Today we come to the last major section of Genesis, the story of Joseph (Genesis 37-50).
JOSEPH- IT’S NOT JUST THE DREAM COAT THAT IS AMAZING
We have caught glimpses of the TRUE HERO of the story, the Messiah, who would reverse the curse upon fallen man, the PROMISED SON OF GOD, the SEED OF THE WOMAN (Genesis 3:15), the INNOCENT SUBSTITUTE (Genesis 3:21), SLAIN to clothe human nakedness, THE ONLY REQUIRED SACRIFICE that can give sinners assurance of acceptance before God (Genesis 4:4; Hebrews 11:4), and a descendent OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC and JACOB. We also learned that kings will be in the family line of the one who would be “King of Kings” (Genesis 35:11; Revelation 19:16).
‘Jacob’ (the “heel-catcher”, “supplanter”, “cheater”) is renamed ‘Israel’ (“ruled by God”, or paraphrased “God at work”). Envision a huge “GOD AT WORK” sign over Jacob and his descendants! Through Jacob/Israel, God is at work to fulfill His redemptive purpose for the human race. God is preparing a people to bring forth the Messiah, the Anointed Priest, Prophet, and King. As Priest, He will provide atonement for our sins. As Prophet, He will be the Word made flesh. As King, He will be the Lord of heaven and earth. So, as we study the Book of Genesis, we are to let the Word of Christ, the message of Christ, richly dwell within us (Colossians 3:16).
The Apostle Paul explains, “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.” (Galatians 3:16)
We see prophetic pictures of the Promised Seed, that is, Christ, in the many ‘seeds’ in the Abrahamic lineage. Isaac is the beloved miracle son of Abraham. He is the one through whom the promises would come, and yet God required that Abraham take his son, “his only son, whom he loved, and go to the land of Moriah and offer him as a sacrifice” (Genesis 22:2). We see that we have a clear picture in Isaac of God’s only Son, Jesus, being taken to the Mountains of Moriah (‘seen of God’, ‘center stage’) to the place named “Jehovah-Jireh” (lit. “God will provide”) where “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering.” (Gen 22:8,14). Jesus is the Lamb that God Himself would provide. Abraham had come to a place where he knew God would raise his son from the dead if he required him to die, because only through Isaac could the promise of a future seed be fulfilled (Hebrews 11:17-19).
One of the greatest prophetic pictures that we have of Christ in the Book of Genesis is found in Joseph, the first son that Jacob had by his beloved wife Rachel.
The following comparisons can be made between Joseph and Jesus.
- Joseph was beloved of the father (Gen 37:3). Jesus is God’s beloved son, Matt 3:17, 17:5, Mark 1:11, 9:7, Luke 3:22, 9:35, 20:13, Col 1:13).
- Joseph was a shepherd. Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11, 14) and the Great Shepherd of the Sheep (Heb 13:20).
- Joseph was given favor from his father and a kingly tunic that he would be stripped of (Gen 37:23). Jesus was commended by God the Father as being the Son of His delight and at the cross was stripped of his seamless tunic (John 19:23).
- Joseph was hated by his brothers. He testified to his father of his brothers’ evil works (Gen 37:2) and he provoked his brothers to envy (Acts 7:9). Jesus testified of his brothers’ evil works (John 7:7). He came unto his own and his own received him not (John 1:11). Jesus’ own brothers did not believe him (until the resurrection, 1 Cor 15:7). They thought he was crazy (John 7:5, Mark 3:20). Jesus was hated by the religious leaders because of envy (Matthew 27:18, Mark 15:10).
- Joseph had two dreams. In the first dream, Joseph’s sheaf of wheat rose and stood upright and all the sheaves of his brothers gathered around his sheaf and bowed down to it. In the second dream, the sun, moon and stars bow down to him. Jesus is the first fruit from the dead, the sheaf before whom all others bow. He is the Lord of the earth and His earthly people, Israel (the first dream), and the Lord of heaven and His heavenly people, the church (the second dream).
- Joseph’s dreams of his supreme status made his brothers furious (Gen 37:8). Jesus’ claim to be equal with God infuriated the Jewish leaders to the degree that they wanted to kill him (John 5:18).
- Joseph was potentially put to death. Jesus, the Greater Joseph, actually was put to death at the hands of his people. These events were used by God in His plan for the salvation of His people.
- After delivering Joseph to intended death, his brothers sat down to casually eat their lunch (Genesis 37:25a). When the Roman soldiers crucified Jesus “they divided up His garments among themselves by casting lots. And sitting down, they began to keep watch over Him there.” (Matthew 27:35-36)
- Joseph was wrongly charged and sent to prison. Jesus was accused falsely and sent to death.
