We now begin a study of one of the most exciting biographies in the Bible, that of Joseph and his brothers. The entire story illustrates the sovereignty of God and His providential care of His own. Joseph stands out as a spiritual giant in his own family. He has often been called the Bible's most complete type of Christ. He was not faultless, but his faults are not recorded. Throughout the next several chapters we will see many parallels of Joseph's life and that of Jesus', even though it is nowhere actually stated that Joseph was such a type of Christ. Some comparisons to Christ are that both were very special objects of their father's love; both were hated and rejected by their own; both made unusual claims which were rejected by their brothers; they were both conspired against; and they both became a blessing among the Gentiles.
In chapter 39 Joseph begins preparation for becoming the ruler of Egypt. He exchanged his "tailored coat" for a servant's garb, and God forced him to learn to work (verses 1-6). In verses 7-18 God teaches him the discipline of self-control. He did not yield to the enticement of the Egyptian woman. He lost his coat, but kept his character! Too many people have failed in this area of discipline, and God has had to put them on a shelf (see 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Proverbs 16:32 and 25:28). In verses 19-23 God teaches Joseph the discipline of suffering. Through this suffering Joseph learned patience, and gained a deeper faith in God's Word. Joseph's suffering was not enjoyable, but it led to glory.
When Christians are called on to endure suffering, it is certainly not enjoyable. But, like Joseph, any time we suffer for Christ, glory shall be ours.
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