I attend a weekly ladies Bible study group that is sponsored by the Women’s League at our church. Last night our lesson was taken from Genesis 37, 39-45 on Joseph and how Christianity isn’t a security blanket that protects us from hardship and trials. The study was very interesting and I learned two new things after I came home and had some time to absorb and talk it all over with Sam. Here’s what I learned:
1. Out of all the people mentioned in the Old Testament, Joseph is the only person that we do not see any written account of sin in his life. We know that his brothers were jealous of him and that after he was sold into slavery he was falsely accused of rape and imprisoned, but there is no mention of a time when Joseph committed any sins. Now I doubt that Joseph was perfect, but it’s interesting that there isn’t any mention of a time when he was in prison where he didn’t question God, or when he was in power in Potiphar’s house or Pharaoh’s palace that he didn’t abuse his power just a bit, or even as a teenager living in Jacob’s house he didn’t sin against his father. Which leads me into point number two, and that is….
2. Joseph is a picture of Jesus. He was “special” in his father’s eyes. A child born to his father in his old age by the woman he loved more than anything in the world – a woman he was willing to work 14 years for before he could marry her. This was an unheard and unthinkable amount of time for a man to labor for a wife, just as Jesus’ virgin birth was unheard of and unthinkable. In Jacob’s eyes, Joseph was his firstborn son as he only wanted to marry Rachel, and he treated him as such – showering him with gifts that would normally be presented only to the firstborn. Jesus was Joseph’s firstborn son as well, even though he really wasn’t his son, but Joseph (Jesus’ father) honored him as such. Joseph (back to the Old Testament) also became a ruler, exalted above all others in the land, and before him everyone bowed down and honored him (including his family), just as all will do before Jesus on the day when he returns. As there is no written record of Joseph’s sins, he mirrors Jesus in that as there is no written record of Jesus’ sins (if he ever did commit any). Joseph suffered punishment for crimes he did not commit, just as Jesus suffered the punishment for our sins – sins he did not commit. Joseph became the “savior” of many during the 7 years of famine in the land of Egypt, just as Jesus is the savior of all, thanks to the work he did on the cross.
The Bible is so amazing!
“Dear gracious, heavenly Father, thank you so much for the life and example of Joseph. Thank you for showing us that in our human bodies we can be living examples of you. Thank you for our trials, for it is only through these times of testing that we become completely dependent on you. Please help me to remain faithful and trusting of you in all things, just as Joseph was a faithful and honoring believer. Thank you for Jesus, who made the way of salvation possible for us through his death on a cruel cross…it’s in His name I pray. Amen.”