Joseph in the Bible
Joseph in the Bible – The Joseph of the Old Testament
One Joseph in the Bible was the overconfident younger son of Jacob. He was known to his older brothers as their father’s favorite. For this reason his 10 older brothers conspired against the boy and sold him to slave traders, while telling their father the boy had been mauled by an animal. Joseph had been given dreams of God’s plan for his life; so with confidence and strength, he endured in this amazing story in Genesis.
The slave traders took him into Egypt and sold him to Potiphar, one of the Pharaoh’s officers. Joseph served his master well and gained great favor. But the master’s wife tried to seduce Joseph, a young man of impeccable integrity. After he rejected her, she went to her husband with false accusations. It resulted in Joseph’s imprisonment. Once again, God proved his presence and protection for Joseph. The prison keeper befriended him and learned of Joseph’s divine ability to interpret dreams.
Because of earning this reputation, Joseph was called upon to interpret a dream that deeply troubled the Pharaoh. None of the Pharaoh’s wise consults had been able to decipher the dream. But Joseph accurately relayed the symbols in the dream to a future time of abundance that would be followed by a time of great famine. The Pharaoh rewarded Joseph with overseeing the lands of Egypt. In these prosperous times he stored up the abundant harvest toward the tragic times ahead. During the years of famine, Joseph’s brothers came in search of grains and foods to keep their people from starvation. Not recognizing their young Hebrew brother as this matured and prominent Egyptian, he ordered them to return with their younger brother. When the brothers returned with Benjamin, Joseph revealed his identity. The brothers suffered from great remorse of their actions and Joseph forgave them. It was a joyous reunion between a grieved father and lost son. Joseph’s years of steadfast reliance on God brought about not only reunion but his high position so that he was able to save a nation from starvation.
Joseph in the Bible – The Joseph of the New Testament
Joseph, best known as the husband of Mary and earthly father of Jesus, is found in the New Testament books of Matthew and Luke. Joseph was a man of strong beliefs. He not only strived to do what was right but also to do it the right way. When his betrothed Mary came to him with the news of her pregnancy, he knew the child could not be his.
Joseph decided he would break the engagement but determined to do it in such a way that it would not bring shame to Mary. He wanted to be just, acting with fairness and love. He had great respect for Mary’s character but her story of being miraculously impregnated by God’s Holy Spirit was difficult to believe. During this time of consideration, he was visited by a messenger from God confirming Mary’s story and convincing Joseph that Mary had not been unfaithful. God instructed Joseph to marry the young woman and honor her virginity until the baby was born. Joseph obeyed the Lord.
This must have been initially very difficult for Joseph to reconcile in his natural mind. But Joseph had to be a very spiritual and faithful man of integrity. It is not known how long Joseph was in the life of Jesus but he realized from the moment of the heavenly visit that Jesus was to be very special. The last time Joseph was mentioned in the Bible was when Jesus was 12 years old. We can assume, that being the honorable man he was, Joseph fulfilled the role of earthly father to the best of his ability with all the love any man can have for his son. Joseph was given and fulfilled the role of protector, provider and teacher, raising the young boy without any further reservation. God provided Joseph with assurance, strength, and the abilities of leadership to raise the child who was brought to be Savior.
Joseph in the Bible – Lessons from the two Josephs
By reading the stories of both men, we find that they were men of great integrity. Both men were tried and tested by events in life that could have left them bitter or angry. Instead, they had close relationships with God in which they remained steadfast, regardless of the undeserved adversities and trials they were forced to endure. Both Josephs were men of great faith and open to hearing in their spirits what God intended for them and their lives to come. God proved through them that social position is of little importance to God, bringing them each from a meager standing to roles of great importance and example.
God honors integrity, obedience, and faithfulness. Our obedience to Him will bring increased guidance and blessings from Him. With God’s help, any situation or appearance of things gone wrong can be used for a good outcome when we remain steadfast and have a personal relationship with God. If you seek Him and listen for His direction, He will answer you with provisions of a blessed outcome for you as well.
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