A Summary of the Joseph Story

Now this idea of God overriding evil and bringing good out of evil is a very important theme in the Bible. In God’s plan for the salvation of the world he is going to do that again and again. He uses evil in many ways to bring good as he did with Joseph and his brothers. The most important instance of this idea is the death of Jesus. Those who killed Jesus meant evil. The death of Jesus was a monstrous injustice. And yet it was also part of God’s plan for the salvation of his people and the renewal of the whole creation.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Death and Burial: Jacob and Joseph

None of us knows when we will die. For some of us it is years in the future. For others of us the time is much shorter. But for all of us it is part of our future. We will all die. But the whole Bible is about a glorious future for the people of God and a glorious place where believers will spend eternity with God.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Jacob Blesses Joseph (2)

The message of the story is that God is working, directing all that happens, but that his presence and his involvement in Joseph’s life is largely hidden. God is working behind the scenes.
And that is the case in our lives as well. God directs our lives. We know that from the Bible. But God’s presence is usually not obvious. We do not see God. We know that he is at work directing our lives and the whole of history because the Bible tells us so. We only know that he is at work in our lives and in history by faith – faith in the words that God speaks to us in the Bible.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Jacob Blesses Joseph

The bottom line is that believers are all undeserving and all spiritually powerless in their own strength. Anything that is commendable in their lives comes from God’s grace working in them. And yet that never comes without effort on their part. In order for us to do good things by the grace of God we still must do them. That takes effort and exertion. And then that effort and exertion is rewarded by God even though none of it was possible without the grace of God.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Jacob Blesses the Less Prominent Sons

One of the wonderful things that these verses show us is how God preserves his people through the generations. 500 years after Jacob uttered these prophecies, the offspring of these men still made up the people of God. God was in control of all of that history. And even though this was a sinful people, God preserved them through the centuries. And finally, from this people, Jesus Christ was born who was and is the heart of God’s plan for his kingdom and for the world.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Jacob Blesses Judah

Psalm 27:4 says, “One thing have I asked of the LORD, that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.”
This is what Jacob predicts of the king who would come from the line of Judah whom we know as Jesus Christ. He is beautiful to his people. And the beauty is not a physical beauty, but the beauty of holiness and the beauty of the glory of God and the beauty of the victory that he has won.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Jacob Blesses Simeon and Levi

In all of this history leading to Jesus, God was teaching the world the horrific consequences of the sinful natures that we all share and in that way preparing the world for the one who came from heaven and became a man so that as the God-man he could break the power of sin in the lives of a chosen people. He did that by living a life of perfect obedience and love. He did it by dying on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. He did it by rising from the dead and thus obtaining the forgiveness and new life that would enable his people to gradually learn to love rather than to hate.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Jacob Blesses Reuben

Those with weak characters are unstable
in their inner beings and so winds of temptation or foolishness push
them this way and that. Those with strong characters are steadfast and
stable who are not easily deflected from what is right and what is wise
and what is godly. In the context of the Bible we must understand these
differences in the light of sin and grace. We are all weak by nature, but
Jesus died so that those who trust in him might be gradually changed to
be people of strong character who have learned self-denial and self-control and to “walk by the Spirit” and are learning “not” to “gratify the
desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Jacob Blesses Ephraim and Manasseh

No one who comes to Jesus for forgiveness and renewal will be turned away. The same God who says that “he has mercy on whomever he wills and hardens whomever he wills” also says just a few verses later in Romans 10:12-13, “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” The same “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra