Genesis: The Beginning Of Heroes 5 – Joseph The Hero of Grace Genesis 37
Text: Genesis 37, 39-41, 42-45
Joseph: The Hero Dreamer - Genesis 37:1-11
37:2 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.
Vs. 5 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it 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 made obeisance to my sheaf.
Vs. 9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it 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 told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?
Joseph tells on his brothers and then compounds the hurt by sharing his dreams of dominance and ascendency. He is only a young boy and he does not understand all the dysfunction in his family, his mother fought with all the other mothers, his brothers are jealous, his dad is showing favoritism. Hey what could possibly go wrong in this family?
Jacob however should have know better. He made things much worse by making Joseph a coat of many colors, the idea of this coat is a garment designating Joseph as the next head of the family, Jacob’s heir apparent.
Then Joseph tells the dream. This upsets his brothers and even his father. Joseph is too young and too naïve to realize the repercussions of sharing the dreams, but we must understand, it was not Joseph’s imagination, of foolish pride, it was not Joseph’s dream, it was God’s revelation.
Even though there were terrible consequences in Joseph sharing what God had told him, it still this shows his first hints of heroism. He is not afraid to tell others the truth that God has told him.
Let’s put this in the form of a 1 Maxim: Heroes speak the truth no matter the consequences.
We’ve said Joseph is a type of Christ here is the first part of that type.
Type of Christ: Truth Teller
Joseph gives us a picture of the Messiah. Just as Joseph was beloved of His father, Jesus was beloved of the Heavenly Father.
Matthew 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Just as Joseph was hated by his brethren, Jesus was hated by his. John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
And as Joseph would one day rule over his family, so Jesus one day will rule over His family. Revelation 5:13 13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
And as Joseph spoke the truth, so Jesus the Messiah would only speak the truth when He came. John 1:14 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
This is how a type works. What we see as a tableau in Joseph’s life, is lived out in vivid detail in the life of Jesus. This is one of the wonders, the miracles of God’s Word. It is no ordinary book.
Now let’s quickly move to the next phase of Joseph’s life…
Joseph: The Hero Servant - Genesis 37:18-36
Vs. 23 And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript 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 Ishmeelites 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 Ishmeelites, 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 Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.
Genesis 39:1-19 Vss 1-2 And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither. And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.
Genesis 39:7-8 7 And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. 8 But he refused, and said unto his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand;
Joseph is sold into slavery, and he characteristically makes the best of it by being obedient and faithful to Potiphar. Yet there is another that Joseph must be even more faithful and obedient to, his heavenly Master, Jehovah God. When Potiphar’s wife tries to cause him to sin, he say now and tells her, Genesis 39:9 “how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” Not just Potiphar but against God.
That is what a real hero does they obey the Lord. We need many more heroes like that in the pulpits, the pews, the workplace, the schools and our community. Heroes who understand they answer to a higher authority than this world’s laws. They are answerable and accountable to their Master in heaven.
Maxim 2: Heroes know they answer to a higher authority.
Type of Christ: Obedient Servant
Joseph was a faithful servant and here is our picture of Jesus, for the Bible tells us in Mark 10:43-45 43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: 44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. 45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Jesus was the suffering servant during his life upon the earth. This characteristic of Joseph, that foreshadows the life of the Messiah, was the main reason many believed there would be a descendant of Joseph as one of two Messiah.
Jesus faithfully obeying the will of His Father, suffering under the terrible price to ransom us from sin. Matthew 26:38-39 38 …My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
So Joseph is false accused, another type of Jesus Christ and he is thrown into prison. We take up the story in …
Joseph: Hero Imprisoned - Genesis 39:1 - 40:23
Genesis 39: 20- 23 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 shewed 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.
Genesis 40:1-23 1-3 And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker had offended their lord the king of Egypt. And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers. And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound.
Vs. 5 And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which were bound in the prison. And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and looked upon them, and, behold, they were sad. And he asked Pharaoh's officers that were with him in the ward of his lord's house, saying, Wherefore look ye so sadly to day? And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.
Even in prison Joseph was a hero, he would not be discouraged or defeated. He rose to the rank of chief trustee and though he was not free, even the walls and bars of prison could not overwhelm him.
Once again, we see the true hero. Here is a person who will never stop doing what is right. He will never give up because of the hard circumstances he finds himself in, nor will he quit believing that God is with him.
This is exactly what Jesus teaches in Luke 18:1 “1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”
Heroes keep praying, keep trying, keep working, but they don’t faint. They don’t give up. Heroes may be knocked down, but they don’t stay down.
You can the next maxim coming, can’t you? Maxim 3. Heroes don’t quit!
Type of Christ: Prisoner of Judgment
Here again is a type of Christ. What does Isaiah 53:8 say? “He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation?”
