What does it say?
Genesis 37 - Joseph’s brothers were jealous of Israel’s love for him and even more so, when Israel gave him a special tunic. Jospeh related to them a dream in which their sheaves bowed down to their sheaves. This enraged his brothers. He also had a second dream in which the sun and the moon and the eleven stars bowed down to him. Joseph was sent by their father to his brothers. His brothers captured him and sold him to Ishmaelite traders who sold Joseph to Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s bodyguard.
Genesis 38 - After this, there is an interluded, in which the story is hold of how Perez was born. (Perez and his mother Tamar are listed in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. [cf. Mt. 1:3]) Perez and Zerah were born to Judah from an elicit union. Judah had sex with his daughter in-law Tamar, who had disguised herself as a prostitute because Judah did not give her to his youngest son as wife, his eldest son, Tamar’s husband was dead and his middle son was dead as well.
Genesis 39 - We return to Joseph and his story. Joseph became steward of the house of Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s bodyguard. By the hand of the Lord Joseph prospered in Potiphar’s house. He was put in charge of everything in the house. Potiphar’s wife was the only thing in the house that was withheld from Joseph. Potiphar’s wife attempted to seduce him and when he did not she lied and Potiphar put Jospeh in prison. The jailor favored Joseph because the Lord was with him.
What does it mean?
There is much typology in these three stories. In Joseph’s story he is a type of Christ. However, the antitype would eventually come from the union that Judah had with his daughter in-law Tamar. Like Jesus, Joseph, was sent by his father, to his brothers but they did not receive him. They sold him! In the story of Judah and Tamar we see how God will use evil for good. Through this union Perez is born, who is the descendant of David and Jesus Christ. Joseph’s story parallels Adam’s story in the garden; however, instead of eating the forbidden fruit, Jospeh is unjustly accused. Jesus would be unjustly accused and would be more than imprisoned; Jesus would suffer and die for the sins of Adam and all of mankind.
What shall I do?
I shall realize that God’s will be done despite the wicked plans of men. Men do evil things all of the time but God is always working for good. God can use anything for good. At this point in Joseph’s story it does not seem for good but we will see that it will. To use a modern gospel phrase, which is often used incorrectly, God has a wonderful plan for Joseph’s life. The reason that I say, “the phrase is often used incorrectly.” God’s wonderful plan may not seem wonderful at the time. God had a wonderful plan to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world. All of Jesus’ apostles suffered and all but John were martyred. God had a wonderful plan for their lives. I work at the bedside in intensive care. I see a great deal of human suffering and death. I do not always see what God’s plan is for my life and for my patients but I shall trust the word of the Lord and know that God has a wonderful plan.