This is an excerpt from week 3 of my weekly podcast. You can listen to the complete episode here: Journey – Exploring the world of the Bible – God’s Story or by clicking the picture below.
Joseph’s story of being sold into slavery and then released foreshadows that of his descendants, the Hebrews, who are the focus of the book of Exodus. Joseph is also a foreshadowing of Jesus. Both experienced humiliation before exaltation. And as all were commanded to bow before Joseph (v 43), so Philippians 2:10 says “at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow”. We learn from the stories of both Joseph and Jesus to, as 1 Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you”.
There is one giant difference between the story of Joseph and the stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Have you noticed that nowhere in Joseph’s story does God ever speak to Joseph? God never openly and directly intervenes in Joseph’s life. Also, unlike his forefathers, Joseph doesn’t build a single altar that we’re told about. Nevertheless, despite this seeming absence of God in Joseph’s story, God’s presence is an apparent reality throughout the story. When Joseph is lost hunting for his brothers he meets “a man” who knows exactly where his brothers are (37:15). The caravans of traders he is sold to happen to be going to Egypt (37:25, 28). The Lord is with him while serving in Potiphar’s house (39:2) and in prison (39:21). God’s name comes quickly to Joseph’s lips when he is confronted by Potiphar’s wife (39:9), when he interprets dreams (40:8, 41:16), and when he tests his brothers (42:18).
What’s the message of this story? Joseph sums it up, saying: “God has sent me ahead of you to ensure your survival on earth, and to save your lives in an extraordinary deliverance. So, it was not you who sent me here, but God” (45:7, 8). In all that happened to Joseph, God was always working for the redemption of those whom he had joined himself to through his covenant with Abraham.
If you appreciate this post please listen to the full podcast by clicking this link: Journey – Exploring the world of the Bible – God’s Story. A new podcast will be posted each week through May, 2015.
Grace and peace.