Joseph and His Sovereign God
Please take the time to read Genesis 37, 39 - 50
The story of Joseph is one of the most loved stories in all the Bible. We cry every time we read the story of Joseph’s life. His life was full of hardships and tragedies, as well as great blessings from the sovereign God of Heaven.
I believe that the greatest teaching to be learned from the story of Joseph’s life is that God is sovereign, and that He is in control of all events of time. All of God’s works in the lives of His people work together for their good and for His glory, even if they don’t seem to be at the time. Even if we can’t see God working in our lives, yet He is there, working in all things, and through all things, whether they be good or evil things, and causing them to fulfill His great will and purpose.
You cannot read the story of Joseph’s life and come away saying that God is not sovereign over the affairs of men, whether they be the lost heathen of this world or His dear children, who are saved by His sovereign grace. To read this story as a professed believer and not see that God is sovereign over all things, and in control of all things, is to miss the plain and obvious teaching of the Scriptures.
You see, beloved, what makes this story of Joseph’s life so wonderful and so blessed isn’t Joseph, but rather it is Joseph’s God, who loved him, and loved Israel His chosen people. There is great courage and encouragement to be found in this and other Bible stories, which reveal God’s divine love and care for His people. It is not difficult to see ourselves in this story. In some ways the story of Joseph’s life is the story of our lives. We can identify with Joseph, but more importantly, we can identify with Joseph’s God.
In addition to the sovereign providence of God, we also see some beautiful types in the life of Joseph. Most importantly we see Joseph the deliverer, who is a type of Jesus Christ our deliverer. There is also other typology mingled within this story that we will bring out in the course of our messages.
Our points for this series of messages will include; 1) Joseph at home as a child; 2) Joseph sold as a slave; 3) Joseph in Potiphar’s house; 4) Joseph in jail; 5) Joseph exalted in Egypt; 6) Joseph the shepherd of the people; 7) Joseph gives all the glory to God; 8) Why we cry when we read the story of Joseph; 9) Jacob learns that Joseph is still alive; 10) Israel sacrifices in Beersheba; and 11) Don’t bury me in Egypt.
1. First we want to see Joseph at home as a child.
Joseph was the first of two children that were born to Rachel, who was Jacob’s second wife and the sister of his first wife, Leah. Jacob served his uncle Laban 7 years for Rachel, but Laban tricked Jacob and gave him Leah for his wife instead of Rachel. Jacob, therefore, worked another 7 years for Rachel. During the many years that transpired God closed Rachel’s womb and she could not bear any children. But at long last God opened her womb and she conceived and bear Joseph. And then about 6 years later she conceived again, and bear Benjamin her second child; and then Rachel died upon giving birth.
We want to note here that God is the One who gives life. It is God who opens and closes the womb. And so Joseph and Benjamin were the only two sons of Rachel, and the last of the twelve sons that were born unto Jacob, which made up the twelve tribes of Israel.
Now then, Joseph was about 6 years old when Jacob moved his family from Haran where Laban his father-in-law lived, back to Hebron of Canaan, the patriarchal home of Abraham and Isaac his father. That gives us just a little history of Joseph and His mother.
That brings us up to Genesis 37, where the blessed, historic events of Joseph’s life begin.
Joseph was the favorite son of Jacob (verse 3):
Even though Jacob was 91 years old when Joseph was born, Joseph wasn’t the youngest son, but Benjamin was the youngest. The idea here is that Joseph was especially wise for his young age. As one commentator put it: “Joseph was a young man with an old man’s head”. Therefore, Jacob favored Joseph because he was a goodly son and full of wisdom.
Joseph was probably respectful to his father, and showed him due honor. He was probably interested in Jacob’s God, and the promises that God made to his family. Jacob no doubt could see the grace of God working in Joseph’s life at a young age. These are all good reasons why a Christian father might “love” and favor one child more than his other children who are not so inclined.
But beloved, from the human side I see an evil here. I won’t stand as Jacob’s judge in this matter, but I strongly recommend that parents try their hardest not to show favoritism toward their children.
I admit that it is hard not to favor a child who is good and obedient, over a rebellious or stubborn child. But I believe the Christian thing to do is to bestow more abundant love and kindness upon that difficult child than the one who is inclined to do right.
This is not to say that we should neglect a compliant child for the sake of a rebellious child, but I only mean to say that a difficult child needs more abundant love and attention. This is a difficult challenge for parents, to rightfully balance our love and attention for our children without showing favoritism. Beloved, parents have a tough job!
I must say that we all fail as parents, and we all look back and wish we would have done some things differently in raising our children. But beloved, thank God that He is sovereign, and he rules and reigns, and He has His way in spite of our failures as parents.
I won’t say much about the coat of many colors that Jacob made for Joseph, except that this coat was a special token of Jacob’s love and favoritism to Joseph. Jacob’s love for Joseph was no secret, but Joseph wore this coat for all to see.
Joseph was hated by his brothers (verse 4):
As a result of their father’s favoritism for Joseph, his older brothers hated him. They couldn’t even speak peaceably to him. Don’t think that children don’t pick up on parental favoritism. They are the first to notice. And don’t think that they don’t resent and despise both their parents and their brother or sister because of it. Again, we need to be careful.
Joseph’s dreams (verses 5 - 11):
We don’t know whether Joseph knew the Lord in salvation at this time or not, but it was obvious that the Lord was beginning to work in his life and to speak to him in dreams. This was common in Old Testament times.
In Joseph’s dreams the Lord revealed His sovereign purpose in Joseph’s life. The Lord revealed that Joseph was going to be the ruler over his brethren and even over his parents. Of course Joseph’s dreams only caused his brothers to hate him and envy him all the more, and even caused Jacob his father to doubt and question Joseph.
Nonetheless Jacob “observed the saying,” or that is, the dreams of Joseph, because Jacob knew full well that it is just like the Lord to reveal Himself in this way.
In all these things we cannot say that Joseph had done anything amiss. He was a good and well favored son. He was an honorable son to his father. And the Lord began to deal with Joseph and to use him at a young age.
This is a wonderful and blessed thing, to see the Lord working in the lives of young people, and using them, and calling them into His service and ministry. There is no greater blessing, nor anything that we should aspire for our children more than to see them used of the Lord in His service.
2. Secondly we want to see Joseph sold as a slave (Genesis 37:12-17).
1) Jacob sent Joseph to check on his brethren.
Perhaps Jacob wasn’t wise to have sent Joseph alone to find his brethren, knowing their hatred for him. Perhaps Jacob wasn’t thinking right at the time, because of what was about to happen to Joseph. On the other hand, we can see the Lord’s hand working in this event. The Lord, you see, had a higher purpose in these events in their lives than what any of them knew at the time.
After this day, Jacob would not see his son Joseph again for many years. And after the events of this chapter, he thought that he would never see Joseph again in this life. But the story wasn’t over yet! Aren’t you glad that the story of our lives and the lives of our children isn’t over yet? Events in our lives may not seem to be going the way we would like for them to, but the book of our life isn’t finished- the play isn’t over yet!
2) Next we see that Joseph’s brethren plot to kill him (verses 18-24).
The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, but the Lord delivers the righteous out of their hands.