Joseph was an innocent man thrown in prison and no one would speak for him, even the butler he helped. Jesus was taken in judgment to the prison, he was beaten there, a crown of thorns put upon his brow, and a robe of purple slapped on his lacerated back. Many voices mocked Him, but none spoke to defend Him. Later after the judgment of the cross, Jesus died and was imprisoned in a tomb, but He overcome even that prison of death. He is the hero of heroes just as he is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Jesus overcame the prison of the grave and rose to save us. Joseph came out of the prison of Egypt to save the people of Egypt. Two years more Joseph waits until another set of dreams sets him free. And he will become the hero of Egypt.
Joseph Hero of Egypt - Genesis 41
Vs. 1 And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river. 2 And, behold, there came up out of the river seven well favoured kine and fatfleshed; and they fed in a meadow. 3 And, behold, seven other kine came up after them out of the river, ill favoured and leanfleshed; and stood by the other kine upon the brink of the river. 4 And the ill favoured and leanfleshed kine did eat up the seven well favoured and fat kine. So Pharaoh awoke. 5 And he slept and dreamed the second time: and, behold, seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk, rank and good. 6 And, behold, seven thin ears and blasted with the east wind sprung up after them. 7 And the seven thin ears devoured the seven rank and full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and, behold, it was a dream. (Now, finally, the butler remembers Joseph and tell Pharoah.)
14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh. 15 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it. 16 And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.
Vs. 25 And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26 The seven good kine (cows) are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one. 27 And the seven thin and ill favoured kine that came up after them are seven years; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine. 28 This is the thing which I have spoken unto Pharaoh: What God is about to do he sheweth unto Pharaoh.
Vs. 33 Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. 35 And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. 36 And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine.
Vs. 39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: 40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. 41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.
Vs. 53 And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended. 54 And the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said: and the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. 55 And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do. 56 And the famine was over all the face of the earth: And Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt.
Pharoah dreams about 7 healthy cows and 7 terrible zombie cows that eat up the good cows. Then he dreams of 7 beautiful heads of grain on one stalk and then seven ravaged and pestilent heads of grain that consumed the good ears once again. A very disturbing dream, doubled by God to make sure Pharoah pays attention and that it is certainly coming.
The butler finally remembers Joseph and tells Pharoah. Joseph is called and he interprets the dreams, and he tell Pharoah, Genesis 41:29 “There will come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt, 30 but after them there will arise seven years of famine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will consume the land…”
He suggests Pharoah tax the land at 20% and when the famine comes use the stored food to save the people. Now isn’t this just like all governments? Tax you heavily, then when you need help, give you back what was actually yours in the first place and Oh, yeah, it will only cost you a small administrative, service fee. Like all your lands and farms.
Anyway, am I off track? Maybe. Maybe not. So, Joseph with his plan and God’s guidance saves the lives of the Egyptian people and also we will see the lives of his father, brothers and all their families.
The 4th Maxim here would be: Heroes save others. That’s right. Whether it be like Joseph, or like a police officer, a fireman, or even a bystander who sees a car wreck and stops to see if they can help. Heroes are meant to save others and, pay attention carefully, every child of God is meant to a hero. A hero who through the sharing of the Gospel, the work of the church or the giving to missions saves others. You are called to be a Gospel hero and save lives and souls of those in danger all around you.
Type of Christ: Savior
It’s not hard to see the type here is it? Jesus through the gift of His life, suffering and death opened the storehouses of salvation for us. Aren’t you glad, unlike the government, He doesn’t take from us first, he doesn’t charge us anything, for the price of eternal salvation is too high for us to pay. It is a gift that is far too valuable. We could never earn it.
Romans 3:24 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Joseph saved the people of Egypt with their own provision, but Jesus saved us, Ephesians 2:8 “by grace through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”
Just one more point where Joseph truly shows what a hero is. The last of his story stretches from chapter 42 through 45 but we will only read a few excepts of this familiar act of heroic forgiveness.
Joseph Hero of Forgiveness – Genesis 42- 45
Genesis 42:3-24 5 And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan. 6 And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph's brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth. 7 And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food. 8 And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him. 9 And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come. 10 And they said unto him, Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come.
Vs. 21 And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.
Vs 23 And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter. 24 And he turned himself about from them, and wept;
Genesis 43:15-18 15 And the men took that present, and they took double money in their hand, and Benjamin; and rose up, and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph. 16 And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the ruler of his house, Bring these men home, and slay, and make ready; for these men shall dine with me at noon. 17 And the man did as Joseph bade; and the man brought the men into Joseph's house. 18 And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph's house; and they said, Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen….
Genesis 45:1-15 1 Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. 2 And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard. 3 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence. 4 And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. 5 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. 6 For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8 So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.
