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Joseph, Jesus, and the Bible

Photo by: Marvin (PA)

Seems to me that the story of Joseph, the son of Jacob, is one of the most compelling and provocative stories of the Bible. Indulged as a child of his father’s old age, Joseph, in the apparent innocence of youth, talked to his other brothers about dreams of reigning over them.

Together his brothers were so put out by the apparent arrogance of their indulged little brother that they eventually found a way to fake his death and sell him to Egyptian slave traders.

When they told their story to Jacob, he was brokenhearted. But they no longer had to put up with what they must have considered their father’s spoiled little brat. Joseph, meanwhile, had begun a journey that would unfold in a lifetime of personal honor, betrayals, humiliation, imprisonment, and God-given advancement. In the end, through a series of orchestrated twists of fate, he was second in command to the Egyptian Pharaoh, and used by God to rescue not only the the land of Egypt but the brothers who had betrayed him (Gen  50:20).

Quite a story. But what does it mean? Why is it in the Bible? Is it there to give us an example of why no one should ever give up, even in the worst of circumstances? Is it there to teach us about the dangers of parental indulgence? Or the murderous dangers of fraternal envy?

The questions we ask of Joseph are questions we can ask of the rest of the Bible. Why the stories? Why the proverbs, the songs, the predictions, intermingled with records of every kind of evil and broken dreams?

One answer is that Joseph’s story, together with every other element of the Bible, is to be read as our story. In so many ways it shows our plight in a world so broken that even family members do terrible things to one another.

Another answer is that Genesis to Revelation is to be read as God’s story. Invisible as he is behind scenes of ever changing circumstance, he is at work using even the worst of evils as an occasion to show his ability to bring meaning, purpose, and triumph to our human experience.

To really understand the heart of such a God, however, we need to stay with the story long enough to see the way it all points to the Son, who comes to reveal the heart of his Father.

According to Jesus, all of the Scriptures are telling his story (Matt 5:17-18); (Luke 24:25-27); (Luke 24:44). Together, stories like Joseph are woven together in anticipation of one who would be the Savior of those who had betrayed him, in an effort to protect themselves.

Every positive story of hope, wisdom, and honor in the Bible finds its fulfillment in the person of Christ—presented as God with us, asking us to believe in his ability to bring, at his own expense, all who trust him to his Father’s house.

But the goal of the Bible goes even further. In the process of revealing the goodness of God, the Scripture brings us to Christ as a means of bringing us to the point of doing exactly what Joseph’s brothers didn’t do: love one another.

The messenger of the New Testament we know as Paul shows us that in the story of Christ, and beyond all of the complexity of the God-breathed Scriptures, there is a simplicity of purpose and goal of our rescue. In his letter to the Galatians he says that all of the Law can be summed up in one word: to love our neighbor as ourselves (Gal 5:14).

This we do not in our own strength, but through the Spirit of the One who has loved us enough to suffer and die for us (Gal 3:3); (Gal 3:22-23).

Seems to me that this is what knowing the Bible is about. It is the story of the Son, who reveals the heart of his Father, so that having been loved, we live as loved… to the benefit of all, and to the delight of our eternal Father.

Does it make sense to you that if we read the Bible in this way, we will use it to find unity of purpose and life, rather than endless debate and division?

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44 Responses to “Joseph, Jesus, and the Bible”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Mart this topic has a huge possibility for discussion; I will address the last first, for now.

    “Seems to me that this is what knowing the Bible is about. It is the story of the Son, who reveals the heart of his Father, so that having been loved, we live as loved… to the benefit of all, and to the delight of our eternal Father.

    Does it make sense to you that if we read the Bible in this way, we will use it to find unity of purpose and life, rather than endless debate and division?”

    It is said that every snowflake is different, think of it billions and billions of different snowflakes no two exactly alike.

    Now bring that thought into focus with human beings; no two exactly alike, billions and billions of them. All capable of thought and all thinking in different directions and about different matters, all seeing the world through their eyes and setting their minds on how it is perceived.

    Because God added Eve into the creation of man the added physical feature of the endless possibilities of the human genome enters into all of their descendants.

    There will always be debate and division.

    Yes indeed “IF” if only we all loved each other and behaved toward everyone with that attitude of love in every encounter. A big “IF”.

    The Bible reveals to us the nature of God and the stories included are examples of His interaction with mankind. Some of the stories show a very severe side of God that in the end is intolerant of those that disagree with Him.

    The Bible shows me that there is a great deal God has revealed and a great deal He has kept hidden.

    It is for us to ferret out the information and sometimes to debate between us so as to glean the truth from the hidden things of God.

    The story of Joseph shows how God will get His will done using people in such ways as to reveal His plans, yet always in retrospect, almost never understood as the events of life unfold, only as the conclusion of the matter is seen.

    So it will be when that time comes and all of life is over and the story of God and mankind is concluded, it then will be finally seen in its right perspective.


  2. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart and Friends!

    An old friend of mine, Max, often says,”Let the Scriptures read you — as you faithfully read them.” Some way, or study, or plan for allowing that dialogue seems to be vital to growing in love for God and neighbor. Mart, you wrote:

    “Every positive story of hope, wisdom, and honor in the Bible finds its fulfillment in the person of Christ—presented as God with us, asking us to believe in his ability to bring, at his own expense, all who trust him to his Father’s house.”

