This week’s posts are about Joseph – biblical hero and so much more than just a multi coloured coat and a popular musical.
The story of Joseph has much to teach us today about God’s “bigger picture”. Persevering until the perfection of God’s plans come to pass.
You can read Joseph’s story in Genesis chapters 37-50.
A brief summary of the story for the week ahead:
Joseph was a son of Jacob, grandson of Isaac & great-grandson of Abraham.
As such, Joseph was one of the heirs to the covenant blessing promised to Abraham by God that Abraham would be the father of many nations, and a blessing to many.
Joseph was born to Jacob in his old age by his favourite wife, Rachel. God had mercy on Rachel when she couldn’t have children and Joseph was born. Rachel then went on to have Benjamin but died in childbirth which caused great pain to Jacob. This was probably one of the reasons for Joseph being a favourite of Jacobs – he reminded Jacob of Rachel- resulting in the gift of the famous multi-coloured coat by Jacob to Joseph.
There had been a lot of competition between Rachel and her sister Leah as to who could give Jacob children and be his favourite wife which resulted in Rachel giving Jacob her handmaid so she could have children for her – Leah then did the same – result 12 sons & 1 daughter were fathered by Jacob.
This unhealthy competition between the wives led inevitably to competition between the children and resulted in envy & jealousy. This led to Joseph’s early problems especially when he told his family about his two dreams that he was going to be the greatest over them all. Who did he think he was – you can see the potential for trouble brewing.
One day Jacob sent Joseph away on a journey to see how his brothers were doing. They saw him coming and hatched a plan to kill him but relenting of that, they put him in a pit and sold him to passing slave traders.
Joseph was taken to Egypt and sold as a slave to Potiphar. He did well but Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him. Joseph resisted her but he was thrown into prison.
In prison Joseph proved trustworthy and was put in charge of the other prisoners. Two prisoners who were servants of Pharaoh, his butler and his baker, both had troublesome dreams on the same night. Joseph correctly interpreted their dreams which came to pass. The butler was reinstated to his position but the baker was killed.
Two years later, Pharaoh has a dream about cows and sheaves of wheat which no-one can interpret, not any of the magicians or learned men. The butler remembers Joseph and tells Pharaoh. Joseph is brought from prison and interprets the dream. He tells Pharoah there will be seven years of plenty and seven years of famine. He then tells Pharaoh what to do to prepare.
Pharaoh is so impressed that he makes Joseph his second in command. Joseph puts his plan into action. The famine is widespread and eventually his own brothers come to buy food in Egypt. They don’t recognise Joseph and after some trials that Joseph puts them through, they are eventually reconciled. Joseph is reunited with his Dad and they all settle in the land of Goshen in Egypt.
Joseph’s story is no accident. This week we can dig into the story a bit deeper.