Vs. 14 And he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. 15 Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them:
The famine spreads throughout all the middle eastern lands, from Egypt to the Levant, all the land is dead or dying. Jacob sends his sons with money to buy food to sustain the families of all the tribes of Israel. They buy the food and Joseph recognizes them, but he doesn’t look like their brother and he speaks Egyptian and uses an interpreter to speak to them. And his dreams come true they bow down before him. Joseph also tests them, to see if they have changed, to see if there is any sorrow for what they have done to him, to the family and especially to their father. After two trips, Jacob really increases the pressure and when he plants his own chalice in Benjamin’s bag and brings them back, he tells them Benjamin is now his slave. Notice 3 things, First, Judah pleads for his brother’s life.
The Plea of Judah - Genesis 44:16-17 And Judah said, What shall we say unto my lord? what shall we speak? or how shall we clear ourselves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants: behold, we are my lord's servants, (we all are your slaves) both we, and he also with whom the cup is found. 17 And he said, God forbid that I should do so: but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant; and as for you, get you up in peace unto your father. Genesis 44:33-34 33 Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren. 34 For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me? lest peradventure I see the evil that shall come on my father.
Joseph has heard them on the first trip talk of how all the misfortune that was happening to them was due to what they had done to him. Now after this, the hardest test of all, he hears Judah saying, “I am willing to be a slave in the place of Benjamin, that his father will not die from sorrow at losing another son.
That is a big change of heart for Judah. He went from selling a brother into slavery to now being willing to be a slave himself to save another brother.
When Joseph sees the love of his brothers, their full acknowledgement of their guilt and their willingness to unconditionally fall upon the mercy of Joseph, his heart breaks.
The Passion of Joseph - Genesis 45:1-4 Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. 2 And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard. 3 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence. 4 And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.
The Plan of God - Genesis 45:5-8 5 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. 6 For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8 So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.
Joseph Hero of Grace:
Here we see the greatest act of heroism for one who is a child of God, the act of forgiveness. Joseph forgives for three reasons.
1) He hears his brothers acknowledge their sin and express their sorrow for that sin.
2) His own love for his brothers. Several times he weeps over them. And most importantly number 3
3) He knows all this was the plan of God. So, he forgives the very people who hated him, wanted to kill him and who made him a slave and a prisoner. Now as the premier of Egypt he has the power and authority to save and to forgive. And he does.
In this act more than all the others we see in Joseph a foreshadowing of our Lord Jesus Christ who forgave all.
Here is our last Hero #5 Maxim: Heroes Always Forgive
Type of Christ: Forgiver of Sin
Jesus of course is the the greatest Hero of Grace because He forgave so much to so many.
Only Jesus has the power and authority to save and forgive all sinners. For it was only Jesus who paid the price of his own life, shed His own blood, and endured the pain, the mocking and the humiliation of the cross. Suffering even the turning away of His Father. Only Jesus in his sinlessness and suffering could pay the price for all mankind’s sin and therefore only Jesus has the power and authority to forgive the sin of any who come to Him.
Forgiveness is granted to us for the same reasons it was granted to the brothers of Joseph.
First there is forgiveness when there is repentance.
Matthew 9:12-13 2 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Romans 2:4 despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
Secondly there is forgiveness because He loves us.
Romans 5:8 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (God poured his love into His Son and Jesus poured out that love to us at Calvary.)
2 Thessalonians 2:16 16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us…
Thirdly there is forgiveness because it is the will, the plan of God
John 17:3-4 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
Colossians 2:13-14 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
Conclusion: Heroes of Grace
Joseph was a hero of grace, forgiving his brothers despite their terrible sin against him and in that forgiveness saving his family. But Jesus is the greatest Hero of Grace, for he paid the greatest price, to be able to forgive the sin of any and all that repent and believe in Him as their loving savior.
Charles Wesley wrote in Love Divine
Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heav’n, to earth come down,
fix in us thy humble dwelling,
all thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love thou art.
Visit us with thy salvation;
enter ev'ry trembling heart.
He wrote in “And Can it Be?”
And can it be that I should gain
An int'rest in the Savior's blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me?
If you are here this morning and have never experience the forgiveness of your sin, never truly experienced the love of Jesus Christ, who died on Calvary’s Cross for you, then experience that love today. Come to Him in repentance, come to Him because he loves you and come to Him because God the Father sent His own Son to open the way for you to experience that wonderful forgiveness.
And I’m going to leave you with this last challenge the morning. Be a Hero of Grace in the service of Jesus Christ.
Be a hero who speaks the truth no matter the consequences.
Be a hero who knows you answer to a higher authority.
Be a hero who will never quit, no matter the difficulties you face.
Be a hero who saves others through the sharing of the Gospel, the work of the church and the sending of missionaries.
And perhaps most needful of all, Be a hero who always, always forgives. As Paul wrote to the
Ephesians, Ephesians 4:31-32 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
You want to be a real hero, then forgive on another. Please forgive one another.