45 And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnath-paaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Poti-pherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.
46 And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.
47 And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls.
48 And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same.
49 And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number.
50 And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Poti-pherah priest of On bare unto him.
51 And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house.
52 And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.
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.
57 And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands. Intro: The life of Joseph is an amazing story of the providence and power of Almighty God. The Bible tells us of the favorite son of Jacob as he is betrayed by his own brothers and sold into slavery. As a slave, Joseph demonstrates a godly testimony in the face of tragedy and temptation. Then Joseph is falsely accused of a crime and thrown into prison. Even in that Egyptian prison, Joseph displays a clear, consistent testimony of faith.
As Joseph languishes in that prison, up in the palace, Pharaoh has a dream he could not interpret. Joseph is remembered and released from the prison. He interprets Pharaoh’s dream and Pharaoh elevates Joseph. He removes him from the prison and makes him Prime Minister of Egypt. When we arrive at our text, Joseph has just been exalted to a position of great power and authority. He has been given Pharaoh’s ring. He has been dressed in the finest cloths in the land. He has been given an expensive gold chain. Everywhere he goes; the Egyptian people bow before Joseph and honor him for his position and his power. The slave has become a sovereign ruler, and all this took place in his life because of the Unseen Hand of divine providence.
Our text tells us that immediately after Joseph was exalted to his new position he was given a bride. Soon after that a family was born to Joseph there in Egypt.
I want to take our time today to consider Joseph’s Gentile Bride. In the woman that was given to Joseph I see a wonderful picture of the Bride of Christ.
As you study the book of Genesis, there are three brides that stand out as types of the Bride of Christ. Let me share them with you now.
Eve – She is a picture of the Creation of the Church. Adam was placed in a deep sleep and God removed a rib from his side. Eve was formed from this rib.
The church was formed when Jesus died on the cross and His side was opened for us. We are a product of His sacrificial love.
Rebekah – She is a picture of the Calling of the church. Abraham’s servant found her in a pagan land and called her come be the bride of Isaac. They asked her, “Will you go with this man?” And, she answered, “I will go!”
She left her old life behind and set out with the servant. It was a long journey, through a harsh land, but the servant was with her to encourage her along the way. Eventually he brought her to Isaac and they were married in his home.
The church was also brought out of a pagan land. The Holy Ghost came to us and delivered us from our bondage and we set out a journey to meet the Bridegroom. The way is hard and rough, but the Comforter is ever with us to guide us, encourage us and bless us. One day, we will reach the end of the journey and we will meet our Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ in His home in Heaven.
Asenath – She is a picture of the Coronation of the church. She became the bride of a man who was brought out a time of humiliation. Her husband was exalted and she was exalted along with Him. She was brought out of obscurity and made to live in a fine palace.
I will try to flesh all this out in the message, but the Bride of Christ was called out of obscurity to share the glory of the Heavenly Bridegroom. One day, we will join Him in His heavenly home.
Let’s take some time today to consider the woman who became the bride of Joseph. We do not have a lot of information regarding her life, but the few details we do have speak volumes to us today.
I. HER SINFUL PAST
The woman Joseph received as his bride was named Asenath. This name means “Belonging to the goddess Neith.” Neith was known as “The mother earth of the Delta”. She was worshiped as the mother of the Egyptian gods Isis, Horus, and Osiris. This goddess was known as the source of all wisdom. The Egyptians believed that all the other gods would go to Neith for counsel when they had a dispute among themselves. Asenath was raised to worship false, pagan gods.
Asenath was the daughter of Potiperah, the priest of On. His name means “Given by the sun god”. On, also known as Heliopolis, was one of the most important religious cities in Egypt. The great temple to Ra, the sun god, was there.
Ra was depicted as a great falcon wearing a gold disk as a crown. This temple also housed a sacred bull that was worshiped by the Egyptians. Pharaoh was believed to be the incarnation of Ra, and was worshiped as a god. Asenath would have been raised in deep paganism and deep spiritual darkness.
Asenath was oblivious to the God of Abraham, Jacob and Joseph. She wasn’t aware of God, and even if she had been, she would have cared nothing for Him!
God knew her! Even in her lost condition, God was working to bring her to a place of salvation. When she married Joseph, her pagan past was blotted out. I have no doubt that Joseph told her all about His God, the true God, and the God of all the earth! Surely Joseph introduces Asenath to Jehovah! I have no proof, but I think this woman probably got saved!
Asenath is a picture of lost humanity. Like her, every human being is born in the depths of spiritual darkness. We did not know God and we deserved nothing from God but judgment and Hell. Our condition is clearly revealed in Eph. 2:1-3; 12.
12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. This is just a reminder of what we were before we met the Lord Jesus. By the way, it does us good to look back! It deals a death blow to self-righteousness and spiritual snobbery! We need to be reminded of where we came from, Isa. 51:1.
If you are saved today it is because God delivered you from your sins by His amazing grace!
Like Asenath, when we came to Jesus and were saved by grace, our sinful past was forever blotted out,
17 Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back. Isa 43:25
25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. In God’s eyes, the Bride of Jesus has been justified and glorified,. In His eyes, we are spotless and pure today, Eph. 5:27.
