JUST SO YOU KNOW…If you are following the “Every Day in the Word 2013” reading plan, you know that I chose only 365 chapters to read this year — that’s only 30% of the Bible. That means that we will be skipping many great texts in order to highlight the chapters which constitute the core of the grand story of Scripture (in my opinion).
We will also alternate between Old and New Testament books in order to keep the style, authorship, and perspective fresh. Ten days from now we will begin a tour of Matthew that will take us into February. Keep reading…God will keep speaking!
By the time we read about Jacob’s sons in chapter 37, Jacob has been through a lot. He has been tricked by his crazy father-in-law, fathered twelve sons by four women, wrestled with God, confronted his scary twin, buried his favorite wife and his father, and taken on a new name, Israel. Beginning in this chapter, the rest of Genesis focuses on Jacob’s favorite son, Joseph.
Joseph had a remarkable life. Of all the patriarchs of the faith, Joseph is the most positive example. Unlike his grandfather Isaac and his father Jacob, Joseph showed a very consistent life of faith. In my study I have not found one negative thing that is said about Joseph in Scripture.
He was the most Christ-like man in the Old Testament. For this reason, 25% of book of Genesis is devoted to Joseph – he is of major importance in the Bible. In many ways he is a picture of Jesus Christ: he was despised and rejected, he was a suffering servant, he was falsely accused and punished, and through his suffering God exalted him and saved the lives of many people.
As a 17 year-old, God began to speak to him in dreams about the importance of his life. Joseph’s brothers (and even his father) resented his visions of prominence. With a confidence bordering on arrogance he recounted dreams of the whole family bowing down to him, all the while wearing his famous coat of many colors. It was a gift from Jacob that symbolized his favored status. Some even think it signified first-born rank, which caused his ten older brothers to despise him.
When the brothers sold Jacob as a slave and faked his death, they thought they would never see him again. They did not know that they had unwittingly set up an epic story of God’s providence and grace. As we follow Joseph’s life we will see that sometimes God allows hurtful things in our lives that will strengthen our character, deepen our faith, and accomplish a plan greater than we could imagine.
The handsome teenager riding away on a camel must have wondered why his dream had turned into a nightmare. But God was already preparing a future for Joseph that still brings Him glory today.