Now Jacob lived in the land where his father had sojourned, in the land of Canaan. 2 These are the records of the generations of Jacob, (37:1-2).
“These are the records of the generations of Jacob…” After reading these words, did you expect yet another list of names to follow? Instead, we are immediately introduced to the story of Joseph. “Joseph, when seventeen years of age, was pasturing the flock with his brothers while he was still a youth…” (37:2).
Yesterday, we reflected on this thought: all the stories of the Bible are meant to magnify and glorify His Story, the only story that matters.
Here in Genesis 37, there is no list of names, but the record of one very amazing man of God. Many of us are probably very familiar with Joseph’s story. Next to Jesus, Joseph is my favorite Bible character. And as much as I attempted to read this account with “fresh eyes,” and intentionally forget the end of this story, I couldn’t.
But, because I knew the end of Joseph’s story, I could see the Lord in every moment. It is so much easier to see Him when we know the end of the story. And then it hit me! We DO know the end of the story! And in the meanwhile, God is there, doing what only God can do.
We meet Joseph, as a young teenager, being groomed to become fit for a future he could not possibly fathom, the future that is His End of the Story.
Consider His End of the Story
His End of the Story can be easy to misinterpret. Joseph did not choose to be Jacob’s favorite or to dream his dreams, and he definitely did not choose to be sold into slavery by his brothers. “When they saw him from a distance and before he came close to them, they plotted against him…” (37:18). When he was in that pit, then sold to the Ishmaelites, it’s easy to imagine his thoughts frantically predicting a very different outcome of his predicament. Though it is doubtful he understood why all these things were happening, he was unquestionably being equipped for what was to come. We have the ability to interpret correctly because we have the advantage of knowing His End of the Story!
His End of the Story is making us ready for use. Joseph did not understand the meaning of his two dreams, but he had discernment that God was doing something, “He said to them, ‘Please listen to this dream which I have had;’” (37:6); “Now he had still another dream, and related it to his brothers,” (37:9). Joseph would later be used by God to interpret Pharaoh’s two dreams, that like his own, were “one and the same” (Genesis 41:25). Even though Joseph did not have full disclosure of things to come, God was making him ready for use, moving him towards His End of the Story.
His End of the Story is preparing us for consideration: At the young age of seventeen, Joseph is thrown into a pit by his brothers, and then sold into slavery. By the time Joseph stood before the Pharaoh, more than a dozen years had passed, a dozen years of betrayal, loneliness, slavery and imprisonment. All along, God was orchestrating His End of the Story, making Joseph ready for consideration before the ruler of all of Egypt. “Then Pharaoh said to his servants, ‘Can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit?’ 39 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are. 40 You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you,’”(Genesis 41:38-40).
How should we respond to His End of the Story?
- Let us firmly trust His End of the Story, whether or not we can decipher what He is doing; He is faithful.
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight, (Proverbs 3:5-6).
- When we lack full understanding, let us remember He has His End in mind and is working to make us ready for His use,
- for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure, (Philippians 2:13).
- Let us cooperate with Him as He orchestrates events to strengthen us for consideration for His service.
- I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, (1 Timothy 1:12).
- And let us learn from Joseph, who lived with such dependent faith, without the advantage of knowing how his own story would end. May our hearts overflow with gratitude and be strengthened to trust Him fully, for we absolutely do know His End of the Story!
- Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away,”(Revelation 21:1-4).