(The Abundant Life Series – Batch 4)
In the Old Testament, we are given an account of the intriguing story of Joseph, one of the twelve sons of Jacob. Genesis 37:3 in beginning to relate the story, points out that Joseph’s father Israel (who was called Jacob before God renamed him), loved him more than all of his brothers. As is typical and to be expected therefore, this created tension in the family, his brothers knowing full well that he was favoured more than all of them. In fact, so envious were they of the extent of the love that his father had for him and the closeness of their bond, that they did not just dislike him. They hated him.
As if this was not enough, Joseph started having these dreams repeatedly, where he was seemingly above them in superiority and they beneath, which only served to add fuel to the animosity that they already harboured towards him. After all, in a time and culture where the firstborn and the older sons were considered as more honourable than those who came after, Joseph was nearly at the bottom, in the eleventh position o be exact, hin having been born as the second to last of Jacob’s twelve sons! Yet, he had the audacity to tell his older brothers that he kept having dreams of them bowing down to him!
Genesis 37:4-11 reads:
- “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 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. And his brethren said to 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 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? And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.”
Joseph was seventeen when this occurred. The Bible states that some time after that, while his brothers were feeding the flock in Shechem, that his father instructed him to go to them to see how they fared and to bring him back a report. In obedience, Joseph went and initially had some difficulty locating them, as they were not in Shechem. Nevertheless, a man who had overheard his brothers talking, soon directed him to Dothan, where they were.
When his brothers saw him approaching from a distance though, the hatred they felt towards him, especially because of his dreams was intensified. With the exception of Reuben the eldest, they plotted then and there, to kill him, to throw his body into a pit and to lie to their father, that a wild beast had eaten him. By the time he had approached them though, Reuben had convinced them to throw him into a pit instead of killing him (with the secret intention that he would later take him out and bring him back to Jacob their father). They therefore stripped him of the coat of many colours that his father had made for him and threw him into a pit.
Later on, while Reuben was not within earshot, they decided to sell him, as this would benefit them financially and they reasoned, that given that Joseph was their brother, that it would be better that his blood not to be on their hands. They did not mind if someone else killed him but thought it wise that it not be their hands. They therefore hatched a plan to sell him off to strangers who were passing that way to Egypt instead and they did so, selling him for twenty pieces of silver. They then killed a goat, dipped Joseph’s coat in its blood and carried it home to their father, causing him to believe that a wild animal had killed and eaten his son.
When Joseph’s brothers had sold him off to strangers on their way to Egypt, they most likely thought that the fate that awaited him there, if he even survived the journey was sure to be death. It is clear from their statements years later, that they believed him to be dead when they did in fact have cause to visit Egypt. Yet, God was with Joseph and because one with God is a majority, he survived Egypt and not just survived but flourished. He went through much pain and humiliation, even spending years in prison at one point but God gave him the ability to interpret dreams and this eventially brought him before Pharaoh the king of Egypt, at the age of thirty.
Pharaoh had had a dream which none of his magicians and wise men could interpret. The Chief Butler who had spent time in prison with Joseph though, remembered the time that he and the Chief Baker who had also been imprisoned, had had a dream which had troubled them and that Joseph had accurately interpreted both. He therefore recommended Joseph to Pharaoh and the rest was history.
Joseph, by faith in God, interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, letting him know that God planned to allow seven years where there would be plenty to eat in Egypt and then seven years where there would be famine. Seeking Pharaoh’s interest, he recommended that he appoint a man that was discreet and wise over Egypt, to manage the storing up of food in the years when there would be plenty.
Joseph would have never thought that Pharaoh would consider him for such a task. Yet, due to God’s favour on his life, Pharaoh, pleased with the interpretation and pleased with Joseph, decided to appoint him over the land, as that man. He therefore commanded the people in Egypt to BOW THE KNEE to Joseph and he PUT ALL AUTHORITY INTO HIS HANDS. He continued to sit on the throne but HE HIGHLY EXALTED Joseph and GAVE ALL POWER AND AUTHORITY TO HIM, so that the people were now directed to approach Joseph with their concerns and no longer Pharaoh directly.
