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Why does God give us more details about Joseph’s life than any other individual in Genesis?

Genesis has an interesting structure. It zooms over the creation account like a rocket (about 3% of the book), soars over the millennia between Adam and Abraham like a jet (about 15% — dropping speed and altitude over Noah), and cruises over Abraham (21%), Isaac (8%), and Jacob (23%) like a helicopter, hovering here and there. Then it sort of drives down the road of Joseph’s life, devoting to it nearly 30% of its content.

God is always intentional in his proportionality. More does not necessarily equal more important in God’s word economy. The epistle to the Ephesians is much shorter than the narrative of Joseph’s life, but it is not less important. However, more does imply take note. There are crucial things God wants us to see.

God has many reasons to drive us through Joseph’s life, some more obvious than others. Let’s look at one perhaps lesser obvious reason.

Sightings of Sovereignty in the Life of Joseph

On this drive, if we’re paying attention to the scenery out the windows, we see a startling and unnerving level of God’s providential involvement in the details of Joseph’s life. Here are some of the scenes (warning: some of these scenes you may find disturbing).

Joseph’s place in the Patriarchal birth order was part of God’s plan (Genesis [30:22]–24).

This means Rachel’s agonizing struggle with infertility was part of God’s plan (Genesis 30:1–2).

Jacob’s romantic preference of Rachel and therefore his (probably paternally insensitive) favoritism shown to Joseph was part of God’s plan (Genesis [29:30]37:3).

Joseph’s prophetic dreams were (obviously) part of God’s plan (Genesis 37:5–11).

His brothers’ jealously (note: sibling rivalry and family conflict) was part of God’s plan (Genesis 37:8).

His brothers’ evil, murderous, greedy betrayal of him, and Judah’s part in it, was part of God’s plan (Genesis [37:18]–28, [50:20]).

His brothers’ 20-plus year deception of Jacob regarding Joseph was part of God’s plan.The existence of an evil slave trade at the time was part of God’s plan (Genesis [37:26]–27).

Potiphar’s complicity with the slave trade and his position in Egypt was part of God’s plan (Genesis [37:36]).

Joseph’s extraordinary administrative gifting was part of God’s plan (Genesis 39:2–4).

Joseph’s favor with Potiphar was part of God’s plan (Genesis 39:4–6).

Potiphar’s wife’s being given over to sexual immorality was part of God’s plan (Genesis 39:8–12,Romans [1:24]).

Potiphar’s wife’s dishonesty was part of God’s plan (Genesis [39:14]–18).

Potiphar’s unjust judgment of Joseph was part of God’s plan (Genesis [39:19]–20).

The particular prison Joseph was sent to — the one that would receive the cupbearer and the baker — was part of God’s plan (Genesis [39:20]).

Joseph’s favor with the prison warden was part of God’s plan (Genesis [39:21]–23).

The high-level conspiracy and its exposure resulting in the imprisonment of Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker were part of God’s plan (Genesis 40:1–3).

Joseph being appointed to care for them was part of God’s plan (Genesis 40:4).

The dreams the cupbearer and baker had were (obviously) part of God’s plan (Genesis 40:5).

Joseph’s compassionate care for their troubled hearts was part of God’s plan (Genesis 40:6–7).

Their trusting Joseph’s integrity enough to confide their dreams in him was part of God’s plan (Genesis 40:8–20).

Joseph discerning the meaning of their dreams was part of God’s plan (Genesis [40:12]–13, 18–19).

Written by Jon Bloom
Read more at Desiring God

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