Week Five Devotion: (Download PDF)
Summarizing the life of Joseph and the lessons he learned.
The story of Joseph’s life is heart-wrenching at times but it also shows us how God might lead us through long stretches of injustice and still accomplish His purpose. Joseph went through some terrible days and some difficult years and he became a really weepy guy, but in the end, the hardships didn’t defeat him. God preserved him and transformed him into a man like no other.
On account of God’s blessing, everything Joseph did, prospered. While in slavery he became Potiphar’s most trusted servant placed in charge of all the household affairs. In Egypt, Joseph grew to become the 2nd most powerful man in the nation. He was a wise and cunning. He was a leader of men, a leader of business, an industry leader, successful in everything he touched. He grew to become a great man, but he also grew to be a great man of God.
At the end of the book when Joseph and his brothers come together after the death of their father there is a great deal of tension. But Joseph has come to accept the truth behind all the hardships. He had come to understand that God had been with him all of his life and was working out His perfect plan not only to prosper Joseph, but also to preserve Joseph’s entire family. What his brothers meant for evil, God meant for good.
Joseph’s trust in the providence of God had a powerful effect on his life. He was able to forgive those who had wronged him. He was able to embrace those who had hurt him. He was able to help those who had sought to end his life. Joseph had come to see that God’s good purpose went much deeper than the evil intentions of others. As Joseph came to see God’s providence at work through his hardship he was able to look beyond the pain and rest in, even rejoice in, God’s perfect plan.
Here is something to discuss…
Throughout the book of Genesis, there is a command of God looming over the story of humanity. “Be fruitful and multiply…” was the command given to Adam and Eve but their sin got in the way of them fulfilling this command. Then after the flood, the same command was issued to Noah but once again sin got in the way.
By the time we get to Genesis 48 we see that something has shifted. God has taken this responsibility upon Himself.
Gen 48:3 And Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, 4 and said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will make of you a company of peoples and will give this land to your offspring after you for an everlasting possession.’
God is now going to take this into His own hands and be the One who ensures that His people will be fruitful and that they will multiply. By the time the book of Exodus opens we see that God has kept His promise to the point that the land was filled with the descendants of Israel.
Don’t miss the grace of God in this exchange. What God has commanded His people to do, He will ultimately fulfill himself. “What He demands of us, He does for us.” This principle helps us understand the way the gospel works. The gospel tells us that everything God demands of us for salvation, He provides for us in His Son.
God requires righteousness from those who would seek to come into His presence and on our own, we cannot achieve that. But the good news is that God provides the righteousness we need through Jesus who perfectly fulfilled the law of God on our behalf and then died in our place to cover the guilt of our sin. God provides what He requires.
Here is something to meditate upon…
When Israel started out it was nothing more than one large dysfunctional family of shepherds hoping to avoid starvation by coming to Egypt. But in the first few pages of Exodus, we read that God blessed Israel, multiplied them and made them exceedingly strong. So strong in fact that Pharaoh and the people of Egypt had reason to fear an uprising. Pharaoh responded by forcing them into harsh slavery.
But God wasn’t about to sit back and let His people suffer. God appears to Moses and calls him to be the human instrument that confronts Pharaoh demanding freedom for God’s people. And when God appears to Moses He says His name is, “I AM.” By declaring that He is “I AM” God is asserting His self-existence in the universe and His sovereign involvement in the lives of His people.
When Moses brings this message to Pharaoh he is almost ignored. Pharaoh is foolishly confident in his own authority and he dismisses God in favor of the Egyptian idols. Then God begins to send plagues. “The plagues were not stunts, they were statements.” One by one, the plagues God sent served to discredit the false gods of Egypt. The gods of the people were shown to be powerless frauds, which would have shaken the people to their core but it also revealed that there was truly no power behind Pharaoh’s throne.
Two things are taking place in this, God is fighting for His people and He is also establishing His glory upon earth. He wants all the earth to know that He is God and there is no other. Spend some time meditating on the lengths to which God has gone to fight for His people and to make His name known in the world. Think about how God can use you to bless the church and bring glory to His name.
Here is something to pray about…
The Exodus is one of my favorite books in all of Scripture because it shows God as supreme over all the false gods of this world. It shows God using the smallest of creatures (gnats, flies, frogs, and locusts) to bring about the surrender of the most powerful human civilization on earth at that time. If God can use these tiny creatures to change the world surely He can use a wretch like me.
As you think on this I would urge you to pray that God would use you to make a difference in this world for the sake of His Kingdom. Pray that God would soften your heart to His glory and His purposes in Christ. Pray that God would give you gifts that you can use in service to Him and as a help to others. Pray that God would allow you to grow in confidence, not because you have some great thing to offer, but because God delights to use even the smallest of His creatures to spread gospel change in this world.
Next week we will be reading Exodus 19 thru 38 where we continue to see God leading His people through the wilderness, establishing them as a nation, caring for them every step of the way, and then revealing His law to them. So plan to join me again next week as we continue to read through the Bible in 2017.
 English Standard Version Gospel Transformation Bible Notes (pg. 69)
 Ray Ortlund Journey Through the Bible 2016