So now we begin the story of Joseph. It is the most powerful story in all of Scripture next to the one of our Savior Jesus Christ. At least that is my take on it. We are currently studying in the young couples’ class Detours by Tony Evans and it is all about Joseph and how the detours in his life were arranged in such a way that God prepared him for the fulfillment of the promises that had been his people’s since God spoke to Abraham. We find in this story the insatiable desire of God to reach out and bring His people to a closer walk with him. Even when we are affected by the decisions of other people, or even when our decisions derail us for a moment, God brings us back on track.
The story begins with Joseph who just might be a bit proud, and so needs to be brought low. Okay, I get that, but being sold into slavery is a step that is quite far in order to provide humility for someone who might be a bit proud. Isn’t that almost overkill? Yet, the last sentence of this chapter prepares us for why he was sent to Israel, even if we don’t know the meaning of it until later. Look at vs.36 and you will see that he ends up in Egypt. As people who know the end of the story we know why he ends up in Egypt. Also, we see that he was sold to Potiphar, the captain of the guard. Again, it is just a random name at this point, but we will see later why it was so important that he was sold to Potiphar. The story is only going to get better as we go along.
The reason why it gets better is that we have seen the birth of Joseph, we have seen the brothers involved in all sorts of things. We see Joseph being the favored child of the father. He pursues them after sharing a couple of dreams that place him at the top of the pecking order, even though he was the second youngest. Their plot to kill him is foiled by Reuben. But then Judah makes an appearance, and it isn’t good. The bad news for Judah is that his presence only gets worse. You just wait until next chapter. So Joseph is introduced to us as a favored child who is hated by his brother, loved by his father, and sold into slavery while his father thinks he has died. The plot thickens and God keeps on providing opportunities for Joseph to learn and grow and become the person that he needs to become before he can save his family.
Notice how this chapter begins: This is the story of the family of Jacob. It does not being by saying that this is the story of Joseph. It says that this is the story of family of Jacob, who is saved by Joseph, but it isn’t about Joseph. It is about his family, the people of God, who are given a second chance because of what happens to Joseph.