The story of Joseph is found in Genesis chapters 37-50. In our limited space we will give a brief outline and see what lessons we can learn. All quotations will be from the New King James Version.

In Chapter 37 we see JOSEPH SOLD INTO SLAVERY. Why did this happen? Verses 2-4 read: “Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brothers…and Joseph brought a bad report of them to his father. Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children…when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him.” We also learn in verses 5-11 that Joseph told them dreams about how he would reign over them. This led to their selling him into slavery to those who carried him down to Egypt, as recorded in verses 12-27.

In Chapter 39 we see JOSEPH SERVING IN THE HOUSE OF POTIPHAR. Verse one tells us that “Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh…bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there.” Joseph was a faithful servant in Potiphar’s house and we read in verse 3, “And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand.” This characterized Joseph the rest of life, for he walked faithful with the Lord and the Lord blessed him wherever he was. We see in verse 7 that Potiphar’s wife “cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, ‘Lie with me’.” Joseph was severely tested here but he resisted her advances and in anger she accused him of attempting to rape her. Potiphar reacted with anger and verse 20 tells us, “Then Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison.” But even there “the LORD was with Joseph…and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.”

In Chapters 40 & 41 we have the account of JOSEPH INTERPRETING DREAMS. First he revealed the dreams of two of Pharaoh’s servants and then Pharaoh himself called upon Joseph to interpret a strange dream that he had. Joseph not only explained Pharaoh’s dream, but he gave him counsel as well. Pharaoh was impressed and thus we read in verses 37-38: “So the advice was good in the eyes of Pharaoh…and Pharaoh said to his servants, ‘Can we find such an one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?” He then made Joseph ruler over Egypt, as we see in verse 40: “You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.”

In Chapters 42-45 we have the story of JOSEPH’S BROTHERS IN EGYPT. A great famine swept through many countries, including Canaan, and led Jacob to send his sons to Egypt to get food. In 42:7 we read, “Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, but he acted as a stranger to them and spoke roughly to them.” Verse 8 tells us “but they did not recognize him.” I would encourage you to read these very instructive chapters which bring out how Joseph used the famine and his exalted position to humble his brothers so that they would repent that they had ever sold him into slavery. Chapter 45 gives us one of the most heart-warming scenes in all of Scripture when Joseph reveals himself to his brethren. They were afraid but Joseph comforted them in verse 5 with these words, “But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before to preserve life.” In Joseph we have a beautiful picture of how Jesus Christ was hated by His brethren, delivered to the Gentiles to be crucified, raised to the Father’s right hand in heaven, and how this was all allowed of God so that the Lord Jesus could offer eternal life to all who would be believe on Him. In a coming day the Lord Jesus’ “Jewish brethren” will indeed believe on Him, but it will take the coming Tribulation Period (pictured by the “famine in Canaan”) to bring them to repentance and faith.

In Chapters 46-50 we see JOSEPH’S FAMILY IN EGYPT. Because of the famine, Joseph brings his whole family to Egypt to live, including his aging father Jacob, his ten brothers who sold him, and his youngest brother, Benjamin. We have in chapters 46 & 47 their “settling in the land of Goshen”; in chapter 48 we see “Jacob blessing Joseph’s sons; in chapter 49 “Jacob prophesies concerning all his sons”; and in chapter 50 the “death of Jacob and Joseph.”

One of the greatest lessons we have learned, through this “man of faith,” is that if the Lord is with us we will be blessed, no matter what our circumstances are. God is in complete control and He allows even bad things to happen for His glory and for man’s blessing. May it be said of us, as it was of Joseph, “the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand.”  (219.9)  (DO)