In Genesis 41:38-44, it reads:
- “And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: 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. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, BOW THE KNEE: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”
The people though, used to going directly to Pharaoh, tried to do so once the famine started and they became hungry and were in need. However, this got them nowhere. It was to no avail. For, Pharaoh had already commanded, that Joseph was now the one to go to with their petitions. In obedience, they had to pass through him or else, getting help from Pharaoh would have been useless. For, Pharaoh had appointed Joseph as ruler over all of Egypt and he refused to backtrack on what he had commanded. The way to access the provision of the one on the throne therefore was through Joseph and none other.
What then would have happened to the people if they did not like this new arrangement but preferred the old? What if they chose to not regard Joseph’s authority or preferred someone else or insisted on the old arrangement of approaching Pharaoh directly? If this was the case, it would have been to their own detriment. They would have starved to death. For, the need was sore and only Joseph had the power to help. Deliverance from the effects of the famine was in his hands and his alone. Simply put, there was salvation in none other. The people were faced with a choice therefore and had to make a decision, to obey the command, submit to Joseph’s authority and live OR foolishly disregard it and die.
In fact, when the famine started, the Egyptians, used to the old way, began directly petitioning Pharaoh for help. He had to remind them that he had entrusted the power for such provision into Joseph’s hands. and redirect them to him. For, if they wanted relief and deliverance from their hunger problem, they were to go to Joseph and no longer Pharaoh. Joseph was the one that he had given all authority to and so he was careful to tell them to obey him.
In Genesis 41:54-55, it states:
- “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. 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.”
After Pharaoh reminded them of the man that he had appointed and redirected them to him, thankfully, they submitted themselves to Joseph’s authority and started going to him directly. When the famine continued, they went to Joseph over and over again with their need for food and once they obeyed him, they were fed.
In Genesis 47:15-20 it states:
- “And when money failed in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said, Give us bread: for why should we die in thy presence? for the money faileth. And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail. And they brought their cattle unto Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses, and for the flocks, and for the cattle of the herds, and for the asses: and he fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year. When that year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said unto him, We will not hide it from my lord, how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle; there is not ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands: Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh: and give us seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate. And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh’s.”
About nine years after Joseph had interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, the famine was upon Egypt and upon all lands, including Canaan where his brothers and father lived. Along with people from other countries therefore, Joseph’s brothers (except for his younger brother Benjamin) came to Egypt to buy food, upon their father’s instructions. For, Israel had heard that Egypt had food and so he sent his sons to buy, so that they and their families would not die of starvation.
Genesis 42:5-9 states:
- “And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan. 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. 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. And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him. And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them.”
Although Joseph recognized them, they did not recognize him. He chose though, not to make himself known to them on that occasion. Later on, when they returned to Egypt because their food had finished and their father had sent them again, they brought Benjamin with them, as Joseph had warned them that they would not see his face when they returned, if they did not bring their youngest brother on the trip.
When he saw Benjamin with them, Joseph directed the ruler of his house to bring them to his home and to make preparations, as they would be having a meal with him at noon.
Genesis 43:24-28 states:
- “And the man brought the men into Joseph’s house, and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their asses provender. And they made ready the present against Joseph came at noon: for they heard that they should eat bread there. And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and BOWED THEMSELVES TO HIM TO THE EARTH. And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive? And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. AND THEY BOWED DOWN THEIR HEADS, AND MADE OBEISANCE.“
JOSEPH’S STORY AND THE LORDSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST
Having read the story of Joseph, I can’t help but see analogies to the story of Jesus Christ. I do not believe that this is at all coincidental but by God’s deliberate design. There are so many instances in which Joseph’s experience reflect in some small measure, the experience of Christ, that it is clear that what God allowed in Joseph’s life and to be recorded for generations to come was not just to save Joseph’s family and others from the famine as Joseph thought but much more than that. He allowed it as well in his sovereignty, to point us in the direction of none other, than his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
As some Preachers and Teachers have rightly observed, the entire Bible is about Jesus Christ and his Lordship and therefore, there are many accounts given of things that transpired in the lives of God’s people, where one can see that what is clearly being typified or symbolized is Jesus Christ.
In the true account given of Joseph’s story, the similarities are endless, so much so, that I am sure that I have not captured all in my study. I sincerely believe they were recorded in the Bible, to give us a better understanding and appreciation for the Lord and all that he went through.
