Joseph in the Old Testament

A good name. Everything can start with a good name that is blessed by God and the heavens.

The one in the Old Testament was a Joseph who was really set aside by God for God’s plan and purpose. The one in the New Testament was a Joseph who was also set aside by God for His Divine Plan of saving the world from sinfulness and wickedness through His Son. The Joseph that I know may not be as special as the Joseph of the Old Testament or the Joseph in the New Testatment, but surely, he is also set aside for a special purpose in God’s Divine Plan.

The Old Testament is full of dramatic stories of people who were so close to God. Yet, they have not maximized their proximity to Him as they tried to be influenced by the materiality of the world.

This story began when Jacob (Israel), the son of Isaac who was the son of Abraham, was already in his old age. Despite the many children that he bore with his wives, Jacob showed special fondness to Joseph, the second to the youngest son of his. Had it been today, Jacob would be judged as a bad parent for sowing jealousy in the hearts of the brothers. There were 12 of them including Joseph. As if fondness was not enough, Jacob gave Joseph a very special robe that spelled everything of his favoritism versus those of the other sons. We could understand the hearts of the other 10 sons; they must had been beating so fast and they must had gritted their teeth looking at Joseph, the favorite son.

But even in bad situations, something good still happens. God’s plan could not be thwarted. In fact, events lead men to the path that accomplishes God’s will.

As if the robe was not enough, Jacob had the habit of sending Joseph off to the fields to check on his brothers. At one time, Joseph reported to Jacob what his brothers were doing. Of course, to Jacob this was just part of his fatherly care, perhaps. But to the brothers, what would they have thought?

One day, Jacob sent Joseph again to check on his brothers. This time, the brothers who were really jealous and angry agreed to throw Joseph into the cistern and cover his robe with his blood. They would make it appear that a wild animal chewed Joseph bit by bit.

But God has His plans and no such evil thing could happen as this would lead to the death of the favored son.

So out of nowhere and at such a timely appearance, the Ishmaelite Traders arrived in the desert where the brothers were. Instead of killing Joseph, they sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. Not a bad trade at that time. Remember, Jesus was sold by Judas for thirty pieces of silver?

But God was always with Joseph. God’s plans prevail forever and always.

So in Egypt, Joseph ended up as a slave who was sold to an Egyptian leader, Potiphar. The ways of God are always not like man’s. How could Potiphar take notice of this lowly slave when Egyptians were used to many other slaves who would bow to them in loyalty. But Potiphar recognized Joseph and he acknowledged that Joseph is blessed by his God. To cut it short, Potiphar entrusted to Joseph the affairs of his household. Joseph was in charge. The slave is now in-charge! What an achievement that was.

God turns evil schemes into a blessing that would be consistent to His grand plan.

While Joseph was doing good as Potiphar’s trusted servant, the wife of Potiphar lusted for Joseph to lie with her to bed. Joseph refused to commit that sin. Beware, Joseph, evil schemes kept lurking as personified by the wife of Potiphar!

Dejected and rejected, the wife of Potiphar created an evil allegation that Joseph was trying to abuse her. He held on to the robe of Joseph and cried and screamed to get Potiphar’s attention. Naturally, Potiphar was enraged and Joseph was sent to prison. This reminds me of a famous quote, “I am the master of this house and I command you to do everything what my wife says!” Potiphar’s heart could have been torn apart. He trusted Joseph but he could not turn a deaf ear to his screaming wife. What a sad outcome for Potiphar!

But God was with Joseph. Even in prison, the Guard took notice of how Joseph can efficiently handle things. So he made Joseph his assistant in managing the affairs of the prison. The Prison Guard, just like Potiphar, was quick to assess people’s character. Joseph was again made an in-charge; not a bad position for him while in prison.

God was not yet done with Joseph because God’s plan endures forever.

It so happened that the Cupbearer and the Baker of Pharaoh were put to prison. One day, both of them had dreams and they were pondering what their dreams meant. Joseph took notice of their expressions in the morning. They shared their dreams to Joseph and by God’s grace, Joseph interpreted their dreams. Joseph asked them to remember him when they go back to Pharaoh.

The Cupbearer was set free just as how Joseph interpreted the dream. The Baker was impaled just as how Joseph interpreted his dream. But the Cupbearer forgot Joseph and his promise to Joseph.

Well, in God’s time that was not yet the perfect time for Joseph’s entry into the palace or his exit from prison.

Just then Pharaoh had a dream. No one could interpret his dream. Then the Cupbearer remembered Joseph. So Pharaoh ordered for the release of Joseph so that his dreams would be interpreted.

The drama that God prepared in his Masterplan was now going to the climax.

Joseph told Pharaoh that they would have 7 years of abundance and 7 years of famine. They should be ready for it. Pharaoh saw no one as blessed as Joseph so he made Joseph in-charge of everything. He was just “short of the throne” with the vast authority that Pharaoh had given to him.

Joseph efficiently managed the government of Egypt and prepared for the 7 years of famine.

But that was not the end of God’s plan. It was just the beginning. Remember God loved Israel and His people. Joseph’s entry in Egypt and the authority he had from Pharaoh was just a means to save the people of God.

To cut this story short, the brothers of Joseph went to Egypt to buy some grains as they had no more food in their land. Joseph recognized them and gave them a hard time and pushed them to come back with Joseph’s youngest brother Benjamin. Eventually, Jacob (Israel) and his entire household and descendants were favored by Pharaoh to live in a land reserved for them in Egypt.

God’s will be done! The Master Weaver of plans and dreams never gives up on people, on circumstances, on man’s bad choices, on man’s shaky decisions, on man’s forgetfulness. God’s plan remains constant and God’s Divine Providence will always get us to where we should be not for our purpose but for His.

May His Will be done. May His Kingdom come.