    The story of Joseph shows God’s desire to establish a faithful people for himself, and God’s power to move events, peoples and history itself to accomplish it. When Joseph is in prison, conventional thinking might conclude his story was “over.” But, Scripture teaches,”…the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.” (Genesis 39:21)

    Joseph is not a one-dimensional “good guy,” or a “bad guy.” He is a complex man with a blend of intelligence, great love of God, shrewdness, and enterprising spirit. He also has the gift of prophecy — a gift given by the Lord.

    Out of Joseph’s life, as a faithful believer in God, the presence of God, the “Father’s house,” is established in the world — in the midst of one of the most powerful nations of the world. Ponder all the empty temples that now stand in the land of Egypt. It is awesome and wonderful to consider the glory of the Father’s house: the temple in Jerusalem — Jesus own body (John 2:19, 21) — the church (Ephesians 2:22) — and at last in the whole earth (Revelation 21:22).

    Joseph’s cynical and hateful brothers were also instruments in establishing God-with-us. Amazing.


  3. BruceC says:

    I love the story of Joseph. One of my favorites.

    When I see the mercy that Joseph showed his brothers; which they did not deserve, I see Christ offering us mercy that we also do not deserve.
    When I see Joseph as a young spoiled child of his father’s older age; I see the consequence to families of showing open favoritism. And the consequence of jealousy of his brothers in his being sold into slavery. We can not only learn lessons about life and the right things to do; but we get a picture of our Saviour also. And we see how God weaves His will into the very fabric of human experience.
    He is always working behind the scenes, so-to-speak. He will bring about His ends regardless of what humans may try to do. And in their trying; they are actually working out His plan.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  4. yooperjack says:

    “To know the Father.” “To know the Son.” I know about as much about them as I know about the Pope. I’ve been studying the Bible for more than 40 years and will never understand why, for instance, God used such a bunch of losers to do mighty works. Most of the Bible characters were murderers, adulterers, arrogant and on and on. They just weren’t anyone I would want to hang around with. Yet they did mighty things when God came into their livies.

    Jesus loves the little children, so why is there such an assault on children today? Every day in the news babies are being horribly assaulted. It’s almost satanic. I thought children have guardian Angels. Maybe they’re on strike or on vacation. If I was God I wouldn’t have allowed woman that will not take care of their children to have them. The wolves, bears, and birds will put their livies on the line to protect their offspring.

    I believe the answer is (free will) but someday I will know for sure. And I know those little ones that died are with Jesus I don’t know why they were born in the first place and have to suffer so much.

    You think you know the Father and the Son? Why did they wire our brains backwards, everything we do are just the opposite of what God wants of us? We have to renew our minds. We have to crucify the flesh. I know about the curse.

    Someday when we see Him face to face then we will know Him, not before.

  5. poohpity says:

    When we fall in love with someone we want to know all we can about that person. If we really care about them down deep we seek to know about their family, childhood, reactions in different situation, their feelings, thoughts and dreams. Or is it just about what they look like on the outside and whether we are physically attracted to them but care nothing about what makes them tick. Intimacy is getting into every area that will tell us everything about that person, will we ever really understand them fully, no, because we can not get into their heads or hearts and frankly most people do not really care about their partners enough to want to know what makes them tick they are fine with a superficial relationship only to get their own needs met. I equate that with how intimate we get with God.

    Do we make it a point everyday to want to know more about Him or are we OK with an immature relationship that is only superficial in nature, being spoon feed by a pastor or an author (outside of the word)? Or do we take it upon ourselves to search the scripture for the meat of what we have been given to know about God?

    Several times in scripture the bible, as it were in the times used, was brought out and read to the people and it brought a change to the peoples of the Israel nation. i.e. 2 Kings 22. Jesus while talking on the road to Emmaus quoted from the bible to make the scripture come alive in Luke 24:13-35 to point to Jesus being the fulfillment of scripture.

    In the past their were so many people that fought to get the bible into the hands of the everyday person if they could only see us now as we set it on the self to gather dust or use it to prove OUR points or as a weapon against another person rather than powers and principalities. I fully trust that God knows those who want to really know Him and puts it in their heart to read His Word and opens the door to a life of discovery about our God on the other hand God also knows those who do not have time or the desire to know Him. Hosea 6:3,6; Matt 9:13; 12:7

  6. florida7sun says:

    It’s interesting that Pharaoh’s spirit was restless and troubled. He reached out for someone with the Spirit of God for answers. So it is with us.

    For peace of soul and understanding of the Word of God we need the Person of the Holy Spirit to comfort and guide us. Often believers can be troubled and hunger for answers. Serenity of mind, body and spirit is always available through humility and heartfelt repentance. By drawing close and surrendering to Our Lord and Savior we reap the fruit of His Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

    Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphnath-Paaneah, which some scholars have interpreted as “the man who understands the mystery of life.” As we also grow in knowledge and grace by seeking the Holy Spirit’s abiding presence, we come alive and gain a glimpse into the wonder and glory of God.