II. HER SPECIAL PLACE
When Joseph came out of prison, he was elevated to a position of great power and great majesty. He was made to sit at Pharaoh’s right hand. When Joseph was elevated, his bride was elevated with him!
Asenath was from a prominent pagan family. She was the daughter of a well known priest. But, when she became the wife of Joseph, she finds herself the bride of the most powerful man in the land.
Asenath did not achieve this honor on her own. In fact, she had nothing to do with the matter. She was picked out by Pharaoh and she was given to Joseph. In other words, there was no special merit in Asenath; she was merely the object of sovereign choice. Nothing is said about Asenath regarding her looks, her talents, or anything else. It seems that her husband and not Asenath is the center of attention.
It is also worthy of noting that Joseph did not succumb to the polygamous tendencies of the Egyptians. He only took one bride!
Again, in all these things, Asenath is a picture of the Bride of Christ
God chose us in Jesus in eternity past, Eph. 1:4, and He called us to come to Jesus for salvation, John 6:44. When we came by faith, we were saved out of our sins and our lost past was done away with forever.
Not only did He save us from our sins, He elevated us! He did this in two precious ways.
First, He elevated us by changing our lives. He gave us a “new birth” and made us into a “new creature”, John 3:3; 2 Cor. 5:17.
2 Cor 5:17
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. He lifted us out of the muck and mire of our sins, and set us on a new pathway of holiness for the glory of God, Psa. 40:1-3.
He changed our lives and made us alive to the things of God, Eph. 2:5. He gave us a new nature, 2 Pet. 1:4.
2 Peter 1:4 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature,
He lifted us out of the mess Adam left us in and made it possible for us to live lives that are pleasing to God. Praise His name!
According to Eph. 2:6, He lifted us up and made us to sit with Him in His throne.
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: You see, our Savior, like Joseph, suffered a time of humiliation and rejection. He died and descended into the grave. But, He rose again and ascended to Heaven and took up His place at the throne in heaven When we came to Him by faith, He lifted us out of our sins and caused us to sit with Him.
I was a wretched, dirty, rotten sinner, but today I sit in Heavenly places in Jesus Christ! If you are saved, you are as good for Heaven as if you were already there.
If you are saved, your past is gone and you enjoy the blessings, the power and the presence of the Lord God of glory!
Our Heavenly Bridegroom only has one Bride! He redeemed her when He died for her sins on the cross. He secured her eternity when He rose again from the dead. He has gone ahead to prepare a place for her, John 14:1-3. One day soon, He will return and claim her unto Himself and take her home to the place she already is! The only way to be a part of His Bride is for a lost sinner to hear His call to come, and for them to trust obey his Word. When they do, they are saved to the uttermost!
III. HER SOVEREIGN PART
We are told that Asenath bore Joseph two children. These two boys were a special gift to Joseph from the Lord. In choosing their names, Joseph acknowledged God’s hand at work in his life.
Joseph named the first boy Manasseh. This name means “Forgetting”. Joseph tells us that the Lord had allowed him to forget the trials he went through. Joseph named his second son Ephraim. This name means “Twice Fruitful”. It shows us that Joseph’s faith in the Lord had not waivered at all. In spite of all he had endured, Joseph was still walking by faith. These two boys would grow up and become the heads of two of the tribes of Israel. They would replace the Joseph and Levi as part of the twelve. The grace of God had lifted Asenath out of obscurity and made her a part of God’s sovereign plan. She was given a big part in the formation of the nation of Israel.
Again, this is a picture of the Bride of Christ! The redeemed saints of God have been made a part of God’s plan to bring the world to Himself.
He saved us and called us into His service, Eph. 2:10 (Ill. Emphasize!). Imagine that! He would take things like us and use us for His glory. He had placed His hand on these vessels and He has placed His Spirit within these vessels and He can use these vessels in ways we never imagined if we would only yield ourselves to Him, 2 Cor. 4:7. What an honor it is to serve the true and living God!
He has given us the Gospel of grace to take to a lost and dying world and He has commissioned us to take it to the ends of the earth, Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8.
We are His Bride! We are His masterpiece, Eph. 2:10. We are His love letter to the world, 2 Cor. 3:2-3. We are the living, breathing, moving proof that God loves sinners. We are commissioned and commanded to tell this lost world that what the Lord did for us, He can do for them too. That is our mandate!
Conc: Life changed for Asenath forever when she was presented to Joseph. I am sure she never imagined that she would be the wife of the Prime Minister of Egypt! She was given an honor above all others!
I praise the Lord that I am part of the Bride of Christ! I praise His name for loving me, for dying for me, for saving me and for letting me a part of His work in the world today. What a blessing! But, I must confess, I do wonder, why me? Why would He choose me?
Do you know Him? If you don’t and would like too, you can. If He is calling you to come to Him, now would be a good time to do just that!
Are you serving Him like you should? The hour is growing late and the time to do something for Jesus is now! Now is the hour to preach His Gospel; to tell others about Him, and to serve Him without reservation.