Genesis 37:15-36, “The Work of the Flesh and the Spirit in the Life of Joseph and his Brethren.”
In the life of the brothers of Joseph we can see the works of the flesh. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21
In the life of Joseph we can see the fruits of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22 and 23
We are further admonished by Paul the apostle to walk in the Spirit. “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25 As we notice the fruits of the Spirit in the life of Joseph, we can notice the fruits of the Spirit in the life of the Lord Jesus.
We are further admonished by Paul the apostle to consider, and follow, the examples, akin to the precepts given in the Old Testament, of the men like Joseph, Abraham, Jacob, David and the other men and women in the Old Testament as they walked in Spirit. “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”1 Corinthians 10:11 The precepts, and examples, of the Old Testament saints were written for the admonition of the saints in the church in the New Testament. As we develop the story of Joseph, and see the fruits of the Spirit in his life, we will notice the attitude, the character, the will, the heart, of Joseph is of a good nature. Our walk with the Lord will develop our attitude, our character; our very being.
The Willingness of Joseph
Genesis 37:13, “And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I.” we can see the good attitude of Joseph, “Here am I.” Joseph was willing to do all that his father Jacob told him to do. This was the attitude of the Lord Jesus. John 14:31, “But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.” This is also a good attitude, or characteristic, for every Christian.
God, in either Testament, wants us to be saved, and serve Him, with a willing heart. Leviticus 1:3, “If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.” The Apostle Paul stated, “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” 2 Corinthians 8:12The concept, the belief, the doctrine that man does not have a free will, or the concept, the belief, the doctrine, of irresistible grace,is foreign to the word of God and repugnant.
Even though his father, and his brothers, did not understand the two dreams, Joseph was not discouraged nor did he have a bitter attitude. Joseph determined to love God, to do the will of God, and have a cheerful attitude. Joseph did not let the world, the pressure of the world, and the attitude of the world, hurt his relationship with God.
Joseph did his Father’s will
Genesis 37:15-17, “And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, what seekest thou? And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed the flocks. And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren and found them in Dothan.” Joseph did his fathers will and was going to help his brothers. Even though his brothers hated him, Joseph did not hate his brothers but wanted to help them in feeding the flock.
As Joseph wandered about trying to find the brethren he did not get discouraged. Joseph continued to seek out his brethren after an initial failure. This willingness, spirit, this attitude, this characteristic, is seen in the life of Christ.“And it came to pass, when the time was come that he [Jesus] should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem.” Luke 9:51We need to take up our cross and follow the Lord Jesus despite the hard road in this life. “And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” mark 8:34 As the Lord Jesus had steadfastness in His life, so should we have steadfastness in our life.
The brothers conspire against Joseph
Genesis 37;18, “And when they say him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.” Joseph did nothing wrong or evil. The brothers hated Joseph for no good reason. The brothers are conspiring to reward evil for good. Proverbs 17:13, “Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.” Is not rewarding evil for good one of the works of the flesh? “… and such like.” Galatians 5:21
The rewarding evil for good is what the Jews did to the Lord Jesus. The Jews did not like Jesus, did not believe in Jesus, and rejected His doctrines. But, in spite of the evil of other people, the Lord Jesus did good works; He did not do any evil. Matthew 27:22-24, “Pilate saith unto them, what shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified, When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.”
Joseph is sold to the Ishmeelites
Genesis 37:28, “Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.” The greed in the hearts of the brothers of Joseph led them to sell Joseph for sold for twenty pieces of silver. 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith,and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” The number of saints, and ministers, who have walked in the flesh, and loved mammon more than the Lord Jesus, will only be known until the Judgment Seat of Christ.
The Lord Jesus was also sold out to the enemy by one of His brethren: Judas Iscariot betrayed, and sold Him, for 30 pieces of silver. Matthew 26:14-16, “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.” The history of the church is filled with saints, and ministers, who walked in the flesh and sold out the Lord, His doctrines, His walk, His precepts, and His church, for the coins of this life.
The brothers of Joseph deceive their father
Genesis 37:28, “And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their Father; and said, This have we found: know not whether it be thy son's coat or no.” One sin leads to another. First, the brothers hated Joseph for bringing their evil report to their father, then they envied Joseph, and then hated Joseph even more for his two dreams, then they wanted to kill him, then they sold Joseph, and now they deceive their father. Sin is now the master of the brothers. Romans 6:16, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; (whether of sin unto death,) or of obedience unto righteousness?)
Joseph in Egypt
Genesis 37:36, “And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard.” The Midianites sold Joseph to Potiphar. It was Potiphar’s responsibility to protect the king of Egypt.
In the Bible, Egypt is a type of the world. The Lord Jesus left the glories of heaven to come into the world as a man. Philippians 2:5-8, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
We need to have the attitude of Joseph. Joseph was very humble and willing to do the will of Israel, his father. Joseph said, “Here am I.” The Lord Jesus had a willing heart to do the will of God. Mark 14:36, “And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”