  7. bubbles says:

    Mart, thank you for this post. It is beautiful.

    Gen. 50:20 tells how Joseph forgave the brothers because he realized it was God who placed him in Egypt and not the brothers’ nastiness. It is comparable to the New Testament’s “All things work together for good to them that love God. . .”

    I realize Judah’s name means “praise”, and that he was willing to lay down his own life for Benjamin’s life if someting happened to him. But Judah did some rotten things in his life. And then when we observe the life of Joseph–no one is perfect–but why would the Messiah not have come from his line? We are taught how Joseph’s life is a type of Christ’s in many ways: beloved of his father, hated by his brothers, the prison could be a picture of death, he came from that and became Pharaoh’s right hand man. . . he literally gave the brothers the “bread of life” when they were starving, his wife Asenath, was a gentile–the bride of Christ is made of gentiles, Joseph was sold by his brothers like Jesus was sold by someone in his close circle. So, what am I missing or not seeing?

    I prepared and taught this story for 4 months each year for 16 years, so this question has been in the back of my mind for a long time.

  8. poohpity says:

    “Seems to me that this is what knowing the Bible is about. It is the story of the Son, who reveals the heart of his Father, so that having been loved, we live as loved… to the benefit of all, and to the delight of our eternal Father.”

    “Does it make sense to you that if we read the Bible in this way, we will use it to find unity of purpose and life, rather than endless debate and division?” per Mart.

    Although the story of Joseph is a grand story with many meanings and lessons to learn, reading the bible will bring us endless knowledge of our God through the Living Word that will take a life time to learn and then we will know fully face to face in eternity.

  9. Mart De Haan says:

    Have just read over the several comments above and resonate so much with the different questions and depth of insight you all have expressed in different ways.

    Bubbles, I don’t know the answer to your question about why the Messiah came from the line of Judah rather than Joseph. It seems, however, that a study of his genealogy shows that the virgin born Son of God came to save a really messed up group of ancestors (and descendants:-).

  10. Mart De Haan says:

    The challenge that seems worth comparing notes on is whether we have found a way of reading the story of Joseph (like any story or part of the Bible) in a way that keeps us focused on what is most important: i.e. reasons to trust our God, and care for one another.

  11. SFDBWV says:

    I guess one of the sticklers of every story from scripture is that whereas the story is about one individual and their relationship with God and how God used them in order to exact His will, there is an entire world filled with other people at the same time.

    There are even people in the stories that are used up as fodder their lives seemingly unimportant to God at all. Just support characters for the main stars of the story.

    Like Bubbles has ask if Joseph’s nature was a living example of strong obedience to God and his being rewarded for it, why then did his seed die out and the murderous seed of his brothers left to create a nation of people?

    Rather than look at this story from the perspective of how God rewards obedience, I fast forward us to our own stories of living in the world today.

    Yooperjack asks some good questions, one could extend his questions into asking why it seems all good things not only are under attack but seem to be losing to evil at every turn.

    When I think of all the people right here we have spoken with on the blog who are suffering and who have trusted God for deliverance only to watch the suffering increase even unto death, it causes me sometimes to wonder which side of the story are we on?

    Are we the insignificant support characters in a story surrounding another hero God has focused on?

    The answer is in part, *yes*, we are support characters in a story about the real star *Christ*.

    The story is about how we live in a miserable world filled with prisons of our own making and suffering at the hands of our brothers and neighbors, about the unanswerable questions of *why* and all of the unfairness and unrighteousness of life around us.

    It is about our never giving up because of Christ, because of His promises of a better future in spite of all the pain, loss and unhappiness this life produces. It is about believing Him while the waters of life drown us and the flames of this world engulf us.

    The story of scripture is about God and not about us, yet the story takes a turn when we read the warm and simple promises Jesus offers all of us in John 14: 1-3.

    I sometimes have to leave it there, and just trust Jesus in spite of all the ugly around me.

    If the story of Joseph aids me in my faith, fine, if not still I can do little else but quiet my own spirit and just trust Christ.


  12. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends!
    I must speak from my own context and experience over here. This will color my consideration of Joseph’s story at this moment. This in itself is something to consider. The little neighborhood Bible study I attend just finished reading Revelation last evening. Among us are a young unmarried couple who are trying to figure “it” out, a lonely and infirm widow whose health is not dependable, a household where a grandma and great-grandma hold forth taking care of one another and their kids – including several honorary children, grand- and great-grandchildren. We have a gentleman on the registry waiting for a replacement kidney, and last evening, a couple visiting family for Christmas…you get the idea.

    How do we take in, ponder, and act on this Revelation story (which is a vision given by Jesus to a beloved disciple)? Our oldest member, as we went around the circle asking “What are your thoughts now that we’ve read it?” – said, “On one hand, you have the foul city Babylon. On the other, you have the glorious city New Jerusalem. You must choose now where you live! And when you choose the lovely New Jerusalem, do not run around telling those in agony in Babylon: “You’re going to hell – and I’m going to heaven! Instead, be an agent of God’s love.”

