One name, two stories, many challenges, and one conclusion. Let's look at how God knits these stories together through his audacious love and mercy.
Joseph is the name. The stories, while different, both face a plethora of challenges. The way they handle those challenges and their outcome is the same.
These are stories you are probably very familiar with, but have you ever considered just how similar they are? And how important are both to God's ultimate redemption plan?
Our first Joseph, son of Jacob, is young. He is already seeing visions from God and sharing them. He is young, just 17, and a favorite of Jacob's. His older brothers, though, were not fond of Joseph. Between Joseph's less-than-stellar reports to their dad and a dream with claims they will bow down to their little brother someday, they were not fans. (Genesis 37)
Joseph's young life takes a turn when Jacob sends him out to check on his brothers again. They sold him into slavery, where he makes a good impression and is chosen to run his master's home. Joseph honors his God and his master, but a lie puts him in prison. After years of mistreatment and prison, he finally gets a break and helps Pharoah decipher his dreams. Joseph's years of suffering are over, and he becomes Pharaoh's right-hand man, saving two countries from starving in the process and allowing God's redemption plan to proceed as designed. (Genesis 39-41)
Hundreds of years later, another Joseph finds himself in a challenging situation. This Joseph, son of Heli, faced what he thought was betrayal by his betrothed Mary. He was a good man and was going to divorce her quietly. That is, until an angel of the Lord told him that Mary was carrying a child conceived by the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 1:18-21)
Joseph again found himself challenged when he needed a hotel room for Mary since she was close to birth. After she gave birth in a probable cave, the angel returned to tell them they had to hurry to Egypt to save Jesus from Herod's ominous decree. Joseph faced several hardships early in his marriage to Mary, but he saw God was faithful to them, and he was obedient, making way for God's redemption plan to come to fulfillment. (Matthew 2:13-23)
These stories are different, yet in so many ways, they are alike. Each scenario has components of God's redemption plan that must detour through Egypt for success. Both men faced immense challenges that seemed insurmountable. These Josephs were patient and obedient, allowing God to work through them. And they each were fortunate to see the success of their obedience.
Let's look a little deeper, though. Joseph and his brother's presence in Egypt was intricate to God's chosen people being set apart from the world. What started as eleven brothers became twelve tribes that make a great nation. Joseph and Mary's trip to Egypt was to protect the Messiah, the One who would save the entire world.
Friends, this is what I love about God's Word! These two stories, hundreds of years apart and seemingly unrelated, are forever knit together by God's hand to provide us an eternity with Him in glory. (Hosea 11:1) His mercy and love culminate in the ultimate fulfillment of His redemption plan for us!