PATRIARCH OF LOVE (3)

A MESSIANIC FIGURE

As we continue to look into the life of Joseph the patriarch let us see how it applies to our lives.

In Joseph there is a fulfilment, in a certain sense of the divine promise made to Abraham: “In you, all the families of the earth will be blessed”. Against fantastic odds, God preserves his life and brings him to a position in which he is responsible for saving, not only the life of the family of Jacob but of the whole world. The universal nature of the original promise made to Abraham is recalled in the statement: “Moreover, all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth” (Genesis 41:57).

Because the Joseph-saga comes out of Israel’s ancient past and was for centuries transmitted orally before its written formulation, it is possible that the germ of the later development of messianism was found in these early traditions. Perhaps the people of God came to see in Joseph the salvation motif which, after the fall of the nation, was expressed in the Servant of God: “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; so I will make you a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6).

In any case, Joseph is everything Israel loves most. Joseph is the living personification of covenant love: the gracious, saving love of God for those whom He rules, and the steadfast love of the people of God for their Lord. Because Joseph expresses Israel’s concept of the perfect ruler, he also expresses, in human terms, what Israel thinks of its Lord with whom she is bound in the mutual adhesion of covenant love.

Sir Godfrey Gregg

Divisional Patriarch

Author: Godfrey Gregg