Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Favorite Passage in Genesis

I began writing a top ten, the title being 'favorite passages in Scripture' but when my list began with my favorite in Job, to multiple pieces in Ecclesiastes and Romans and Ephesians and Hosea and Isaiah... Proverbs... Psalms... I quickly realized that I could not narrow it down to a mere ten. Sooooo I scraped that idea because it became an impossibility to pick ten. Therefore, I'm going to pick my favorites from each book, beginning a series of blogs about my favorite passages in Scripture. Who knows how long this will take, but I cannot wait to share with you my favorite part in Genesis!

The story of Joseph is a favorite because it is quite clear that God at work setting up the story of the passover where He reveals Himself as the only true God - establishing His mighty name and the giving of His Word. The Israelites had to be in Egypt in order for any of this to happen and He used Joseph in amazing ways.

The Background Story
First God gives Joseph dreams that illustrate the power he'll have in Egypt, but his lack of humility to his brothers gets him in a bit of trouble. They act on their jealousy by selling him into slavery. He ended up in the home of Potiphar, who was an officer of Pharaoh and there he became the overseer of the home because, "The Lord was with Joseph and he became a successful man." (39:2) But Potiphar's wife tried to seduce him and when she failed at doing so, she accused him of trying to rape her. He was sent to jail, "where the king's prisoners were confined" (39:20). These things were horrible, but they were not an accident! He was a slave to one of the most powerful men in Egypt so that he would end up in a specific prison so he would interpret the dreams of the man who tested PHARAOH'S cup. God orchestrated each of these events to put Joseph in a place of power so that Israel would bring his family to Egypt so that years later God would deliver His people with a mighty and outstretched arm! 

My favorite passage explains this, but just to clarify this fact, look at the rest of the story: The keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners. Why? Read 39:20: "BUT the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison." "Some time later" (it could've been many years) two men were thrown in prison for angering Pharaoh. It 'just so happened' that they were put in the prison with Joseph, where he attended them. They each had disturbing dreams and were distraught because of them. Joseph's response to them both, "Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me." (40:8) Once they did, Joseph told them the interpretation and they came true. It wasn't until two years later that the cup-bearer remembered Joseph and it was all because Pharaoh had disturbing dreams! As a result, Joseph gave God the glory for the interpretation, "It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer." (41:16) Once Joseph told Pharaoh about the seven years of prosperity followed by the seven years of famine, Joseph makes this amazing statement, "God has shown to Pharaoh what he is about to do." 41:28 Pharaoh was so amazed at Joseph's wisdom that he Pharaoh put him second in command. During the seven plentiful years (that God brought about - reread 41:28) Joseph stored up food to prepare for the famine (that God brought about - reread 41:28) and when his brothers heard of Egypt having food, they went to get some for themselves, and once they realized it was Joseph they bowed down to (remember the dreams that began this fiasco in the first place?), the entire family came to Egypt and Joseph took care of them!

*You should know that this portion of my Bible has a lot of purple underlines and highlights. Purple = God's sovereignty (In other words, every piece that illustrates that God was in control is purple.) I encourage you to read this story beginning in Genesis 37.

My Favorite Passage
I do not know how long Joseph was a slave or how long exactly he was a prisoner or how many years he had to wait to see his father, brother Benjamin, or how long it took to see his first dreams fulfilled (where his brothers bow down to him), but this story illustrates God's sovereignty beautifully: God works all things out for good according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) ALL things. Not just some things. He works out the good and the bad for His purpose and my favorite passage in Genesis proves it:

"As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today." Genesis 50:20

Joseph forgave his brothers and in doing so relayed this message: when you sold me into slavery, you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. Nothing was an accident, or happen-chance. God did it because He had a plan to save lives and He was going to fulfill the promise He made way back to Abraham, which Joseph reminded his brothers on his death bed, "I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob." Genesis 50:24

Which brings me to my next favorite passage in Scripture... so stay tuned!

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