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presents "Light from the Old Testament"
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Lesson 3 (Part 2)
Jacob had 12 sons. Joseph was his eleventh son, born to Jacob in his old age. Jacob loved Joseph more than all his children. This caused the older brothers to hate Joseph.
Once, when the older brothers were far away tending sheep, Jacob sent Joseph to see how they were. When the brothers saw Joseph coming, they conspired to kill him. One brother, Reuben, did not want Joseph to be killed. He persuaded the others to sell him as a slave to a caravan of traders going to Egypt. The brothers told their father that wild beasts had killed Joseph.
Through no fault of his own, Joseph ended up as a slave in the house of Potiphar, a wealthy Egyptian man. But God was with Joseph.
Potiphar's wife was a wicked woman who tried to seduce Joseph. When he fled from her presence, she was furious. She lied to her husband and told him that Joseph had tried to force her to have sex with him.
Through no fault of his own, Joseph was sent to prison and put in chains. But God was with him.
Sometime later, Pharaoh, king of Egypt, had a dream that troubled him. His wise men could not tell him the meaning of the dream.
The chief butler told Pharaoh that Joseph could interpret his dream. Pharaoh immediately called for Joseph.
God revealed the meaning of Pharaoh's dream to Joseph. Joseph told Pharaoh that there would be seven years when the harvests of grain would be plentiful. Then there would be seven years of famine when they would have no crops.
Joseph suggested to Pharaoh that heseek and find a wise man to put over the land of Egypt, to store the excess grain during the years of plenty, so that they would have food during the seven years of famine. Pharaoh chose Joseph to be that man. Joseph was made the ruler of all Egypt under Pharaoh.
Later, during the years of famine, Joseph's brothers came to Egypt for food. Joseph knew who they were but they did not recognize him. God used Joseph to bring his brothers to confess and repent of their sin.
Joseph freely forgave his brothers and he sent royal wagons to bring his father Jacob and all his household to Egypt. There they were royally cared for by Joseph.
Joseph is a beautiful type of Christ. Joseph was hated by his brothers, sold into slavery, but exalted in the far country. All of his family came into blessing because of him.
Christ is our "Joseph." Christ too was hated by His brethren, the Jews, and rejected in this world. But He has been exalted to the right hand of God in heaven. One day He will come to take us to be with Him forever. We will come into eternal blessings because of Him.
Joseph is a marvelous type of Christ, and there are three lessons which God would have us learn from Joseph's life:
God prospers us when we allow Christ to rule in our life.
When Joseph was a slave in Potiphar's house, Potiphar put him in charge, and everything prospered. When he was in prison, the keeper of the prison put him in charge, and again everything prospered. When Pharaoh made Joseph ruler of all Egypt, the country prospered. The Bible says of Joseph, "…the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper" (Genesis 39:23).
Joseph is a type of Christ as Lord. The more we put Him in charge of our life, the more God will prosper us.
God works all things together for good to them that love Him.
God is the sovereign Ruler of the universe, and He causes all things to work together to accomplish His purposes.
Everything that happens to a child of God is under God's watchful eye and His careful supervision. Jesus said that even the hairs of our head are all numbered! No matter how things may appear, God is causing all things to work together for the eternal good of those who love Him. The Bible says,
"…we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28
Joseph's life is an illustration of this. God had shown Joseph that one day he would be exalted—that his brothers and even his father and mother would bow down to him.
Yet, when he was 17, his brothers sold him as a slave. For 13 years, Joseph was severely tested. He was put in prison, in iron chains, for a crime he did not commit.
It seemed as though God had forgotten him, but all the time God was with him, preparing him to be the ruler of all Egypt and the savior of his family.
God wants us to know the love of Christ so that we might have complete confidence in Him.
Joseph forgave his brothers, brought them and their families to Egypt, and cared for them in the best way possible. Yet, when their father Jacob died, they were fearful that Joseph would punish them for what they did to him. They went in and fell down before Joseph, begging him to forgive them.
Joseph wept. He wept because they did not know his love for them. They knew his care and goodness to them, but they did not know his heart. He comforted them and assured them that he would continue to care for them and their little ones.
Many believers have enjoyed Christ's goodness to them for years, but they have not known His heart. This grieves the Lord.