A Tale Of 2 Sufferings (How Joseph’s dad failed it, and how Joseph nailed it.)

pain suffering Christian

Alex at 7,500 ft. (2,285 m..) above sea level. (3,500 ft. above ground level)

A Tale Of Two Sufferings

I never saw this perspective before, but have you ever considered the difference between how Jacob handled his suffering, as compared to how his son Joseph handled what was arguably even worse suffering? I heard this last Sunday from a 20-something.

Joseph Betrayed

So Joseph’s seventeen, and he has it made. He’s his father’s favorite. He lives in a wealthy family. And he is given special revelation from God in the form of dreams, dreams of his brothers bowing down to him. But without warning, Continue reading

Joseph and Jesus, Sold by His Brothers: Genesis 37:12-36

Joseph Sold by His Brothers (Photo credit: DoJewish Blog)

Jesus said to them on the road to Emmaus:

“How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

Luke 24:25-27



Genesis 37:12-36

So Joseph’s brothers are overseeing their father’s flocks in an area near Shechem. Israel (Jacob) says to Joseph, You know how your brothers are out with the flocks near Shechem? Well I need you to head out there.

Israel sent Joseph, his most favored son, to his flocks. Joseph would ultimately save his brothers and the nation of Egypt from perishing in the famine. God the Father sent Jesus, His most favored son, to His flocks, the people on earth. Jesus would ultimately provide a means to save his brothers, and the entire world. (Matthew 3:17)

Joseph replies to his father, Sounds good.

Israel says, Head out there and see how your brothers and the flocks are doing then come back and let me know what you found.

Then he sends Joseph out from where they are, in the Valley of Hebron, toward Shechem.

When Joseph gets to Shechem, he wanders around in the fields for awhile looking for his brothers until a man asks him, What are you looking for?

Joseph says, I’m looking for my brothers, they’re grazing their flocks around here somewhere. Can you tell me where they are?

They’ve moved on from here, the man answers. I overheard them say they’re going to Dothan.

So Joseph continues on to Dothan and finds his brothers. They see Joseph off in the distance and while he’s still out of earshot, they plot to kill him.

“Lazarus come out!” Jesus said. And Lazarus, who had been dead, left his resting place in the cave, and came out, witnessed by many. The Sanhedrin never disputed Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, in fact, they never disputed any of Jesus’ miracles. But they were afraid, because He was performing so many miracles, the people would follow Jesus, leaving the Sanhedrin without a power base. Bringing Lazarus back from the dead proved to be the last straw for them.

So they plotted to kill Jesus. (John 11:17-55)

Here comes the dreamer! they say to each other mockingly. We can kill him now and toss his body into one of these cisterns and we’ll just say a wild animal attacked him and ate him. Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams.

Problem for the brothers: the dreams aren’t Joseph’s, they’re from God, and God’s dreams always come to pass.

Well Reuben hears all this, and as the oldest, he knows he’ll ultimately be held responsible for Joseph, so he says, Let’s not kill him, let’s not shed any blood. Instead we’ll throw him into this empty cistern out here, but don’t hurt him. Reuben’s thinking he’ll come back later, pull Joseph out of the cistern, and return him to their father.

Reuben is hoping, by throwing Joseph in the cistern, he can satisfy his brothers, even as Pontius Pilate had Jesus scourged, hoping to satisfy Jesus’ brothers the Jews who cried for Jesus’ crucifixion.

So when Joseph shows up, they strip him of his robe, the one of many colors, with oversized sleeves, the one his father gave him, and they toss him into the empty cistern.

Joseph was stripped of his special garment, even as Jesus was stripped of his seamless garment. And down into the empty cistern Joseph goes, even as Jesus went down into the grave. (Matthew 27:59-60, Mark 15:46, Luke 23:53, John 19:41-42)

Then they sit down to eat.

As they’re eating, they look up and see a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. The caravan’s loaded with goods: spices, balm, and myrrh. They’re on their way to Egypt to do some trading.

After seeing the caravan, Judah comes up with an idea, (or an idea was given to Judah by the Lord) he says, What do we gain if we kill him? Instead let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not hurt him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.

We can avoid having Joseph’s blood on our hands if we turn him over to these Gentiles, Judah and his brothers, the other fathers of the tribes of Israel are thinking. Likewise, their descendants said it was against Roman law for the Jews to execute Jesus themselves. So they turned Jesus over to the Gentiles. It’s interesting to note, though they said, “We have no right to execute anyone” they were perfectly willing to stone the woman caught in adultery, and they were more than enthusiastic about throwing Jesus off the cliff. But it was prophesied Jesus was to die by crucifixion and only the Romans executed criminals in that manner. So this took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die. (John 8:1-11, Luke 4:29John 18:31-32)

Here also, we see the trap of comparing your own actions to an action or intention that’s worse. Let’s be good guys and not kill Joseph, he’s our brother after all. Instead lets sell him into slavery so we never see him again, then lie to our father saying he’s dead. How much better we’re treating him than if we had chosen to kill him!

