Discover more from Pilgrim's Bread
February 17: Genesis 50
Genesis 50; Luke 3; Job 16–17; 1 Corinthians 4
The final chapter of Genesis is, without the main actors realizing it, a pitch-perfect picture of the pathetic position of all people, and at the same time, of the pure power of the Prince of Peace.
First we see the pathetic position of all people. Jacob has died and been buried (49:33-50:14). Now that dad is gone, Joseph’s brothers fear that he will hate them and seek vengeance on them for selling him into slavery (15). On this, Carson remarks: “Were they merely projecting onto Joseph what they would have done had they been in his place?” Based on their history, it’s probable. So they make up a lie in order to manipulate their brother into showing them mercy (16-17).
Joseph here is a picture of the Christ to come, and the brothers are a pitch-perfect picture of the pathetic position of all people. All of us are guilty before our King. And in our guilt, we all project upon him what wewould do, if we were him. We would smite and smack-down sinners as if the whole world were a WWE ring. And so all that is left is to plead with God and try to manipulate him in affirming us. We make deals with him: “If you let me off the hook this once, I’ll never do that again.” “If I can just become a good enough person - better at least than so-and-so - then surely He will accept me.”
But Joseph sees through these pathetic ploys, and he weeps (17b), like the One who will come later and weep at the true consequences of all our pathetic ploys (John 10:35). Then Joseph speaks a truth that will runs like a red thread through the rest of history, terminating at a bloody Roman cross.
That truth is that when Joseph’s brothers committed the grave evil of selling him into slavery out of spite and jealousy, they were not the only party acting in that moment. Somehow, another Party was acting in their acting - God Himself:
Genesis 50:20 (ESV): 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
God is sovereignly controlling all events, to His good ends, even sin. He is not the Author of sin, but He ordains it, for the best of ends.
This is a hard truth for some to receive, or at least to comprehend. But it is this truth upon which our entire faith hangs. For the cross of Jesus was the ultimate fulfillment of what happened to Joseph. Evil men, out of spite and jealousy, committed Jesus to death, though he had no fault within Him, and though He was the Beloved of his Father, just as Joseph was of Jacob.
Yet the Bible says that God put Jesus there, through the evil of man (note the balance of Peter in Acts 2:23). And God would raise him up, just as He did with Joseph. That was so that He might not condemn us but welcome us in grace, as Joseph welcomes his brothers (21). In the pure power of the Prince of Peace, people in the pathetic position of condemnation instead find welcome, forgiveness, and rest.