Currently we are in the middle of a sermon series on the life of Joseph. Joseph and the many stories that detail his life in the latter portion of Genesis are fascinating reads. However, there is a tendency to miss the grandeur of what God is doing through Joseph if we simply get caught up looking at Joseph.
It makes me think of a picture that I saw awhile back on the cover of Sports Illustrated. It was the edition that came out just after the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl. And on the cover was a picture of the Saints quarterback Drew Brees holding up his child amidst all of the post-game celebration.
But if you look at the picture you’ll notice that the little boy in his arms (who’s maybe two – if that) is wearing giant earmuffs to protect him from all the noise. It gets even better because if you look at the expression on the faces of all the people around this little guy and contrast that with the expression on his face you see a striking difference.
Everyone else is celebrating – there are giant grown men sobbing – there are players hugging each other. Confetti is cascading down in the background – I know from watching the game that camera crews are every where and there’s music blaring full volume. But amidst all of that this little kid has the most stone cold – almost bored look on his face. Obviously he has no clue as to what’s going on around him – he has totally missed the moment.
Well I feel I am a lot like that little kid on the cover of Sports Illustrated when it comes to reading stories in the Old Testament. There’s a tendency to miss the grandeur of what’s going on for insignificant details. The story is not about how to be like Joseph. Although Joseph exemplifies outstanding faith the primary concern of the text is not Joseph but how God is using Joseph. Joseph points us forward to see the truer and better Joseph – Jesus Christ.
Furthermore, Joseph and the entire story of his life points us to the deeper realities we find in the gospel. Joseph endured suffering for the sake of saving his people. He was despised and mistreated. He was even falsely accused. It doesn’t take too much mental energy to connect the dots to life. If we take off our “ear muffs” when we come to the story of Joseph we see a beautiful picture of the gospel. We are reminded that salvation comes through weakness. It begins with humbling ourselves before a Holy God and admitting our failure.
God’s story of redemption is full and robust – let’s not miss the magnificence of what is happening around us as we dive into these amazing Old Testament stories.