The hatred that Joseph’s brothers had for him was so strong, that they actually wanted to kill him! This wasn’t just petty jealousy or envy, but these brothers meant evil business. Beloved, that is how far hatred, and jealousy, and envy can take a man. And once again, I can’t help but think that Jacob was at least partially responsible for his son’s actions.
It is hard for us to imagine how that brothers could become so full of hate, and so resentful as to actually plot to kill there own little brother. True, Joseph was only their half brother, but still they were his own flesh and blood! How could people be so cruel to their own flesh and blood? And we are talking about the family of Jacob the patriarch, and the great leaders of the tribes of Israel.
Sometimes younger Christians expect for Brothers and Sisters in the Lord to love each other, and constantly show their love by acts and deeds of kindness. They don’t know that God’s children can be just as mean and cantankerous as the children of this world at times. This is always a sad disappointment to young Christians in the Lord’s Churches.
I’ll be honest with you, it still is a disappointment to me too. But this is a sad fact of the old sinful nature. Sometimes the old flesh gets the better of us, and we do and say things that are contrary to the love of Christ, and we hurt people. Afterwards we feel bad about our behavior, or at least I hope we do, and we repent of those things.
Aren’t you glad that God is long-suffering with us, and that He forgives our sins that we commit against Him, and against one another.
Joseph’s brethren were going to slay him, and then cover their sin by lying to their father, and telling him that wild beasts had devoured Joseph. Remember beloved, one sin leads to more sins, and still yet more sins. And, be sure your sins will find you out. We cannot hide our sins, but God will bring them to light, as we will see in the case of Joseph’s brothers. They hid their sins for a while, but finally all their sins were brought to light.
Joseph’s eldest brother Reuben (vs. 22), talked his brothers into casting Joseph into a pit instead of killing him. When Joseph came to where they were, they stripped him of his coat of many colors, and they cast him into a pit wherein there was no water (vs. 23-24).
After this, they decided to sell Joseph as a slave to the Midianite merchants, who they saw approaching by the way. They took Joseph up out of the pit, and sold him to the Midianites for 20 pieces of silver, which at that time it appears was the price of a slave (vs. 25-28).
Thus to appease their wrath and envy against Joseph, and supposing that they would defeat his dreams, Joseph’s brothers sold him off as a slave.
After this Joseph’s brothers dipped his coat of many colors in blood, and took it to their father. Jacob perceived that a wild beast had devoured his son Joseph. By their sins they not only sold their brother as a slave, but also brought years of grief upon their father (vs. 31-35).
In conclusion, we want to make some analogies from this portion of Joseph’s life. We want to see that Joseph typified Jesus Christ in many ways.
Jesus was truly the only Son of His heavenly Father for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. There was never a man so wise as the Lord Jesus. There was never a man who grew up before His Father with such obedience, and such resign to do His Father’s will as the Lord Jesus.
And Jesus had a coat of many colors, as it were, that his Father had given him. Jesus was the only Son of God, Who shared His Father’s glory in Heaven. Jesus was decked with the royal apparel of Heaven. But in His condescension He was stripped, as it were, of His royal garments, that He might become a servant slave for His people.
Jesus was also hated by His brethren and His chosen nation and people Israel. They wanted to kill Him, and to defeat all of His claims of being the Son of God, the Messiah, and the King of the Jews. They thought that by killing Jesus that they would put an end to Jesus and His claims of being their Messiah and King, and His claim that He would rule over them.
Casting Joseph into the pit and then taking him out again could be a type of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Death was their intention, and the desired purpose of death was accomplished when they sold Joseph as a slave. But casting Joseph into a pit and selling him as a slave did not defeat God’s purpose of salvation through Joseph.
In the same way, killing Jesus and putting Him in a tomb did not defeat God’s purpose of salvation for His people. Like as Joseph was taken out of the pit, on the third day Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead, and thereby He confirmed God’s eternal salvation for His people! And all who come to faith in Jesus, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day for them, shall receive the gift of salvation, which is eternal life.
And finally, we could liken Joseph to the lost sinner. We were all as sinners cast into the miry pit of sin, where there was no water. There was no water of the Holy Spirit, and no water of the truth of God’s Word. We had nothing to look forward to but death, hell, and the grave. The law said die. The law condemned us to the pit forever.
But there was One who happened to come by our way, just in the nick of time, as it were. No, it wasn’t Midianite merchants. It wasn’t even the priest of Midian. But it was Jesus, Who came to where we were, and purchased us from out of the pit of sin. And the price of our redemption wasn’t silver or even gold, but it was the precious blood of Jesus that He shed for us on the cross of Calvary.
And beloved, we were not sold as slaves in Egypt, but we were made bond slaves to Christ, and servants to Him for saving us from the pit of sin and eternal damnation in hell.
Finally, we can begin to see God’s sovereign purpose working in Joseph’s life. We see the sovereignty of God in favoring Joseph and setting him apart, even as a young man, for a work that God would call him to do. We see him despised and hated by his brothers, yet we see him delivered from their hands. This is only the beginning of the story, but we can already see how the events of Joseph’s life are working out for God’s designed end and purpose.
Where do you see your life in God’s grand design? Were you chosen of God unto salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? Have you been called by the Gospel, according to His purpose of grace? Do you see Jesus as your deliverer, sent from God to save you from your sins? Where do you fit into God’s great tapestry of life this morning?
This evening we want to see 1) Joseph a servant in Potiphar’s house; and 2) Joseph in jail.
1. Joseph in Potiphar’s house.
1) First we want to see that Joseph and Potiphar’s house were blessed of the Lord because of Joseph (Genesis 39:1-6).
Did you know that God blesses our earthly masters, and our employers, and other people within that inner circle of our lives for our sake? At least if we are faithful to the Lord He will.
Has this ever happened to you? I hesitate to speak about my last secular job, because it may sound like boasting. But God blessed my employer for my sake, and the sake of another Christian brother. The office manager of our branch office and I were both Christians, and God just blessed our office, and prospered it tremendously. Our employer couldn’t help but take notice of how our office was prospering. As a result he gave us free reign over all the affairs of our office! He never interfered with our business, and he gave us about anything we asked for. He would give us large bonuses, at least for our company. But the fact was, it wasn’t that my friend and I were so wonderful, but it was God who blessed us, and therefore blessed our boss because of us.
So we see that God blessed Potiphar for Joseph’s sake, and God blessed our employer for our sake. Perhaps you’ve had a similar experience, or even a much greater one. Beloved, if we will be faithful servants of the Lord, our God will not only bless us, but He will bless others in our lives.
2) Next we want to see Joseph’s integrity (read verses 7-12).
I just want to point out here something that I failed to mention previously, and that is, Joseph is one of the few people in the Scriptures who, as far as I can recall, never was shown to have any flaws in his character. Now I know that Joseph was a sinner and needed a Saviour, but he had a great testimony of his God.
Now there were times when Joseph was wrongfully accused. He was wrongly accused by Jacob his father because of his dreams. He was wrongly accused by his brethren. He was wrongly accused by Potiphar as we will see in a moment. But I know of no case in the Bible where he acted or behaved amiss.
Beloved, we will also be wrongly accused if we will live righteously and soberly and godly in this present evil world. And we will have those who are sent of Satan to temp us in hopes of destroying our testimonies. Beloved, there is always going to be a Potiphar’s wife laying in wait out there. There is always going to be someone sent from Satan to entice, and to ensnare you, and to try and tarnish your good name, and your testimony of Jesus.
