Yesterday’s post included a short summary of Joseph’s story and today we consider God’s Plan in Joseph’s story.
God knew that in Joseph’s lifetime there was going to be a severe famine. A famine that would last 7 long years and which would lead to starvation for many people if steps were not taken to prepare for such a devastating event.
God had made a covenant with Abraham that he would be the father of many nations who would be blessed through him. For that to be fulfilled Abraham’s descendants would need to be preserved out of the coming famine.
God could have chosen to sustain Jacob’s family miraculously (as God would later do by providing Manna and water for their descendants in the wilderness) but God had a different plan which would not only save Abraham’s descendants but many others too. That plan sounds like a forerunner for the gospel message to me.
Joseph’s story shows us God’s grace and mercy in action that God not only through Joseph fulfils his plan to save Abraham’s descendants but God also saves the Egyptians and many other peoples from other nations who came to buy food from Egypt during the famine.
God wanted someone to serve His purposes, to bring His plan to fruition and He chose Joseph to outwork that plan.
I can’t read the story of Joseph without seeing the signposts to Jesus and God’s plan of redemption for mankind.
When Adam sinned God had a plan to save mankind and His name was Jesus.
“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:15
Jesus came not only to save Abraham’s descendants the Jews (Israel) thereby fulfilling the covenant promise to Abraham but also to save the Gentiles – the whole world.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Joseph’s story is undeniably one of hardship, suffering and pain which lasts for many, many years. He was betrayed by his family, sold into slavery in a foreign country as a young man, falsely accused of a crime he did not commit and put into prison. God did not cause those things to happen to Joseph but God used those circumstances for good instead of evil. God’s favour was on Joseph. He sustained Joseph through those hard times. Joseph learnt valuable lessons along the way and his experiences were not wasted.
There are many examples of suffering servants of God in the bible. Jesus himself was the suffering servant prophesied by Isaiah. The disciples and the early church believers suffered. The Apostle Paul suffered to take the gospel to the Gentiles. The Lord showed Paul what was in store for him and how he would suffer but he still chose to go.
But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” Acts 9:15-16
God can allow us to go through suffering and hardship for the greater good. We see and hear stories of Christians all over the world suffering for the sake of the gospel every day. The difference which enables them is Hope. When we walk through the valley, God is with us. There is light at the end.
The bible teaches us that a life of faith will not be easy because the world is against us. We are not exempt from times of trouble but God’s grace and presence is always with us to sustain us. Don’t think you are doing something wrong or out of God’s will if you are going through difficult times – you may be right in the middle of God’s plan.
Joseph had this incredible insight into God’s plan which he shared with his brothers at the end of the story. This is how incredible and transformational this revelation can be. No bitterness on Joseph’s part but the realisation of what God has done through him.
“for God sent me before you to preserve life; God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance” “so now it was not you who sent me here, but God”. Genesis 45 5-8
May we also like Joseph discern God outworking His divine plans and purposes in our lives for His glory.
Tomorrow we consider why God chose Joseph and why Egypt.