    Around the circle, we concluded, much as Joseph did in prison in mighty Egypt, that God is supremely good – and is the only true hope in the entire universe. Joseph gave away his priceless gift of prophetic insight to a baker and a wine-taster he never would have known except that he landed in prison. One was restored and one was executed. Sometimes it seems that life gives us maybe – 50%. After a long forgetful season, the wine-taster remembered Joseph’s insights. You might conclude that it was a fluke that the man remembered Joseph (Babylon thinking) – or you might conclude that the blessed Holy Spirit breathed upon the situation, bringing Joseph to the position of being the savior of the family of God (New Jerusalem thinking).

    God’s presence excites faithful witness – faithful witness invites God’s presence – God’s love is never thwarted by any possible thing! All that remains is praise! Blessings, Maru

  13. yooperjack says:

    The Bible is but a lighting fast glimpse of who God is. His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. It is impossible to please God without faith. It’s a waste of time to try and figure out the “whys”. Men spend billion of dollars trying to find out “why”. And we have a good portion of the 7 billion people on our planet starving to death, most of them children.

    We can learn how to love but will never love unconditional in our condition. The Bible gives us hope that if we follow its instructions matter what happens in this life we have a God that loves us unconditionally. He will be there in good and trying times. We can not do anything to get Him to love us anymore, or to gain His favor.

    All the stories in the Bible are just that, stories to help us understand that there is nothing new under the sun. What ever you are going though someone else is in the same boat, you’re not alone.

    The Bible is a love story and an instruction manual. Study it and with the help of the Holy Spirit you may understand some day, this Christian life we live is not about me it’s about Jesus. What can He do through me?

  14. oneg2dblu says:

    To quote Maru… “All that remains is praise!”
    To quote another, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below;Praise Him above ye heavenly host;Praise Father Son and Holy Ghost. Amen”
    The Doxology to many, daily words of prayer to some,
    and words of wisdom for all who get the message of the bible. Gary

  15. fadingman says:

    I’ve been reading/studying the Bible for a long time, but for the last 10 or so years primarily as a guide to know God: who He is, what are His thoughts, motivations, desires, character, etc. This type of study me love and trust Him more, and relate to Him better.

    One of my recent studies is in the book of Job, and I’ve discovered the book is not about Job but about God: who He is vs. who we think He is. All the books of the Bible are the same. But it goes beyond head knowledge.

    John’s reason for writing his gospel (“…these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” – John 20:31) could be said of all the other books. God desires us to have life with Him. Jesus described this kind of life: “this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3). This is the goal of the scriptures.

  16. poohpity says:

    On my first trip through the bible in 1990 I was so amazed at God’s mercy, love, grace and forgiveness to such an undeserving lot. Along with my daily reading I also attended a very in-depth bible study which at that time was a five year course now I think it is seven but we were allowed to use only the bible no commentaries or other outside sources but we prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to show us what we did not understand. There was no way anyone could take credit for any understanding because we knew it was all a gift from God even our faith was a gift from God so no one could boast. I have to say there was a time and I still fight legalism which I loath but it happens.

    There was a 4 year period of time that I only attended bible studies while neglecting my personal time with the Lord and His Word. That was the most awful time with no personal growth with just being fed on morsels, attending sunday school and going to church. It was no longer personal it was corporate. Not to say that there was not learning but the Lord seemed to know that being in the bible studies with other people was less personal than the one on one time we shared every morning. It was like waiting until the last minute to complete the lesson so I could say it was completed not like the time I spent alone wanting and waiting for our time together. I put little time into it and I got back the same but God never gave up on me by continuing to put that desire to be in His Word. 2006 it hit me like a ton of bricks and the Word and my alone time with God became a priority in my life again.

    I can not begin to tell you what a difference it can make by transforming our minds. Am I the best person, always doing the right things all the time, of course not but that is what helps me see my imperfections rather than looking at others the Holy Spirit uses the Word to show me how much I need the Lord. More and more I understand the fulness of God’s love Eph 3:14-21 NLT.

    I can catch myself better now than I could then when I totally mess up and can admit to those I have harmed that I was wrong and bear with others faults just like
    Christ bears with mine. That is what knowing God’s word has done in my life to understand who I am compared to a mighty God not to my fellow human beings trying to make it through this life. Showing humility, kindness and mercy rather than holding grudges, being angry and putting others down. I still get frustrated and am still learning some of the most valuable lessons about being patient with others but I am not very patient with myself when I mess up but thank God that He is. The bible holds not only knowledge about God but it also shows us how humanity is just pretty much the same throughout history which in turn really shows what a merciful God we have and how we are never given up on my the Lord of all creation.

  17. davids says:

    That was beautiful, Deb. Thanks.

  18. Regina says:

    Good Evening All,
    After making this statement,
    “Seems to me that this is what knowing the Bible is about. It is the story of the Son, who reveals the heart of his Father, so that having been loved, we live as loved… to the benefit of all, and to the delight of our eternal Father.”

    Mart asked, “Does it make sense to you that if we read the Bible in this way, we will use it to find unity of purpose and life, rather than endless debate and division?”

