He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
Joseph’s name was changed to Zaphnathpaaneah. A.W. Pink says that this name, to the Egyptians, would have meant, “savior of the world.” Joseph, like Christ, had come through his time of suffering and now becomes the human savior of Egypt, always a picture of the world.
…For God so loved the world…
I. Joseph’s Burden—prosperity, power, and the potential for pride
A. Prosperity—often substitutes the material for the spiritual
42 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;
43 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.
Dr. Lloyd-Jones used to say, “It’s tragic when a person succeeds before he is ready for it.”
20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
B. Power—seeks its own preservation rather than God’s plan
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.
John Phillips said, “Power is heady wine, intoxicating quickly.”
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
The greater the power, the greater the need for restraint.
Power highlights the need for meekness—strength under control.
2 Corinthians 12:15
And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.
The Apostle Paul was not worried about his power over the church at Corinth, nor his own preservation as the one who was overseeing this work.
Joseph’s life becomes a picture of one who used power wisely for the good of others as opposed to the benefit of himself.
C. Pride—often sees the mirror instead of the Maker
Pride was the sin of Lucifer.
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
Satan used pride to seduce Eve in the fall (Genesis 3:5 “be as gods”); and it is inbred in every human heart. From the lowliest beggar to the saintliest saint, it is the battle of every man.
Jesus Christ is the center of all power. He is the personification of everything beautiful. He said to His disciples, “All power is given me…” Yet, He is the One who,“…made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7).
Not only was Joseph clothed in humility when he took the throne, we see clear evidence that he remained humble throughout the course of his life.
Joseph knew the law and tradition of Egypt.
for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.
Yet, what do we see him do? We see the Pharoah in his resplendent glory, seated upon his throne, all of the Pharaoh’s court in grand array. The doors to the grand room open and the expectation of the room can hardly be contained as they await the entrance of Joseph’s father. Would he be some grand sheik, a wise man from the East, or a business man of great wealth? Then, with a simple dignity, in walks a shepherd. He is wearing the plain attire of one who lives as a nomad—a tent dweller.
Joseph had long ago done away with any sense of false pride. This was his beloved father, whom he now presents to the king.
Observation: Joseph, as our picture of Christ, presents his simple family before the king, much as does our beloved Saviour with you and me.
For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
II. Joseph’s Bride—A picture of the church
And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnathpaaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.
Joseph is given a gentile bride. She is a beautiful picture of the church. We know very little about her past. We are so taken with Joseph, that she gets very little attention, and rightly so. Today, as the bride of Christ, we are to be in awe of the glory of the One who has chosen us to be His own.
Now, the glory and the honor that emanated from Joseph was hers to share. She was seated with him in high places, not because of her own merit, but because of the glory of Joseph.
19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
We do know that she was brought up to be a dedicated pagan. But now, her pagan past is blotted out. Now, Asenath is a glorious presentation of the church, the bride of Christ.
III. Joseph’s Blessing—The blessing of bread and of birth
A. The blessing of bread
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.
Joseph, like Jesus, was the one who provided “living bread.”
Note: It is interesting in the details of Scripture, that Joseph, like Jesus, was 30 years old when he began his “life-saving” work for mankind.
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
48 I am that bread of life.
49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
Joseph is seen as dispensing bread to a needy world (41:55).
He alone was the one people were sent to (Jesus is the only way).
Joseph became a savior to all people (41:57)
That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Joseph had provision that would meet the need of all that came to him. (41:49)
How abundant is God’s provision!
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.
50 And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah 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.
Manasseh means “forgetting.” Obviously, we will see from the rest of the story that Joseph didn’t forget his family. However, he did forget the pain.
Forgetting is the ability to remember without feeling the pain.
The only options that Joseph was given was to hold on to the ones who had wronged him, or to release them. He chose the latter.
Sadly, many today are choosing to hold on to some wrong done to them. What is the result? Bitterness.
14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
“Fail of the grace of God” means “fail to become a partaker”.
The word fail means: to be left behind in the race and never accomplish your goal.
Bitterness is a spirit that refuses to be reconciled.
This means that God had something available for you that you failed to receive.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Illustration: have a piece of wood with a nail in it. Have someone try to remove the nail without using the hammer. Then have them use a hammer. Big difference.
Bitterness is sin. It is never justified in the Bible.
For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.
Ephesians 4:26, 30–31
26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
The symptoms of bitterness:
Become consumed with our negative experiences
The steps to overcoming bitterness:
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
1. Stop justifying your bitterness and call it sin.
Confession is agreeing with God about your sin.
2. Remember areas in your life where God has forgiven you.
In Matthew 18:21–35 a servant who owed an incredible amount was forgiven. This servant then went out and had a man imprisoned who owed him a small amount.
34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
3. Stop holding others in debt to you—wipe the account clean.
4. Realize, recovery is not instant, but forgiveness is.
Illustration: A broken bone is not instantly healed although it does need to be immediately set.
Conclusion:There is a difference between feeling hurt and becoming bitter. The Bible never condemns feeling hurt, because being hurt is inevitable. However, it does condemn allowing hurt to become a seed of bitterness. Let’s pray that it never finds a “place” in you.
You may need a “Manasseh” today in your own life.
13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Do you know what followed Manasseh or “forgetting”? Ephraim, or “fruitful”!
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
You can again enjoy the wonderful fruit of the Spirit of which God’s power is the key. If you want to be fruitful and be used to help others, remember to forget.