The story of Joseph is one of the most fascinating stories in the Bible. When the narrative of Genesis first begins to focus on Joseph in chapter 37, we don’t really know why he is such an important figure in God’s story. Joseph is not the one through whom the line of the Messiah would pass, but he would play an integral role in protecting the line of his brother Judah.
Genesis 37 tells us of Joseph’s dreams where his brothers were bowing down to him and serving him. As you might imagine, the brothers were not too happy about these dreams. Joseph was daddy’s favorite, but even Jacob wasn’t too thrilled when he heard of his son’s dreams. Eventually his brother’s determined that they were going to do something about the situation. Some of them wanted to kill Joseph, throw him into a pit, and tell Jacob that he had been devoured by a wild animal. At this point, the reader is left thinking, “This can’t be good. It seems like Joseph is going to die. The purposes of God seem to be in jeopardy.
But Reuben, the oldest, came along and told them that this wasn’t such a good idea. So they decided to just throw Joseph into a pit and leave him there. That is until a caravan of Ishmaelites came along and Joseph’s brothers decided to sell him into slavery. Once again, without knowing the rest of the story, this seems to be a huge problem Joseph is leaving the land. How can he be a part of the work God is doing in and through Abraham’s descendants when he is off in a foreign land?
We begin to see a glimmer of hope at the beginning of chapter 39 where we find that Joseph was placed in charge of Potiphar’s household.
This was a prestigious position. Joseph said that everything Potiphar had was placed in his charge. Even Potiphar himself was not greater in the house than Joseph. Maybe Joseph will be able to leverage this prestigious position for the good of God’s people.
Not so fast. As the story continues, things turn bleak very quickly. Joseph was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife. Potiphar threw him into prison. And we are left wondering whether Joseph will ever get out. Chapter 40 ends, “Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him” (vs. 23).
The sovereignty of God is on full display in this story. God’s purposes are seen throughout Genesis as redemptive history moves forward. This is what I believe Moses wants his readers to see. This is what God wants us to know about Himself. Even in the midst of the uncertainty and fear, God can be trusted.
All of Genesis is pointing us toward one who is greater than Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. It is pointing us toward the promised Messiah. We are reminded again that God always keeps His promises. He uses all things, even our sin, for His good purposes.
Perhaps today you feel as if your life is spiraling out of control. You don’t know which way to turn. You feel as if the storms of life will soon overtake you. We need to be reminded that we can trust in God. The same God Who orchestrated the affairs of Joseph’s life is in control today. May we learn to trust in Him.
Adam Blosser is the pastor of Drakes Branch Baptist Church. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.