Joseph in the Hand of God        

Jacob was on the run from Esau and had settled in Paddan-Aram with his uncle Laban. He had served him for 7 years to marry his 'love at first sight'. But Laban tricked him and substituted her elder sister Leah on their wedding night. After a week Laban gave him Rachel, on the understanding that he served for another 7 years. Leah had 4 sons and her maid 2. But Rachel failed to conceive - and it wasn't for want of trying. Rachel gave her maid to Jacob and she had 2 sons. And then as if to rub it in, Leah had 2 more sons. Finally God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. She conceived and bore a son, ... Joseph.  Gen 3022-24 It is no surprise that of the 11 sons of Jacob, Joseph was the favourite by far - the eldest son of his most beloved wife. The paths that God leads men along to fulfill his plan sometimes seem strange to us. We have to learn that he knows best. His plan led Joseph through a mass of squabbling and jealousy during the remaining years under Laban, Peniel, meeting Esau and the death of his mother and Grandfather and the return to Hebron.

His limping father sent his sons out to shepherd his flocks of sheep. One time when they came home the 17 year old Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father.  372  This only encouraged his brothers to really hate him; especially when Jacob gave him a special multi-coloured coat. The last straw came when Joseph had two dreams - and had no hesitation in telling the whole family all about them!.
In the first, "Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.”  377
In the second, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”  379
Were these dreams from God? Probably; we are not told. But they were both fulfilled about 10 years later.
Father Jacob rebuked Joseph, but he also kept the saying in mind.  3711
And his brothers hated him even more.
Perhaps because of this hatred, Jacob kept Joseph at home when his brothers went out to the sheep. Like in the previous generation when Esau plotted to kill Jacob, the 10 brothers plotted to kill Joseph. But God had other plans. They sold him as a slave to traders going to Egypt.

The next problem (though with God there are no problems, only plans!) was how to make this slave the Prime Minister. Easy! First put the slave in Pharaoh’s palace and give him outstanding ability in leadership and organisation. Then send him to prison for a crime he did not commit. Give him the same ability in prison as in Pharaoh’s household. Interpret a couple of dreams that would be fulfilled. Then not only interpret Pharaoh’s dream, but also tell him what he needed to do. Finally just send exactly 7 years of super harvests follwed by 7 years of famine in the whole ME, not just Egypt. Almighty God has no difficulty in directing the affairs of both the righteous and the wicked, and all natural events - wind, rain, locusts, drought ... If he did have a problem, he wouldn’t be Almighty. As it is, he created it all, so it’s not so surprising he can easily control it.

God then had to ensure that Pharaoh / Joseph would be willing to sell their stored grain to starving foreigners and not fear they would also run out of food - knowing that the drought was going to last for exactly 7 years.

God also had to persuade Jacob to travel all the way to Egypt, when he knew that God had told Isaac in an earlier famine, “Do not go down to Egypt; dwell in the land of which I shall tell you. Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you”  262,3  So he instructed Joseph about putting the money back in their sack of bought grain, and then on the next journey to buy grain to put Joseph’s cup in Benjamin’s sack. (Gen 442). It all went according to plan; God's plan. Jacob and the whole family and all their livestock went down to Egypt, to Goshen - for 400 years. Yes, God had told Abraham that this would happen.  Gen 1513   And no doubt he told Isaac, who told Jacob, who told Joseph.

So Joseph fulfilled God’s plans, mostly in a foreign land.

As promised Moses took Joseph’s embalmed bones with him when they left Egypt. He was buried in Shechem.  Gen 5026  Exd 1319

God gave Joseph and Daniel  many unique qualities in common:
      Exiled to a foreign land
      Interpret dreams accurately
      Given excellent organising ability
      Righteous behaviour
      Made Prime Minister - and a very good one
      Longed to live where God was honoured

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