I have heard the story of Joseph dozens of times in my life. The focus has always been on either Joseph being a type of Christ or as an example of how we never understand God’s plan. That when we think all is lost and our lives are worthless, God uses our suffering to bless us in the end if we remain Faithful.
What I focused on this time were Joseph’s brothers.
I thought, wow, Joseph was actually pretty cruel. He pretended he did not understand their language, put them in jail for a couple days, planted evidence of theft on them, then threatened to hold one of them hostage unless they met his demands. The whole time he knew what they did to him, that they were lying to him, and rather than punish them swiftly or reveal his identity immediately, he toyed with their emotions until HE was unable to keep up the ruse.
This story is essentially the story of OUR lives and the road to salvation more than it is about Joseph.
1. They sinned (by selling Joseph into slavery and telling their father he was dead) as we are all sinners (Rom. 3:23).
2. When confronted by Christ (Joseph), we are rebuked and made aware of our sins (Gen. 42:9). We refute the claim and attempt to justify our behavior (Gen. 42:10, 13).
3. God, knowing we are being disingenuous again reminds us of our sin (Gen. 42:12, 14).
4. As sinners, we are given back a portion of what we have done and are punished (Gen. 42:19). In our dark hours, we come to the realization that we are sinners and deserve punishment for our sins (Gen. 42:21-22).
5. The sinner recognizes that God is real and is directly affecting us (Gen. 42:28)
6. The sinner still tries to reason out his problems and fix things on his own (Gen 43:2, 6, 11) or attempts to buy his way to heaven (Gen. 43:15).
7. The sinner fears the presence of Christ, because his guilt weighs so heavily (Gen. 43:18).
8. We then confess our sins to Christ (Gen. 43:21; 44:14) and are rewarded for our honesty (Gen. 43:24).
9. God, realizing that we are finally beginning to understand and desire to make a positive decision to accept the law begins to weep (Gen. 42:24; 43:30).
10. God forgives us of our sins (Gen. 45: 5) and we are accepted into the Kingdom of God (Gen. 45:10-11).
Is this not a wonderful picture of our journey to salvation?
ALL have sinned (and continue to sin), but when we acknowledge our faults and confess them to God, we will be forgiven through Christ’s blood and accepted into the eternal Kingdom of Heaven.
Notice how Joseph’s brethren bowed before him (Gen. 43:26) as was predicted in his dream years before (Gen. 37:7-8). Paul writes that EVERY KNEE will bow and EVERY TONGUE will confess to God that Jesus Christ is Lord (Rom. 14:11, Phil. 2:10-11).
Even the staunchest of atheists will bow before God either in this life or when they are being judged and condemned to Hell. ALL will confess that Jesus Christ is LORD.
The question, dear friend, is whether you want to bow as a willing subject accepting grace or out of fear for your impending judgment. I would suggest the first option, for the second will prove too late.