Potiphar’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph, and tried to entice him, and to pervert him, and to destroy his good name and testimony. And Joseph did nothing to provoke her, or to invite her evil scheme to seduce him. Beloved, you don’t have to do anything. But if you try to live godly for Christ Jesus, be sure that the wicked sons and daughters of Belial in this world, will try to trap you into sinning against God, and bring a reproach upon His Name. Especially if we do our very best to live godly and to do right, there will always be those who will try to ensnare you into some sin or other.
Do you know what we must do if we would hold on to our good name and testimony? We must do as Joseph did. First, we should rebuke that evil person in hopes to shame them, and cause them to repent of there deeds. Sometimes that works. Secondly, under no circumstances should we hearken to their evil desires. Thirdly, if need be we must do like Joseph and flee, and get out of there! Leave our garment behind us and just get out before we yield to sin.
Now, Joseph was a pretty strong young man, and he was a wise young man. He didn’t linger in the house that was on fire with lust, but when he heard the fire alarm, he got out of the house. Beloved, don’t linger in the house that is on fire with sinful passions, but get out; and get out fast, and don’t come back in for your garment!!! Many people get burned up when they go back into a burning house.
We like to think that we are pretty strong, and that we can handle temptations, but don’t overestimate our carnal human strength. Beloved, human strength to resist sin is highly overrated. The wisdom of Joseph teaches us to get out of the situation and to stay out!
So we see that Joseph was a man of integrity. He was a man of honor and respectability. A good name and a good testimony of His God meant more to him than all the pleasures of sin that this old world could offer. May we as God’s children today, strive to be like Joseph. May we be men and women of integrity, and virtue, and honor for the Lord.
3) Thirdly, Potiphar’s wife false accused Joseph of trying to seduce her (vs. 13 –19).
Beloved, after we’ve done all that we can do, still God’s people who will live godly in Christ Jesus, will be falsely accused of the very things that we refused to do. And sad to say, even those who have placed their trust and confidence in us, sometimes will believe the lies of wicked persons, and will turn on us and hate us, and even cast us into prison, as Potiphar did to Joseph.
All I can say is, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” James 1:2-3. I know this old world isn’t just or fair, but beloved, as we said this morning, the story of our lives isn’t over yet. Our God will make all the wrongs right, we don’t need to worry about that. He will straighten everything out in His own time.
2. Secondly this evening we want to see Joseph in Jail (Genesis 39:20-23).
Joseph is now in jail for attempted rape! Can you just imagine that? Now we might wonder how in the world that Joseph could ever be vindicated of such an injustice as this. Even if he is acquitted and released from prison, people will always wonder if he really was guilty of the charge. Isn’t that how people think?
But beloved, the Bible says: “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Romans 8:33-34
God will vindicate and uphold His people. He will justify us when we are done wrong. We read in Genesis 39:20-23 that God was with Joseph and showed him mercy. And God gave him favor in the sight of the prison keeper. He even put Joseph in charge of the prison. And God caused everything that Joseph did to prosper; even in prison!
We have been studying in the book of Philippians about the apostle Paul. While he was in that Roman prison, God caused his bonds in Christ to be manifested throughout the palace, and in all other places (Phil. 1:13), speaking about the furtherance of the Gospel through Paul’s prison experience.
God is in control of the situation! God is not only in control of the situation but He is working it all out according to His greater will and purpose. We only need to submit to his perfect will, and do what we know is best and right in His eyes, and the Lord will take care of the rest.
If we are doing the right thing, and living godly and righteously, and wisely in this old sinful world, then we need not worry about the evil that will befall us, for: “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”
God will make all the wrongs right in His due time, we don’t have to worry about that.
Next we want to notice some typology from this portion of Joseph’s life.
1) We saw that Joseph was a servant in Potiphar’s house, and that God blessed him and caused everything in Potiphar’s house to prosper. In like manner, Jesus became a servant in Pilate’s house, as it were. And everything that Jesus did prospered. And all the land prospered, and great numbers of souls were saved from the sins, and healed from their diseases. Yes, God prospered all the land of Palestine for Jesus’ sake.
2) Next, we saw that Joseph was falsely accused and cast into prison by Potiphar. And in like manner Jesus was falsely accused and condemned by Pilate. In Isaiah 53:8 we read “He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. Like Joseph, Jesus was falsely accused by His enemies, and He was wrongly judged for sins that He did not commit.
3) Like Joseph, Jesus wasn’t condemned for His own sins, but for the sins of His people that were placed upon Him. Isaiah 53:9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Like Joseph, Jesus was mistreated, and shamed, and finally crucified as a wicked man, yet he had done no violence, and no deceit, nor any sin of His own.
Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. It pleased the Lord to alloy Joseph to be falsely accused, and to be put into that prison, and to suffer shame and reproach for sins he did not commit. Likewise God purposed for Jesus to be falsely accused, and to be put to shame and reproach for sins that He did not commit, when He made His soul an offering for our sins.
4) And God caused Joseph to see his seed, as it were, and prolonged his days, and the pleasure of the Lord prospered in his hand, as we shall see in our next message. How much more did God cause Jesus, our deliverer, to see His seed, His elect, and prolong His days by His resurrection from the dead, and caused His pleasure to prosper in His hand.
And God’s pleasure is still prospering in His hand, in the salvation of sinners, through faith in what Jesus suffered as the sacrifice for their sins on the cross, and his burial, and His resurrection the third day.
Has the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus prospered you this evening, in the salvation of your soul? Have you come to faith in Jesus, that He paid the price of your redemption in full, as the song that Jennifer sang this morning?
How is it with our testimony as believers? Do other people in our lives prosper because of us?
Are we tempted to sin and to disgrace the name of our God? Do like Joseph and flee, and get out of the very presence of sin!
Are you suffering false accusations, and persecution because of your faithfulness to Jesus. Never fear, just keep on doing right and the Lord will vindicate and justify you in due time.
Part 3- Read Genesis 40:9-19
1. This morning we want to see Joseph exalted in the land of Egypt.
The last time we saw how that Joseph suffered and was cast in prison for a crime he did not commit. Joseph was a type of Christ in that Christ also was falsely accused and sentenced to the prison of the grave for crimes He did not commit.
This morning we want to see that righteousness shall prevail. We have been saying through the course of this study that the story of Joseph’s life is not over yet.
But I want to just camp here for a moment!!! Let’s suppose that this was the end of Joseph’s life. What if Joseph would have died in that prison. Would that make God unrighteous or unfaithful? If that was true, then God has been unrighteous and unfaithful to millions of martyred saints who have suffered and died cruel and horrid deaths over the centuries.
But I want to repeat something this morning that I have said before. Beloved, we don’t serve the Lord for personal gain. And we don’t serve righteousness in order to get ahead in this life. If this is our motive, then we’re in it for all the wrong reasons. Beloved, we should serve the Lord and do right, because it is the right thing to do. Because it is the Christian thing to do, and not for what we can get out of it in return! And if we suffer for righteousness sake, the Lord is not unrighteous or unfaithful, but sin and the old sinful nature of man is to blame.
So the question is, are we willing like Joseph to serve the Lord and suffer for righteousness’ sake, just because it is the right thing to do?
