JOSEPH – WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS STORY?
The story about Joseph, the son of Jacob, starts I Genesis 37 and he dies in the 50th chapter. I was recently watching an American film about Joseph. It was made like a theater with living animals, song and dance. It was so alive and I learned more than before. I will retell the story and mention some thoughts that I get when I read this story from the Bible.
Jacob had twelve sons with different wives. Joseph and Benjamin had the same mother, Rachel. She died when Benjamin was born. Rachel was really the wife that Jacob loved. He really loved Joseph more than his other sons. His brothers were envious since he had advantages that they didn’t. He was also more loved. Joseph didn’t talk nicely about his brothers to his father. Here we have serious family conflicts. I think that it starts by the fact that Jacob sleeps with different women and have children with them. He, himself was actually tricked by his father-in-law. He wanted Rachel and married her, but Laban, the father, gave him Leah, the older sister. He had to work seven years in order to get Rachel. Both Leah and Rachel gave their slave women to Jacob and told him to sleep with them in order for them to have children. This entire story contains a lot of sins and mistakes. Jacob started right by wanting to marry Rachel, but the father took Leah and gave her to Jacob the night after the wedding. He had sex with the sister of the bride without knowing it. This is a terrible sin in my eyes. Leah had children, but Rachel didn’t conceive. When Leah stopped having children, both these sisters gave their slave women to Jacob. Jacob agreed and he was just as sinful as his wives. It was more common to have more than one wife at that time, but they all sinned in my eyes.
Jacob treated his children differently and he was not a righteous father. It was not the fault of the children that their parents sinned. Joseph spoke badly about his brothers and the brothers were envious and couldn’t speak about Joseph with peace. It really didn’t improve when Joseph shared his dreams with his brothers. The dreams showed that the brothers should bow down before Joseph. Joseph seemed to be a little naïve and self-centered. He did say that is was God giving him the dreams, but even the father said that he shouldn’t have told them about his dreams. Are we always supposed to tell everything God is giving us? We need wisdom when we get a prophetic word from God. There are times when we are supposed hide it in our heart.
The consequences of telling his dreams became very serious. Joseph was sent to his brothers in Dothan. They wanted to kill him for his pride. They threw him down in a pit but they changed their mind and decided to sell him as a slave. They pulled him up from the pit and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels. They were on their way to Egypt. The brothers had stripped Joseph of his colorful tunic given to him by his father. The brothers killed a kid of the goats and dipped the tunic in the blood. They took the tunic back to their father and said that Joseph was killed. Jacob was in deep sorrow while Joseph was sold to Potiphar, a high officer of Pharaoh.
Joseph hadn’t done everything right, but he feared the Lord and was holding on to the dreams and visions given him by the Lord. The Lord was with him and he was liked by Potiphar who made him the overseer of his house. The Egyptians were blessed because of Joseph.
Joseph was good-looking and that lead him into trouble. The wife of Potiphar wanted to sleep with him and tried to tempt him again and again, but she could not persuade him. She got very angry then and grabbed his garment while he ran away. She said that Joseph had tried to seduce her and Joseph was put in prison for something he hadn’t done. The Lord did not leave Joseph and he was given the authority over the other prisoners by the keeper of the prison. The Lord watched over Joseph and He made him a success no matter where he was. When we honor God, we will have success. It is a promise.
Joseph didn’t fall into temptation and was willing to pay a penalty for something he hadn’t done. God is with us in such situations since He is a God of Justice. He has always a plan ready to save us. Adam and Eve sinned and were separated from God until Jesus came and became the Savior of the world. The devil shall never have the last word.
When Joseph was in prison, he interpreted the dreams for the baker and the highest butler of Pharaoh. They were also sent to prison. Joseph interpreted the dreams and said that the baker would be hanged in three days and the butler would get back his job as a butler in three days. Both things happened. Joseph asked the butler to ask for help from Pharaoh, but the butler forgot until one day when Pharaoh asked for one who could interpret dreams. Pharaoh had asked many, but in vain. The butler suggested that they should ask Joseph and he was called to come to Pharaoh. He interpreted his dreams and said that there would come seven very good years, but then there would strike a famine for seven years. Joseph said that Pharaoh should get a wise man to collect a fifth of the abundance and give to Pharaoh That should be enough to manage during the seven bad years Pharaoh appointed Joseph to do the job and he was given a wife and he had two sons with her Joseph did collect a fifth for the Pharaoh and they had more than enough when the famine struck People from other countries came to buy what they lacked themselves
Ten of the brothers of Joseph also went to Egypt to buy grain. Joseph recognized his brothers, but they didn’t. He accused them of being spies They refused, but he wanted to test them. He said that one of them had to stay back with Joseph and the rest of them had to go back and bring the youngest brother Benjamin to him. He would send grain with them, but Benjamin had to come. The brothers wondered if they were punished because of what they did to Joseph. They didn’t know that Joseph understood what they said, far less the fact that he really was Joseph. The servants filled the sacks with grain and were told to put their money back on the top of the sacks. The brothers got scared when they found their money and Jacob was not willing to allow them to bring Benjamin with them, but when the grain was finished and there was no more food, Jacob allowed them to bring Benjamin along and he found a gift and wanted them to bring back a double amount of money. They travelled back to Egypt, but when Joseph saw Benjamin, he told the caretaker of his house to slaughter an animal and bring them all into his house to dine with him. When Joseph came into the room, all the brothers bowed down before him exactly like in the dream Joseph had many years ago. Joseph had an inner fight with himself. It was difficult to forgive completely and he therefore hesitated to tell them who he was. Joseph asked his servants to fill their sacks and to put his silver cup in the bag of Benjamin. When they had left, Joseph told his caretaker to follow them He also found the silver cup in the bag of Benjamin. They were told to come back with him to Joseph.. He wanted to keep Benjamin. Judah asked for grace and said that their father would die if they didn’t bring Benjamin back to him. This was too much for Joseph and he finally surrendered. He told everybody to leave the room except for the brothers and he wept and told them that he was Joseph. He said that he forgave them and that God sent him to Egypt to save them. He kissed them and kept on crying. He equipped them for their journey home and asked them to bring their father and they could all live in Goshen. Pharaoh agreed to this. Jacob rejoiced over the fact that Joseph was alive and they all moved to Goshen.
Joseph saved both the land of Canaan and Egypt. The house of Jacob became great in number as well as in blessings. Before Jacob was ready to die, he blessed Joseph and his two sons. Then he blessed all his sons.
This is a short version of the story of Joseph.
God can turn evil to good. He forgives us and He wants us to forgive. Joseph became the rescuer for his entire family as well as countries. He was restored and one can for sure say: NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR GOD!