The background story of our look at Genesis and the story of Joseph….very briefly:
Joseph, as a 17-year-old kid, was favored by his father, Jacob. Because of this, his 10 older brothers despised him. They came this close to actually killing him, but instead they sold him to a caravan of foreigners as a SLAVE. Human trafficking existed nearly 4000 years ago.
Joseph spends 13 years as a slave and in prison. Pharaoh, king of Egypt, has a dream from God. Joseph interprets it, and miraculously, astonishingly, is appointed second-in-command over the mighty nation of Egypt.
Nine years later—two years into a severe famine—Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt to buy grain so that Jacob’s family won’t die of starvation. It’s been 22 years now since Joseph was SOLD. Joseph recognizes the brothers—the brothers who badly mistreated him—but they don’t recognize him.
So he puts them through an ordeal, threatens them, puts Simeon in prison, and sends them home. They come back with their youngest brother, Benjamin, the only brother who was not complicit in Joseph’s 13 years of hardships. Joseph tests them again.
Judah gives a repentant, heartfelt plea to Joseph to exchange Benjamin’s life for his own. Joseph breaks down weeping and reveals himself to his brothers. In one of the more remarkable faith-filled statements in the Bible, Joseph tells them four times, “You tried to harm me, but God sent me here ahead of you to save many lives, including our family.”
The whole family is brought to Egypt, including Jacob who has a highly emotional reunion with his long-lost son.
Let’s finish the story today.
Jacob takes Joseph’s two sons as his own, essentially giving Joseph a double inheritance. A permanent place of honor for Joseph.
Jacob has 12 sons. But with Joseph’s place taken by his two sons, this essentially gives Jacob (a.k.a., Israel) 13 sons. But as you read the OT, you find there are 12 tribes of Israel who get portions of the Promised Land, the land of Canaan. So how does the math work out? Levi’s descendants become the line of the priesthood, and the Lord himself is their inheritance. They do not inherit land. (Moses and his brother Aaron were Levites.) So that leaves 12 tribes. Now as you read the OT, you will better understand where these tribes and sections of land come from.
Jacob blesses each of his 12 sons. What is a blessing? Blessings are a bestowal of good: A prayer and a well-wishing and giving of favor all in one. And in Jacob’s case, his blessings were also prophecies inspired by God. For sake of time, we won’t read through all these blessings except for one.
Judah stands out among all his brothers for one very key reason: He becomes the ancestor of King David and more importantly, of Jesus Christ.
Genesis 49:8–10 ESV “Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down before you.
This is a reversal. In fulfillment of the dream the Lord gave to Joseph years before, all his brothers bowed down to him. Now the Lord prophecies about Judah. Someday his brothers, the other TRIBES, would bow down to him. This was fulfilled first through King David who ruled over all Israel. But it’s ULTIMATE fulfillment is through the One Great King, Jesus Christ, the descendant of Judah.
9 Judah is a lion’s cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him? 10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.”
This is another glimpse into the coming Messiah. When he prophecies, “The SCEPTER shall not depart from Judah,” he is speaking of a kingship. JUDAH’s tribe gave Israel DAVID, and the line of the eternal king, Jesus Christ, came from Judah and David.
Revelation 5:5 ESV And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
Even though Jesus Christ descended from David, he was the ROOT of David. Think about this prophecy. How smart is God to know all this? How powerful is he to orchestrate thousands of events and people in history to make this happen? How wise is he to know how to bring it about? We can read the Bible and think, “Oh, it’s just a series of random, disconnected events.” But no, the Lord is working and moving to make HIS WILL HAPPEN. The outcome is beautiful and glorious. LIFE and LIGHT has come into the world. Think of the Planning it took to bring His SON to earth. The details. Events. People. Sin. Brokenness. Rebellion. Thousands, millions of event and people to bring about his will.
Likewise, our lives are not just series of random, disconnected events. But no, the Lord is working and moving to make HIS WILL HAPPEN. The outcome is beautiful and glorious.
Acts 17:26–27 ESV And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,
This is STAGGERING. Your life is not simply FATE. Your life is not an ACCIDENT. Your life is not just a random collection of GOOD and BAD experiences thrown together in a POT and cooked. God has had a PLAN for you. A plan for you to SEEK him and KNOW him. Are you looking for it?
He has presented you the TRUTH of his Son. Have you responded?? He has worked IN and AROUND and THROUGH all the seemingly random events. Have you acknowledged him in that? You and I don’t have to understand how it all works. But we can and must believe that HE DOES!!!
Have you embraced him by faith?
I was struck this week: How He loves us!! Again, the planning, the details, the cost, the wisdom required. The long time all this has taken. Surely he loves you and me. Have you considered how GREAT the Lord is?
