Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil (KJV).
It is easy to see Joseph the son of Jacob as a foreshadow of Messiah. Even classic Judaism presents Joseph as a Messianic figure. Because of the messianic destinies of both Joseph and Judah, Judaism believes in two Messiahs; a suffering one: Joseph, and a ruling one: Judah. We know now that the two ideas are resolved in Yeshua’s first and second coming.
Joseph and Judah were the recognized heads over the families conceived by their respective mothers: Leah and Rachel. Tensions were high between the two brothers and resulted in the dividing of the country.
From the onstart, Joseph seemed rather unwise. He flaunted his father Jacob’s preferential love strutting around in his princely coat. He also probably didn’t have to pull as much of a work load as his brothers. To add insult to injury, Joseph volunteered his seemingly narcistic dreams at which even Jacob was astounded. His brothers even surnamed him, ‘The Master of Dreams’, which proved in fact true, as the story confirms later (Genesis 37).
Joseph was truly the ‘Master’ of dreams’, and he was to be established over his family and the world for that matter. But in order to fulfill his destiny he still needed the humiliations that only slavery and unjust incarceration could offer. It doesn’t seem to be good enough for Hashem that we fulfill our destiny for Him. If we are to represent Him through our life or even verbal messages, we are to represent Him properly by exerting a life of virtue He can be proud of. Before being finally given his God-given destiny, like Joseph, every man needs to go through rejection, slavery and unjust incarceration. Only the distress and humiliation of wrong and unjust treatment can provide the qualities needed for Godly leadership. Without it, any would-be leader of God’s people is prone to the pitfalls of novices.
Come to think of it, the same was told of Messiah (Hebrews 5:8). Yeshua was not to be given the crown without the cross. As a nation, it is also true of God’s people. For centuries, like Joseph and Messiah, the nation of Israel as a whole was afflicted by the world without as cause, just for being Jews. We are told though that it is God who put ‘blindness’ on Israel for awhile so that the nations could have their time (Romans 11:25). This tierm of humiliation of Israel is probably to fulfill its priestly destiny in the World to Come (Exodus 19:6).
As we approach the time of the fulfillment of the Messianic era, the true followers of Messiah will all be unjustly treated, just because they are God’s people (Revelations 12:17). May this coming tribulation, as it did with Joseph, heal our arrogance, pride and immaturity that we may be worthy to rule and reign with Him in the World to Come (Revelations 20:4).
1 Corinthians 13:12
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
Measure for measure is so real. So much of what happens to us is the returning of our own actions. The dish life serves us often proceeds from the kitchen of our own cooking. The harvest we reap is surely the result our own sowing. By this standard a man’s life is easily assessed and his character revealed. If someone has many friends, he must have been friendly. If others are generous with him, he must have been sharing. By the same token, if someone finds the heart of others like desert sand or a sky of brass, closed to his needs and pleas, maybe he lived his life as selfishly as a closed book. We are all too often to blame for the hell we create with our own two hands.
Jacob deceived his father Isaac by concealing his identity, several years later Jacob becomes victim of the same as Laban conceals Leah’s identity in the nuptial chamber. This would result in a family’s sibling rivalry that would cause Leah’s children to later try to kill Joseph. Joseph would later trick them by concealing his identity, appearing to them as an Egyptian viceroy (Genesis 40-45).
When Leah’s children headed by Judah returned from pasture with the news about Joseph, Judah showed Jacob the ‘hard evidence’ of Joseph’s bloody coat to prove their case. Judah used the Hebrew words, ‘haker-nah’, meaning ‘Please, recognize these’. Many years later, Judah would be tricked and exposed by his own daughter-in-law using the very same words, ‘Haker-nah’. These must have pieced his heart as he remembered the treachery and lying to his own father (Genesis 37:32; 38:25)!
The concealing identity theme is a common one throughout the Hebrew Scriptures. Kings, queens and prophets used it, sometimes even under God’s own purpose.
It could even be said that today Messiah hides His Jewish identity from both Israel/Jacob, and the gentiles. To the Western world He conceals His Jewish identity appears and appears to them as a Westerner, thinking, dressing, eating and living as they do. This in turn makes Him unrecognizable to His people. But as with Joseph with His brethren, the day will come when Yeshua will throw off His ‘Egyptian garb’ and say to them, “I am Yeshua, your brother” (Genesis 45:3). At that time Yeshua will show the whole world who He really is: the King of the Jews. He will also reap the harvest of His own labor and doing. At that time He will also reunite Rachel and Leah’s family (the whole twelve tribes) under one banner (Ezekiel 37), and rule over the whole world from His throne in Jerusalem (Revelations 19 and 20).
In this day and in the Word to Come we each reap the harvest of the actions of our lives. What will it be for you?
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