Based on my study, some of the aspects of Joseph’s story which beautifully typify the Lord Jesus Christ are as follows:
Before Joseph entered Egypt, where he had to CONDESCEND to the positions of slave and prisoner, he was a free man, ENJOYING CLOSE FELLOWSHIP WITH HIS FATHER Jacob and of the ancestral lineage of Abraham and Isaac, upon whose offspring was God’s promise of an inheritance. When, as a result of his brothers selling him to strangers, he entered into Egypt therefore, HE LOST MUCH AND SUFFERED MUCH, even being sent wrongly to prison where he spent several years, although INNOCENT OF THE ACCUSATION and FOR DOING WHAT WAS RIGHT IN GOD’S SIGHT. Up to the age of seventeen, ALL HE HAD DONE WAS THOSE THINGS THAT PLEASED HIS FATHER JACOB, yet, when he obeyed him and went to his brothers when they were feeding the flock, this got him thrown into a pit and then sold as a slave into Egypt. When he later served Potiphar his master faithfully and well, even refusing to sleep with his wife, despite her repeated advances, this landed him in prison, where he spent several years. Yet, despite his circumstances and all that he had been forced to give up, despite having been OPPRESSED, AFFLICTED AND TREATED unjustly, in the midst of his endless suffering, Joseph MAINTAINED A GOOD ATTITUDE, SUBMITTED HIMSELF, SERVED FAITHFULLY, HUMBLY AND WITHOUT REPUTATION when in Potiphar’s house as a slave and then when put in prison.
Similarly, when Jesus, who was ENJOYING CLOSE FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD THE FATHER IN HEAVEN, left heaven’s glory and came to this world, he had to CONDESCEND to men of low estate. He made himself of no reputation and humbled himself, even to the death of the cross. He was INNOCENT OF THE ACCUSATIONS levelled against him, DID ONLY THOSE THINGS WHICH PLEASED HIS FATHER AND THEREFORE WHAT WAS RIGHT IN GOD’S SIGHT (John 8:29) and unlike Joseph was perfectly righteous. Yet, he was made to suffer an excruciating death on the cross, for sins he did not commit. He was OPPRESSED, AFFLICTED AND TREATED UNJUSTLY while on earth, yet, in the midst of his suffering, he MAINTAINED A GOOD ATTITUDE, SUBMITTED HIMSELF to the will of God the Father and continued SERVING HIM FAITHFULLY.
Philippians 2:1-8 states of him and the enormity of his sacrifice when he came to earth:
- “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Isaiah 53:7 and 9 prophesies of Jesus’ suffering although innocent but of his good attitude through the injustice, that “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth…he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth…”
2 Corinthians 8:9, in reference to heaven’s glory which Jesus left to come to earth to save mankind from their sins, testifies of him “…that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”
In this way, all that he suffered and gave up was not for nought. There was purpose in God’s plan. Despite all that mankind did to the Lord Jesus and how much they caused him to suffer, IT WAS GOD THAT SENT HIM to earth for His divine purposes, that, through Christ’s sacrificial suffering, mankind could be saved and benefit from eternal life.
This bears similarity with what Joseph himself came to realize, after years of enduring suffering. He realized that God had had a plan and that IT WAS HE THAT HAD SENT HIM. He also realized that it had been God’s will, through the sacrifice of all that he suffered, for generations of people to be saved from starvation and preserved as a result. He told his brothers in retrospect:
- “Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: FOR GOD DID SEND ME before you to preserve life…And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” (Genesis 45:5,7)
What God did through Joseph naturally, he did through Jesus Christ spiritually. For, he sent Jesus to earth to save the spiritual lives of people with a great deliverance.
Joseph realized and accepted, that, despite the wicked actions of his brothers towards him, which resulted in all that he endured, it was GOD IN HIS SOVEREIGNTY THAT ALLOWED IT because IT WAS WITHIN HIS PERFECT WILL AND PLAN for Joseph to go to Egypt. He told them, ”But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” (Genesis 50:20). In verse 8 of Genesis 45, he told them, “So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God…”
Similarly, Isaiah 53 makes it clear that Jesus coming to earth and all that he endured was within the perfect will of God the Father. People dealt with him wickedly yes and he died a sacrificial death at their hands but GOD IN HIS SOVEREIGNTY HAD ALLOWED IT, WIHIN HIS PERFECT WILL AND PLAN.
Verse 10 of Isaiah 53 bears testament to this fact when it states:
- “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; HE hath put him to grief: when THOU shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.”
