By Pastor Larry Frazier
Thousands of years ago, King Solomon said “There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). That certainly is true concerning trials and blessings—bad times and good times. I would like to tell you of the Old Testament’s Joseph in this narrative. Joseph’s problems are common to mankind and have been played out for years from ancient times to the present. However, since God always works in the lives of His children, we see in Joseph the image of a God-directed life.
Joseph’s problems started with his own enthusiasm. He brought a bad report about his brothers to his father, Jacob. That was especially troublesome since “Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other sons and made Joseph a richly ornamented robe” (Genesis 37:3). Sibling rivalry can sometimes start with parents showing favoritism to one child or the other. As far as Joseph is concerned, remember as a child when you didn’t want to get involved with something, you said, “My name is Wes, I’m not in that mess.” The sentiments of that saying might have saved Joseph some grief if God had not been in the plan. God had something in mind for the whole family, indeed for the whole nation.
God gave Joseph the gift of revelation and the interpretation of dreams which also led him into trials. When Joseph told the family of his dreams and of future leadership over them and the nation, his brothers plotted to kill him. Sometimes even family will let you down. Proverbs 18:19 says, “An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.” If God controls your life, go with faith and confidence even in the face of danger.
Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery and while in servitude to Potiphar, God helped him to fend off an adulterous attack by his master’s wife. Satan pursues the Children of God and his temptations will not let up. However, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). While in prison after being wrongly accused by Potiphar concerning his wife, God’s gift of dream interpretation delivered Joseph to a position of authority under the Pharaoh of Egypt. From this position, Joseph was able to bring God’s gifts of forgiveness to his brothers and salvation from famine for the nation.
God had a purpose for Joseph’s suffering. In fact, some have called Joseph a Type of Christ by virtue of God’s leadership in his life. Like Jesus Christ, Joseph brought prophecy, patiently endured the sins of others, suffered rejection, and eventually was elevated to a position to bring forgiveness and salvation to many. The comparison, however, falls short because there is no one like Jesus Christ. “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form…God made you alive in Christ. He forgave us all our sins…nailing [them] to the cross.” (Colossians 2:9-14).
Life’s situations haven’t changed over the millennia, but God changes our song to joy, “I love to tell the story; ’twill be my theme in glory; to tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.”