This morning I am studying the story of Joseph, getting ready to speak on God's wisdom for the men's group. It's such a familiar story, it's all the more striking when some new insight hits you. And that's what happened this morning.
Joseph is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. He endures life as a slave, mistreatment by Potiphar and his wife, incarceration and more. He's been betrayed and forgotten. But God is wise.
Eventually, due to some disturbing dreams Pharaoh has (dreams play a huge role in Joseph's story), Joseph ends up in the court of Pharaoh in a incredibly influential position. Pharaoh's dream warned of a long famine that would follow on the heels of years of prosperity. In wisdom, Joseph helps Pharaoh make ready for the years of famine by storing up grain during the years of plenty. In so doing, he is instrumental in saving the lives of countless thousands of people.
And here's where the story gets fantastic. Some of the people he saves are his own family - his scheming, treacherous brothers and his aging father. His wisdom rescues them from starvation. That, in and of itself, makes the story really cool. But consider that Jacob (Joseph's father) and his brothers are the descendants of Abraham and Isaac. They are the covenant community. They are the people that become the nation of Israel. They are the forefathers of the Messiah.
So here it is...
If Joseph isn't sold into slavery, he doesn't find himself in Pharaoh's court preparing Egypt for famine.
If Joseph isn't sold into slavery, Jacob and his brothers die of starvation.
If Joseph isn't sold into slavery, there is no Israel.
If Joseph isn't sold into slavery, Jesus isn't born in Bethlehem as Messiah.
If Joseph isn't sold into slavery, we aren't saved by Jesus from our sins.
If Joseph isn't sold into slavery, I am going to hell for eternity.
Lets all sing with the apostle Paul:
33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?” b
35 “Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?” c
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen. (Romans 11:33-36)