Joseph, the Believer - Genesis 50

Joseph, the Believer

Genesis 50:1-26

In Psalm 105:16-22 we find a brief biographical sketch of Joseph: "He (God) sent a man before them---Joseph---who was sold as a slave.  They hurt his feet with fetters.  He was laid in irons, until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him.  The king sent and released him.  The ruler of the people let him go free.  He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his possessions, to bind his princes at his pleasure, and teach his elders wisdom."  The greatness of Joseph is not found exclusively in his secular achievements, ruling over all the land of Egypt, but rather in his faith in God.

First and foremost, Joseph believed in the providence of God.  He did not believe in bad luck or happenstance.  God had a wonderful plan for his life.  Every hardship and difficulty that he encountered had a divine purpose.  In Genesis 50:20 Joseph said to his wicked brothers, "But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring about as it is this day, to save many people alive."  God had brought Joseph into his position of power to save others from starvation.  Here we have a display of God working all things together for good.  Romans 8:28.

Joseph believed in the rightful place of God as the One in the place of ultimate power and authority.  Joseph asked his brothers, "Am I in the place of God?"  Genesis 50:19.  He realized that the Lord was God.  In his personal interview before Pharoah in Genesis 41, he never mentioned himself.  Instead, he gave all the glory to the Lord.  Compare the faith of father Abraham.  Romans 5:20, 21.

Joseph also believed in forgiveness.  He not only forgave his lying brothers, he provided for them and their families.  Genesis 50:21.  And what about Potiphar's wife, and Pharoah's butler who for two years forgot all about him?  Joseph, the believer, was not mean-spirited, but rather kind and comforting.

Even though Joseph spent his adult life in the land of Egypt, he believed in the promises of God to the Hebrew fathers.  On his death bed he said to his brothers, "God will surely bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob."  Genesis 50:24.  He did not entertain any doubts about the children of Israel returning to the land of Canaan, the promised land.  He also believed that his bones would be carried back to the land of his birth.  In Hebrews 11:6 we read, "By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones."

God gives meaning to our lives.  He is at work in every situation.  We can trust Him.

 

Lord, we do trust You.  You are interested in the fine details as well as the big picture.  Keep us from discouragement, when situations arise that do not appear to be favorable to us.  Thank You for the display of Your providence in this biblical account of the life of Joseph.  May we take it to heart.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!

 
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