Beloved, Christians today don’t want a cross, but we want a crown. We don’t want a prison, but we want a palace. We don’t want a dry pit, but we want a paradise on earth. We don’t want penury, but we want plenty. We don’t want reproach- we want respect.
I wonder how many professed Christians today would deny their faith in Christ, if we had to suffer poverty, or bodily injury, or imprisonment, or death for Christ. Yet the Bible teaches us that suffering for righteousness’ sake is the Christian way?
Jesus said in Matthew 5:10-11: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Many Christians today are scared to death of reproach. We are ashamed of Jesus’ Name. We are afraid of what men might do unto us. We’re afraid that we might lose our comfortable positions in society. We’ve got it pretty cushy today as Americans!
Beloved, to be a Christian is to be Christ like. It is to be a disciple, or a follower of Christ. And to be a follower of Christ is to do as He did. I wonder if the name Christian is used to loosely. We miss church today for just about any reason. People put just about anything before church - and yet we call ourselves Christians, or that is, we say we are Christ like?
But I wonder how often Jesus missed worship services during His earthly life? Now I’m not absolutely positive, but my guess is that Jesus never missed one service in all His life. The Bible says “as His custom was He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day”. Therefore, beloved, going to the house of God is a Christian custom.
Now, if we are willing to miss church for just about any worldly reason, will we be willing to suffer for Him as a Christian? Maybe we should go back to apostolic times. Maybe we shouldn’t be called Christians until we’ve been accused of being Christians by the enemies of Christ.
While in prison, Joseph interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh’s chief butler and chief baker, where we read in our opening text. We go on to read in Genesis 40:20-23 that both of Joseph’s interpretation’s turned out to be true. The chief butler was restored to his butlership, and the chief baker was hanged! Joseph had one request. He asked the chief butler to mention him to Pharaoh when he was restored to his butlership. But guess what, the chief butler forgot all about Joseph.
Two years later, in Genesis 41, Pharaoh had a couple dreams of his own, and like king Nebuchadnezzar in the book of Daniel, none of his magicians and wise men could interpret his dreams. They were absolutely useless, just like all the astrologers and soothsayers, and worldly counselors, and psychologists, and psychotherapists are today, who don’t know the Lord.
At last the chief butler remembered Joseph, and told Pharaoh how that Joseph interpreted their dreams, and how his interpretations came to pass just as he said. And so Pharaoh had Joseph brought up out of the prison, and brought into his presence.
Pharaoh told Joseph his dream about the 7 fat kine (or cows) that came out of the river, and the 7 lean cows that came up afterwards, and how the lean cows ate up the fat cows. And he told Joseph his dream about the 7 fat ears of corn and the 7 scrawny ears of corn, and how the 7 scrawny ears ate up the 7 fat ears.
Joseph then interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams, and told him that the 7 fat cows and the 7 fat ears of corn represented 7 good years of crop production throughout the land of Egypt. The 7 lean cows and the 7 scrawny ears of corn represented 7 years of famine throughout all the land. And Joseph did not only tell Pharaoh what God was about to do in the land, but he also told Pharaoh what he needed to do about it.
He told Pharaoh to chose a discreet and wise man to put over the land of Egypt, and to appoint officers who would collect 1/5 part of all the crops during the 7 good years, and store up the food in cities so that there would be enough food to last through the 7 years of famine.
After Joseph told Pharaoh these words, some remarkable things happened.
1) First, Pharaoh believed Joseph’s interpretations and took his advice. How many worldly leaders are willing to hear the man of God, and the Word of God, especially if that man is a Jew! This had to be the Lord’s power at work.
2) Secondly, Pharaoh and his servants chose Joseph to be that wise and discreet man to put over all the land of Egypt. This also had to be God’s hand at work! What king would so exalt a foreigner, much less a Jew, much less a man who was in prison for attempting to seduce his servants wife?!!!
3) Thirdly, Pharaoh highly exalted Joseph, and set him up as ruler over all his kingdom. In all the land of Egypt, no one could lift a hand or foot, or make any decision without Joseph’s seal of approval. Joseph was made second to Pharaoh only in his throne.
4) Fourthly, Pharaoh arrayed Joseph with royal attire. He put the his ring upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in fine linen, and put a gold chain around his neck. All these tokens of favor and royalty.
5) Fifthly, Pharaoh made Joseph ride in his second chariot, and made all the people bow the knee to Joseph.
So we see that Joseph was exalted in Egypt. From the prison cell to the palace in one hour. If Joseph was alive today he would write a book about it!!! No, I don’t think so.
Not only was Joseph exalted but all his reproach was taken away forever. As we saw last time, it is God who justifieth! Thus we see that righteousness prevailed in Joseph’s life.
We want to notice a few observations from this part of our story:
1) Joseph was in that prison 2 long years. I wonder how discouraged I would have been by this time. How quickly sometimes we question God’s will when things don’t go right.
2) Joseph claimed to be nothing in and of himself, but he gave all the glory to God (40:15-16). How many of the so-called miracle workers today are seeking glory for themselves.
3) Pharaoh admitted that it was God who revealed these things (41:39). Oh, would to God that the leaders of the USA could hear and acknowledge the truth of God’s Word.
Now we want to see some typology and analogies from this story:
1. Joseph as a type of Christ:
There are several things about the exultation of Joseph that are similar to the exultation of Christ. Bear in mind these types are not perfect, as they contain human imperfections.
Joseph was brought out of the prison.
We saw that Pharaoh sent for him, Pharaoh’s servants brought him out of the prison, and Joseph came of his own volition and strength.
In like manner, the Father sent for Jesus, as it were (Psalm 16:10), the Holy Spirit brought Him out of the tomb (1 Peter 3:18), yet Jesus came of His own will, and of His own volition, and of His own strength (John 2:19, 10:18). Thus we see the trinity in the resurrection.
After coming out of the prison Joseph shaved and changed his raiment.
We don’t know what Jesus looked like when He went into the tomb. But we know that He was bloody, and marred more than any man. His beard was plucked out. He was disfigured. He was also embalmed and wrapped in grave clothes. Yet after His resurrection when His disciples saw Him, I believe He was cleaned up and dressed in fresh new clothing. The former things of the grave were now behind Him. All the same, these were not His royal garments, but still the humble clothes of a servant.
These were the clothes that Jesus wore when He sprinkled His blood upon the mercy seat in Heaven. In John 20:17 Jesus told Mary at the tomb, not to touch Him yet, because He had not yet ascended to His Father. When Jesus entered once into the Holy of Holies in Heaven with His own blood as our faithful High Priest, He wore humble attire as our representative to the Father.
And Jesus also looked different after the tomb. Mary at the tomb, and those disciples on the road to Emmaus, did not recognize Jesus until He revealed Himself to them. So when Jesus came out of the tomb, He looked different than when He went in. His reproach and His prison days were behind Him forever, yet He was the same Jesus.
The works of Joseph in prison approved him unto Pharaoh.
How much more did the works of Jesus Christ, especially His work of the cross, approve Him to the Father. It was because of His righteous works that He came out of that tomb. Beloved, if Jesus was not perfectly righteous, and perfectly obedient to His Father’s will in all of His works, then He would not have been raised again from the dead the third day, and could not have been our Saviour.
Joseph was the wise and discreet man that Pharaoh put over all of His kingdom.