- Joseph was released from prison, exalted to the right hand of Pharaoh, and given royal garments. Jesus was released from the prison of death, having paid our debt to God, given garments for His resurrected body and exalted to the right hand of the Majesty on high.
- Joseph was given a second name in his exaltation. Jesus is given another name in his exaltation. (Gen 41:42-45; Philippians 2:9-11; Rev 19:11-12)
Philippians 2:9-11 (NASB)
9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
So, let the “message of Christ” sink in as we read the story of Joseph. Let us also learn from this history that God is Sovereign. He has a plan. He will use us, if we are willing to humble ourselves and do what will bring glory and honor to His Name.
Genesis 38 reminds us of God’s grace. Judah is unfaithful and turns to a prostitute, who is actually his daughter-in-law in disguise. As a result of this illicit relationship, Perez is born. This child will be the ancestor of Jesus. Let Matthew’s genealogy remind us that “GOD IS AT WORK” even in the midst of life’s messy situations.
Matthew 1:2-6 (NASB)
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. 3 Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram. 4 Ram was the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon. 5 Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. 6 Jesse was the father of David the king. David was the father of Solomon by Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah.
TODAY’S NEW TESTAMENT READING: MATTHEW 12:22-45.
Just as we have seen that Jesus is the Greater Joseph in today’s Old Testament reading, Jesus tells us that He is the Greater Jonah (Matt 12:41). He will give His contemporaries, an evil generation that seeks a sign, the sign of Jonah. This sign refers to Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. But unlike the Ninevites, who repented under Jonah’s preaching, and were saved, many who saw the miracles of Jesus did not repent and therefore would be condemned.
Jesus said that the Queen of Sheba, the Queen of the South, received God’s wisdom in Solomon. But He is the greater Solomon (Matt 12:42). Because the Queen of Sheba received God’s wisdom, she would rise in judgment over those Jews who did not receive God’s wisdom in Christ.
Jesus also proclaimed that He did not come to divide Satan’s house, He came to completely spoil it. He could only do this as one who was from outside the household of Satan. Jesus proclaims that He is at odds with the kingdom of Satan, the kingdom of this world. What He does, He does by the finger of God, the work of the Holy Spirit. He has come in the authority of the kingdom of God to bind the strong man (Satan) and set free those who have been taken captive to him.
He also notes that an exorcism without conversion to Christ (regeneration) is worse than no exorcism at all (Matt 12:43-47). Jesus came not merely to expel demons, but that we might have a new life, that we be born again, and thereby become part of His new creation (John 10:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17). Only by turning from our sin and believing on the Lord Jesus Christ can we truly be delivered from death and him who has power over it, that is, the devil. (See Heb 2:14). Only through faith in Christ can we truly be turned from the power of Satan to God (Acts 26:18).
TODAY’S READING IN THE PSALMS- PSALM 16:1-11
There is much to glean in this Psalm. “Lord, I have no good apart from You!” We hear the Apostle Paul echo verse 2 in Romans 7:18
Do you delight in your fellow believers as the Psalmist does in verse 3?
Are you satisfied with your portion in Christ? Have you considered the wealth of your inheritance? (verse 5)
We should adopt the Psalmist’s habit to set the Lord ALWAYS before us (verse 8). Then we can receive His counsel even in dark times (verse 7).
This is a song of blessed fellowship. It is one that gave Jesus confidence in the Father’s plan to raise Him from the dead.
Psalm 16:10-11 10 For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. 11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS- PROVERBS 3:27-32
AN EXHORTATION TO DO ALL THE GOOD YOU CAN, AND TO DO RIGHT
Verse 28 inspires me to be proactive in the moment, especially when people ask me to pray for them. So often we say that we will pray for them, when we can pray for them in the moment when they make the request.
The gospel promotes peace and good will towards all.
Proverbs 3:27-32 27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so. 28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it,” When you have it with you. 29 Do not devise evil against your neighbor, for he dwells by you for safety’s sake. 30 Do not strive with a man without cause, if he has done you no harm. 31 Do not envy the oppressor, and choose none of his ways; 32 For the perverse person is an abomination to the LORD, but His secret counsel is with the upright.
PRAYER: O Lord, the story of Joseph encourages us! You are Lord over all circumstances! We can say that we know that You cause all things to work together for good, to those who love You, to those who are the called according to Your purpose! (Romans 8:28) Help us to stay focused on the revelation of Your glory and grace in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Amen.