Chapter 49 ends with the death of Jacob. He dies at age 147, 17 years after entering Egypt and being reunited with his long-lost son, Joseph.
Vs. 15-21 Look at Joseph’s final interaction with his brothers.
Genesis 50:15–21 ESV When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” 16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: 17 ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.” ’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. 21 So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
Once again, though Joseph has the power to CRUSH his brothers, we see an extraordinary TRUST in the GOODNESS and POWER of God.
“God intended it for good.” All the HORRORS. The nightmares. The loneliness. And for the family: all the GUILT and SHAME and grief over what they had done. Yet it all works out for good, for the saving of the family from starvation. How GREAT and POWERFUL and Wise is our God.
Comparison of Joseph with Christ—Type vs. Antitype
We are at the end of a 7-week series on Joseph. What a dramatic, wild, terrible, heart-wrenching, emotional, glorious story….all wrapped up in one. I want to finish our time on one important point that we haven’t spent much time on so far. In this Joseph story, we see clearly that God himself orchestrated the events of Joseph’s life and the weather patterns and famine.
He did it to save LIVES. He did it to REDEEM them. God is a REDEEMER. A Savior. As we read the Bible, we find from cover to cover that God rescues people. He doesn’t rescue everyone from every trouble. He doesn’t rescue people in the timeframe that we might like. But God is a merciful God who has a heart to SAVE. Joseph’s life is one example of that, and a powerful one. The point I want to make is that Joseph’s story is a FORETASTE of the Greatest Story Ever Told.
Joseph was a TYPE of Savior, giving us a Picture of the Coming, Eternal SAVIOR, Jesus Christ.
His story gave Israel a taste of what came 1800 years later.
Hated by his brothers who were jealous.
Genesis 37:4,11 ESV “… they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him… And his brothers were jealous of him." His ten older brothers despised him so much they wanted to kill him.
Matthew 27:18 ESV For he [Pilate] knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. Jesus was hated by his brothers, the people of Israel. They despised him so much they wanted to kill him.
Sold for silver.
Genesis 37:28 ESV “… they…sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver.”
Matthew 26:15 ESV “…And they paid him [JUDAS] thirty pieces of silver.”
Numbered with transgressors.
Genesis 39:20 ESV “Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined…” Though he was innocent of any crimes, Joseph was imprisoned with criminals and sinners. I’m not saying Joseph wasn’t a sinner. But he wasn’t a criminal deserving to be imprisoned with criminals.
Likewise Christ, the Innocent One, was “numbered with transgressors.” In Isaiah 53 Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah, and speaking of himself.
Luke 22:37 ESV “And he was numbered with the transgressors.” He was Crucified LIKE A CRIMINAL and between two criminals.
Man intended harm but God intended good.
Joseph spoke to his brothers: Genesis 45:5 ESV And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.
Peter spoke to the Jews: Acts 2:23 ESV “…this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.”
In a very real sense, Joseph was “offered up” by his brothers as a sacrifice, although they didn’t realize it. God rescued him out of his sufferings and raised him up as one of the greatest men on the earth. Much more so was Jesus Christ.
Sent to save the world
Genesis 41:56–57 ESV “… all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth.” Not a salvation from sins, but from starvation. So a limited form of salvation. But think of this: this one simple man from the land of Canaan was used by God to save the world from starvation!! This is crazy huge!! There was no other way to be saved except by Joseph. The famine was widespread, and there was no escaping it. Either you went to Egypt and met with Joseph, or you died.
John 3:16 ESV “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. I am not saying the whole world WILL be saved. That’s called “universalism,” which is unbiblical. But his love extends to the world. (See also 1 John 2:2, “…not for ours only [i.e., our sins] but also for the sins of the whole world.”) Even Joseph “saved” only those who came to him for grain. But salvation was available to all. In a similar way to the Joseph story, Jesus is the only means of salvation.
Acts 4:12 ESV “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Made “lord” over all
Pharaoh said to Joseph: Genesis 41:40-41 ESV You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.” 41 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”
Philippians 2:9 ESV "Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name," Christ was exalted over all things, subject only to the Father.
And note both of them were brought out of the “PIT.”
Joseph out of the dungeon. Jesus out of the greatest humiliation and injustice on the cross.
What is the Point??
It is not to say that Joseph was the Messiah. And it is not to say Joseph’s story was exactly like Jesus’ story. Nor is it to GLORIFY Joseph in some odd way. It is to say: The Lord is a Compassionate Savior. For thousands of years, he consistently saves people out of trouble, either trouble of their own doing or trouble caused by others. This is the heartbeat of God.
Moses was a redeemer, rescuing Israel from the cruelty of Egypt and bring them back to the land the Lord had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Exodus 2:23–24 ESV “During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. 24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.”