Beloved, Jesus truly is the only wise and discreet man that God has put over all of His kingdom. He is the child born and the Son given. (Isaiah 9:6). He is the One who sits at the right hand of God to order His spiritual kingdom. And He is One in Isaiah 9:7 who will sit upon the throne of David to order His millennial kingdom.
Yes, Jesus is the wise and discreet man, and He judgeth and discerneth, and rules over all things that pertain to the kingdom of God, especially His Church.
Pharaoh highly exalted Joseph in His kingdom.
The Bible says of Christ “Wherefore”, because of His death on the cross, “God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name…”
Every decision that was made in Egypt had to meet with Joseph’s approval.
Beloved, every decision in the Lord’s kingdom must have Jesus’ seal of approval. Jesus is the only authority pertaining to the kingdom of God, especially to His Church.
Pharaoh arrayed Joseph with royal attire.
When Jesus ascended to Heaven, He laid those earthly, post resurrection clothes aside, and put on the royal garments of His Heavenly glory.
Pharaoh made all the people of Egypt bow the knee to Joseph.
Beloved, God shall make every person ever born to bow the knee to Jesus, and to confess that He is Lord is the glory of God the Father, whether in this life in repentance and faith, or at the Great White Throne Judgment.
Only in the throne was Pharaoh greater than Joseph.
Only in the throne of Heaven is God the Father greater than Jesus, and this is because of the divine order of Headship, as taught in 1 Cor. 11:3, and not because of superiority.
2. Joseph is also a type of all faithful believers:
All faithful believers, however dark our earthly lives may become; however great our suffering for Christ might be, we shall be exalted in due time (1 Peter 5:6).
In conclusion, we started out by saying that righteousness shall prevail. This was true in Joseph’s life. It was certainly true in Jesus’ life. And it will also be true in our lives.
If we live soberly and righteously and godly in the this present world we will suffer for righteousness’ sake. “All who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
But beloved, we shall also be exalted to the Heavenly glory. We will suffer for righteousness sake, but righteousness shall prevail in the end.
Are you saved here this morning?
Part 4- Read Genesis 49:22-24
This evening we want to see Joseph as the shepherd of the people.
Beloved, everything that has transpired up to the time of Joseph’s exaltation in the land of Egypt, was by the divine providence of God, for the very purpose of preserving Israel, as well as Egypt and other nations around about during this time of great famine.
We also need to bear in mind that Israel’s stay in Egypt was prophesied in Genesis 15:13. Therefore, we see the providence of God was based on the prophecy of God. The providence of God, beloved, is not fatalism or fate, but it is a sovereign God of purpose, working out His purpose in time. The providence of God usually has God’s people’s in view, as in the case of the life of Joseph.
1. First we need to see some of the events that transpire after Joseph’s exaltation.
In the remainder of Genesis 41, after Joseph’s exaltation, we see three things.
Before we look at these things, we should notice that Joseph was only thirty years old when he was made ruler over Egypt (vs. 46). That seems like a young age for a man to suddenly, without any experience, be put into a position with such enormous responsibility.
How could Joseph do such an enormous job? It was said by Pharaoh (in vs. 38), that Joseph was a man “in whom the Spirit of God is.” The Spirit of God makes the difference. It wasn’t Joseph, although no doubt he was a wise man endued with exceptional ability, yet it was the Spirit of God which enabled him to be the shepherd of the people.
1) First, the land of Egypt experienced 7 plenteous years just as Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream. The land brought forth by handfuls (vs. 47). And Joseph gathered up the food during those seven, and stored it in cities. The food was like the sand of the sea (vs. 49). It was so much in fact, that Joseph quit counting it!
2) Secondly in Genesis 41, Joseph’s wife, which Pharaoh gave Joseph as part of his reward, bore him two children, which he named Manasseh and Ephraim.
Manasseh means making forgetful. Joseph gave his first son this name because God made Joseph to forget all of his toils and sorrows and griefs that he experienced throughout much of his young life. I like that. Thank God that He makes His people forget our toils, and our sorrows, and our griefs of this life. What if God didn’t allow us to forget all the deep grief and agonizing pains of this life? How miserable life would be! But thank God He causes us to forget our grief and pain.
Ephraim means “fruitfulness”. Joseph gave his son this name because God had caused him to be fruitful in the land of his affliction. Isn’t it marvelous how God causes our lives to bounce back to a state of fruitfulness after a period of darkness, or suffering, or even spiritual decline. God is able to turn things around for His people!!!
Don’t ever think that God is not able to turn your circumstances around, or turn your life around to where you are a fruitful servant of God once again. Not only is He able to turn our lives around, but often times He does, if we will remain faithful, and consistent in our service to Him.
3) Thirdly in Genesis 41, the famine came upon the land just like Joseph said that it would. The famine was not only in Egypt, but it was in all lands (vs. 54).
When the famine got hard the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. And do you know what Pharaoh told them, he said, go ask of Joseph, and whatever he says unto you, do it! The people knew that Joseph was the man, yet they tried to by-pass Joseph by going to Pharaoh. How often do people try to by-pass the proper channels of authority to get what they want. When people come to us, and try to by-pass the rightful person of authority, we need to do just like Pharaoh did.
Not only did the Egyptians come to Joseph for food, but also all the countries came to Joseph in Egypt to buy food.
Next, we have the events that transpire in Genesis 42.
First, Jacob sent all of his other sons, except Benjamin, down to Egypt to buy corn (or grain), because he heard that there was corn in Egypt.
Next, the fulfillment of Joseph’s dreams begin to come true when in 42:6 Joseph’s brothers come to him and bow themselves before him with their faces to the earth.
Now, keep this in mind as we go through this part of the story, that Joseph knew his brothers, but they didn’t know who he was. His brothers didn’t know him perhaps for several reasons. First, because of his age (over 20 years has elapsed), secondly his royal Egyptian attire, thirdly the fact that he spoke in the Egyptian tongue, and fourthly they never expected to see him alive, much less as the ruler of Egypt.
Joseph, the Bible said spoke roughly to them, and he accused them of being spies. He finally put them in prison. Now Joseph apparently decided in his heart that he was going to teach these rascal brothers of his a lesson that they would never forget as long as they live, for all their meanness and evil that they did to him, and all the heartaches they caused him. But we will withhold judgment at this time; after all, God didn’t condemn Joseph for what seems at first to be revenge.
By this time His brothers came to realize that it was because of the evil that they did to Joseph that they were in this trouble (vs. 21-22). Oh brother, they didn’t know just how true this was- as Joseph was standing right there listening to them, but they didn’t know it was him!
Of course through all of these events, we see Joseph hiding his face and crying his eyes out, because his heart went out to his brothers. But he was determined to teach them a lesson if his emotions could hold out long enough. I think that this whole thing was as hard on Joseph as it was on his brothers, only for a different reason.
Joseph finally retained Simeon in prison, while he let the other brothers go back to their father Joseph, on condition that they bring their youngest brother Benjamin back with them. Now Joseph knew that requiring Benjamin would just about tear their hearts to pieces.
