[Lesson 25: Joseph's Humiliation] [Table of Contents] [Lesson 27: Joseph: The Rest of the Story]

Lesson 26

Joseph's Exaltation

Genesis 40-42

Peace be with you, listening friends. We greet you in the name of God, the Lord of peace, who wants everyone to understand and submit to the way of righteousness that He has established, and have true peace with Him forever. We are happy to be able to return today to present your program The Way of Righteousness.

In our last lesson, we began to learn about Joseph, who was the eleventh of Jacob's twelve sons. We read how Joseph dreamed that his brothers would one day bow down to him. Joseph's brothers did not believe him. However, today we will see how God fulfilled Joseph's dream in causing his brothers to come and kneel before him.

As we learned, Joseph's older brothers hated and persecuted him because of his dreams. In their anger and jealousy, they went so far as to sell him as a slave to some merchants who were descendants of Ishmael. The Ishmaelites took Joseph to Egypt and sold him to an official of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. As for Joseph, he was a faithful servant and honest in his work, because he walked with God. Joseph was also very handsome, which caused the wife of his master to lust after him, wanting to lie with him. But Joseph refused, answering the woman, "How could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" When Joseph refused to commit adultery with her, the woman spoke against Joseph and had him locked up. However, Joseph preferred to go to prison rather than to enjoy pleasures of sin for a short time. Joseph put God first in his life. For two years Joseph remained in the dungeon, but God had not forgotten him.

Now then, let us continue in the Torah and see how God changed Joseph's circumstances. We are reading in the book of Genesis, chapter forty-one. The Scriptures say:

(Gen. 41) 1[Thus, two full years after Joseph had been put in prison, Pharaoh, the king of Egypt,] had a dream: He was standing by the Nile, 2when out of the river there came up seven cows, sleek and fat, and they grazed among the reeds. 3After them, seven other cows, ugly and gaunt, came up out of the Nile and stood beside those on the riverbank. 4And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up. 5He fell asleep again and had a second dream: Seven ears of corn, healthy and good, were growing on a single stalk. 6After them, seven other ears of corn sprouted-thin and scorched by the east wind. 7The thin ears of corn swallowed up the seven healthy, full ears. Then Pharaoh woke up; it had been a dream. 8In the morning his mind was troubled, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him.

9Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, "Today I am reminded of my shortcomings. 10Pharaoh was once angry with his servants, and he imprisoned me and the chief baker in the house of the captain of the guard. 11Each of us had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own. 12Now a young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us, giving each man the interpretation of his dream. 13And things turned out exactly as he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was hanged."

14So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh. 15Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it." 16"I cannot do it," Joseph replied to Pharaoh, "but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires."

Then Pharaoh recounted to Joseph his dream. After he had told it he said to Joseph,

24"…I told this to the magicians, but none could explain it to me." 25Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, "The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears of corn are seven years; it is one and the same dream. 27The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterwards are seven years, and so are the seven worthless ears of corn scorched by the east wind: They are seven years of famine. 28"It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, 30but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. 31The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe. 32The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon. 33And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt. 34Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. 35They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. 36This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine."

37The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials. 38So Pharaoh asked them, "Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?" 39Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. 40You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you."

41So Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt." 42Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph's finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and men shouted before him, "Make way!" Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt. 44Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt." 45Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah [meaning "Preserver of Life"]…And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt. 46Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh's presence and traveled throughout Egypt. 47During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully. 48Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it. 49Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure…

53The seven years of abundance in Egypt came to an end, 54and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in all the other lands, but in the whole land of Egypt there was food. 55When all Egypt began to feel the famine, the people cried to Pharaoh for food. Then Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, "Go to Joseph and do what he tells you!" 56When the famine had spread over the whole country, Joseph opened the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout Egypt. 57And all the countries came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe in all the world.

(Gen. 42) 1When Jacob (the father of Joseph and his brothers) learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, "Why do you just keep looking at each other?" 2He continued, "I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us, so that we may live and not die." 3Then ten of Joseph's brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. 4But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph's brother, with the others, because he was afraid that harm might come to him. 5So Israel's sons were among those who went to buy grain, for the famine was in the land of Canaan also.

6Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the one who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph's brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. 7As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. "Where do you come from?" he asked. "From the land of Canaan," they replied, "to buy food." 8Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. 9Then he remembered his dreams about them.

Do you understand what happened? We see Joseph's older brothers bowing down before their younger brother Joseph, exactly as he had dreamed long ago! This Joseph whom they had hated, denied, and wanted to kill-in the end, they bowed before him! Joseph immediately recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him, because they had not seen him for more than twenty years! In our next lesson, God willing, we will finish the story of Joseph and see how he made himself known to his brothers.

But what about our lesson today? What does God want to teach us through the story of Joseph and his brothers? God wants to make known to us that what happened between Joseph and his brothers is an illustration of what would happen between the Savior of the world and the descendants of Adam. Friends, if we remember only one thing from our lesson today, let it be this: Joseph was a shadow (a picture) of the Savior whom God promised to send into the world. There are at least one hundred elements (events, comparisons) in the story of Joseph which foreshadow (typify, illustrate) the story the Redeemer who came into the world some eighteen hundred years later. Obviously, we do not have time on this program to mention all hundred comparisons-but we will mention three.

1.) First, we saw how Joseph's older brothers rejected both him and his dreams. They hated him, insulted him and even sold him. The same things happened to the Savior whom God sent into the world. The people of the world rejected both the Redeemer and His message--insulting Him, persecuting Him, selling Him, and even nailing Him to a cross.

2.) The second picture is this: At first, people despised, ignored, mistreated, and imprisoned Joseph. Yet in God's chosen time the king of Egypt appointed Joseph as the supreme ruler over the whole land, declaring to all who wanted to be saved from hunger and death: "Go to Joseph, the Preserver of Life!" In the same way, concerning the Savior of the world whom God has sent down, the Lord God says: Go to the Savior whom I have appointed! He is the Preserver of Life; He is the Source of Life! If you submit yourself to Him, you will never again experience hunger in your heart and your soul shall live forever.

3.) The third comparison between Joseph and the Redeemer is a solemn one. In the end, Joseph's brothers submitted to his authority. They had no choice but to prostrate themselves before the very one they had denied and dishonored! In the same way, the Word of God announces that the Redeemer, whom so many deny and dishonor to this very day, will one day return to judge the world in righteousness. In that day all the people of the world will bow before Him; all will know that He is the One whom God has appointed as the Savior and the Judge of the world!

Listening friend, how about you? Have you submitted yourself to the Savior whom God has appointed to preserve you from eternal judgment? Or will you wait until it is too late, until the Day of Judgment--when you will be forced to bow before Him?

We must stop here today, but that doesn't mean you need to stop thinking about today's lesson!…

May God bless you and give you insight into all you have heard today. The Word of God says:

"We have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place." (2 Pet. 1:19)