Through Moses, the Lord gave Israel the Law,including a means of forgiveness and righteousness: the offering of an animal in exchange for their lives.
Leviticus 5:6 ESV “…he shall bring to the Lord as his compensation for the sin that he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a goat, for a sin offering. And the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin.”
They deserved condemnation, but the Lord in his mercy allowed them a means of atonement. A way of bringing them into relationship with God.
The Book of Judges is full of redeemers, of sorts. Samson, Gideon, Judges 2:16 ESV “The Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them.” The Lord rescued his covenant people, the people whom he delighted in.
God in all his Glory and Holiness and Righteousness hates sin. As a Just JUDGE, he punishes crimes against him. But in his MERCY, he has a long History of providing ways of ESCAPE and DELIVERANCE. By sending his Son, he reveals a Plan he has had since before TIME BEGAN. A plan to send his Son as the Great and Eternal Redeemer.
All the other “redeemers” like Joseph and Moses and Gideon are “LITTLE ‘r”” redeemers.
Jesus Christ is a “CAPITAL ‘R’” Redeemer.
The Lord is a WILLING, Compassionate Savior. He is NOT RELUCTANT to save.
Micah prophesied this in the midst of some very dark, rebellious times in Israel. Micah 7:18–19 NIV “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. 19 You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.”
The Lord is a willing Savior. He does not save reluctantly, as if he HAD to. He is not obligated to Save.
We often give so-called “GIFTS” to people because we feel obligated. Guilty. Because it’s the proper thing to do. But the Lord gave his Son of his own volition out of his intense love for his creation made in his image. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son…” He gave his Son for the world because he LOVED us.
Christ is the Perfect Savior.
The perfect Joseph-Savior.
The perfect Moses-Savior.
The perfect Lamb of God.
The Ultimate Savior.
Joseph came to save his family and the world from starvation so they would live a few more years. In the end, all the people still met Death. Moses came to save Israel from the cruelty of Pharaoh and take them to their land promised by God. They arrived there, but they didn’t live to all their FULLNESS, mostly because of their own stubborn hearts. Israel had the blood of lambs and goats, but it couldn’t cleanse them completely. It couldn’t cleanse them to the CORE, to their conscience.
But Christ came to save the world—Jews and Gentiles— from condemnation so they would live forever. All who come to Him are saved from Something. Saved from darkness and eternal suffering in hell. Saved from the destruction that comes from sin. Saved from aloneness and emptiness. Saved from CORRUPTION.
But all who come to him are saved TO something. Saved to a Cleansing and a Purity that can come only from God. Saved to the Light and the Glory. Saved into his family, ADOPTED as his precious, beloved Children. Saved to a life of BLISS awaiting us in the presence of the Living God. Saved to a Life that never ends.
And this is all made possible by the PERFECT Savior. His work accomplishes this perfectly. Wonderfully. Completely.
Hebrews 4:16 ESV “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Christ is the MEDIATOR that allows us free, confident access straight into the presence of a HOLY God….the God who is Gracious and full of mercy in our greatest hour of need. Instead of RUNNING AWAY from God when we sin, we can draw near and not fear ANY condemnation. When BAD THINGS happen to us, instead of doubting or questioning his LOVE for us, we can rest. He really does LOVE us.
Romans 8:32 ESV “If he did not spare his own Son for us, how will he not also along with him graciously give us all things.
Hebrews 7:25 ESV “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”
Christ is the Savior who saves thoroughly. Completely. Why? Because he lives forever in heaven as the Perfect and Eternal high priest who offers up his own BLOOD in your DEFENSE. We’re not just SAVED and Forgiven and Made Righteous for a little while. Or until we SIN for the 10th time. Or until he gets tired of us. He saves PERFECTLY. And forever.
Instead of fearing death or worrying about our eternal security, we can REST in the work of Christ. We can have confidence that when he saved us, he DID IT RIGHT. Saved means saved. We’re on His SIDE. And he is on OUR SIDE.
Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Hebrews 9:14 ESV “…how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”
Too often we’re striving with our WORKS to try to IMPRESS God. To EARN salvation. But those are DEAD WORKS. Jesus Christ has done the “Impressing Work” for us. Instead of carrying around a constant Guilt and Shame for our sins committed this morning or years ago, we can have PEACE, because God is at PEACE with us. The true guilt and shame before God are gone. We are FORGIVEN and cleansed down to the Core, cleansing even our consciences. We can now serve him in PEACE and with Freedom. We are no longer estranged from God but are now brought into an intimate communion with the Living God. He has committed himself to an eternal covenant relationship with us.
In Hebrews 13:6, the Lord says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
If you ever feel ALONE, draw near to the Lord and be assured, you are NOT ALONE.
The IMPLICATIONS of all this are staggering. The work of Christ affects everything we DO and THINK.