Unpacking Joseph!

There is something fundamentally important that God wants us to understand in the journey of Joseph in Kingdom Purposes.
(We have established one significant issue before about Joseph, that even after the abundance of his dreams or of prophetic revelation that he had about himself, there was still a significant chunk of information that was hidden away from him, i.e. the pit, slavery in Potiphar’s household, the prison etc. This must leave us with humility that even though we may be armed with prophecies and revelation, there are things outside of our sight that we’ll however have to confront and contend with in due course as we make our way to the summit of prophetic fulfillment. Beyond prophetic information, we must therefore also be kept by faith, endurance and the integrity of our hearts. We must believe even when we don’t have full details of developments around us).

Now Joseph’s journey begins with a dream that seems to be centered around himself. Out of the dream from the Lord, all that becomes an issue in his family conversations is “who is going to bow to who” (Gen. 37:1-11). But later on, when the brothers come to Joseph out of fear, to apologise for what they did to him, they find that Joseph (who has by now been processed by the Lord for many years through life) has shifted his focus in the dreams from the centrality of his life to a new emphasis, “the saving of many lives” (Gen. 50:15-21, especially vs. 20). His words, “you intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives”, serve to assure his brothers that he has forgiven them. His perspective about the dreams had now been calibrated (or re-aligned) by the Lord over time. It was the same details of the dreams he had had as a 17 year old boy but now a different prophetic outlook and emphasis, it was now about the people that God was saving. Joseph went beyond the details of the dreams and began to focus on the real issue, the intention of the Lord in the dreams. How interesting is it that something as big as the salvation of global mankind initially caused such tension and conflict in this tiny little family. We can also equally imagine Joseph’s brothers standing before him in shame in Gen. 50, realizing that they had picked on such a tiny insignificant issue out of the dreams and even acted harshly towards Joseph, when the real issue was a global mission to save many lives. The issue was never about who was going to bow to who. The issue was always about the saving of many lives, and yet the initial conversation in the household of Jacob, threw the matter completely out of context, eventually resulting in a lot of pain and brokenness – thank God that Divine Sovereignty won the day in the midst of the chaos. The hand of God was in fact in the chaos – God was sending Joseph through these painful circumstances (Ps. 105:17).

The beautiful account of Joseph in Ps. 105:16-22 points out that the word of God proved Joseph true (vs. 19). The functionality of Joseph was indeed established in the midst of his brothers (they did bow before Joseph eventually) but under a very different set of circumstances. It was impossible to imagine in Gen. 37, when Joseph was 17, the context within which such dreams would be fulfilled. The context was that of a global famine. In fact it was even beyond the global famine itself – this was about God establishing the nation of Israel within the empire of Egypt. Through Joseph, God moved a small clan into the empire and established them as a nation over time. So Joseph had this statesman’s, diplomatic and apostolic calling of transitioning Isreal from a clan to nationhood in the earth. Part of the error of Jacob’s family was to try to interpret the dream that was meant for a different context of massive global movements, in the context of its reception, when the family was a little entity living in obscurity. The error was in framing the conversations of interpretation of the dream within the context of a small family, when the dream was intended for a different and bigger global context in the future of the state of nations. There were circumstances that God would orchestrate to make Joseph’s dreams a possibility. Until then, the “curtain of time” blocked everybody’s view and compromised analysis and interpretation of what God was really saying. There was therfore a sin of presumption and pride where the family thought that the dreams would never be fulfilled – it became an issue of, “we will never bow down to you”. But they forgot that they were not the captains of the future, God was. And that there were global developments coming upon the earth, that were going to affect even the wellbeing of the household of Jacob itself. God was busy working out circumstances in the globe to facilitate the fulfillment of what Joseph had dreamt, or put differently, of what God had spoken to Joseph and by extension, to the household of Jacob. The reality is that the ultimate picture of fulfillment of the dreams took everybody by surprise, including Joseph himself. Both the one who believed and those who despised the Speaking of God were shocked by how God had orchestrated things. The humility on both parties led to a beautiful reconciliation in the end – Joseph laid to rest his pain and bitterness, and fully yielded himself under the revelation and government of God. Joseph’s brothers equally put aside their shame and pride and yielded themselves under the Sovereignty of God. What a beautiful picture! This was not an issue to be resolved over a table through human effort, it was an issue that would be resolved by sight of divine purpose in all parties concerned. In the end, the Purpose of God was established – ie. many lives were saved, Israel was established as a nation and the trajectory leading to the exodus was set in motion.

There will always be tension and conflict when the Speaking of God is interpreted within the context of its reception. We have to frame and reframe the conversations, under the help of the Holy Spirit, so that we can even have correct analysis of what God intends with what He is saying to us. It is so beautiful that both Joseph and his brothers eventually reframed the conversation, from the position of contention within the household of their father (which was never going to be the platform of fulfillment) to a bigger context of salvation of mankind, in a totally different context, in Egypt. How beautiful it is that in Genesis 50, the issue of who must bow to who is thrown out of the window and yet this is the same issue that led to the chaos in the first place. Clearly, this conversation (in Gen. 50) was held not only under very different circumstances but also by a very different people. We learn one clear lesson here – the Speaking of God is always intended to bring salvation and redemption to His mankind, we must refuse to recieve the Speaking of God in the smallness of our mindsets. God is always stretching us beyond our “households” and “spaces” to bring redemption to environments that have not yet even been formed but that will surely exist in the future by God divine orchestration. This is purifying! It requires a people with big hearts! It requires that we become a people who think broader than our current spaces and environments. The Joseph mindset therefore must be that there is always something bigger than us that is forming in the Purposes of God. This empowers us to refuse to interpret God’s Speaking based on our current platforms and spaces. It empowers us to hold the Word of the Lord or prophetic revelation with purity and humility, knowing that God is working out and forming circumstances within which the things He’s spoken to us must be fulfilled. The Joseph mindset is a shift from seeking to establish our “significance” in the Purposes of God to focusing on servicing the Purpose of God as God redeems His mankind. It was never about the household of Jacob, it was always about nations and mankind, and so the conflict between the brothers was unwarranted, irrelevant and insignificant within the context where the hand of God was moving to redeem mankind.


Robert Ntuli

7 thoughts on “Unpacking Joseph!

  1. This is a thorough and comprehensive account indeed. Many of us have fallen for the trap of mixing issues and worshiping our egos and emotions and end up discounting the macro purposes of God. I hope and pray that many like myself will find redemption through this revelation of truth.


  2. This was not an issue to be resolved over a table through human effort, it was an issue that would be resolved by sight of divine purpose in all parties concerned… This is a POWERFUL REALITY in days where humans find offence and conflict over every issues and thought. THE LORD IS SOVEREIGN. W@h!


  3. This is PURIFYING. I’m touched by the emphasis that as servants of the Lord we need to “shift from seeking to establish our “significance” in the Purposes of God to focusing on servicing the Purpose of God…”


  4. Continue to reveal your broader plans in my heart Lord . Help me to lift up my eyes no matter how small and insignificant or random a conflict may appear .Although I am familiar with this mindset, I would like to add that this is an indescribable beautiful story that touched me so deep that my perception of God has changed to a new level… even if before i have known the things about his Sovereignty..Deep calls to Deep!!


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