Providence and Presence in the Story of Joseph

Providence and Presence in the Story of Joseph

Genesis 39:2 – The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master.

Throughout the testimony of Joseph, the themes of God’s providence and presence are repeatedly highlighted. It is clear that God’s sovereign providence over his life, and the Holy Spirit’s work in and through him, are the secrets to his success.

  • Genesis 39:2 – The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man…
  • Genesis 39:3 – His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands.
  • Genesis 39:5 – …the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had.
  • Genesis 39:23 – The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed.
  • Genesis 41:38 – Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?”

In a very real sense, Genesis 37-50 is the testimony of the Holy Spirit in the life of Joseph. The entire narrative storyline of Genesis slows down to focus in on God’s work for, in, and through Joseph. This includes the prophetic dreams, and interpretations of prophetic dreams, that showed the unique supernatural anointing on Joseph’s life.

To understand Genesis, imagine a long road trip where most of the journey is spent driving fast on the highway while the sites quickly pass, with the occasional slowing down to see the sights, and pulling over once in a while to take in some special scenery. Genesis is like that.

Genesis 1-2 covered the entirety of Creation focusing on Adam and Eve. Genesis 1-14 covers roughly 1000 years and shares the testimony of Noah and his family, while also introducing us to Abraham and Sarah. The covenantal blessing on Joseph’s family started with Abraham, and God promised that their family would be blessed by God to be a blessing to the nations. That begins to be fulfilled with Joseph blessing the nation of Egypt.

Genesis 14-36 covers another roughly 1000 years looking at Joseph’s great-grandfather Abraham, his grandfather Isaac, and his father Jacob who had 13 children (12 sons and one daughter), with two sisters and concubines in what is a dysfunctional family of epic proportions. The backdrop for Joseph’s story is family strife marked by parental favoritism, and a young man who is a bit spoiled and arrogant with a unique anointing and calling on his life. Genesis does not tell us just what happened, but what always happens and this family story has been played out in every generation since. Their blended family with favoritism and jealousy, lying and covert behavior, along with sibling rivalry and factious divisions sounds a lot like many families in our own day. There is a lot of pain throughout the testimony of Joseph, and the story of forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation.

Genesis 37-50 then covers the life of Joseph and roughly 100 years of Joseph’s life. The significant investment that God the Holy Spirit inspired Moses to devote to the testimony of Joseph is noteworthy. The life of Joseph is epic. In it we see a dysfunctional family, passive father, betrayal, slavery, sexual temptation, an undeserved prison sentence, prophetic dreams, political intrigue, forgiveness, and a family reunion after 20 years of painful separation.

How have you seen God’s providence, provision, and presence in your own life?

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Mark Driscoll
[email protected]

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