To make matters even harder on his brothers, Joseph had their saddlebags filled with grain, and then he put all their money back in the top of their saddlebags. On the way home one of the brother’s opened his saddlebag, and low and behold his money was in the bag. Of course they didn’t know that Joseph had the money put back into their bags. They knew that they would be in big trouble for stealing the grain, and they were afraid. Egypt was the only place they could get food, and now they were thieves in the eyes of the Egyptians.
The chastisement and godly sorrow of Joseph’s brothers.
In verse 28 the brothers said to one another “What is this that God hath done unto us?” Now, I see a very important and beautiful truth here in this part of the story. Joseph’s brothers have begun to see that God is chastising them because of their sins against Joseph.
They are sinking further and further down in the depths of sorrow and repentance for their sins. I really and truly believe that these brothers are really becoming truly sorry for their sins against Joseph, and their father Jacob, and against God. I think that we concentrate so much on Joseph, that perhaps we miss what God is doing in the lives of his brothers, and of course his father also.
Through chastisement, God is working repentance in Joseph’s brothers. Beloved, we might see all of these events as evil in their lives, but the fact is, chastisement and godly repentance is a great blessing to God’s people, as we will see in Joseph’s brothers.
Now, what do you suppose that these brothers are thinking by this time? They are probably thinking that their sins are cause of the famine. They see the events of providence working together to punish them. They see things going from bad to worse. They see their father Jacob grieving over Joseph, and now Simeon is in prison in Egypt, and their youngest brother Benjamin is going back to Egypt with them. Jacob probably thinks that he will never see any of his sons again.
We have to appreciate how grieved that these brothers must be by this time. This was like to tear their hearts right out of their chests. I mean, this sorrow was just about killing them. And life is going to get worse for them, as we will see in another lesson. But I brought all of this out to make an important point.
We all know that these brothers were rascals in the first degree, or at least they were 20 years ago. But I can’t help but believe that the Lord God loved these 10 brothers also. I mean, they represent 10 of the twelve tribes of Israel; God’s great nation!!!
Judah was among them. From him would proceed many great men including Caleb, and Boaz, and David, and Solomon, not to mention the blessed Lord Jesus Christ our Messiah. Yes, I believe that God loved Judah! Levi was also among them. From his loins would come Moses and Aaron, and the entire Levitical priesthood, who as a family represented the Lord Jesus Christ in all their service in the tabernacle and in the temple. I believe that God loved Levi. Beloved, God loved all of these brethren.
I don’t know if they knew the Lord in salvation when they did evil to Joseph. The Scriptures don’t reveal all of these details of their lives. But I believe that they were saved at some time- perhaps some of them were saved through this very experience before us this evening, I don’t know. But in spite of all the wicked sins they committed against Joseph, and all the grief they caused their father Jacob, God still loved them.
Beloved, what Joseph’s brothers couldn’t see at this time, was the end of their book. They couldn’t see the silver lining in the works of God’s providence in their lives at this time. They couldn’t see that even in these seemingly evil circumstances, that God was working all things out for their good. God was working chastisement in them. God was working repentance in them. God had a great and blessed restoration in store for them and their families. No, they couldn’t see it now, but restoration in the most blessed fashion, was on the way!
Beloved children of God tonight, saved by the grace of God, before us we have a beautiful picture of the chastisement and restoration of God in the lives of Joseph’s brethren. Sometimes in our Christian lives we can see ourselves in Joseph’s brothers. Suddenly a series of events come upon our lives that just take us by storm. All we can see is dark clouds, with their lightenings and thunderings. All we can see is trouble and anguish of spirit in our path. And like Joseph’s brethren, we can’t see any way out of our distresses.
We begin to reflect upon some sin in our lives that probably was at the root of our troubles. And we repent of our sins and wicked ways and seek the Lord’s forgiveness for our sins. In these times in our lives, God has a restoration in store for us too! God also works all things out in His providence for the good of His children when we get out of the way, and when we sin grievous sins, and when we backslide away from the Lord.
So God was not only working in the life of Joseph to bless him and exalt him, but through the entire set of circumstances and events, God was working things out for the good of all His chosen people. Isn’t this a wonderful example of God’s providence working in the lives of His people for the good of the whole, and for His ultimate glory?
So we began to see tonight that Joseph was the shepherd of the people. He wasn’t the shepherd only of Israel but also of Egypt and of all the countries.
Jesus Christ, in like manner is our Shepherd. He is the good Shepherd. He is the great Shepherd, and He is the chief Shepherd. And Jesus is not only the Shepherd of Israel, which indeed He is, but also over all His elect from ever kindred, tongue, and people, and nation.
And I will go even a step further. In the material and physical sense, Jesus is the Shepherd even of all lost humanity in the world, and even of the beasts and creatures that He created. Beloved, Jesus is the Shepherd over all His creation. It is He who feeds and provides for all the creatures under His dominion, especially His chosen people.
Do you know Jesus as your Shepherd in salvation. Jesus said “I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.” Do you know Jesus giving His life for you this evening, that through His death, burial, and resurrection you would find bread for your soul?
Has the good Shepherd led you into the good pasture of His local New Testament Church, where you find rest beside the still waters, and plenty of spiritual food for your soul?
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Shepherd tonight, and follow your Shepherd into the sheepfold of His Church through the waters of baptism.
Joseph and His Sovereign God
Part 5; Genesis Chapter 49:22-24 (READ)
This morning we want to conclude our last point, which was Joseph the shepherd of the people. We began last time to see how that God sent Joseph to preserve the people and to feed and nourish them during the 7 years of great famine in the land.
We hope to also see this morning, that Joseph was a type of Christ our Good Shepherd.
First we want to see the history of events from Genesis 43 - 45.
Last week in ch. 42, Joseph’s brothers returned to Canaan from their first trip to Egypt. You recall that Simeon was left there in prison until they brought Benjamin to Joseph. In chapter 43, the famine grew worse, and Jacob had no other choice but to send his sons back to Egypt to buy more food. It was either that or starve to death. (we see God’s providence at work).
Jacob was reluctant to send Benjamin for fear evil would come to him, but the brothers told Jacob that the ruler of Egypt refused to see them unless Benjamin was with them. He finally agreed to send Benjamin with them, after that Judah promised to be a surety for Benjamin if anything was to happen to him in Egypt (again we see providence working).
Jacob had his sons take the ruler of Egypt a gift, and also double money (or possibly triple) for food, because the last time when they returned from Egypt, their money was all put back in their sacks.
When Joseph heard that his brothers had come back, he made a big feast for them at his own house. When Joseph came in to see his brothers and saw Benjamin his younger brother, he couldn’t refrain from crying, so he hasted to his chamber to weep. (Joseph still hadn’t revealed himself to them).
Afterward he washed his face and returned to them, and they ate dinner and were merry.
After the dinner was over, Joseph had their sacks filled with grain, and had their money put back in their sacks, but this time Joseph had his silver cup put in Benjamin’s sack.
After they started down the road, Joseph sent his steward after them to retrieve his cup. When he confronted them, all the brothers denied having the cup. They even said that whosoever had the cup should be put to death, and that the rest would become his slaves. But when the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack, their hearts just melted inside of them.
Joseph’s steward then brought the brothers back to Joseph’s house, where Joseph scolded them for stealing his cup. After some discussion, Joseph told his brothers that he would keep Benjamin for a bondman, and that the rest could go home in peace.
This was the final blow to his brothers. As Job said in Job 3:25 “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me.” Truly what Joseph’s brothers feared more than anything else in this world, was for evil to come to Benjamin.