    The Bible definitely speaks to unity of purpose and life for me, and your question, Mart, brought to mind two Bible verses:

    1 Cor. 14:33, NLT
    For God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the meetings of God’s holy people.

    Rev. 12:10, NLT
    Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens,
    It has come at last—salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth—the one who accuses them before our God day and night.

  19. foreverblessed says:

    The story of Joseph as a story that has something to say about Christ:
    Maybe it would go like this, just a humble shot:
    Despised by his own brothers, betrayed, and left for dead,
    is that not the story of Jesus?
    Living in exile, in trouble, imprisoned, is that not the story of Jesus living in christians since He left earth till He comes back?

    The summory of the law, in Galatians 5:14,
    but I thought that living in faith in Jesus would bring us to a point far beyond what the law requires:
    Love your one another as Jesus has loved us…
    John 13:34

  20. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends!
    I hear you, Foreverblessed. The portion of Scripture I have been reading this morning tells of the time when Jude (“Judas, not Iscariot”) asks Jesus what may be an edgy question. He asks, “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me, does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.” (John 14:22-24)

    Mart, you wrote:
    “In so many ways it (the Bible) shows our plight in a world so broken that even family members do terrible things to one another.”

    “Judas, not Iscariot” could be expressing a zealot’s frustration that Jesus does not come to God’s people with a mighty army, fire from the sky, earthquake, storm and destruction. I have certainly felt helpless in the face of apathy and unbelief in the folks around me. Why doesn’t the world wake up to the power and wonder of our God? Even Jesus’ brothers did not think he was who he said he was. Even they contributed to the jealousy, rage and indignation that rose up as a killing force.

    Israel knew only so much about the Creator God – largely through Moses, whom they lifted high as the wise law-giver and prophet who brought them to the Promised Land. Jesus is plainly telling this disciple how the kingdom comes! Nobody seemed to hear him then. I am not convinced even truly sold out followers of Jesus in our time really accept that when God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit — comes to us and makes his home with us, we are walking, talking vessels of God’s Presence – bringing God’s peace and strength (as Jesus goes on to say later in chapter 14) into the world: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” (John 14:27) Blessings, Maru

  21. SFDBWV says:

    For those who appreciate history it is known that the Egyptian society at every level was engaged in and enthralled with both sex and dreams. Their hieroglyphics are evidences of their dreams and their interpretations of them, many dreams were of an erotic nature.

    God as we know Him was alien to the Egyptian and most all of the world at the same time as the story of Joseph, but Joseph came from the heir to the promise and had been told the story of his great grandfather and grandfather and his own fathers encounters with God all of his young life. He believed his fathers stories and had accepted them down deep into his heart. He believed God.

    Joseph was now set into the middle of a culture as alien to him as could be, but his honesty and unfailing work ethic pleased Potiphar and his boyish good looks and youth pleased Potiphar’s wife.

    The great separation from everyone in all of the stories in scripture is once again found in the first words of Genesis 39: 21 “But the Lord was with Joseph”.

    Because the Lord is with Joseph his story continues, we hear no more about Potiphar or his wife. Joseph is now in prison as was the topic of every Egyptian of the day the dream of the Pharaoh’s butler is told and he is upset because there is no one to interpret his dream. Because like today there were experts and soothsayers ready and available to interpret dreams.

    However because the Lord is with Joseph both the butlers dream and Joseph’s ability to interpret it comes from God. God has a plan and will use the butler in order to get Joseph into Pharaoh’s council. All the while the plan was to bring Jacob and his brothers down to Egypt in order to allow them to grow into the nation they would become and bring about the entire story of the Exodus. And so forth all the way onto the last written word found in Revelation.

    What about the baker? His dream was also interpreted by Joseph, but it led to the baker’s death. Was this story put there as a way of collaborating Joseph’s ability from God to understand dreams? Was not the life and death of the baker important to God, or was it just a necessary item needed to complete the story?

    If one tries to see how Joseph’s story can be an encouragement for the circumstances of life they may find themselves there is a lot to be remembered in the association between Joseph’s story and perhaps ours.

    Joseph was wronged by his brothers, wrongly accused, but continued to obey God and accept his place in life.

    Does this fit with whatever predicament we may be in?

    I would have to say the greatest single similarity to this story for any believing Christian is the fact that “The Lord was with Joseph” and if we are believers of Christ then the Lord is with us as well.

    Our own disobedience may have led to our predicaments, we may not have been innocent at all concerning the matters that have brought us to the prisons and sufferings of our life, but we have the Lord with us, because of Him not because of us.

    The story is about God bringing salvation to us, and is offered continually until God’s time for ending the story comes. Also the story is about the consequences of not obeying God and the ultimate offence of not accepting his gift of forgiveness.

    God must be very sad as He watches the people He loves wreck their lives, reject His love and suffer eternally.

    I know I am sad and hurt every day watching someone I love suffer, yet my hope is found in the words of this book of stories we call the Bible in that behind every dark cloud there may be a silver lining.


  22. Mart De Haan says:

    Such good thoughts and insights. I learn so much from all of you by saying “something” and then listening… Thanks to all of you for being willing to be a part of this blog…

    Finally getting a bit of snow here in the Midwest. Not much yet, but enough to have to throw some bags of sand in the back of the truck.

