GOD’S PLAN FOR JOSEPH

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god plan Joseph
god plan Joseph

“HERE COMES THAT DREAMER!” THEY SAID TO EACH OTHER. “COME NOW, LET’S KILL HIM.” (GENESIS 37:19)  god plan Joseph  

          JOSEPH’S STORY IS THE LAST OF THE BROTHERLY BATTLES OF GENESIS. CAIN AND ABEL, ISAAC AND ISHMAEL, JACOB AND ESAU ALL QUARRELED. JOSEPH SET HIS 11 BROTHERS AGAINST HIM BY TELLING HIS DREAM OF THEIR BOWING DOWN TO HIM. HE WAS HIS FATHER’S FAVORITE AND PERHAPS FLAUNTED IT. SO WHEN HIS BROTHERS GOT A CHANCE, THEY PAID HIM BACK. THEY SOLD HIM AS A SLAVE TO TRAVELLING MERCHANTS, WHO TOOK HIM TO EGYPT. NEVER EXPECTING TO SEE HIM AGAIN, THEY MADE UP A STORY THAT HE HAD BEEN KILLED BY WILD ANIMALS. god plan Joseph

    GOD HAD OTHER PLANS. IN EGYPT, HE GAVE JOSEPH THE INTERPRETATION TO SEVERAL DREAMS. IT WAS A TICKET TO PROMINENCE. EGYPTIANS OF THAT DAY WERE FASCINATED BY DREAMS: ARCHAEOLOGISTS HAVE UNCOVERED LENGTHY TEXTBOOKS ON DREAM INTERPRETATION. JOSEPH SOON FOUND HIMSELF AT THE TOP OF PHARAOH’S GOVERNMENT.

        BUT SUCCESS WAS NOT ENOUGH. THE BIBLE STORY GOES ON FROM THERE, FOR GOD WANTED FORGIVENESS WITHIN THE FAMILY. A FAMINE MADE JOSEPH’S BROTHERS MOVE OUT OF PALESTINE; THEY CAME TO EGYPT LOOKING FOR FOOD. KNEELING BEFORE JOSEPH—SO EGYPTIAN BY NOW THAT THEY DID NOT RECOGNIZE HIM—THEY BEGGED FOR THE RIGHT TO BUY FOOD. god plan Joseph

A STRANGE STRUGGLE (god plan Joseph)

          SO BEGAN ONE OF THE STRANGEST STRUGGLES OF THE BIBLE. JOSEPH COULD HAVE MADE UP WITH HIS BROTHERS ON THE SPOT, WELCOMING THEM WITH OPEN ARMS. OR HE COULD HAVE TAKEN REVENGE, PUTTING THEM TO DEATH. HE DID NEITHER. HE BEGAN A SERIES OF ELABORATE TESTS, DEMANDING THINGS FROM THEM, PLAYING TRICKS ON THEM, ACCUSING THEM. FOR NEARLY TWO YEARS HE PLAYED THESE GAMES. THEY BROUGHT CONFUSION AND FEAR TO HIS BROTHERS— AND AN ADMISSION OF GUILT.

          TWENTY YEARS HAD NOT ERASED THE BROTHER’S MEMORY OF JOSEPH. THE MOMENT THEIR TROUBLES BEGAN, THEIR GUILT SURFACED. “THEY SAID TO ONE ANOTHER, ‘SURELY WE ARE BEING PUNISHED BECAUSE OF OUR BROTHER. WE SAW HOW DISTRESSED HE WAS WHEN HE PLEADED WITH US FOR HIS LIFE, BUT WE WOULD NOT LISTEN’ ” (GENESIS 42:21). FOR JOSEPH, THE DRAMA BROUGHT TREMENDOUS EMOTIONAL STRAIN. FIVE TIMES GENESIS RECORDS THAT HE BROKE INTO YEARS, ONCE WEEPING SO LOUDLY THAT PEOPLE IN THE NEXT ROOM HEARD HIM. god plan Joseph

      JOSEPH FELT THE STRAIN OF FORGIVENESS. HE WANTED TO RECONCILE WITH HIS BROTHERS, WHOM HE LOVED, BUT IT WAS NOT EASY. AND UNTIL THEY HAD BEEN PUSHED TO THE POINT OF ADMITTING AND ACCEPTING THEIR GUILT, RECONCILIATION COULD NOT OCCUR. THEIR SINS HAD PLANTED DEEP-ROOTED BITTERNESS, AND ONLY AN EMOTIONALLY WRENCHING STRUGGLE COULD PULL IT OUT.

SEEDS OF BITTERNESS (god plan Joseph)

          IN THIS SENSE JOSEPH’S STORY IS THE STORY OF GOD AND HIS PEOPLE—THE STRUGGLE TO ROOT OUT THE SIN THAT BEGAN IN GENESIS 3. IT DOES NOT HAPPEN AUTOMATICALLY OR EASILY. ULTIMATELY, IT DEMANDED THE DEATH OF GOD’S SON.

          JOSEPH’S STORY POINTS TOWARD JESUS—A MAN GOD SENT TO SAVE HIS PEOPLE, WHO WAS HATED AND BETRAYED BY THEM JUST AS JOSEPH WAS. BUT GOD’S WILL TO SAVE CONQUERS ALL. AS JOSEPH TOLD HIS BROTHERS, “YOU INTENDED TO HARM ME, BUT GOD INTENDED IT FOR GOOD ACCOMPLISH…..THE SAVING OF MANY LIVES”      (GENESIS 50:20).

THE BIRTH OF A NATION (god plan Joseph)

          JOSEPH CLOSES ONE CHAPTER IN THE STORY OF ISRAEL. THE CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM WERE TRANSFORMED FROM A CHAIN OF INDIVIDUALS TO A NATION. GOD DID NOT CHOOSE JOSEPH OVER HIS BROTHERS, AS HE DID ABRAHAM OVER LOT, ISAAC OVER ISHMAEL, JACOB  OVER ESAU. THE BROTHERS’ RECONCILIATION OPENED THE WAY FOR THEM TO BECOME ONE FAMILY OF 12 TRIBES—A SINGLE NATION.

          BUT STORY LEADS ON. PROSPEROUS AND NUMEROUS THOUGH THE 12 HAD BECOME, THEY STILL HAD NO LAND. AND SO GENESIS ENDS HAPPILY, BUT ON A NOTE OF SUSPENSE: WHEN WILL JOSEPH’S BONES GO BACK TO THE LAND GOD PROMISED? WHEN WILL GOD’S PROMISES BE FULFILLED?

LIFE QUESTIONS: HAVE YOU EVER FOUGHT HARD WITH A PERSON CLOSE TO YOU, AND THEN EXPERIENCED RECONCILIATION? WHAT PROCESS DID YOU GO THROUGH? god plan Joseph

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