Joseph’s Life and Lessons, Part 1

January 22, 2019 at 11:38 AM 1 comment

On January 1st, I began reading the Bible all over again, starting with Genesis. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. The more you read and study His Word, the more your eyes are open to the valuable truths found within His Word. It’s not simply becoming more familiar with it (though that happens). It’s seeing more of what’s actually in the text itself and being able to connect it to other portions of Scripture. It’s also important to learn what the Bible says to you and me about our lives.

In this short series, I want to talk about Joseph, one of the Patriarchs of Israel. Genesis 37 introduces us to this young man who was a favored son of his father, Jacob (also known as Israel). Joseph and his eleven brothers became the patriarchs of Israel and from them, the twelve tribes of Israel came into existence. These eleven brothers were not prime examples of men with integrity, for the most part. In fact, they hated Joseph who seemed to them to be a braggart and tattle tale (Genesis 37:2b). It didn’t help that apparently Jacob loved Joseph more than all his brothers (Genesis 37:3).

It really doesn’t matter what excuse a parent might have for loving one child more than another (the text tells us that Jacob loved Joseph more than the others because Joseph was the “son of his old age”; Genesis 37:3). This did not set well with the other eleven sons and Jacob should have understood this.

It also didn’t help that Joseph seemed to be a bit of a braggart, though this could have been done in innocence. Starting in verse five of Genesis 37, we learn about Joseph’s first dream (or first recorded dream).

5 Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more.
6 He said to them, ‘Hear this dream that I have dreamed:
7 Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.’
8 His brothers said to him, ‘Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?’ So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. (Genesis 37:5-8 ESV)

Now there is the possibility that Joseph was not really bragging. He could’ve been just excited to have such a dream and wanted to share it. But when he had a second dream along the same lines, yet with a bit more detail, it seems to indicate that what Joseph shared was seen as bragging or lording it over everyone because by then he understood what it meant for his brothers and parents. Even so, it’s probably best to reserve judgment of Joseph’s heart because the text doesn’t really tell us.

Note that the second dream (Genesis 37:9-11), was not just about his brothers, but also included Joseph’s mother and father (the “sun and moon”).  Interesting, isn’t it?

By the way, as an aside here (though connected), take the time to read Revelation 12. The chapter provides a very quick summary of the history of Israel through to the birth, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus into heaven. Notice specifically verse one of Revelation 12:

And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

This verse speaks of the nation of Israel (the woman). Notice the reference to the sun, the moon and twelve stars. Those refer to Joseph’s mother (moon), father (sun) and eleven other sons (stars) for a total of twelve when we include Joseph. Isn’t it fascinating how the Bible interprets itself? I’ve read so many commentators who offer a myriad of explanations for the meaning of Revelation 12:1, but only conservative Bible scholars seem to get it right. It makes the most sense when understood this way since it points back to the beginnings of the nation of Israel. Certainly, Jacob, his wife and their sons are the actual direct beginning of Israel (though Abraham and Isaac and their wives also made Israel possible, indirectly). Certainly, this is more proof that God and God alone ultimately wrote Genesis through Revelation. To God, it’s one large book. To us, it’s 66 individual books.

So here we have Joseph talking about the fact that even his mother and father along with his eleven brothers would actually bow down to him. If I was Jacob hearing that, I’d be a bit miffed and incredulous as well. Joseph brothers simply used this as more reason to hate him. Joseph actually thought his brothers would bow down to him? HA! That would never happen and in fact, they began making plans to kill him to ensure that it did not happen (37:20).

Can you imagine wanting to kill your own sibling out of jealousy? Certainly, this wouldn’t be the first time as we know about Cain and Abel, with Abel being killed for roughly the same reason as Joseph’s brothers wanted to kill him. Joseph certainly rubbed his brothers the wrong way and it is quite possible that to Jacob, Joseph could do no wrong. This had a direct hand in setting all of his eleven brothers against him As we’ll also learn, it is something God used for His own good pleasure as well.