  23. oneg2dblu says:

    Goodbye to all fellow bloggers. My testimony is ruined here by those who remained silent about my being called delusional, giving power to the words of another in Christ who “crowned himself,” with the authority to speak for you all. Except for one who came to my defense! If that is how this body treats it’s own… then I am not worthy of continuing here. Sorry I’ve apparently soiled the pages of this sacred place with my ranting about, as it has been labeled as “my view” of salvation. Many, many, verses of scripture do align with it,but hey go without merit here also.
    When good people remain silent, evil prevails….Gary

  24. yooperjack says:

    Mart: You have a very interesting blog going on here; there are many good writers with a variety of interesting ideas.

    We are having another lean year for snow in the U.P. there is less than a foot on the ground and last night was our first single digit temperature (6.8 degree) for the winter. We average 250 inches a year; when the lake affect kicks in we can catch up in a few days. A local weather man has many interesting stats. The web sight is John Dee. Com

    “Glory to God in the highest. And on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” (Luke 2: 14) Many read this at Christmas time but few understand its meaning. There is no peace on earth between men but; there is peace between God and man because of what Jesus did to bring that peace. God is not angry with us anymore. That cup of wrath Jesus suffered was full payment for all the sin of the world, past, present and future. Now that is something to celebrate on Christmas day. All Glory to God in the highest. AMEN

  25. florida7sun says:

    Fear has a way of separating us from God. It is an instrument of the devil that leads us down the path of destruction. So much of the world’s despair is the result of seeking solutions apart from the One who loves us.

    In daily submission and death to self we gain our freedom to live abundantly in His Abiding Presence. The One loved by Our Lord reveals this wonderful truth: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John: 4:18

    We are all loved by the Lord. He is Love. The Lord loved Joseph. The Lord loved Joseph’s brothers. The Lord loved Pharaoh. The Lord loves us… not because of who we are, but because of His Character.

    “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” – Romans 1:17

    Fear is the wall that restricts access to God’s forgiveness, blessing and peace.

    Fear is the ground from which the root of the love of money spreads like kudzu. The light of Our Lord and Savior is shaded when fear controls us; much like spreading kudzu that slowly smothers organisms that attempt to breathe under its spreading canopy.

    When we surrender fear and all semblance of self at the Cross of His Beloved Son, we become alive and rejoice with David proclaiming Our Shepherd’s goodness and knowing that “love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” – Psalm 23

  26. bill34sl says:

    What do Adam, Isaac, Jacob and David have in common? – They all played favorite among their children. Adam loved Abel, Isaac favored Esau, Jacob delighted in Joseph and David had a kind heart to Absalom. Parental indulgence breeds contempt among the children and shouldn’t be tolerated. I can only say that this behavior shows one of the many fractures human nature has, and sadly, will stay as is until a Great Renewal takes place.

    Evidently, Joseph’s legendary rags to riches exploits had a compelling purpose. Later on, Joseph himself would reveal to his family why he had gone through a life like that (Gen. 45:5-7). There’s a lot of parallelism between Joseph’s life and that of Jesus Christ. Joseph came to the rescue of a starving civilized world, Jesus brought salvation to the entire human race. Joseph was humiliated by all his brothers, Jesus was rejected by his own people. At their first meeting since he was sold to a band of Ishmaelite merchants, Joseph’s brothers did not recognize him. Similarly, when Jesus first came to earth, the Jews did not recognize Him as their Messiah. At their second meeting, Joseph had to reveal himself to his brothers and they were all stricken with condescending humility. At a time yet future, at Jesus’ second coming, He will reveal Himself to His beleaguered people in a dreadful and supernatural rescue and so finally, they will come to their senses and recognize Him as their Messiah with profound reverence.

  27. poohpity says:

    bill34sl, do you consider humility, condescending? I have always viewed it as an admirable quality to mirror, as our Savior lead by example by laying down His deity to live as a suffering servant.

  28. davids says:

    I have not found any comment on this page that uses the word “delusional”. Many of your comments have been helpful, although I have objected to your constant focus on one point. I do not even disagree with your point, I think, only the tendency to divert many topics toward it.

    I pray for you daily, as I do for many here. Peace, brother, David

  29. bill34sl says:


    Sorry if my wordings bothered you. I did not say humility or a condescending attitude is bad. Actually it’s the opposite. I admired Joseph’s brother for behaving this way.

  30. SFDBWV says:

    Bill34sl, yes I agree Joseph is a life example of Christ’s ministry. The life examples found throughout scriptures shadowing Christ, all show the example of Christ’s forgiving heart.

    The Joseph story shows me that when the Lord is with us, we have a future that we can all look forward to with anticipation and joy.

    Had Joseph knew in advance what the entire ordeal of his life would be, he may have tried to alter it more to his liking and a lot softer ride, But like God told me years ago His way is the best way.

    Whoever you may be and where ever you may be in your life, I pray that you have the patience to trust God in delivering you through your life to that goal He has planned that includes you. Trust God, believe Him and have peace.

    We have snow also on the ground here in West Virginia this morning, not much just enough to remind us what time of the year it is.


