Introduction to the Life of Joseph - Lesson 3
So we enter this account in Chapter 37, of the life of Joseph knowing from whence he came and from whom he came.
He was, at 17 years of age, motherless since Rachel died in childbirth several years earlier near Bethlehem.
She most likely was an important part of his life until he was in his teens.
His father had already lived 108 years of the 147 years that God was to give him.
His grandfather Isaac, probably nearby in Hebron, was yet alive, but aged and infirm.
Joseph was the great grand son of the father of those of faith, Abraham.
He was the eldest son of his fatherís favorite wife Rachel, but almost the youngest of his fatherís 12 sons.
His brothers were jealous of his status to the point of hating him, but in spite of this Joseph was loyal to his father even to the extent of encouraging increased hatred by that loyalty.
He was born in a far country, Haran, but left it with his large family at 6 years old and had now been in Caanan for 11 years.
He was destined to live in Egypt 93 years of his 110 years.
He had been told of Godís hand on his father Jacob, his grandfather Isaac and his great grandfather Abraham.
He knew that he was part of a great plan of God to take out of the gentiles a people for Godís name.
He knew the covenant that God had made with his great grandfather Abraham, confirmed with his grandfather Isaac and his father Jacob.
He knew that his grandfather Isaac had been born from a womb that was dead and from a man that was dead to making life in that womb.
He knew that his great grandfather Abraham had been willing to sacrifice Isaac, his only son, because God commanded it to be done.
He knew that his grandfather Isaac willingly submitted to the knife obeying his father and trusting God.
He knew that God had said to Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;
He knew that his father, just short years preceding, had wrestled with God until he received God's blessing.
His loyaly to Jacob no doubt resulted from a close relationship that he had with this man of faith.
Jacob must have known that he also had a son of faith in Joseph and it is plain to see that of all Jacobís sons Joseph was his favorite because he was the son of his beloved Rachel and they both knew God by faith.
He knew that he had been chosen by Jacob to be the recipient of the birthright and he wore the long sleeved coat which announced that choice to his brothers.
He knew that the promise to make of the seed of Abraham a great nation had not yet been fulfilled but he could see a glimpse of that in the fruitfulness of children that God had given Jacob.
But Joseph had also known of the darker side of his family.
He had known of the violation of his half sister Dinah.
He had witnessed the trouble his brothers caused in Shechem when they deceived the Shechemites.
When they murdered all the males of the city as they suffered the rite of circumcision in order that Shechem, the son of Hamor, might marry Dinah.
He knew that Reuben had had incestual relations with his motherís handmaid Bilhah after Rachel had died.
He knew that this had greatly displeased his father Jacob and that this displeasure would cause Reuben to lose the leadership of the family.
He had heard of the casual attitude of his Uncle Esau regarding the birthright and the stolen blessing that his father Jacob had received from the hand of his blind grandfather Isaac.
He most likely knew of the deceit of Laban who deceived the deceiver.
He knew of his distant cousin Lotís great loss of his family because of his compromise.
He knew of his great grandfatherís deception when passing his wife off as his sister and his grandfather who did likewise.
He knew of the deception of his father who fooled his grandfather until he received the blessing of the firstborn.
But through all this we are convinced by this account of his life that his faith was such that whatever befell him he knew that God was with him.
By his actions we are persuaded that he knew that whatever experiences God brought him through were to advance the promise made to great grandfather Abraham, to grandfather Isaac and to father Jacob, to make of his family a great nation.
Joseph is not to be ranked higher on the level of faith than his fathers for God never appeared to him as he did his father, or Isaac or Abraham.
But we are to see Joseph as the ideal son, the ideal brother, the ideal servant and the ideal administrator.
And we shall see clearly Joseph standing out as a type or forerunner of Christ.
For in all the pages of the word of God where can we find a life that more closely portrays the life of Jesus than the life of Joseph?
The person or work of Christ will clearly be displayed in verse upon verse of these Genesis chapters of Joseph's life.
Most likely it is this reason why one-quarter of the book of Genesis is devoted to Joseph.
It is the account of the work of the Holy Spirit in making a person like Christ.
Upon this we enter the account of his life.
Let us read chapter 37 verses 1-11.
Gen 37:1-11, And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report. Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him. And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words. And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.