Chapter 3: Joseph-From Slave to Deputy Pharaoh

The Story continues with Abraham’s great-grandson, Joseph. His story doesn’t get off to a very good start and it goes downhill from there. In the process, we see very clearly that God’s plan of redemption cannot be thwarted by man’s evil intentions and feeble efforts.

Joseph was the 11th of 12 sons, so he had little to expect by way of blessing or position through seniority.  Even so, he was his father favorite and Jacob gave him a beautiful gift to demonstrate his preference. This gift, coupled with Joseph’s prediction that his 10 older brothers would one day bow down to him, guaranteed an intolerable case of sibling rivalry. The 10 plot his death at first, but wind up selling him into Egyptian slavery instead.

The road to Egypt rid the brothers of their nuisance, but landed Joseph a job as manager of Potiphar’s household. God blessed Potiphar because of Joseph and Potiphar was therefore pleased with Joseph. It turns out Potiphar’s wife was also pleased with Joseph, but for different reasons. After rejecting her advances and refusing to sleep with her, she accused him of rape and he got a prison sentence in exchange for his integrity.

But even in prison, the circumstances start to look familiar. Joseph’s good character was noted and, once again, he was promoted to manager within the prison. He ended up interpreting some dreams for two of Pharaoh’s court officials who were doing time with him. Pharaoh eventually hears of Joseph’s talents and summons him to unravel one of his own dreams and ends up promoting Joseph from prison manager to Deputy Pharaoh.

Hard times were on the way, so Joseph initiated a plan to storehouse food to sustain Egypt during a coming worldwide famine. This famine was felt back home by Joseph’s family as well, and they made their way to Egypt to buy food. It had been 20 long years since they sold him into slavery, but sure enough, Joseph was right:  there they were, bowing at his feet. Sometimes, dreams really do come true.

Joseph’s entire family was saved. The Hebrew word actually means preserved as though God had something in mind here; and indeed, He did. Jacob, the brothers, and all the extended family moved to the safety of Egypt where they would survive the famine, and God would in fact safeguard his people and his promises. Joseph saw the Upper Story, the big picture.  He declared to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done” (p. 42). There it is: redemption in a sound bite. The Messiah would not come for centuries, yet God’s storytelling had begun. Joseph’s life is a precursor, reminding us that though man plans for evil, God redeems for good. Beauty for ashes. Life from death. Man fails, but God prevails. Every time.


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