Joseph is often sited as an Old Testament savior. Although the New Testament writers do not point this out, indeed there are striking similarities between Joseph and Jesus. Consider some of the things that the two have in common:
I dont recall that we are told of Jesus having any dreams, but Josephs story in Genesis is full of them. We are told that Joseph had been having dreams from God since he was 17 years old.
Dreams can be pretty dull and usually are forgotten, or they can be weird, funny, shocking, scarey, whatever. We usually soon forget the details after we have been awake for a while. Every once in a while we might have a memorable dream and we wonder if it has a meaning. Is our sub-conscience mind trying to tell us something?
STRANGE AT IT SEEMS, THERES BEEN A RUN OF CRAZY DREAMS here in chapter 40 & 41 - dreams that are going to change the future of the world. Both the Egyptians and the Babylonians at this time compiled Dream Books that contained sample dreams with keys to their interpretations. Dream interpretation was considered a field of science. If significant dreams of significant people could not be interpreted, then maybe you were not a significant scientist. Maybe you did not belong at court.
We dont know what incident landed the Butler and the Baker in jail. But we do know that God used it to His glory. Joseph is there. Joseph says, You dont need an interpreter for those dreams such as was available at court. Interpretations belong to God. Tell them to me. The slave/prison inmate/man of God, Joseph, confidently and accurately interprets the two inmates' dreams.
Two years later, he is given the opportunity to interpret Pharoahs two dreams
and God has put him into the position that He intended for Jacobs son to be
in all along - a position to save not only the world from famine, but most
importantly, Abrahams lineage will be preserved through this famine.
I was the youngest of 5 children so I can relate to Joseph. I always wanted to do what my older siblings were doing. 4-H was big in Jackson County, Arkansas. My brothers and sisters were always winning things and my parents were adult leaders. 4-H Activity Day was coming up. My 1st year in 4-H I entered a skirt and blouse that I had made in the junior clothing event and got a rating of an A and a lot of praise for a 1st year 4-Her crafting such an excellent garment. It looked as good as some of the older 4-Hers garments and I always wore that outfit with pride.
I later entered the modeling event and got a rating of A. I couldnt figure out what
to enter for handicrafts. My mom had 4 other children to supervise through a
number of events so I did not get a lot of input from her. She had given me a lot
of supervision making my skirt & blouse. So really close to the Activity Day, I
came up with an entry like this: [hold up cute cup] It is a knick-knack container.
You can believe that I did not get an A rating on this. I got a C. You can
imagine that I was petrified that I did not get an A. I just knew my daddy
would be mortified - a Johns got a C in a county event that might be printed
in the county paper! I had used my imagination - somewhat. And spent maybe
a few hours on this handicraft - whereas others had spent days on theirs. But it
really was a second rate job. I learned a lesson.
My cup really doesnt look like Joseph. But God took a lot of time making Joseph into a vessel He could use. He was 17 when he was sold into slavery and 30 when he enters the service of the King.
Jeremiah 18:4ff says, And the vessel [the potter] was making of clay was spoiled in the potters hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. Then the word of the Lord came to me: O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? says the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potters hand, so are you in my hand ...
Once a man on vacation went into a shop and asked to see the beautiful, obviously very expensive, cup up on a top shelf. He exclaims, "This is the most beautiful cup I've ever seen!" The cup said, "I wasn't always this pretty. Once I was just a lump of red clay. Then the Master took me and
The Master came, smiling. I said, "Master, I've been through lot of pain."
Spoiled Joseph was recreated in Potiphars house and in the jail house. With no father to dote on him, Joseph turns to his Heavenly Father for comfort. But the Heavenly Father does not spare Joseph from hardship. He puts him back on the potters wheel, back into the oven. With manual labor he learns humility, and self discipline. With self discipline he learns to discipline others. With Gods refashioning he becomes a competent leader who is able to hold trust of Potiphar, the jailers, Pharoah, Egypt, the whole known world.
We see a reworking of Judah also in Genesis. In chapter 37 we saw him as a hateful brother who didnt want to kill his brother, but thought it would be profitable to sell him. Later, we see he wants the lineage of his oldest son preserved, but not at the cost of losing his youngest son. Daughter-in-law Tamars actions flings him back on the potters wheel for a big dose of humility in chapter 38. When we get to Chapter 44, we will see Judah step up and offer himself to protect brother Benjamin from false accusations and bring Joseph to tears and the reunion will begin. Judah will have earned the family birthright and the promise to bear the lineage of Kings and our Savior Jesus.
Being clay in Gods hands is not easy. It can be painful, but oh, so rewarding. If we are not useful, God may need to refashion us. Do we have the courage to pray for refashioning?
[sing: Have Thine Own Way, Lord]
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR