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Joseph is a beautiful picture of grace and forgiveness. There are so many places this story could have gone very wrong, and yet God’s hand is evident in every part of Joseph’s life. His story is bitter and it is sweet, and Joseph finds grace for his heart as he grows in understanding of how God works.

Genesis  37:23-24

So it came about, when Joseph reached his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the varicolored tunic that was on him; and they took him and threw him into the pit. Now the pit was empty, without any water in it.

Joseph is a little bit self-focused, but certainly doesn’t deserve the harsh treatment he received from his brothers. Many of God’s chosen instruments appear to get the short end of the stick, but end up becoming victorious beyond imagination. When life is bitter, grace is able to overcome and deliver us heart and soul!

Genesis  39:2-4

The LORD was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. Now his master saw that the LORD was with him and how the LORD caused all that he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge.

If you would plot Joseph’s ups and downs on a graph, his life looks very erratic. It is reminiscent of God’s praise to Abraham: “those who bless you, I will bless.”

Genesis  40:23; 41:1,14-16

Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him…Now it happened at the end of two full years that Pharaoh had a dream, and behold, he was standing by the Nile.

Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph, and they hurriedly brought him out of the dungeon; and when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came to Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, but no one can interpret it; and I have heard it said about you, that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”

How many times had Joseph’s hopes been dashed?! Through it all Joseph clings to his belief in the Living God. Amazing!

Genesis  41:38-40

Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit?” So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are. “You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you.”

It is interesting when God does intervene in Joseph’s life that it happens through divine favor and insight which result from  devotion to God. It would have been easy to give up along the way.

Genesis  45:4-5

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come closer to me.” And they came closer. And he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. “Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.”

Try to describe the feelings of surprise and shock Joseph’s brothers are feeling. This is a watershed moment in the Story, my friend.

Genesis  47:6-7

“The land of Egypt is at your disposal; settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land, let them live in the land of Goshen; and if you know any capable men among them, then put them in charge of my livestock.” Then Joseph brought his father Jacob and presented him to Pharaoh; and Jacob blessed Pharaoh.

The land of Goshen in Egypt is where the Hebrew people will find themselves as the book of Exodus unfolds. Joseph’s story will impact the Jew’s story for centuries to come.

Genesis  50:24-26

Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will surely take care of you and bring you up from this land to the land which He promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.” Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones up from here.” So Joseph died at the age of one hundred and ten years; and he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.

What a conflicted life. His adventure began in a pit in Israel, and ends in a coffin in Egypt. Thank God for true hope!

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