You remember Joseph’s story, don’t you? For details and to jog your memory, read Joseph’s story in Genesis 37-50. Joseph was the older of two sons born to Rachael and Jacob. Joseph’s birth was the long awaited child of Jacob’s most loved wife Rachael. Rachael had been barren for many long years, while her sister Leah produced many sons for Jacob. Two sisters married to the same man. Talk about sibling rivalry!
As the story goes, Joseph was the favorite child of Jacob and received preferential treatment from his father. Jacob even gave Joseph a very special coat to show him how much he loved him. This coat was so beautiful and one that indicated to the other sons of Jacob that Joseph would receive the coveted birthright, they became very jealous.
After this, God gave Joseph two prophetic dreams that would remind Joseph of God’s care in the years to come and would cause the brothers to become very bitter toward him. Both dreams involved the brothers bowing down before Joseph and the last dream included his father and mother doing the same. The brothers’ jealousy and bitterness grew to strong hatred. How dare Joseph think he was better than his brothers!
Finally, these ten brothers hated Joseph so much they devised a plan to murder him. One day that opportunity arrived. Joseph, wearing his special coat, went to check on the brothers in the fields as directed by his father Jacob. The very sight of him angered the brothers and they decided now was the time to put their plan into action. They tore the coat off his body and threw him into an old cistern/pit so deep that he could not get out without help. But instead of murder they sold Joseph to slave traders traveling near their camp within a caravan of merchants.
The rest of his story in Genesis gives detailed accounts of Joseph in Egypt. He was a slave in the house of Potiphar, a prisoner accused of rape, the interpreter of dreams for two of the personal attendants of Pharaoh, forgotten and left in prison and then became the interpreter of Pharaoh’s dreams. In fulfillment of the plan God had for Joseph’s life, he became the vizier of Egypt, second in command to Pharaoh himself. He would become a great leader saving many people from starvation during the seven years of famine.
Joseph would once again come face to face with the brothers who had planned to murder him. All of these things came to past in order to fulfill the promises that God had given Abraham in
Genesis 15: 13-16 Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.“
Joseph’s story is an amazing illustration of God’s love, provision and divine plan for one of His servants. Joseph would fulfill his part of God’s overall plan to grow the tribe of Jacob into the nation of Israel. He would do so with great faith in God during a life filled with more trails and tribulations than most of us face in our lifetime.
Romans 11: 33 “How great are God’s riches! How deep are His wisdom and knowledge! Who can explain His decisions? Who can understand His ways?”