Lessons from the life of Joseph - Part 3


Previously, as we continued our current series, we noted that throughout his ordeal, and despite having been despised and rejected, hated and spurned, despite having been given up for dead and sold into slavery, falsely accused and unjustly imprisoned, Joseph retained his fear of God and maintained his good character. As a result, irrespective of whether he was in the prison or the palace, the Lord was with him and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper.

As an aside, this illustrates to us that prosperity is not necessarily material as some teachers would have us believe. Moreover, that the Lord can cause us to prosper wherever we are and, in every circumstance, and situation… even in the prison. Therefore, wherever you may be reading this, be of good cheer and thankful that we are able to pray for one another in these most testing of times according to 3 John 1:2 “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in good health, even as your soul prospers”.

And. if last Sunday we noted that although Joseph was tempted by the wife of Potiphar, yet did not succumb to sin because of his fear of the Lord, this Sunday 12th April 2020, we shall see that having been humbled to spend time in Pharaoh’s prison where despite being falsely accused he retained his fear of God and maintained his good character throughout, Joseph would soon become highly exalted in all Egypt.

Therefore, in this aspect of the life of Joseph we see a significant picture of Christ who was yet to come. For Christ who was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin, because He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross, God has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name.

So exalted was Joseph that Pharaoh gave him authority over all Egypt. And when dreadful famine came upon that land and the people cried to Pharaoh “give us food”, Pharaoh’s answer was “go to Joseph”, for he was the custodian of that life giving food. Likewise, today, every blessing we need is centred in Christ Jesus and to every seeking soul who longs to receive eternal life, the Father says, “go to Jesus”, for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Now, having raised the matter of salvation, in this Sunday’s message we shall note among other things, that as part of the raising up of Joseph by Pharaoh, this Hebrew man was given a Gentile bride who bore him two sons, Manasseh (which means forgetful) and Ephraim (which means fruitful), for God made him forget all his toil in his father’s house and caused him to be fruitful in the land of his affliction.

Asenath, the bride of Joseph, is in some ways a picture of those of us who are redeemed Gentiles eagerly awaiting the return of the Bridegroom that we might be the Bride of Christ. She, a pagan, was born in Egypt, just as we, when we were without God, were born in sin. And although the word of God tells us very little about the characteristics of Asenath, what it does tell us, is that she was given to Joseph by Pharaoh... just as Jesus said “All that the Father gives to Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me, I will by no means cast out”.

Moreover, because Joseph was exalted and raised up to live in the palace, so too was Asenath, but only by virtue of the fact that she was his wife. There is no other reason on which she could boast other than her husband, for he was the reason she found herself in the palace.

Which, in conclusion, brings to mind that beautiful Scripture from Ephesians 2:4-7, which says: -

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus”.

Like Asenath, we have done nothing in and of ourselves to deserve a life in the palace. It is only because of God’s great love for us and the saving grace of the Bridegroom, that we have been raised up together and made to sit in the heavenly places in Him. Therefore, I sincerely trust that you know Him as both Lord and Saviour.

Finally, in the next part of the series, having seen how Joseph took a Gentile bride, forgot all his toil in his father’s house and was fruitful in the land of his affliction, we shall see, how in the fullness of time his own brethren came to him and we shall marvel at that which can be learned from the joyous and emotional reunion of Joseph and his brothers.

Until then,

May God bless you and keep you always.

Yours in Him

Ian

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