Over a period of 1,000 years, from Abraham to Solomon, we see the promise of the kingdom of God where God’s people are called to God’s place to live under God’s rule and blessing. This partial fulfillment however, does not happen smoothly. We can look to the story of Joseph to see the many bumps in the road; all however, to the fulfillment of God’s purpose.
Jacob has twelve sons. They are far from being a great nation, but the promise is beginning to be fulfilled. They are not a very attractive bunch. Joseph is his father’s favourite and his brothers are jealous of him. They sell him as a slave and tell Jacob he is dead. Joseph ends up in Egypt and is soon sent to jail for something he has not done.
He must often wonder in his imprisonment, ‘Is God really in control?’ There is very little evidence of it. But God knows what he is doing. If Joseph had not been in jail he would not have met Pharaoh’s cupbearer, who, on his release, is able to tell Pharaoh about Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams. He is summoned to the royal court and correctly interprets Pharaoh’s dreams, warning him of a coming famine. Joseph is released, made Prime Minister of Egypt and takes measures that protect the country from the effects of the famine.
Canaan, where Jacob and his sons live, is not so fortunate. The famine threatens to kill them, which would mean the end of any hope of the gospel being fulfilled. They go to Egypt to try to buy some food and come face to face with the brother they have so mistreated. Not surprisingly, they are terrified when he reveals his true identity. What will he do to them? But he reassures them: ’Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives’ (Genesis 50:19-20)
God has been in control all along. He has seen to it that Joseph is in Egypt and has risen to high office so that he can be in a position to help when his brothers come, and, as a result, the embryonic people of God is preserved.
Taken from God's Big Picture by Vaughan Roberts. Copyright(c) 2002 by Vaughan Roberts. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, PO Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515blog comments powered by Disqus