PART 4 – Dan Rudge gives a “character study” of Joseph from the last few chapters of Genesis. (Message preached in Bracknell, 18th Jun 2022).
A Character Study: Joseph [Gen. 37]
Your study should be…
Scriptural [Survey]. More than 10 different Josephs. Three other major NT passages:
• Psa. 105. Feet shackled. Neck in iron collar. Divine providence. “He sent a man before them, even Joseph”.
• Acts 7. “And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him”. Despised prophet. Suffered at hands of his brethren. Jews had history of mistreatment culminating with Messiah.
• Heb. 11. “By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.” Divine promise. Faith in God’s word to Abraham. Lived in enjoyment.
1. Son in Father’s House [37, John]. 2. Servant [Steward] in Potiphar’s House [39, Mark].
3. Sufferer in the Prison House [40, Luke]. 4. Sovereign [Supervisor] in Pharaoh’s House [41-50, Matthew].
• Clan. Mother Rachel. Aunt Leah. Uncle Esau. Grandad Laban. Carnal Reuben, “unstable as water”. Could not control his passions. Neither can you. Curious Dinah, “went out to see the daughters of the land” [34.1].
• Calling. LORD shall add to me another son [addition or increase]. Saviour of the World; Sustainer [Prince] of Life
[upholds all things by the word of His power]; Revealer of Secrets [only begotten Son, He hath declared Him].
• Character. Consistent. Faithful. Honest. Compassionate. Humble. Gracious. Kind. Discerning. Gen. 49: “fruitful bough”. Fruit = character [likeness to Christ]. Produced by Spirit. What I am “in the dark”.
Topical [Themes]. x7 Joseph is weeping. Privately and publicly. For joy and sorrow. Mostly caused by his brethren.
• Abraham [faith]. Isaac [love]. Jacob [hope]. All found in Joseph. In parent’s house [faith, in God’s promises]. In pit
and prison [hope, God would deliver]. In palace [love, blessed/forgave his brethren whilst on throne].
• Garments. 1. Distinction [colours, public expression of delight]. 2. Devotion [left in hand of Potiphar’s wife].
3. Disdain or derision [prison]. 4. Dignity [vestures of fine linen].
Typical. Types = imprints [pictures] that point forward. Look for Christ [comparison or contrast]. Over 100.
• Delight of his Father [37.1-4]. “Brought unto his father their evil report” = bad report about them. ‘With’ them but separate from them. Behaviour dishonoured Jacob’s name. Joseph was zealous for the honour of his father.
• Destined to reign [37.5-11]. 1. Dominion earthly sphere [sheaves]. 2. Heavenly [sun, moon, stars bowed, v.9].
• Despised by His Brethren [37.12-24]. Sent from Hebron [fellowship, union] to Shechem [shoulder, burden of service upon Him] to Dothan [law, bondage]. Saw him afar off… Matt. 21: Last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when they saw the son…This is the heir; come, let us kill him.
• v.23: Stripped Joseph out of his coat. Cast into a pit [v.24]. Empty [My God, My God]. No water [I thirst].
Dispensational. Having been rejected of his brethren, he is highly exalted in Egypt. Called Saviour. Bride to share his honour. After 7 years of plenty [day of grace], 7 years of poverty [tribulation]. “Go to Joseph!”
• Pain of “hour of trial” drive men to Christ. And his brethren. Seven interviews, steps to restoration [repentance].
• Climax: “I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold” [45.4]. “At the second time Joseph made known to brethren”. First time, his own [people] received Him not. Second time, “the LORD is my God”. Goshen. “Glory of all lands.”
Practical. Joseph the teenager . Huge potential. Esau’s sons “dukes” [chiefs]. Eminence in world. But God’s purpose rests with a teenager in father’s tent. Choices [and behaviour] impact later usefulness of his life. Time of great potential [and pitfalls]. Be careful. Your life for God will make or break in 20s.
• Pressures. Bereavement. Lost mother very young. Sorrow didn’t deflect his purpose. Every trial used in Divine training programme to form character. Acted with dignity, duty [‘here am I’], Divine revelation [dreams].
• Problems [with his brethren]. Envious [jealous] when they saw special gift [bitter]. Set yourself to please God and some will resent your devotion. Bad example of carnally minded brethren.
• Purity. Potiphar’s wife . Temptation in workplace. Very forward – “Lie with me”. Immorality is brazen. It was frequent – every day. Reduced to “lie by me” or “be with me”. Became forceful – “caught him”.
• Away from home. Retained purity in permissive society. How… do this great wickedness, and sin against God? Considered impact on master [Potiphar], and guilt before God. Left his tunic but retained his testimony. Price.
• First book in OT ends with Joseph in a coffin. Contrast first book in NT ends with a risen man in the power of resurrection life, “I am with you always”. Even type of Joseph falls far short of the reality!