4:13)