Most often when the story of Joseph is told it is regarded as a children’s adventure but when we examine this exciting life story we see a remarkable hero with a faith which rose above his circumstances. The story answers one of the most often asked questions; “Why does God allow bad things to happen”? How many times have you heard that question asked? Here was a man who lived a life that answered that question and was able to demonstrate it to his family, friends and an entire dynasty.
Joseph had many opportunities to despair and to give in to circumstances. Circumstances which were not of his own making. He was cruelly dealt with by his brothers, ending up being kept in a pit and then sold into slavery. He must have asked many times, “Why is this happening to me?”
He was unjustly sent to jail when he took a stand on an issue of morality. He again must have asked, “Why is this happening to me when I am trying to do the right thing?”
We all know the story of how his brothers and father eventually came to Egypt and they also recognised how much of a hero he had been. This reunion is beautifully told in Genesis 45:4.
Then Joseph said unto his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now do not be distressed, and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God send me ahead of you. For two years now here has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be ploughing or reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you that sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.”
Now he knew why all these things had been happening to him. He also knew that it was not the end of the story. He knew that God would continue to lead his family and fulfil the promises that he had made to them and to his forefathers, so he made plans to have his bones taken with his people when they eventually left Egypt again.
Then Joseph said unto his brothers, “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob”. And Joseph made the sons of Israel swear an oath and said, “God will surely come to your aid and then you must carry my bones from this place”. So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt.
It is a fascinating story of what happened to his bones if you care to follow it in Exodus and Joshua!
What a faith in God! What a hero!