Jacob tells Joseph to go check on his brothers to see if they needed anything and to find out if all was well as they tended their flocks in the field. After searching for them, Joseph finally finds them not far from Shechem. As soon as they saw him, their hatred rose to the surface and they actually began to openly discuss killing him to be rid of him from their lives.

Their off-the-cuff plan involved killing him outright, then tossing his body into one of the water less cisterns near by. They would then claim to father Jacob that a wild animal had killed Joseph (37:20). Reuben, the oldest brother, argued against killing Joseph (v 21). Reuben’s intention was to save Joseph and bring him back to father Jacob.

The brothers overcame Joseph upon his arrival and tossed him in a cistern (vv 23-24). Clearly, that was the end of their plan since they had agreed not to kill him. They didn’t really know what to do with Joseph at that point. So, now what?

As “luck” would have it, a traveling caravan of Arab’s was approaching on its way to Egypt. This caravan was essentially made up of some of Ishmael’s descendants (v 27a). That gave Joseph’s brothers an idea. They would actually earn some money off of the brother they hated!

As the caravan approached, they pulled Joseph out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels. A shekel is a unit of weight, which would roughly be worth several hundred dollars in silver today since silver is often sold by the ounce. The brothers were happy. They’d gotten rid of their pesky, annoying younger brother who was always preaching to them and ratting them out. Now all they had to do was “sell” Joseph’s death to their father and deal with the repercussions of that for many years to come. Can you imagine lying to your father about the alleged death of your younger brother and having to maintain that lie for nearly 20 years? Do you think it would start eating away at your very soul? Imagine watching and listening to your father grieve for days while you knew the actual truth but could not tell him without admitting to your own involvement in a scheme you helped create. A person’s heart has to be pretty hard for that to happen.

Later on in Genesis, we get some semblance of what went on in Joseph’s mind and heart with his reaction to be roughly handled, then sold into slavery to people he did not know. Always wondering how he would be treated and if he would ever see his father and mother again, I cannot truly imagine that fear, can you?

Many scholars believe Joseph is a type of Christ because there are so many parallels between Joseph’s life and Jesus. We’ll highlight some of them as we move through this series in each article. We’ll also discuss the ramifications for Christians, how we are to act, what our demeanor should be to the world and to God, and we will look at what God expects from us in spite of the circumstances that we face often on a daily basis.

One parallel we can make between Joseph and Jesus is that just as Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers, Jesus also was sold by his own fellow Jews. Joseph had done nothing morally wrong that warranted him being treated so badly. It’s even possible that as a 17-year-old young man, the things he said to his brothers and father were not done in a bragging way as previously mentioned, but possibly in a very innocent way. It would be natural for people listening to these things to take umbrage or to become very jealous if their hearts were not right with God.

Jesus often said things that pushed people’s buttons. Did He do this solely for the purpose of pushing their buttons? No, He did it to wake them up to the truth because He always spoke the truth. In spite of this, many rejected His message during His day and continue to reject it today. Their pride will not allow them to bend the knee, admitting that they need Him.

In Joseph’s case, he shared what he dreamed. Obviously, the dreams were from God. Who knows if he actually thought it would happen? Maybe he simply thought they were interesting dreams. Nonetheless, Joseph told the truth and was roundly rejected for doing so to the point that he was sold, given over to Gentiles. He had no idea what to expect.

Jesus was also sold by his own fellow Jews to Gentiles (the Romans), who condemned Him to death, where He died a miserably painful death. As far as Joseph was concerned, he also “died” to his father Jacob and his mother.

There are other parallels between Joseph and Jesus that we’ll address as we come to them. We’ll also learn how Joseph ultimately reacted to the treachery of his own brothers and we’ll see the parallel between that and what happened with Jesus.

Moreover, we’ll learn what our demeanor as Christians needs to be toward those who slander us and mistreat us. Not for the faint of heart. We’ll see you when we publish part 2.

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Cultural Marxism, Demonic, devil worship, Emotional virtue, eternity, Global Elite, israel, Judaism, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, Satanism. Tags: , , , , .

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