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Jesus and Joseph

Valerisu Herberger could find Jesus in all the Old Testament stories. Here is an excerpt from his treatment of the story of Joseph found in Genesis.

Old, pious Jacob was worried about his sons and asked Joseph to run over to them and wee whether it were well with them. … [Joseph] knew that his brothers hated him to death, yet he was willing to obey his dear father …

Joseph’s brothers conspired to slay the dreamer and put him to death. At Reuben’s urging they threw him into a dry pit to waste away with hunger and thus to meet a wretched demise. When the devil gets a foot in, he soon squeezes his whole belly in after. Guard yourself, do not let the evil one take up residence with you. When he goaded Joseph’s brothers to hatred and envy, he simultaneously goaded them to frightful, murderous, bloodthirsty ideas.

When craftiest snares and nets they lay
God does His work another way

God thwarted the plans of those vultures. Reuben proposed that Joseph should not be killed but thrown into a pit, for he planned to send him secretly back to their father. Here God enters, albeit quite slowly. Reuben was only made to justify sparing Joseph’s life until the merchants came. Then God Himself took Joseph off Reuben’s hands, conducting and caring for him better than either Reuben or Joseph could have imagined. So after they had cooled their temper on Joseph, stripped him, and thrown him into the pit, they sat down, ate, and were in high spirits, as if they had never roiled the waters. They had a heart of stone …

Such is the devil’s power to blind his slaves and to paint and dress up their own sins in their eyes, until they fill the measure of their sins, so that he may then the more easily cast them into despair. O Lord, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Now, dear heart, contemplate the exquisite portrait of your Friend Jesus Christ painted for you in the story of Joseph, as all the ancient doctors of the Church, as well as our dear forebears, instruct us.

Jacob had concern for his children. Likewise the heavenly Father has concern for us, His children. “The LORD is mindful of us and blesses us” (Ps. 115:12).

Jacob sent his own most beloved son Joseph. Likewise the heavenly Father sent His only-begotten Son Jesus Christ. “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:17).

Jacob sent Joseph out to his brothers, who hated him with a passion. “God commends His love toward us, in that Christ died for us while we were yet sinners,” while were yet His enemies (Rom. 5:8). “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Thus you see how Joseph is a fitting likeness of our Friend Jesus Christ.

Joseph was sent to his brothers. Likewise, O Lord Jesus, You Yourself said, “I was not sent save only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 15:24). It is true, You were “a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promise made to the fathers, and that the heathen might glorify God for His mercy” (Rom. 15:[8-]9).

Joseph was willing in obeying His father. O Lord Jesus, You are a thousand times more willing. Just as Joseph said, “Here I am,” so You also said, “Behold, I come, in the book it is written of Me, Your will O my God, I do gladly, and Your law I have in My heart” (Ps. 40:[7-]8). “You were offered up because You Yourself willed it. When You were punished and afflicted, You opened not Your mouth (Is. 53:7). Thus You atoned for our disobedience. You are willing to save us; oh Lord Jesus, help us also to be willing to glorify You and even to endure some suffering in this world for Your glory. …

Joseph went forth in his simplicity. His heart burned with love for his brothers. It was his heart’s desire that they should be as well as possible in time and eternity. O Lord Jesus, this is a lovely reflection of Your sweet, gentle heart. This gracious, charitable heart of Yours is my highest comfort on earth.

Valerius Herberger The Great Works of God: … Genesis, Chapters 16-50 330-333

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