Joseph seemingly saw all that he had gone through, as HAVING BEEN WORTH THE PAIN AND SHAME, GIVEN THE END RESULT, where he was positioned by God, to bring deliverance to the people in the famine. He was therefore not bitter, resentful, or unforgiving of those who had wronged him.
Similarly, Jesus willingly offered himself up as a perfect sacrifice, which, although he despised the shame, HE ENDURED THE CROSS BECAUSE HE FOUND THAT THE END RESULT WAS WORTH IT. Due to the love that he had for mankind, though they had positioned themselves as his enemies, he went through his sufferings with a good attitude, his perspective being on the good that would come out of it.
Isaiah 53:11 prophesies of the by-product of Jesus’ sufferings. It says, “He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many: for he shall bear their iniquities.” Hebrews 12:2 also states, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of out faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
It is important to note as well, that Joseph suffered in Egpyt as a result of him being BETRAYED BY HIS OWN BROTHERS, who, not ascribing much value or worth to his life, SOLD HIM SO THAT THEY COULD BENEFIT FINANCIALLY, for TWENTY PIECES OF SILVER. Similarly, Jesus was sold to be crucified, as a result of him being BETRAYED BY ONE OF HIS OWN DISCIPLES, JUDAS. He, not ascribing much value or worth to his life, SOLD JESUS INTO THE HANDS OF HIS ENEMIES, SO THAT HE COULD BENEFIT FINANCIALLY, for THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER.
After Joseph had endured suffering while in Egypt, there came the day when he was taken from his base position as a prisoner and a nobody, where NO ONE ESTEEMED HIM and HIGHLY EXALTED by Pharaoh, who was in charge of Egypt. Although Pharaoh remained on the throne, he gave Joseph AUTHORITY OVER EVERY OTHER NAME in Egypt and required all the Egyptians to BOW THEIR KNEES TO HIM to him in respect for his high position and acknowledgment of his authority. They even called him “lord” when they petitioned before him for food, as was culturally expected then, when interacting with those in high authority (Genesis 47:18).
Similarly, the Bible tells us that after Jesus had suffered and died in this world, he rose from the dead on the third day and was HIGHLY EXALTED of God, who now expects all of mankind to show him the reverence that he is due, to submit to his Lordship and to obey him. This, despite the fact that he had been rejected, despised and not esteemed. Isaiah 53:3 states of Jesus, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and WE ESTEEMED HIM NOT.”
In the aftermath of his resurrection though, Philippians 2:9-11 states of Jesus:
- “Wherefore God also hath HIGHLY EXALTED him and GIVEN HIM A NAME WHICH IS ABOVE EVERY NAME: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
In John 17:2-3, Jesus prayed to God, stating of himself:
- “Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As THOU HAST GIVEN HIM POWER OVER ALL FLESH, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, WHOM THOU HAS SENT“.
WHEN PEOPLE SUBMIT TO THE LORDSHIP OF CHRIST AND THEREFORE BOW THE KNEE TO HIM, THEY GLORIFY GOD. Similarly, WHEN PEOPLE BOWED THE KNEE IN SUBMISSION AND RESPECT FOR JOSEPH’S AUTHORITY, THEY WERE HONOURING PHARAOH.
If people chose to disregard or disrespect Joseph and to not acknowledge his exalted position as had been authorized by Pharaoh, this would have most likely attracted Pharaoh’s wrath. For, he had given the command that they go to Joseph, to submit to his authority and to do whatever he told them to do. To deny Joseph’s authority therefore, which was a legitimate authority because it had been conferred by the king, would have been to deny Pharaoh’s kingship and to be disobedient.
Similarly, God’s Word says of Jesus in Psalm 2:11-12, that reverence is to be shown to his Son. The Word states, “Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” 1 John 2:23 adds, “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.”
Sadly, this has been the problem with the Israelites in the New Testament times and still remains today. For, many of them did not believe and still do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, that he is the Son of God and that he has the power to forgive sins and to save. They refuse to accept that to be helped by God and to have relationship with him, they must come to Jesus or else they will not be saved and will remain outside the doors of God’s blessing. As a result, many of them have died and continue dying without availing themselves of the salvation offered freely through Jesus Christ and therefore, have gone and continue to go to a lost eternity.
