October 23, 2011 – October 29, 2011
“Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.” Amos 5:15.
Study Help: The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 126–160; Education, 51–53.
“Although surrounded with idolatry, which was most repulsive to his principles, Joseph preserved his simplicity, his purity, and his God-fearing fidelity.” The Signs of the Times, January 8, 1880.
1 A YOUTH WITH MORAL INTEGRITY
- What bright spot arose in Jacob’s family, even amidst the evil results of his grave mistake of fathering children by four women? Genesis 30:22–24; 37:3.
Note: “The jealousy of the several mothers had embittered the family relation, the children had grown up contentious and impatient of control, and the father’s life was darkened with anxiety and grief.
“There was one, however, of a widely different character—the elder son of Rachel, Joseph, whose rare personal beauty seemed but to reflect an inward beauty of mind and heart. Pure, active, and joyous, the lad gave evidence also of moral earnestness and firmness. He listened to his father’s instructions, and loved to obey God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 208, 209.
- What was Satan’s plan to extinguish the light of Heaven? Genesis 37:4, 23–28. Why was it doomed to fail? Acts 7:8, 9.
Note: “Joseph was faithful to God, and his fidelity was a constant testimony to the true faith. It was to quench this light that Satan worked through the envy of Joseph’s brothers to cause him to be sold as a slave in a heathen land. God overruled events, however, so that the knowledge of Himself should be given to the people of Egypt.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 332.
2 RESISTING TEMPTATION
- What reveals Joseph’s fidelity to God, even in the face of injustice from people? Genesis 39:3–10, 14, 20–23; Psalm 105:17–19.
Note: “Few temptations are more dangerous or more fatal to young men than the temptation to sensuality and none if yielded to will prove so decidedly ruinous to soul and body for time and eternity. The welfare of his entire future is suspended upon the decision of a moment. Joseph calmly casts his eyes to heaven for help, slips off his loose outer garment, leaving it in the hand of his tempter and while his eye is lighted with determined resolve in the place of unholy passion, he exclaims, ‘How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?’ [Genesis 39:9]. The victory is gained; he flees from the enchanter; he is saved.” Sons and Daughters of God, 187.
“When he [Joseph] was accused, and a base crime was falsely laid to his charge, he did not sink in despair. In the consciousness of innocence and right, he still trusted in God. And God, who had hitherto supported him, did not forsake him. He was bound with fetters, and kept in a gloomy prison. Yet God turned even this misfortune into a blessing. He gave him favor with the keeper of the prison, and to Joseph was soon committed the charge of all the prisoners.
“Here is an example to all generations who should live upon the earth. Although they may be exposed to temptations, yet they should ever realize that there is a defense at hand, and it will be their own fault if they are not preserved. God will be a present help, and His Spirit a shield. Although surrounded with the severest temptations, there is a source of strength to which they can apply and resist them. How fierce was the assault upon Joseph’s morals. It came from one of influence, the most likely to lead astray. Yet how promptly and firmly was it resisted. He suffered for his virtue and integrity; for she who would lead him astray, revenged herself upon the virtue she could not subvert, and by her influence caused him to be cast into prison, by charging him with a foul wrong. Here Joseph suffered because he would not yield his integrity. He had placed his reputation and interest in the hands of God. And although he was suffered to be afflicted for a time, to prepare him to fill an important position, yet God safely guarded that reputation that was blackened by a wicked accuser, and afterward, in his own good time, caused it to shine. God made even the prison the way to his elevation. Virtue will in time bring its own reward. The shield which covered Joseph’s heart, was the fear of God, which caused him to be faithful and just to his master, and true to God.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 131, 132.
3 AN ADMINISTRATOR DURING FAMINE
- What did God intend for Egypt in bringing Joseph there? Psalm 105:20–22.
Note: “Both in the house of Potiphar and in the prison Joseph received an education and training that, with the fear of God, prepared him for his high position as prime minister of the nation. From the palace of the Pharaohs his influence was felt throughout the land, and the knowledge of God spread far and wide.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 332.
“Wonderful is the work which God designs to accomplish through His servants, that His name may be glorified. God made Joseph a fountain of life to the Egyptian nation. Through Joseph the life of that whole people was preserved.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 227.
- How did the Lord shower His abundant mercy upon the repentant brothers of Joseph, who were eventually threatened with starvation? Acts 7:11–14; Genesis 50:19–21; Romans 8:28.
