This devotional is from our “God is Love” series from the sermon on Joseph

So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.  And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.  For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest.  And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors.  So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. (Gen 45:4-8)

The story of Joseph is a wonderful part of history, one which should be studied, retold, and woven into our cultural fabric (as it sometimes is).  Like all good stories, there are twists and turns, subplots, morals, and principles such as stewardship, hard work, planning, and forgiveness.  But if we only look at the story of Joseph as a literary treasure, we may miss the fact that it was woven into scripture as part of the overall story of God.  In this story, the supposed death of a brother brought life to the nation, after he was sold for a few silver coins.  In the end, it was the love of God through Joseph that could see the bigger plan, that it was God working through him that brought about salvation (from the famine).  There are a number of ways we can see the pattern of God’s love through Joseph’s life and, as we study the character of God that desires to restore, forgive, and preserve life, we can look at the life of Joseph as a foreshadowing of God’s own son, whom he would allow to go down into the pit of Hades to save us all.

Dialogue Questions:

    • How can we learn from Joseph’s story about the blessing of letting go of past hurts? What kind of hurts did Joseph need to overcome in order to be a wise, gracious, and effective steward of Egypt?
    • Given the many family dynamics of Genesis before Joseph, what do you think about the way he is reconciled to his brothers? How is this different than other “brotherly” examples from Genesis (hint, those resulted in multiple nations – what nation did Joseph save)?
    • How do forgiveness and love work together in the story of Joseph?
    • What do you make of the prophetic types of the Baker and Wine Steward?
    • What do you make of the story of Joseph’s empty tomb?

Things to Pray about:

    • Pray for our hearts to be softened towards those who have wronged us, especially family.
    • Pray for insight as we study the character of God’s love and that we would reflect His love to others; pray that we, like Joseph, would see our distress in the light of God’s love for us.