Life Preserver: Genesis 45-46, Matthew 23


So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.

The story of Joseph is one of my favorite in Scripture, because it’s ending is so saturated with God’s plans to save His people.

The passage above is from Genesis 45:4-5. It occurs just after Joseph has revealed himself to his brothers. He explains that even though they did such terrible things to him by selling him into slavery, it was God who sent Joseph to Egypt to preserve their lives.

The thing about a life preserver is that if you want to save someone, you have to throw it away from yourself. A life preserver does no good unless it’s sent through the air and into the water for someone to grab. Otherwise, it’s just a big plastic donut.

Joseph was doing no good to anyone while remaining with his brothers because God’s plan was bigger than all of them. Joseph needed to be sent out, tossed into a sea of difficulty and hardship so that when his brothers found themselves there, he would be ready to save them.

God sent Joseph to Egypt.

Think about that. Think of all the things that Joseph went through. Years in prison, slavery, false arrests, the threat of death. God planned those things for Joseph so that he would be prepared to save his brothers. He needed to be sufficiently humbled and matured to act with kindness towards those who betrayed him.

God sent Joseph to Egypt.

That’s an easier sentence to swallow when we know the ending. But many of us are still somewhere in between home and Egypt, the boat and the ocean. It’s hard being there. it’s hard not knowing. It’s not having your feet on the ground. But the story of Joseph teaches us that God’s plans prepare us for great things in His Kingdom.

God sends us into Egypt so that we can become the means of preserving someone else’s life.

This is what He did for us in Jesus. Jesus could not save us until He came to earth to be mocked, persecuted, beaten, scorned, hated, and killed by us! He was thrown into the raging sea because we were drowning, and He is the only One who can save sinking souls.

God sent Jesus to the cross so that He would become our perfect Life Preserver.

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