Chapter 37 begins a new section in which we follow the life of Joseph. He will essentially be the main character for the remainder of the book. While Joseph is not a perfect character (the way he tells his dreams to his family seems to smack of pride), he is one of the more admirable ones that we meet in this book. His life is certainly exemplary in comparison to Judah (and this terrible incident with Tamar) as well as the other brothers who sell him into slavery out of jealousy. His life follows a pattern of setbacks and triumphs. But through it all, God is at work to protect the people of Israel and reveal himself. Over the years, the similarities between Joseph and Jesus have often been pointed out. We don’t want to go so far in the comparison that we lose sight of Joseph as a real historical figure, but a comparison illustrates the way in which salvation is worked out in the Bible. Joseph is extraordinarily gifted, he suffers for righteous reasons, and after suffering (and in some ways because of his suffering) he is able to save his people from death. This sort of "down-then-up" story line is what author Paul Miller calls “The J-Curve.” In the J-curve, God’s plan of redemption unites us to Jesus Christ as we share in his sorrows and in his victory. As we leave Joseph at the end of chapter 39, he is in a desperate place – alone, forgotten, imprisoned in a foreign land. But God is at work, and the upward sweep of redemption is on the way.
Reflect: Sometimes we suffer because of our own foolish mistakes, and sometimes we suffer as people who are righteous. Where have you, like Joseph, experienced suffering that you did not deserve?
Connect: The Apostle Paul was no stranger to difficulties, in fact they defined his life. He believed that God was at work through his pain and that all of his hardship was part of God’s redemptive plan, bound up with the humiliation and exaltation of Jesus.
Phil 3:8-11 For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him… that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
This blog is part of the ministry of City Reformed Presbyterian Church. Unless otherwise noted, the entries are written by Matt Koerber. This is part of a project that our church is doing as we read through the narrative sections of Scripture between early January and Easter 2020. New entries will be scheduled to drop automatically at 5:00 am on the scheduled day.