Note: “During the years since Joseph had been separated from his brothers, these sons of Jacob had changed in character. Envious, turbulent, deceptive, cruel, and revengeful they had been; but now, when tested by adversity, they were shown to be unselfish, true to one another, devoted to their father, and, themselves middle-aged men, subject to his authority.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 225.
“The people of Egypt, in order to supply themselves with food during the famine, had sold to the crown their cattle and lands, and had finally bound themselves to perpetual serfdom. Joseph wisely provided for their release; he permitted them to become royal tenants, holding their lands of the king, and paying an annual tribute of one fifth of the products of their labor.
“But the children of Jacob were not under the necessity of making such conditions. On account of the service that Joseph had rendered the Egyptian nation, they were not only granted a part of the country as a home, but were exempted from taxation, and liberally supplied with food during the continuance of the famine. The king publicly acknowledged that it was through the merciful interposition of the God of Joseph that Egypt enjoyed plenty while other nations were perishing from famine. He saw, too, that Joseph’s management had greatly enriched the kingdom, and his gratitude surrounded the family of Jacob with royal favor.” Ibid., 241.
4 JOSEPH’S FIRST AFFECTION REVEALED
- What was the earnest desire of Joseph in behalf of his children? Hebrews 11:21.
Note: “Joseph, coming for a last interview with his father, brought with him Ephraim and Manasseh. These youths were connected, through their mother, with the highest order of the Egyptian priesthood; and the position of their father opened to them the avenues to wealth and distinction, should they choose to connect themselves with the Egyptians. It was Joseph’s desire, however, that they should unite with their own people. He manifested his faith in the covenant promise, in behalf of his sons renouncing all the honors that the court of Egypt offered, for a place among the despised shepherd tribes, to whom had been entrusted the oracles of God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 234.
- What final request of Joseph revealed that, despite his success in Egypt, his heart was not really based there? Genesis 50:24–26; Hebrews 11:22; Joshua 24:32.
Note: “He [Joseph] witnessed the increase and prosperity of his people, and through all the years his faith in God’s restoration of Israel to the Land of Promise was unshaken.
“When he saw that his end was near, he summoned his kinsmen about him. Honored as he had been in the land of the Pharaohs, Egypt was to him but the place of his exile; his last act was to signify that his lot was cast with Israel. … And through the centuries of toil which followed, that coffin, a reminder of the dying words of Joseph, testified to Israel that they were only sojourners in Egypt, and bade them keep their hopes fixed upon the Land of Promise, for the time of deliverance would surely come.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 240.
“The example of Joseph, shining with heaven’s brightness, did not shine in vain among this people for whom Christ had pledged Himself to become an offering—a people whom God had taken under His guardianship, and upon whom He was bestowing not only temporal but spiritual blessings, in order to attract them to Himself.” The Youth’s Instructor, March 11, 1897.
5 A BEAUTIFUL ILLUSTRATION
- What are we to consider in studying the life of Joseph? Amos 5:14, 15.
Note: “The life of Joseph illustrates the life of Christ. It was envy that moved the brothers of Joseph to sell him as a slave; they hoped to prevent him from becoming greater than themselves. And when he was carried to Egypt, they flattered themselves that they were to be no more troubled with his dreams, that they had removed all possibility of their fulfillment. But their own course was overruled by God to bring about the very event that they designed to hinder. So the Jewish priests and elders were jealous of Christ, fearing that He would attract the attention of the people from them. They put Him to death, to prevent Him from becoming king, but they were thus bringing about this very result.
“Joseph, through his bondage in Egypt, became a savior to his father’s family; yet this fact did not lessen the guilt of his brothers. So the crucifixion of Christ by His enemies made Him the Redeemer of mankind, the Saviour of the fallen race, and Ruler over the whole world; but the crime of His murderers was just as heinous as though God’s providential hand had not controlled events for His own glory and the good of man.
“As Joseph was sold to the heathen by his own brothers, so Christ was sold to His bitterest enemies by one of His disciples. Joseph was falsely accused and thrust into prison because of his virtue; so Christ was despised and rejected because His righteous, self-denying life was a rebuke to sin; and though guilty of no wrong, He was condemned upon the testimony of false witnesses.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 239, 240.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 What character qualities did Joseph display even in his youth?
2 Why was God able to thwart Satan’s plans to ruin, or at least discourage, Joseph?
3 How can I apply Joseph’s management of the Egyptian food supply in my life?
4 In what ways should my priorities be more like Joseph’s?
5 How can my life be in closer parallel to that of Christ’s, as Joseph’s was?
© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.