They could not bear to return home without Benjamin. This would be more than their father Jacob could bear. Thus we see, the chastisement of the Lord had its perfect work.
Then Judah came forth and spoke to Joseph, and explained that if Benjamin didn’t return home that this would literally kill their father Jacob. And Judah went on to explain to Joseph how that he became a surety for Benjamin; that if anything happened to Benjamin, he would bear all the blame (Judah was a type of Christ our surety). Judah pleaded with Joseph to let him stay in Egypt and be Joseph’s slave, and to let Benjamin go free. Judah couldn’t bear to see this great evil come upon his father.
This brings us up to chapter 45.
In chapter 45 Joseph reveals himself to his brethren (Read verses 1-8).
What a beautiful passage of Scripture! All the playwrights in the world couldn’t dream up a more touching script than this. But this story is true about real life events in the lives of God’s chosen people!
Can you just imagine the powerful emotions at work here? The events that led up this moment have been building up by divine providence for twenty some years. Before Joseph stands his baby brother that he hasn’t seen since he was just a little boy; now he’s a man. His brothers who wanted to kill him, are on their knees begging his mercy. His father is back home in Canaan, wondering if he will ever see any of his sons again. All this time Joseph had been counted for dead in a foreign land, separated from his family.
Can you just imagine the thoughts that must have gone through their bewildered minds? Especially when they heard those piercing words “I am Joseph.” What was their first reaction to this shocking revelation? They couldn’t believe it? Joseph’s announcement would take some time to sink in to their befuddled minds.
After all, if what Joseph said was true, then: All the evil that they had done, suddenly would be turned into something wonderful. And all the grief and sorrow for their father, now would be turned into joy unspeakable. All of their hopelessness and death would be turned to hope, and new life from the dead. This all just seemed to good to be true!
But finally, after Joseph explained the purpose of God in all these things, and after he had spoken to them in their own native tongue, and after he kissed them and wept upon them, they finally began to believe the good news. Verse 15 reads “Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him.”
Would you like to have been a fly on Joseph’s wall? Can you just imagine their conversation after all the painful and emotional events that led up to this moment in time?
Joseph and his brothers as types of Christ and His people.
1). As a good shepherd, Joseph was sent by God to preserve his family from famine by a great deliverance. We read about this in 45:5, 7.
Jesus our Good Shepherd was also sent by God into the world to preserve His family from the famine of sin in this old world, by the greatest deliverance man has ever known.
Likewise, Christ the good Shepherd died for His sheep. Through His death, burial, and resurrection, He won the forgiveness of sins and eternal life for all His sheep.
3). Because of the ascension of Joseph in Egypt, his father’s house was drawn to him for life giving bread, which only Joseph could give.
Because of Christ’s ascension to Heaven, all of the elect of His Father’s house are drawn to Him for that life giving bread of the Gospel, which He alone can give lost sinners. Like Joseph, Jesus is the only Savior who can give His people eternal life.
No works of any kind will do. Joseph put all their money back in their sacks. They couldn’t buy what Joseph had to give them. Likewise, sinners cannot buy the salvation that Jesus gives. It must be received as the free gift of God.
4). Joseph’s brothers, as depraved sinners, were drawn to Joseph by the power and providence of God for deliverance. But they had no idea that God was drawing them by His power to save their lives from death.
Today, depraved sinners are drawn by the power and providence of God to Jesus for salvation. Like Joseph’s brothers, we have no idea that God is drawing us to Jesus to save our wretched souls from eternal death.
5). Joseph’s brethren were brought to repent of their wicked sins against God.
Likewise lost sinners are brought to repent of our wicked sins against God. Before we are saved from our sins, the Lord first convicts us of our sins. Like Joseph’s brothers, before we are saved we are brought to the lowest possible guilt, and despair over our sins.
6). Before Joseph delivered his brothers from their miserable state, he revealed himself to them, and showed them that God had sent him to be their deliverer.
Likewise Jesus reveals Himself to us. Like Joseph’s brothers, we cannot recognize Jesus, but He must reveal Himself to us. He reveals that God sent Him into the world to be our Savior; to die on the cross for our sins, to be buried, and to rise again the third day for us.
7). Joseph’s brethren were slow to believe the good news of Joseph. It took them some time before they finally believed that Joseph was really sent from God to save their lives.
We are that way today. How slow we are to believe that Jesus was sent from God to save our souls from eternal hell, and to save our lives in this old world. “O we of little faith!”
8). As a good shepherd, Joseph called his family to come down where they could be near him, and where he could provide for them, and nurture them in the land of Goshen, which was the best land that Egypt had to offer. Goshen was a well watered plain by the Nile.
Jesus also calls His people to be with Him where He is. Beloved, we are in a dry and desolate land of sin. But there is a well watered land of Goshen for us today. This land is the Lord’s Church. The Church is a good land. It is well watered, as it were, with the River of God. It has plenty of good spiritual grazing, and the water God’s Word. Those who Jesus saves by His death, burial, and resurrection, are bidden to come down to this land of Goshen. Come to the Lord’s New Testament Baptist Church, and find nourishment and manifold blessings for you souls.
Beloved, the Good Shepherd not only saves our souls, but He also saves our lives, and nourishes, and preserves His sheep until we are delivered forever from this land of Egypt.
In conclusion, we can also see God’s sovereign grace in the life of Joseph.
1) We see total depravity represented in Joseph’s brothers, who committed the most grievous acts of violence and treachery against Joseph, and their father Jacob, and even their own souls.
2) We can see unconditional election represented in Joseph, who loved and favored his brothers, who were most unworthy of his grace and mercies to them.
3) We see particular redemption represented in the whole house of Jacob, which was given the best place in the land of Egypt. In chapter 47 Joseph bought the Egyptians and all their possessions with food, and gave them to Pharaoh to be his slaves in Egypt. But to God’s people (his family) Joseph gave an inheritance in the land of Egypt!
4) We see the effectual call or irresistible grace represented by Joseph’s brothers, who were drawn to Joseph by the works of providence, and by their father Jacob (who I believe represented the law of God), and by Joseph himself who drew them to repent of their sins. Only a blind man could not see God’s irresistible grace drawing Joseph’s brothers.
5) And of course we can see the preservation of the saints in Joseph’s love and care for his family, by providing for them, and nourishing them, and preserving them in Egypt.
This morning I want to ask, is Jesus your good Shepherd? Have you believed in his death, burial, and resurrection for your sins, and have you come down to the land of Goshen? Are you a part of the Lord’s local, New Testament Baptist Church?
If not, believe in Jesus as your Good Shepherd this morning, and come to His Church where He will take care of you, and provide for your soul, and preserve your life as you travel through this world.
Joseph and His Sovereign God
1. First this evening, Joseph gives all the glory to God.
Let’s notice the following Scriptures in which Joseph gives the glory to God:
Genesis 41:16 And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.
Genesis 45:5 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8 So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.
Genesis 50:18-21 And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. 19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? 20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. 21 Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.
A man of God in the will of God won’t boast and brag about how many people he “got saved” at a traffic light. He won’t brag about how many people he “got saved” at all. A true man of God knows that if they “got saved”, then it was God that saved them. In fact, I wish everyone would quit using the phrase “got saved” altogether.
