And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him; and they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.’ Genesis 37:23,24
“For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14)
In our last lesson, we learned about the prophet of God, Jacob, Abraham’s grandson. We saw how God gave Jacob a new name: Israel. Jacob means deceiver, but Israel means
one who reigns with God.
Now Jacob had two names: Jacob and Israel. Israel is also the name of the new nation, which God had promised to make from the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jacob had twelve sons. From these twelve sons arose the people of Israel–the nation through which the Redeemer would come.
Do you know the names of the twelve sons of Jacob? They are Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph and Benjamin. We now begin the interesting story about the sons of Jacob–especially the one named
who was the eleventh son.
We are reading in Genesis 37:2-35: “These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph,
being seventeen years old,
was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report. Now
Israel loved Joseph more than all his children,
because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren,
they hated him,
and could not speak peaceably unto him. And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed; for, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and bowed down to my sheaf. And his brethren said unto him, shalt thou indeed reign over us? Or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And
they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.
And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it to his brethren, and said, behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. And he said it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, what is this dream thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves before thee to the earth? And
his brethren envied him;
but his father observed the saying. And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem. And Israel said unto Joseph, do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? Come, I will send thee unto them. And he said to him,
here am I.
And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying,
what seekest thou?
And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks. And the man said, they are departed from here; for I heard them say, let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan. And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. And they said one to another,
Joseph was sold for twenty pieces of silver
Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams. And Reuben heard it, and
he delivered him out of their hands,
to deliver him to his father again. And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him; and
they took him, and cast him into a pit:
and the pit was empty, there was no water in it. And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmaelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. And Judah said unto his brethren, what profit is it
if we slay our brother,
and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content. Then there passed by Midianites, merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt. And Reuben returned unto his brethren, and said, the child is not; and I, where shall I go? And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood; and they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, this we have found: know now whether it be thy son’s coat or not. And he recognised it, and said, it is my son’s coat; the beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt torn in pieces. And Jacob tore his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days. And all his sons and daughters rose to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, for I will go down into sheol [death] unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him”.
(Gen. 39:1-23) “And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, bought him of the hands of the Ishmaelites, who had brought him down there.
And the Lord was with Joseph,
and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And
Joseph found grace in his sight,
and he served him: and he made him the overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that
the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake;
and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.
And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand;
and he knew not anything he had, save the food which he did eat. And Joseph was a handsome person, and well favoured. And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said,
lie with me.
But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master knoweth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; there is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back anything from me but thee, because thou art his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness,
and sin against God?
And it came to pass, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her. And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his work; and there was none of the men of the house there within. And she caught him by his garment, saying,
Lie with me:
and he left his garment in her hand,
and fled, and got out.
And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth, that
she called unto the men of her house,
and spoke unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; and he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice. And it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled, and got out. And she laid up his garment by her,
until his lord came home.
And she spoke unto him according to these words, saying, the Hebrew servant, whom thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me. And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spoke unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me, that his wrath was kindled. And Joseph’s master took him,
and put him into the prison,
a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison. But
the Lord was with Joseph,
and showed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison looked not to anything that was under his hand; because
the Lord was with him,
and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper”
Thus begins the story of Joseph, the son of Jacob. We can summarise what we have read today with this statement:
He would rather suffer in prison than enjoy the passing pleasures of sin. That was why, when the wife of his master invited him to lie with her and commit adultery, Joseph refused, answering her, “How could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”
Joseph knew that
do not go together! Joseph had presented his whole heart to God. That is why he loved righteous-ness and hated wickedness. Like his great-grandfather, Abraham, Joseph also believed what God had promised concerning the Saviour who was to come to earth to die for the sins of Adam’s descendants.
God judged Joseph to be righteous because
Because of his faith, God forgave Joseph of his sins and filled his heart with the desire and the power to overcome sin and to live righteously in an evil world. God “walked” with Joseph because Joseph “walked” with God.
Joseph could not enjoy sin, because
he loved God with his whole heart.
The one who believes and worships God from the heart will
love what God loves
hate what God hates.
That is what the Scripture declares when it says: “No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve two masters” (Matt. 6:24) “For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteous-ness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14) “God is light; and
in Him is no darkness at all.
If we say we have fellowship with him, and walk in the darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.” (1 John 1:5,6) Those who truly belong to God believe the Word of God and seek to obey it. But those who do not belong to God are controlled by sin. They may have the outward form of religion, but
sin still controls their thoughts,
the intentions of their hearts, their words and their deeds. They may intend to overcome sin, but they are unable to do so, because sin is stronger than they are. They do not have in their hearts the power of God’s Holy Spirit, which God gives to all those who believe His Word and accept the way of salvation which He has established. Friend,
has God renewed your heart by His power?
Have you received the Good News about the Saviour who has the power to cleanse your heart from all sin? Or are you still living under the dominion of sin? The Scripture says: “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded … Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4:8,10)
In our next study, in the will of the Lord, we will continue with the story of Joseph and see how he got out of prison and rose to the position of ruler over the whole land of Egypt. . . .
God bless you as you think upon this verse found in the Scriptures:
“God is light; and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him, and walk in the darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.” (1 John 1:5,6)
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