Joseph as a Prophecy of Jesus – Joseph’s life is one of the clearest living prophecies of the Messiah in all of Scripture. There are remarkable parallels between Joseph, Daniel, David, and #Yeshua, but especially between Joseph and Yeshua (aka #Jesus).
Proverbs 21:3 and Pure Religion – If your religion doesn’t help to conform your heart to God’s, then it’s false and probably involves more worship of self than anything else.
To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice. Proverbs 21:3
Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; how much more when he brings it with evil intent.
When Yeshua chose his primary twelve disciples, he didn’t surround himself with money, power, and beauty. He chose men who were simple and complicated, rich and poor, soft and calloused. When he called them, they were fishermen, religious seekers, aristocrats, revolutionaries, and enemy collaborators. These were not the kind of men the Jewish religious and political leaders of the day would have chosen to be the companions of the Messiah.
Not only did Yeshua recruit a variety of unsavory characters as his personal disciples, he encouraged lepers, beggars, prostitutes, and tax collectors to gather in public places for teaching and in private places for table fellowship. He went so far as to seek them out and go to their homes.
You can’t spend your life studying God’s Law without learning that mercy is more important to God than sacrifices, but pride is a powerful force for brainwashing. Our tendency is to accentuate the good that we do and downplay the good that we could do, but don’t, even if those omissions are far more important in reality. When Yeshua told the Pharisees to go and learn what “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice” means, he tore away their veil of self deception and rubbed their noses in their greatest sin. It’s no wonder they wanted to kill him!
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Religion gets a bad rap, but that’s not really fair. The dictionary definition of religion is the set of beliefs and practices associated with the belief in and worship of a deity. That includes rituals, prayers, doctrines, and even codes of behavior. It can be good or bad. The Bible is full of positive examples of religion, but it also describes a lot of bad, like that of the Pharisees.
In God’s religion, the goal of sacrifice and ritual is a right heart, which is one that is full of love and eager to show kindness. If your religion doesn’t help to conform your heart to God’s, then it’s false and probably involves more worship of self than anything else.
Benjamin wasn’t a thief, but Joseph’s cup was found in his sack. As soon as Joseph’s steward found the cup, everyone knew that it had been planted there and Benjamin had been framed. But why would Joseph do such a thing?
When they were brought before Joseph, Judah, Jacob’s fourth son, who had all but abandoned the family in order to pursue his fortune in the world, became the family spokesman. The coldly pragmatic course would have been to disavow all knowledge of the cup and let Benjamin take the fall–He did appear to be the target of the frame-up, after all–and the rest of the brothers would be saved.
Fortunately for everyone, Judah chose another route. Whatever the purpose of Joseph’s scheme, Judah had had enough of brother turning against brother. He was determined that they would all stick together no matter the consequences. When Joseph refused to punish them all for the crimes of one, Judah offered himself in Benjamin’s stead.
It was the sign that Joseph sought, the sole aim of hiding the cup in the sack and bringing them all back to Egypt under threat of slavery or imprisonment. Joseph wanted to see if his brothers had truly repented of the jealousy and violence that had caused them to betray him so many years before. Seeing Judah’s desire to protect both Benjamin and Jacob even at the cost of his own life, Joseph wept and revealed himself as their long lost brother.
If Judah had allowed Benjamin to be punished or had betrayed any selfishness in his motives, Joseph would have continued to hide his identity and might have punished them all. The pragmatic approach of sacrificing one brother for the sake of ten would have backfired, and they would have lost everything. The story of the Hebrews in Egypt would have been very different.
The question of “Why do bad things happen to good people” has plagued believers since the beginning of time, but the answers–however difficult to accept–have been available just as long. Very often, bad things happen to good people in order to help the weak to become strong, for the faithless to learn faith, or to provide opportunities for those who have been blessed to pass on their blessings to those who have not. Sometimes an innocent person might appear guilty so that someone else will have the opportunity to defend him or to develop his faith in God or his ability to lead God’s people.
The Bible isn’t a book of soft and easy answers. The truth–like God’s methods of character development–can be hard. If you want the easy route, the safe route, Torah isn’t for you. However, if you long for the greater blessings that await those who persevere, who choose the true path over the pragmatic one, keep digging. The truth goes deep.