Torah Portion for 29th Novermber - 5th December
Torah portion Genesis 37 : 1 to 40 : 23
Haftarah portion Amos 2 : 6 to 3 : 8
“He continued living”
Almighty God has a perfect plan
Jacob and his extensive family had returned to live in the land of Canaan.
Young Joseph, now 17 years old, was out in the fields with four of his older step-brothers, who obviously did something amiss, because Joseph “dobbed” them in!! Joseph had become a favoured son, he was evidently very close to his Dad, and for that reason Jacob made him an especially attractive coat, which became the envy of the other brothers. The result was that Joseph did not enjoy a good relationship with his brothers.
Because we have the advantage of knowing the rest of the story of Joseph’s life, it has been universally accepted that Joseph is a “type” of the Messiah (Yeshua). I see this brotherly relationship as an early indication of that typology. The envy, the jealousy, the malice, and eventually the intended demise of Joseph, are all characteristics of the way in which Joseph became, in “type”, a forerunner of Messiah Yeshua. Even the coat, the mantle, which he wore was typical of the reason for the division that separated him from his brothers. It spoke of his special relationship with his father.
But it was not only the coat was it? Joseph had a dream, two dreams in fact, which he shared with his family. These dreams were prophetic of both the real life future events in Joseph’s life, but also were prophetic of Yeshua Ha’Maschiach. They were prophetic too of an event still in the future, when “every knee shall bow” in the presence of Messiah. And then, as indeed now, his family had great difficulty in accepting the idea that their future “Messiah” was there living amongst them.
(We know from the Scriptures, that the present day “blindness” to Yeshua, which is characteristic of Jews in general, is a “blindness” which has been put there by God Himself. That “blindness” being for the eternal benefit of Gentiles who have come to faith. (Read Isaiah 29 and Romans 11). I strongly recommend the CD’s of the combined Derek Prince / Operation Exodus conference in Sydney August 15 2015 for an excellent exposition on this topic).
Our ‘reflection’ continues as we see the young Joseph, sent by his father to his brothers, who were tending the family flocks in a distant part of the land. Genesis 37 : 13,14, (my paraphrase), records the conversation between father and son. “I want you to go and see how your brothers are getting along looking after the herds” says Jacob. “OK Dad, glad to go” replies Joseph. “Bring back word to me soon, I want to know how they are coping and where they’ve got to” Jacob concludes.
Can you sense, as I can, how this conversation typifies a father’s concern for his family? His children have been given a task, he senses they could be in danger and now he has temporarily lost touch with them. Can you imagine how this conversation is so typical of how Almighty God might have agonised over sending His beloved Son to go and seek out His brothers, whom He could see were getting lost?
In NO way do I intend levity, or irreverence here. I just sense the Father’s heart as He knows what is in store for the Son, whom He is sending on a dangerous, necessary mission.
As the story unfolds, it gets worse. The brothers decide to get rid of Joseph once and for all time. They plot to kill him. Then Judah comes to his rescue and persuades the others that there is some profit to be made by selling him (30 pieces of silver!!) into slavery. They are well aware of the enmity between their grandfather Isaac and his older brother Ishmael. So they determine to sell him to Ishmaelites. (“We’ll never hear of him again!” they thought). In the event, he was sold to a band of Midianite traders. These are descendants of another group of people with a dislike for the Israelites. Midian was the fourth son of Abraham’s wife Keturah. Midian was one of those who the scriptures tell us was given a “gift” by Abraham, whereas the substance of Abraham’s inheritance went to Isaac. Hence the enmity there. Then begins Josephs sojourn in Egypt.
As is the case every week, there is so much more to be learned by study of the weekly Torah portion. The Lord will show you things I haven’t even mentioned. But for me, the outstanding message is the way we see Joseph’s life increasingly typify the role God gave him, as a lesson and example, in type, of the coming Messiah. Revelations that will surely strike a chord in minds of Jewish friends we may seek to introduce to their Messiah. Almighty God has a perfect plan.