The Story of Joseph Part 2
Genesis Chapters 37-50
In my last blog, I shared the story of Joseph and how it speaks into our personal response to life’s challenges. Joseph was a great example of how to navigate those circumstances with integrity and in a way that honors the Lord.
Now I want to share the “big picture” takeaways from this story that we all need to understand as we follow Jesus. We focused upon Joseph in the last blog, specifically how he handled adversity. You may even think he was the main character in the story. This actually could not be further from the truth.
In Genesis 39:2, we see the Scriptures record that “the LORD was with Joseph, and he became a successful man… and that the LORD caused all that he did to succeed in his hands.” We see again later in the chapter it records “the LORD was with him [Joseph]. And whatever he did, the LORD made it succeed” (Gen. 39:23). You have to ask the question, “Why was the LORD with Joseph, yet made him go through the pain of being sold by his brothers into slavery, falsely accused of infidelity, and imprisonment (I am sure that Egyptian prisons did not include softball fields)? In order to answer this question we have to follow the story.
As mentioned, after Joseph comes to power and establishes himself as number two in Egypt, his brothers traveled to Egypt for food. You remember in the story Joseph having a little fun at his brothers’ expense before sharing with them that he is their long-lost brother. You can imagine the shock they experienced to learn this. You can also imagine the fear because they wronged Joseph significantly and he probably had every right (and the power) to condemn his brothers for their actions. However, Joseph had realized something incredibly significant…God had ordered his life on purpose. Joseph realized that God allowed these circumstances to position him to provide food for his family, basically saving their lives because the famine was so severe. We see this in Genesis 45:5-8, “And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life… And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God.” He says it again in Genesis 50:19-20. He didn’t know this traveling in a caravan from the Middle East to Egypt. He didn’t know this when he was serving Potiphar or when he was stuck in an Egyptian prison. However, when his brothers were standing before him I am sure it hit him…God had positioned him to keep his family alive and fulfill the promise God made to Abraham, Isaac and his dad, Jacob.
What he probably didn’t know was that God was also positioning Joseph’s family under the sovereign protection of the most powerful nation on earth to enable the Israelites to multiply and grow as a people. He didn’t know that in order for Israel to be strong enough to possess and thrive in the Promised Land, that God would use Egypt to protect them and give them peace. Through Joseph’s influence, God’s people were kept alive and allowed to prosper until He was ready to enable them. God had a plan for His people, and through Joseph’s faithfulness, his legacy is cemented as a key instrument God used to establish the nation of Israel, the same people that God would send the Savior of the world through to bless all nations!
In much the same way, each born-again follower of Jesus can have a significant role in God’s Kingdom expansion on earth. The Bible and Christian history are full of individuals (and churches) that expressed faithfulness in the moment, and later were proven to be significant instruments in the hand of the Lord to fulfill His purposes. Moses, Ruth, Samuel, David, the prophets, the disciples, Paul, Martin Luther, William Wilberforce, Jonathan Edwards, George Mueller, Hudson Taylor, Charles Spurgeon, Billy Graham. The list is long of people that started out ordinary, but whom God used to significantly shape the future expansion of His acknowledged reign. If you had asked any of these people as a child or teenager if they had a vision for what the Lord could do through their life, none of them would have articulated what is being said about them now. All they knew was to be faithful, obedient, and trust God with the results.
What about you? Your faithful decisions today will lead to God bearing much fruit through you tomorrow. The future generations need your faithfulness today. I pray as a church family that we will be driven by vision…vision that God will influence future generations to come all across this world through our desire to be faithful to Him in the present.