  31. florida7sun says:

    Shedding tears this morning having just watched Max Lucado’s 3rd installment on Advent: Immanuel – God through us.

    Not much to add today. However, the last few minutes of Max’s message are so very precious and reveal that real gift of Christmas was delivered on Good Friday.

    Beautiful day today.

    Blessings to all, Ray

  32. royalpalm says:

    Hello, BTA friends,

    “Seems to me that this is what knowing the Bible is about. It is the story of the Son, who reveals the heart of his Father, so that having been loved, we live as loved… to the benefit of all, and to the delight of our eternal Father.Does it make sense to you that if we read the Bible in this way, we will use it to find unity of purpose and life, rather than endless debate and division?”

    Mart, thanks for your thoughts eloquently written…I especially like the last sentences- for this is what the
    Bible is all about. God saved us to bring glory to Him – by bearing fruit that lasts. As those whom He had chosen
    and sent – we are to be known as His followers by our joy, and our unity and love for each other. The enemy knows this that is why he works hard to counter these by appealing to our ego and pride. We become so busy promoting ourselves and our ideas that we forget to honor God’s name and do His will and advance His kingdom.

    Regarding Joseph, just like David (Acts 13:36), God used him during his own generation, to save God’s people for
    Himself. Genesis 45:5,7 This is a recurring theme in the Scriptures – God saving people through people He has chosen- culminating in the coming of God Himsef in Jesus. Today – you and I have been given the task of reaching our own generation. Each person chosen is also given the Holy Spirit who will teach, empower, and accomplish the work through us to enable us to do greater than what Jesus did!!! – which Paul wrote is ” exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, “!!! If we believe in God, we should also believe His words!

    Bubbles, I, too have taught the book of Genesis and have pondered on Joseph and Judah. God Himself desires us to know His thoughts by revealing the meaning of His words directly through personal Bible study or through another gifted believer. This is what I learned about this topic and I am sharing this again as I did before. My apologies, if I sound redundant:(I posted this before)

    Re: Judah and Joseph
    When Jacob died his first born, Reuben was supposed to receive the leadership and the double portion of his estate but Reuben did not receive those because he slept with Bilhah, his father’s concubine and the mother of his siblings. (Gen. 35:22)

    Leadership went to Judah (“praise”) and Judah showed leadership a) he asked that Joseph be spared and sold as slave instead (Gen. 37:26-27) b) when the brothers went to Egypt he was the spokesman (Gen. 44:14-34) interceding for Benjamin and in v. 33 said, “Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the lad as a slave to my lord, and let the lad go up with his brothers.” – foreshadowing what Jesus would do for all mankind – take the cross upon himself to free all mankind.c) Judah’s tribe went first during their wanderings (Num. 10:14) and they first received their lot in the promised land (Josh 15:1) JEWS is a shortened form of Judahites.

    Double Portion went to Joseph – through his 2 sons Ephraim and Manasseh who were counted as 2 tribes of Israel (instead of 1 tribe of Joseph)… During the divided kingdom the land allotted to Ephraim along with the 9 tribes became the northern kingdom of Israel.(While the 2 tribes in the south was called the kingdom of Judah). Although Joseph had similar experiences with Jesus, NT never mentions Joseph as a type of Christ.

    As the Psalmist said, God’s way is perfect; His word is sure. Come, let us bow down and worship Him!!!

  33. poohpity says:

    bill, it did not bother me at all just wondering about the word condescending associated with humility. It is always wonderful for people to admit they are wrong, then seeing changed attitudes as the brothers of Joseph displayed by protecting Benjamin. They learned from their mistakes and that is what Joseph seemed to be looking for. Not many folks admit it when they mess up and I think that prevents them from changing the behavior.

    In the bible we see story upon story of God’s people admitting to their bad deeds or wrongs and God in turn showing mercy. I believe it takes a life time of confession to those we offend and to God to help us see the true nature of our humanity which keeps us humble and not filled with pride. Of course that is a theme that is woven throughout every page of scripture to really understand the depth of God’s mercy and grace so that we can show that to others. To love as we have been loved. If we even begin to think that we are without fault that seems to be the times we judge and condemn others.

  34. yooperjack says:

    It’s when we realize: “It is not about me”. I am not the one that is renewing my life, my heart with rightiousness but the Spirit that is in me. Then God can use us not before.

  35. poohpity says:

    That is so true yooperjack. When we talk down to others (condescending) it is in an effort to elevate ourselves and then it becomes about “me”. Every mercy, kindness, grace, patient act, gift of the Spirit is because of God. The insight we have of scripture is because God has given to us scared things not because we deserve it but because He wants us to know Him. What a beautiful gift and we can butcher it by endless debate and division or we can show how grateful we are by showing unity and love to others with thankful hearts.

  36. poohpity says:

    The story of Joseph and his brothers I looked at in a different light. Joseph was sharing his dream, I do not know if it was because he felt better than them but maybe it just could have been he wanted to talk about the strange dreams we was having to share with his family. How they received it shows where their hearts were not what was in Joseph’s heart. It took 17 years of preparation and serving for Joseph to be in a place to finally have the dreams come true. Right where he was at, in each circumstance, he did the best job he could no matter if he got rewards for it or not, no matter if he got noticed or was even given atta boys. Most of the time the rewards for doing the right things ended up in, what we would call bad things happening to him. But in everything God was preparing him for the purpose of his life and God did not withhold from Joseph what that purpose was.

