Bitter jealousy, familial strife, betrayal, and deceit—such discord could be pulled from today’s headlines.
Yet, the remarkable story of the life of Joseph as recorded in the bookof Genesis contains all the theatrical elements that made his story worthy of the Broadway musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
One father, four mothers, eleven brothers and one sister, Joseph enters the world as one of the youngest children in a remarkably complex family. In fact, in today’s terms, the family would easily be described as dysfunctional.
Singled out by his father Jacob, Joseph was the recipient of Jacob’s adoration and favoritism. But by doting on Joseph, Jacob did nothing but cast dark, destructive shadows over his beloved son’s life. Overcome by jealously, Joseph’s brothers grew to despise him. This Genesis story assures us that favoritism within a family is a sin that leads to fury.
As the camera lens closes in on Joseph in this captivating Old Testament narrative, we see envy within the family finally reach a breaking point. Consumed by hatred, Joseph’s brothers seek to rid themselves of him by selling him into slavery. What follows for Joseph is the humiliation of what is described in Genesis 39:1 as having been purchased in a slave auction. Then later, Joseph finds himself imprisoned in a dungeon. What ultimately becomes of Joseph is an extraordinary testament of God’s sovereign grace.
And here we discover that it’s only in hindsight, and by way of the reflection in the rear-view mirror, that God’s plan for our lives can be seen. In the case of Joseph, God was preparing him for the role God had planned for him. Outside of God’s will, there is no human explanation for how Joseph emerged from the emotional and spiritual carnage of his family life to become a faithful man of God . . . and ruler of Egypt!
Truth For Life Bible teacher Alistair Begg presents a sweeping study in this epic story of endurance and faith titled, Providence. Alistair explains that we mustn’t allow our circumstances and disappointments to become the excuse for the choices we make in life. God is greater than all of that, and He can bring beauty out of ashes. Our trials come, Augustine said, “to prove us and improve us.” The mosaic of Joseph’s background provides us with a striking reminder that we do not make forward progress in times of comfort, but in times of trial. And, by trusting in the one true God alone.