Of course this makes no sense at all. It never makes sense to compare our own bad deeds to those that are even worse, whether they be your own or someone elses. Your own holiness is your only concern. And there isn’t anyone who is too holy before the Lord.

Finally we see here the result of envy. Matthew Henry states, “Where envy reigns, pity is banished, and humanity itself is forgotten.” And Proverbs 27:4 tells us, Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy? In our story we see siblings driven by envy to plot the death of their own brother, even as he desperately pleaded for his life! (Genesis 42:21) Envy: stay clear of it. Don’t allow yourself to be caught by the green eyed monster, or you may find yourself doing things you never dreamed you were capable of.

His brothers buy into the idea so when the Midianite traders come by, they pull Joseph up out of the cistern and sell him into slavery for twenty shekels of silver. The Midianites then continue on their way to Egypt.

Jesus was sold, for 30 pieces of silver, by one of his brothers. (Matthew 26:14-16, Mark 14:10-11, Luke 22:3-6, Zechariah 11:12-13)

All this occurs while Reuben was off somewhere. When he returns and sees Joseph isn’t there in the cistern, he tears his clothes. He goes back to his brothers and says, The boy’s not there! What am I going to do?

Reuben thinks he’s undone because of Joseph’s plight, when in reality, had Joseph not been sold into slavery, they all would have been undone, by famine. When the two Mary’s returned and saw Jesus wasn’t there in the tomb, they were distressed also, but in reality, had the tomb not been empty, we’re all undone. (Luke 24:1-8) (Matthew Henry)

So they kill a goat and dip Joseph’s robe in its blood. When they arrive home they show it to their father and say, We found this. You better have a look at it, it might be Joseph’s robe.

Of course Jacob recognizes it right away and says, It is my son’s robe! Some wild animal has devoured him. He’s been torn to pieces for sure.

Then Jacob tears his clothes, puts on sackcloth, and mourns for Joseph for many days. All his sons and daughters come to comfort him, but he refuses their consolation. “No,” he says, “I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave.” So his father wept for him.

To Jacob, Joseph is dead. But, there’s good news he doesn’t know about.

Meanwhile, the Midianites sell Joseph to Potiphar, Pharoah’s captain of the guard.

To the disciples and all who knew of His crucifixion, Jesus was dead. But there was good news coming they didn’t know about. It was dark on Friday, but Sunday’s coming. (See previous post: Back From the Dead)

Speaking of Jesus, Luke 25 verse 7 says, Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

I think the story of Joseph was probably a big part of that explanation.

And I’m reminded of something else Jesus said:

“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” (Luke 8:8)

References:

Bible Gateway

Blue Letter Bible

Matthew Henry

Walton, Matthews, Chavalas, (2000), IVP Bible Background Commentary, O.T.

Jon Courson



7 Steps to Your Dream — Genesis 37:5-11

7 Steps to Your Dream success

Joseph’s Dream — Photo credit: poetry-bible.ru

Last post on Genesis 37:1-4 we saw how both Joseph and Jesus’ brothers saw they were their father’s/Father’s favorite and how they envied them. We also saw how both Jesus and Joseph have a heart for their respective fathers.

In this post we’ll learn about Joseph’s dreams. Then after the story of Joseph’s dreams, we’ll discover how to learn what dream God has in mind for you.

Genesis 37:5-11

When his brothers saw he was their father’s favorite, they envied him, to the point where they couldn’t speak a kind word to him.

Around this same time, Joseph had a dream. He shared it with his brothers, with great excitement, I imagine, after which, they hated him all the more. He said, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”

His brothers said to him, Do you intend to set yourself up to reign over us? Will you rule over us?

And they hated him even more because of his dream and what he had said.

Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”

When he told his father about the second dream, his father rebuked him, What kind of dream is that? Will your mother and I and all your brothers bow down to the ground before you?

His brothers were jealous, but his father, though he rebuked him, kept the matter in mind and secretly wondered if there might not be something to these dreams.

Dreams:

Jesus very plainly states, the Old Testament scriptures “testify about me.” And that, Moses “wrote about me.” (John 5:39-40, John 5:45-46) We see it here in the story of Joseph. Like Joseph, Jesus had a dream given to Him by God. Joseph’s dream was to ultimately rule and reign in government. Jesus’ dream was to sacrifice Himself for all of humanity, then to rise up and ultimately rule and reign over everyone and everything, over all there is, at the right hand of the throne of God.

I’m going to give you 7 steps to help you learn what God’s dream is for you, but, before I do, I want to point out God’s dream for Joseph was only recognized by Joseph. His brothers derided him for it. And God’s dream for Jesus was only recognized by Jesus. In fact, when Jesus shared His dream, the religious establishment rejected Him, His own disciple Peter rebuked Him, and even after His dream was finished, after the resurrection, His disciples didn’t recognize Him at first.

So when God gives you your dream, don’t be surprised if you and God are the only two who recognize it. But don’t let that deter you. It didn’t deter Joseph. It didn’t deter Jesus. And as long as you follow the 7 steps below, don’t let it deter you.

So the question I want you to ask yourself right now is, “What is God’s dream for me? And how can I verify that dream is what God desires for me, in the most successful way possible.”