They have deluded themselves into thinking that the old arrangement still exists and therefore, that they can approach God directly and embrace the law he gave to them under the Old Covenant, without acknowledging and submitting to the Lordship and authority of Jesus Christ, trusting in him alone (and not the law) for salvation. As a consequence, they have not been able to benefit from the wonderful spiritual provision available through Jesus Christ. In short, they have remained in their hopelessly lost condition, as they rejected God’s way of being saved and delivered, which is only through Jesus Christ his righteous Son.
In writing about this tragedy, Paul, an Israelite, who believed on Jesus Christ and had thankfully submitted to his Lordship, stated in Romans 10:1-4 of his people, who were called and still are called the people of Israel:
- “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For CHRIST is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”
In Egypt, when the famine continued, people began to go to Joseph, although they had initially tried coming to Pharaoh for help. They realized though, that although in the past they may have been allowed to bring their requests and petitions directly to Pharaoh, there was now a new arrangement in place, as sanctioned by the king, where petitions for provision had to be made through Joseph and not directly to Pharaoh.
This NEW arrangement replaced the OLD one. Joseph was now standing in the place of Pharaoh as intermediary, to address their needs, him having been empowered to do so. The people therefore realized that they would get no results if they continued to approach Pharaoh’s throne directly. This may have worked in the past under the OLD rules but under this NEW arrangement, he had given authority to Joseph, so they had to come to him/ go through him, to get their petitions answered and so they did.
Similarly, Romans 10:4 states, of how Jesus Christ is now the way to salvation under the NEW Covenant, doing away with the OOLD Covenant, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Hebrews 10:9 says of him, “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the FIRST, that he may establish the SECOND.”
Hebrews 8:6 also states of him, “…he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.” Hebrews 9:15 further conveys, “And for this cause he is the mediator of the NEW testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the FIRST testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.”
Under the NEW Testament, as human beings, to be accepted of God, we must therefore now come to Christ for forgiveness and salvation. Once we have done this, have believed in our hearts that he rose from the dead and confessed with our mouth that he (Jesus) is Lord, we become Christians, meaning followers of Christ. In continuing on, we are directed to pray to God the Father but through Jesus’ name.
In John 14:13-14, Jesus said to his disciples, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” In John 16:23-24, he told them, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”
It is therefore established that we are to come to Jesus for salvation, deliverance, cleansing and forgiveness from sin and once we become Christians, we can approach the throne of God boldly but through Jesus Christ his Son.
I John 1:2 tells those who believe on Jesus and have submitted to his Lordship but who mess up from time to time through sinning:
- “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
That Jesus Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world and therefore, must be approached for salvation and to be brought into God’s family, is clear in scripture. Unsaved people desiring help from God, cannot be saved and delivered unless they go to Jesus, by faith. As a matter of fact, Jesus himself put it plainly, for those who wanted deliverance from sin and to have abundant life, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
Jesus is the solution to our spiritual problems. It is Jesus that we must come to for forgiveness of sins, salvation from eternal damnation and redemption. And after we have come by faith and we are placed into God’s family as Christians, we must still approach God the Father, through the name of Jesus Christ, if we wish to have our prayers answered. In short, we can get nowhere with God without Jesus his Son.
Given that we can only approach the throne of God boldly, if we come to Jesus first (for salvation) and thereafter, that we must send our prayers through Jesus’ name, our advocate with the Father, submission to his Lordship is therefore key. God will not help us unless we go to Jesus, the one that he has ordained. He (Jesus), has power to forgive sins, to cleanse from unrighteousness, to save and will one day return to judge the world of sin.
To those who refuse to go to Jesus, to them he is a stumblingblock, as they cannot avail themselves of God and the salvation that is offered freely through Jesus Christ his Son. To those who believe on Jesus though, acknowledge his authority, bow the knee, submit to his Lordship and come to him for salvation, they are helped. Romans 9:33 states, “As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”
When the famine hit, people came to the realization that they would starve to death unless they sought help from Joseph, the one in whose hands the provision was contained. HE ALONE HAD THE POWER, in making provision, to save persons and even families from death. There was no other option if people wanted to be saved.
Even more so, the Lord Jesus Christ has the power to save in this world, that is starved of righteousness, him being THE RIGHTEOUS ONE. THIS POWER IS VESTED IN HIM ALONE and therefore, all who wish to be delivered from sin, satan and eternal damnation of the soul in hell, must come to him while alive on earth. There is no other option.