Beloved, if God is pleased to use a human instrument, and He does use human instruments, then the human instrument should acknowledge that it was God that used them, and worked in them both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
If we truly believe that God is in sovereign control over all things, and that He works in all things to accomplish his will in the earth, especially in the salvation and the lives of His people, then we cannot take credit for anything that He accomplishes through us?
Therefore, a knowledgeable and honest child of God will do as Joseph, and give God all the glory for all things that are accomplished through them.
1) There is the natural family affection and love in this story that touches our hearts. There is something about natural family love that should touch all of us. It is unnatural not to desire good upon our family members, especially salvation.
2) Then there are the sins, and the eventual conviction and repentance of Joseph’s brothers. It is so good to see sinners repent and do right…
3) There was Joseph’s love for his brothers and his forgiveness, kindness, and goodness. It certainly rejoices our hearts when we see people show love and kindness…
4) Then there was the sovereign providence of God working all things out for their good. It is so rejoicing to see God’s providential working in His peoples lives…
5) The story has a happy ending. When God is writing the book, it will have a happy ending for His people. We kept saying during this study, that we haven’t got to the end of the book yet. Well, were about to the end of the book, and the book has a happy ending for God’s people. All of our books as God’s people, have a happy ending.
But, there won’t be a happy ending for sinners who died without Christ!
3. Jacob learns that Joseph is still alive (45:24-28).
To me, this is the second greatest occasion for tears in the story, when Jacob learns that his son Joseph is still alive.
It isn’t hard to understand why Jacob didn’t believe the news. This was much too good to be true!!! After twenty some years of trying to accept Joseph’s death, now you tell me that he is alive? This was such a shock that it says his heart fainted! But when he heard all the words that Joseph had said unto them, and saw the wagons that Joseph had sent, he said “it is enough, my son Joseph is alive.”
What really brings tears to my eyes when I read this story, is where it says is verse 27 and 28 “…and the spirit of Jacob their father revived: And Israel said…”. Jacob had been down and discouraged for the past twenty some years. But at this news, that Joseph his beloved son was still alive, Jacob is revived. And now Jacob is Israel again, the prince of God; or the prince who prevailed with God.
4. Israel sacrifices in Beersheba (46:1-5).
I believe that in the context, Israel was afraid of going down to Egypt. So he stopped at Beersheba, the old familiar spot of Abraham and Isaac, where they had erected altars to the Lord, and Israel offered sacrifices to the Lord there in Beersheba.
Think with me a moment. For Jacob to leave the land of promise that God gave him for an inheritance, where his seed was to dwell as the sands of the sea and the stars of heaven forever, would be a very traumatic experience for him. Had God forsaken his promise to Israel? Had Jacob some how lost the blessings of God because of some sin or disobedience? When he thought back on all the things that had happened, and now he is moving to Egypt, where God told his father Isaac not to go.
Israel needed some reassurance that he was doing the right thing by going to Egypt. He didn’t want to make a big mistake in his old age that he or his family would regret later. So he stopped in Beersheba, that ancient worship ground, to sacrifice and enquire at the will of God.
There in Beersheba God assured Israel there in a dream that He would be with him, and that He would make of him a great nation upon the earth. And God promised that He would go with Israel down to Egypt, and that He would surely bring him up again. Not only would his body be brought back to Canaan, but more so, God would bring the nation of Israel up out of Egypt - hundreds of years later.
This brings a feeling over me that I cannot express in words. How far do the thoughts and ways of the Almighty, transcend our feeble thoughts and ways. As Paul said, “how are His thoughts and ways past finding out!” Beloved, hundreds of years off somewhere in the future, God would bring the mighty nation Israel back to the promised land. These 70 feeble souls, now bound for Egypt to escape starvation, would someday far away in the distant future, return as a mighty nation, as a nation to be dreaded and feared by all the nations of the earth.
Think with me a moment of all the dear saints of God buried out there somewhere in the world in their forgotten graves. It is not long before their memories are forgotten in the earth. Few of their memories live on in the history books. But they all, like Jacob, die with a promise.
God promised that one day somewhere out there in the future that He will bring them all out of their graves. And that He will make of them a great people that will occupy His Holy Land of the New Heaven, and the New Earth, and that Holy City New Jerusalem.
We cannot begin to comprehend this thought of the resurrection. We say we believe it, but this truth is so sublime that our fondest fancies can’t begin to envision this awesome event. Like little children, we must simply believe it, because God’s Word says it.
But beloved, one day God brought the nation of Israel out of Egypt just like He said He would - and with a powerful and mighty arm at that! And one day God sent His Son Jesus into the world to save His people from their sins by His work on the cross, just like He said He would. And one day glorious day Jesus is coming back for His people, to take His people home to Heaven, just like He said He would. Jesus said “and if I go and prepare a place for you , I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
Beloved, as we stand in Beersheba with Israel, beholding the hazy future of our distant forgotten graves, with nothing more to stand on than God’s promise in His Word of the resurrection, remember Israel. Remember that God kept His promise to Jacob and brought them out of Egypt. Remember Jesus! God kept His promise and sent His Son into the world to save us from our sins.
Beloved, God will not forget His promise to us either. Jesus will come again to take His children out of this old sin cursed world in the resurrection, and He will take us home to the promised land of Heaven; just like He said He would.
Israel didn’t want his body to be left in that old sin cursed, idolatrous land of Egypt. No, he wanted to be buried along side his people in the land that God promised to him as an inheritance. I believe that Israel showed great faith by requesting a proper burial in the promised land with his fathers.
He showed that he believed in life in the hereafter. When God brought the nation of Israel back home to the promised land, Israel wanted his body to be there waiting for them, as it were. He wanted to rest with his people in their land. If there was no hope of life after death, then what difference would it make where or how he was buried?
Israel also showed by his burial that he believed in the resurrection. When resurrection time came, he wanted to be with his people when that last trump of God sounded, when they will come up out of their graves.
Someone might say “it doesn’t matter how your buried.” Well, it sure mattered to the children of Israel, and the Lord never condemned them for it. I believe we ought to honor him in our death as well as in our life. We ought to show forth our faith in the hereafter and in the resurrection in the manner that we are buried.
Furthermore, I believe a proper Christian burial shows respect, honor, and thanksgiving to God our Creator and Saviour. It shows thankfulness to God for our lives that He gave us, and for the use of our bodies in this life. It also testifies that our bodies are sleeping in peace as it were, as they patiently await the coming resurrection day.
In conclusion, in chapter 48 of Genesis, we see that Joseph received a double blessing. Each of his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh, both received a full blessing from Israel. And in chapter 49, where we read our text this morning, Joseph’s posterity was promised fruitfulness and prosperity in the land, which history has proved to come to pass.
All this is just to say that God does bless obedience in the lives of His people. Yes, all things worked together for good to the disobedient as well as the obedient sons of Israel, but it is also true that Joseph received greater blessings for his obedience.
May this be our goal, as we spoke Wednesday evening from Philippians 3. May we aim for the mark of the high calling of God by living in obedience to God in accordance to His revealed will. May we shoot for perfection in our lives, and to honor Him, and to be like Christ in all that we say and do as His children.
Beloved, there are heavenly rewards for faithful, obedient service, both in the life, and the life to come.
Do you know Jesus this evening?