7 Steps to Learning God’s Dream for You:

1)Give Thanks and Praise

What a secret this is to successful prayer about any matter. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name, Psalm 100:4 tells us. When you’re entering into His presence to ask Him to give you the precise dream He has for you, first give thanks for prayers already answered, and for those dreams, however small, which have already happened for you.

2) God’s Word

Immerse yourself in God’s word. Soak up God’s perspective of you and the world around you. Seeing yourself and the world through God’s eyes is one of the most powerful things you can do. In this life we see as through a glass darkly, at best, but God’s word is a lamp for your feet and a light for your path. (1 Corinthians 13:12, Psalm 119:105) Time in His word correlates with enlightenment regarding His will.

3) Go Pray

When Peter received his vision on the rooftop, he was in a quiet place, in prayer. (Acts 10:9-13) When John received the great revelation, he was in a quiet place on the island of Patmos, and he was “in the Spirit.” (Revelation 1:9-10) When Nebuchadnezzar demanded his dream be interpreted, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah prayed for revelation, and received it. (Daniel 2:17-19)

So turn off the TV, close the cover of your laptop, put your phone in another room, and carve out quiet time for you to pray for God’s revelation concerning what dream He has in mind for you. Over and over again we see in scripture, people in a quiet place, very intentionally seeking to hear from God.

4) God’s People

After Jesus ascended and left the disciples, they were without their leader for the first time in several years. They needed direction. So what did they do? They gathered together. They were all together in one place when God made it obvious for them, what to do next. (Acts 2:1)

So find people who love God with everything they have and hang out with them as much as possible. Go to church. Ask questions about the dreams of those who are more godly than yourself. Pray with people who love God with all their hearts, minds, and souls about what God wants for your life. Hanging with people who love God with everything might be the most important part of learning what God’s specific dream is for you.

5) Give Love

As we’ll see later, God’s dream for Joseph was to save millions of people from a devastating famine. God’s dream for Jesus was to save all of mankind from their failures, and their inherent faults and flaws, and to reconcile us to God.

You probably noticed, in both dreams, given to Joseph and Jesus, serving others is central to the dream. I’m not saying you have to be a savior of the world, but how others are blessed by your dream provides great indication of whether or not your dream is simply a self absorbed means of selfish gratification or is truly the dream God has in mind for you.

After all, you have to recognize, “If in my dream I do not have love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:2)

6) Great passion

God designed you for your dream, and your desires and passions are central to that design. So if you hate high humidity, bugs, and camping in the jungle, your dream probably doesn’t involve missionary work in Africa. I’ll never forget reading about how one of the big considerations for Chuck Smith choosing to pastor a church in Costa Mesa was the great surfing available in that area. In fact, the first time he decided to teach through the entire Bible was partly because he needed enough material to keep him in Costa Mesa where he could continue to surf.

A big consideration of whether or not your dream is truly from the Lord is, how well it fits with your passions and desires.

7) Give Thanks

“Well we already gave thanks in step 1,” you might be saying.

Give thanks again. Only this time give thanks, in faith, for what the Lord is going to do.

Moving forward with an attitude of hope, expectation, and thanksgiving is key to successfully receiving and living out God’s dream for you. Besides, one thing you know for sure is to give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

I’m not proposing this as some kind of formula for learning God’s dream for you. God can’t be confined to a formula. But look through scripture and see if it isn’t true. Those who received their dreams and revelation from God were 1) thankful, 2) spent time in God’s word (or even wrote some of God’s word) 3) prayerful, 4) hung with people who loved God with their whole heart, 5) lovers of God and people, 6) passionate, and 7) faithful.

There is no formula but it’s undeniable these seven steps are modeled in scripture.

Your dream becomes your story:

What a phenomenal story resulted from Joseph receiving and living out God’s dream for him.

And what an amazing story was born from Jesus receiving and living out God’s dream for Him.

You have to ask yourself, “What story will be told about my life? When people tell my story, what will they say?”

“He watched a lot of TV?”

or

“He was amazing at that MMOG, RPG, or at that first person shooter game?”

or

“His Minecraft creation was the best I’ve ever seen?”

Or will your story be one of value from God’s perspective:

“He went to work everyday and did his job with integrity and honor, as unto the Lord.”

or

“He lived out God’s word, as a father and husband.”

or even,

“He loved the Lord his God with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his mind.”

or even,

“He dared great adventures, for Christ. He swung for the fence, for Him.”

or even,

“That guy really loved people like Jesus.”

You see, in the end, finding and choosing to follow God’s dream for you, will determine what story will be told of you.

Try those 7 steps for a couple of months, see what happens to your life.

Live out the dream God has designed uniquely for you.

Swing for the fence, for Him.

In Christ’s name.

References:

Bible Gateway

Blue Letter Bible

Walton, Matthews, Chavalas. (2000). IVP Bible Background Commentary, Old Testament

Matthew Henry

John Piper

Chuck Smith, (2001) Living Water

Jon Courson

 

Max Lucado Country Music Song: Story of Joseph

Has it ever occurred to you the story of Joseph sounds like a country music song?

Apparently it did to Max Lucado…