In Acts 4:11-12, it is stated of him:
- “This is the stone which was set at ought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Psalm 118:22, in similar language, says of Jesus, “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.”
It reminds us that, despite how much Jesus was HATED AND REJECTED BY THOSE WHO WERE ENVIOUS OF HIM and suffered at their hands, God still exalted him and gave him a name above every name. Similarly, although Joseph was REJECTED AND HATED BY HIS BROTHERS WHO WERE ENVIOUS OF HIM and suffered at their hands, Pharaoh, who remained at the helm, still exalted him in due season and gave him a position that was above all in Egypt.
Genesis 41:42-43 states:
- “And Pharaoh took of his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.”
Finally, that Pharaoh was immensely pleased with Joseph was certain. When his magicians and wise men could not have interpreted his dreams, Joseph did. It was because he was so pleased with him that he instructed the people to show respect for his authority and to do whatever he told them to do. This reminds me of God the Father, who is also pleased with Jesus his Son and has instructed us as human beings, to listen to and obey him.
The similarities in the two stories do not end there though. For, when it was revealed to Pharaoh that Joseph’s brothers had come to Egypt, he was again pleased. Genesis 45:16 states that when the news reached Pharaoh’s house, “…it pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants.”
The reality of the matter was that he was so pleased with Joseph and his service on his behalf, that this resulted in FAVOUR BEING BESTOWED upon his brothers, who Joseph had forgiven, ALTHOUGH UNDESERVED. For, Pharaoh commanded that they bring back their entire families into Egypt and promised them that he would put them in the best of the land and provide for them (Genesis 45:17-20).
That Joseph had forgiven them is important to note, as this story could have gone very differently. He could have informed Pharaoh of what they had done to him and recommend that they be killed and Pharaoh in his wrath would surely have obliged. However, Joseph did not do that. He presented them to Pharaoh as his brothers and family, casting all that they had done against him, into the sea of forgetfulness.
Similarly, God is so pleased with Jesus, that it PROCURES FAVOUR TO ALL WHO BELIEVE on him and have therefore been forgiven of their sins, ALTHOUGH UNDESERVED. God has promised all who will accept his Son, by faith, that he will adopt them into his royal family, provide for them and that they will be partakers of an eternal inheritance.
As Charles Spurgeon put it, when making reference to those who had bowed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and accepted him as their Saviour, “God is so boundlessly pleased with Jesus that in him he is altogether well pleased with us.”
Jesus presents all such persons to the Father, not in light of their past transgressions but as members of his body, him having forgiven them and in so doing, having cast all that they have done against him, into the sea of forgetfulness. Micah 7:19 reads, “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”
In Matthew 3:17, it says of Jesus, who had gone to John the Baptist to be baptized of him:
- “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Also, in Luke 9, after Jesus had taken Peter, John and James up into a mountain to pray, it says “And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.” (v. 29) While there, the three disciples who had at one point fallen asleep, awoke and saw his glory and witnessed Elias and Moses talking with him. The scripture states of what happened next: “While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them… And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.” (v. 35)
In Genesis 41:55, Pharaoh told the people, when the famine was upon them and their lives stood in jeopardy, knowing that Joseph had the authority and power to save them from their hunger, “Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do.” Similarly, and even more so, Jesus having authority and power to save the whole world from their sins and to provide for their spiritual hunger and thirst, God directs us to him, his Son.
The Bible tells us:
- “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already…” (John 3:16-18).
Jesus himself said, as an invitation to all the world, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). He also declared, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh unto me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35). When he rose from the dead and appeared to his disciples, he told them plainly, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”
Many people, thankfully, when faced with the choice to accept Jesus’ Lordship and live eternally in his bountiful provision or to reject him and die spiritually, have made the right choice. They have bowed the knee in submission to his authority and surrendered their whole lives over to his control and reign. Thankfully, some people continue to make the right choice and they will therefore be provided for, the Lord making them partakers of his eternal inheritance. Of some of these people, Revelations 7:16 states boldly of them, “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more”.
Even as Pharoah commanded the people to look to Joseph in their need and to obey whatever he said to do, God the Father has commanded us as human beings, to look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith and to obey him. When Pharoah exalted Joseph, he told him, “according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled” and similarly but far more important, God expects us to live our lives in accordance with the words of Christ.
