Genesis 39-41: He who will give us the bread of life

I seem to be able to get internet every so often.  Please pray continually for the trip!  Meanwhile, back to Genesis.

  1. Joseph rejecting the whore of Babylon (Genesis 39)
  2. Pierced for our transgressions (Genesis 40)
  3. Restored to true glory (Genesis 41)

1.  Joseph rejecting the whore of Babylon (Genesis 39)

Joseph, compared to Judah, was a good witness. Even though Judah remained in Canaan, Joseph, who was born in Canaan/Israel and brought to Egypt, was a far better witness. The LORD was with Joseph (v.2), and Joseph’s evangelism clearly enabled Potiphar to see the LORD with him, and that the LORD caused all that he did to succeed in his hands (v.3). Nothing is explicitly spoken of Potiphar’s faith in Jesus, but Potiphar had a peripheral trust in the work of the LORD as to enable Joseph to be the overseer of his house.

As Joseph grew in form and appearance as a handsome and attractive man (v.6), a sign of both growing in stature with God from the previous verses and with man in this verse, here is a Christian who is walking closely with the Holy Spirit who dwells within him.

Yet, the whore that is Potiphar’s wife, attempted to seduce Joseph into lying with her. He refused the advances of the whore of Babylon (Isaiah 14; Revelation 14:8; 17:5), and he was unjustly accused of something which he did not do – he was completely innocent, a man who pleased God, and served men. However, even as he dwells in the pit, the LORD was with him and showed his steadfast love and faithfulness towards Joseph (v.21). Even in the pit, Joseph’s work was successful because of the LORD (v. 23).

2.  Pierced for our transgressions (Genesis 40)

The wonderful thing about the image of Genesis 39 is that it is a direct foretelling of Jesus’ incarnation. Indeed, this man who is born an Israelite is called to Egypt to be tested for forty days and forty nights; not only that, but he also grew in stature and wisdom (Luke 2:52), pleasing to both God and man. No doubt, the events of chapter 39 reflected very much what Jesus’ had done in the early days of his ministry. But he was unjustly brought to the cross to die for sins which he did not actually do. Meanwhile, in spite of the rejection of Christ, His work is intercessory on our behalf – the dreams of the chief cup-bearer and the baker are good examples. The chief-cup bearer, like Nehemiah, is that of a faithful Christian who is brought up on the third day (v. 20); and the chief baker, on the third day, did not rise again. He experienced his second death, after his first one in the pit.

Yet, when we receive the blessings of man, we forget where the true blessings came from very often. And here, we see the ascension of Christ – his true glory is revealed in the next chapter when God remembers Christ, although men did not.  The glory of the chief cup-bearer is but the firstfruits of the true glory of Joseph.  And the glory of Joseph in the following chapter is but the firstfruit of the true glory of Christ, and his work when he ascends and his work when he returns the second time where the tree of life and its leaves are given for the true healing of all nations.

Revelation 22:2

“…also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”

3.  Restored to true glory (Genesis 41)

In spite of all the cultish methods the magicians of Egypt employed to satiate the Pharoah’s trouble over dreams, God has used dreams as a tool of his communication of prophetic events. This interpretation of dreams is highly prophetic of that of Daniel; and both Daniel and Joseph were gifted with the charismatic gift of dream-interpretation. Here, however, it is not merely exalting Joseph to the position of that of a person who can interpret dreams. Rather, it is the significance of there being no-one the King of Egypt can rely on; and how someone so seemingly insignificant and forgotten can not only bring blessings to the cup-bearer, but bring blessings to the Pharoah himself. Joseph knows he is not the centre of the story (v. 16) – however, he knows someone who should be – and that is God himself.

His faithfulness and evangelism is so convincing that even the Pharoah admits to God’s power shown through Joseph; just as Abimelech admits the blessedness of Isaac. “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” (v. 38). Clearly, by now, there is a somewhat working knowledge of the Trinity: the Spirit of God, the Father (Creator) who is the God of the heavens, and the Son, the Chief Angel who makes appearances to several characters of the Old Testament.

Now, Joseph is re-clothed – he is no longer merely a servant of Potiphar, as he was a servant of the disciples and the Jews of Jerusalem. He is ascended and restored to the right hand of God the Father, that for a “little while [he was made] lower than the angels; you (the Father) have crowned him (Christ) with glory and honour, putting everything in subjection under his feet” (Psalm 8:4-6). And so it is the same here – Joseph is crowned as second to the Pharoah by the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in Him, clothed with the King’s signet ring and garments of fine linen and gold chain representing his present glory and righteousness. But remember – Joseph is merely a type to the true gospel.

By the end of the chapter, seven years of plenty that occurred in the land of Egypt came to an end, and the seven years of famine began. And so also, as prophesied in Amos 8:11, this famine of bread is merely a type of the famine on the land…

“not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the LORD, but they shall not find it”.

This is the famine of 400 years until Christ’s incarnation in the time prior to the writing of the synoptic gospels. For 400 years the word of the LORD has not been heard, indeed leading to all types of weird theologies popping up (c.f. Pharisees and Sadducees) when the written word of the Pentateuch, Prophets, Writings and Psalms have not been consistently preached and contemplated upon. And the same here – seven years of plenty of bread had been collected, as the law and gospel has been continually proclaimed from Adam to Malachi; but there will be a famine of the hearing of the words of the LORD, after which time the only place to hear the true words of Christ is from his own incarnated mouth at the time of fulfillment. In the same way, people flock “from all over the earth” (v. 57) to Egypt, to find the Israelite from the Promised Land providing true bread for the people to feed. Let us fellow Christians take our evangelism seriously, as we direct those to the one who resides in the true Promised Land, who can give them the true bread of life.

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Genesis 39-41: He who will give us the bread of life

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