Wednesday Studies No. 1
Takeaway for for the study ofJoseph
We have seen how terribly political the family of Jacob had become. Repeating the practice of favoring one wife over the other, one son over the other. God must have been very disappointed, but He did have a plan.
So what was the ultimate plan that God had for the world? Clearly it was to restore and mend the brokenness that came from Adam’s sin. In retrospect it is also clear that the process was going to be long and complicated, with a few scary moments here and there where God was almost ready to start over completely. Eventually it did come down to eliminating all but one righteous family, and that brings us to Noah. Except that even then, the sin of Adam was deep within Noah’s line.
Perhaps it was our best shot, and perhaps, if the family had stayed together for a few generations, then free will could have been understood better. But no, the sons of Noah went forth and spread throughout the world, isolated to the extent that they eventual did what was good in their own minds. Basically, the sin that Adam introduced was the sin of free will out of control. Free will gone amuck..
It was very apparent that the tribe chosen to be the line of the Savior had huge problems. The most important appears to be the tendency to bring in Canaanite influence. The problem was that the very inheritance of the land was in danger, and the separation line between idol worshippers was blurred. How can God’s plan unfold if the people were lost?
God’s plan, made apparent through Joseph was a sort of quarantine. The Canaanites were thrilled to mix with the Hebrews. Many wives and a few husbands had come into the family of Hebrews with disastrous results. Why not remove the people to a region where there were not so attractive? Egypt was the perfect place, by-in-large the average Egyptian looked down upon the rough Hebrew shepherds. No intermarrying, no loss of culture and religion. The perfect place, but how to work it out to bring them there? Thus, the story of Joseph. It would have been disastrous to send the People down to Egypt without an inside man to protect them in the initial years. Later, they would be strong enough, strong enough to even survive slavery. But the first few years would be crucial years so God provided the perfect solution. He would have a favorite son of the leadership family to go to Egypt, and in a sense, grease the wheels for the transition to a new land, removing the entire people to the land of Egypt.
The family had already sojourned to Egypt during Abraham’s leadership, and they knew that in times of drought that Egypt may provide temporary respite. The idea of staying for an extended time was not thought about, for the had the ‘Promised Land’ in their cultural memory.
Going back to the mess that was eight sons, pitted against three sons. The actually tally was six sons of Leah, the unloved wife, combined with two sons of the unloved concubine on one side, then two sons of the concubine (who may have conspired with Rueben to become the head wife) partly aligned with Rachel, and finally the youngest son Joseph who born to Rachel, the loved wife, the wife of Jacob’s dreams, the reason he went to Haran in the first place.
Because of free will, Rueben choose to change the outcome of Jacob favoring. He did one of the most insulting things of the times. The son choosing one of the father’s wives and bedding her. Basically saying the father is no longer capable of being in charge of his family or virile enough to be head of the harem. It is also possible that Reuben was making an attempt to bring in Bilhah to join with the eight sons that made the Leah contingent, meaning that it was going to be ten sons on one side and lonely Joseph on the other.
In fact, that does appear to be what Joseph was already dreaming. His brothers or sheaves, all bowing to him. This was pretty cheeky even for sixteen year old. And remember, Jacob was deeply involved in creating this conflict. Jacob sent Joseph down to spy in his brothers, it was Jacob that gave the coat of many colors. The sin of favoritism placed Joseph in a very healthy relationship with the rest of his brothers.
So at this point what can you say was the character of Joseph?
How did he change over the next the ten years?
He was enslaved. He was sold as property. That alone would help to deflate an ego.
He was recognized for his talent. He was tempted. He was judged unfairly. He was recognized for his talent. He was fair. He was righteous without being obnoxious. He was able to speak with authority to authority. He used his power to save people.
He established himself as the inside man so that God could use him to save his people. He developed the practical skills and the emotional skills to bind the nation and create the People that would host the Savior.
Without Joseph there could not be a Moses. Without Moses there could not be the crucible that contained God’s Law & Moses’ Law. The discipline that created the Pharisees was necessary to harness control over free will.
Jesus came at exactly the right time. It could not have been 50 years earlier, or fifty years later.
The Law was fulfilled, Moses’ law was laid down, the God of freedom, could now be worshipped within free will, which was God’s intent from the beginning.