There are many instances in the account of Joseph’s experience, which symbolize, typify and therefore point to Jesus Christ. Similar to what Pharaoh did with Joseph, a man in whom he was well pleased and so, highly exalted, God the Father has commanded and therefore expects that we will reverence his Son the Lord Jesus who he has highly exalted and given a name above every name. He has instructed that we not approach him (God) directly or look to the law anymore but that we come to Jesus for salvation. Once redeemed, we are to bring our petitions to God but through Jesus’ name. God therefore expects that we will acknowledge his Lordship and BOW THE KNEE to him in worship and that we will obey him, by doing whatever he tells us to do.
It is important to note that BOWING THE KNEE is not just a physical act. It calls for a heart surrendered in submission and humility, to the rightful Lordship of Jesus Christ, acknowledgment of the truth that he (Jesus) is Lord, reverential worship and an unswerving commitment to obey him, by doing whatever he tells us to do.
Whereas Joseph was made lord over all of Egypt, Jesus is Lord over all. In fact, the Bible rightly states of him that he is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. His Lordship is universal. It must be acknowledged by the young and by the old, by the rich and by the poor, by the person holding high earthly office and the beggar on the street. Even his own family, including mother and brothers, had to acknowledge that God had given him all authority and that he was Lord, if they wanted to be saved.
When Joseph dreamed his dream the second time and told his father Jacob, it says that “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?“
There is no instance where it is mentioned, as far as I can recall, that Jacob bowed to Joseph, although he became dependent on him, through God’s provision, for daily sustenance in Egypt. His mother Rachel had also died when he was a child and therefore, Jacob may have been referring to one of the handmaids by whom he also had children.
However, in the case of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and God the Son, his own earthly mother and brothers, as sinners and therefore also in need of salvation, had to all believe on him by faith and humbly bow to his Lordship in their hearts, in order for them to be saved.
In Luke 1:46-47, Mary stated in contemplation of what God had done for Elizabeth and had stated that he would do in her own life in giving her a Son without her having been with a man, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” Although she was to be the instrument through which God would use for Jesus to enter the world as a baby, she acknowledged her need of a Saviour, her being a mere sinner like everyone else.
Notably, Jesus is Lord and he is also Saviour, as he has been repeatedly referred to as, in the scriptures and rightly so. Initially though, Jesus’ earthly brothers did not believe that he was the Son of God and God the Son and was therefore to be reverenced and worshipped. The Word of God states in John 7:5, “For neither did his brethren believe in him.” They did not acknowledge or submit to his authority.
Thankfully though, although the specific time that they believed and what caused it are not mentioned in the scriptures, by the time that Jesus had risen from the dead, his mother and his brethren were all believers, having BOWED THE KNEE in acknowledgment and submission to his authority. We know this because it tells us in Acts 1:13-14, that when the disciples of Jesus gathered after Jesus’ resurrection, in a room and for the purpose of praying and making supplication, that Mary the mother of Jesus was present and so was his brethren.
Colossians 1:14-20 states of Jesus:
- “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell“
Dear Reader, if you are feeling broken, lonely, afraid and your life’s a mess, if you’ve reached a point where you don’t know what to do and find it hard to muster the strength to go on, if you are in need of provision and want peace and rest for your soul, from all of life’s toils, burdens, cares and worries, why not go to Jesus? He is the solution. He has bountiful provision and is able to save you to the uttermost. You may have uttered many prayers to God directly for help but he directs you to his Son Jesus Christ, for salvation. It is his name upon which you must call and cry out, to save you from sin, from satan and from eternal damnation. For, salvation is in him alone.
Why not put off the pride that drowns you and humble yourself in acknowledgment of the authority and Lordship of Jesus Christ? Why not bow the knee wherever you are and ask Jesus Christ now, to come into your heart and life and to save you? Why not tell him the truth that you are a sinner in desperate need of salvation and that you know that he has the power to forgive you of your sins and to save you? Why not tell him that you want to belong to his divine family and for him to rule over your life? If you believe that he is the Son of God, that he died and rose again and is in heaven and you confess the truth with your mouth, that he is Lord, he will save you. He will come right now and help you.
Romans 10:9-13 states:
- ” …if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
(Written on 14th, 28th, 29th and 31st January, 2024)