    When we spend time with God He will show us what our purpose is as well if we listen and aren’t telling Him what we want all the time.

  37. foreverblessed says:

    Gary, may God bless your going in and your going out.
    May you be blessed forever!

  38. yooperjack says:

    Gary: I had to go back and see what the problem was? Your post was when I was posting mine so I missed your’s. Just because people gang up on you doesn’t mean you need to quit posting, just let the old subject go and start the new one.

    Because you value the people on this blog is why your feelings were hurt; that is a good thing. It means you value other peoples opinion. I think you are an asset to this blog so come back and be a part of it. You will learn and maybe even change your mind now and then. Or help us see things different. We don’t even know who the other blogers are so how can they hurt our testimony? How can we spoil a page that is no more than a comment, a view, an opinion. There is no one here with a corner on the market with God.

  39. foreverblessed says:

    Reading the comments about Joseph, there is another similarity with Jesus that came to mind: Jesus was one among His brothers and sisters, but He was the Chosen one. His brothers and sisters were jealous. Jealousy is a thing we humans have to deal with, we have to get rid of it. God is very open in whom He chooses, He plainly told king Saul that there would be another king in his stead. God could have avoided that so to give David an easier time. But God didn’t, and Saul was so jealous, and how much did David suffer for that. It purified David into a humble king. And so Joseph was purified too because of this jealous act of his brothers. Jesus suffered the same human nature all humanity has fallen into.
    And so we will suffer that too, Instead of resenting it, pointing at others we must grow in Christ, which is growing in mercy in love, even when suffering because of human jealousy, and all other sort of shortcomings of people.
    It is best we grow in love and being loved by God, so we know we are valued by Him above all things, so that the suffering we have to go through others will not unsettle us so much. Look to Jesus, look to Him, and expect all love from Him to fill you to the overfill, just as Royalpalm wrote: dec 18, 9.23 am
    His love is ..which Paul wrote is ” exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think,
    I was searching for that scripture but couldn’t find it, do I interpret it correctly: we look for this Fatherly love in Jesus, which is so great, it is beyond our

  40. foreverblessed says:

    …imagination. (sorry hit the submit too soon)
    Ephesians 1:3-23, 17,18

  41. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends —

    Poohpity, you wrote:
    “They learned from their mistakes and that is what Joseph seemed to be looking for. Not many folks admit it when they mess up and I think that prevents them from changing the behavior.”

    I am finding the Scriptures are given to me to sift through my own beliefs and actions. As you say, when we see the glaring flaws in the characters of the people told about in the Bible, we have an opportunity to examine ourselves. Do I hold onto any of that fearful, angry resentment Joseph’s brothers had? Do I, or would I act on that sad collection of reactive feelings and behaviors? Do I truly repent when I blow it? Can I apologize and make amends?

    In the Bible study group I mentioned before, we talked these past weeks about tribulation times. They are only beginning to be felt, we decided. What about when scarcity and danger really begin bearing down upon the world – our town – our neighborhood? Will we be able to have the spirit of Joseph? Will we share and cooperate and rescue our neighbors?

    For me these questions – and the importance of soaking in the Holy Scriptures all I can – should be a “divine obsession.” Can I remain obedient to Christ? Can I take the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-16) to the streets? Only if I submit to God in Christ, and allow the Holy Spirit to have his way in me. How could I learn and truly change, if not for God’s Word?


  42. florida7sun says:

    Gary, God has empowered you to share Good News. Please continue to do so wherever the Lord leads you: in your travels and in cyber space. Entrust the sharing of His Word to the power of the Holy Spirit, and glorify God through His love returned to Him and each person He places on your heart.

    No one is perfect; not one. Christians are all sinners saved my grace; growing in newness of life; and striving each day to be more and more like Jesus. The Word brings about transformation and polishes away our imperfections. We can rejoice together that we have a Savior and Lord who loves us completely. One day we will embrace in His presence.

    Grace and peace to you, Ray

  43. poohpity says:

    There is so much importance in remaining in the Word as Paul wrote in 2 Tim 3:15-17 NLT. It helps us grow and mature through knowing the truth. In his letter to Titus 3:9 Paul says, ” Don’t get involved in arguing over unanswerable questions and controversial theological ideas; keep out of arguments and quarrels about obedience to Jewish laws, for this kind of thing isn’t worthwhile; it only causes harm”. If our job is to build others up and encourage them in the faith rather than acting like rabid dogs it would be nice to show tender care to each part of the body and strengthening each other to good works.

    To me careful study of the scripture is a life long undertaking and each time it is read we can learn something new about God and ourselves. If we treat it as something to be feared by the immensity of the task remember Rome wasn’t built in a day and we have an eternity to learn. :-)

  44. poohpity says:

    Notice in that 2 Tim passage it says to find out what is wrong in our lives, it does not say what is wrong in other peoples lives. Just a thought. :-)

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