Jealousy, betrayal, accusation, imprisonment, restoration, reunion – all part of one of the most amazing and dramatic stories in all of Scripture, the story of Joseph! In fact, Joseph plays such a prominent role in the Bible that it takes nearly 13 chapters to span his life. But what does the story of Joseph mean for us? How can we apply his lessons to our lives today? Our Stepping Stones class has spent a number of weeks and thought-provoking discussions on Joseph’s life, and I would like to share three of our key takeaways.
First, God never left Joseph’s side. Over the highs and lows, God was with Joseph through it all. When Joseph was steward of Potiphar’s house, we read that, “The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did” (Genesis 39:2, NLT). And then when Joseph is thrown into prison because of the treachery of Potiphar’s wife, we again read: “But the LORD was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love.” (Genesis 39:21, NLT). God used Joseph’s darkest trial as an opportunity to demonstrate His unfailing, everlasting love!We need to remember this lesson for our own lives. No matter what we might be going through, God is always with us – no matter how difficult our situation might seem to be. God wants to use these trying times in our lives as opportunities to reveal His faithful love. The question for us is: will we give Him the chance?
Second, Joseph’s story provides a radical example of forgiveness. In many ways, Joseph’s life parallels the life of Jesus Christ. When Joseph finally reveals his identity to his brothers, he is in a position of absolute power over them. Just one snap of his fingers, and they would all get what they had coming to them – and they would deserve every bit of it too! But, instead, Joseph chooses forgiveness. Christ was also betrayed by His family. We are all guilty of betraying the Son of God! But, guess what, God has good news for us: “For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Romans 5:10, NIV)
But the most important takeaway from Joseph’s story is also the most significant lesson from the entire book of Genesis: God’s plan wins! As Joseph stands before his brothers, he makes an incredibly profound statement: “Even though you planned evil against me, God planned good to come out of it.” (Genesis 50:20, GWT).
Friends, we’ve just spent the last six months journeying through Genesis. We watched in Eden as God put into place His perfect plan for us. And then we watched as mankind shattered that perfect plan. But God still had a plan, and He called men of faith like Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to play a part in it. Yet we watched as these same men managed to royally screw up the plan over and over and over again! But, guess what, God’s plan still wins! Guys, we serve an incredibly awesome and powerful God – a God who is able to take the worst of our failings and make something beautiful come out of the ashes. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28, NLT).
Friends, we’ve seen our God’s magnificent power and matchless love on every page of Genesis. I pray that each of you will take some time this week to read through a little of Genesis on your own and fellowship with this amazing Creator.
Keep an eye out for our next study series! God bless!