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Vayeshev (וישב | He Settled)
Joseph, a Foreshadowing of Yeshua
This week’s Torah portion begins with the account of the 17-year-old boy named Joseph. His father Israel (Jacob) loved him more than all his other sons, and this made his brothers jealous and envious of Joseph’s standing with his father. If that wasn’t enough, Adonai gave Joseph a couple of dreams which depicted his brothers, and even his father and mother, bowing down in reverence to him. Though this was to come about at a later date, his brothers hated him all the more, and decided it was time to do something about it.
While his brothers were grazing their sheep at Shechem, Israel sent Joseph out to check on them. When his brother saw him coming at a distance they all decided the only way to deal with the situation was to kill him. So, when Joseph arrived they grabbed him and threw him in pit, after stripping him of his multicolored longsleeved tunic.
This same set of events played out hundreds of years later when the sons of Israel laid their hands upon Yeshua. They recognized that Yeshua was favored of God, far above and beyond any favor they could ever hope to achieve through their futile actions and works. Israel considered herself to be the firstborn of God, but because of her unfaithfulness she fell from the favor of God. Yeshua then arrived and demonstrated the true nature of Torah, that though we show our dedication to God through our works, it is through faith that we obtain favor. This simple revelation shattered the great yoke of control that the Teachers of the Law and Pharisees wielded for so very long.
So, as the sons of Israel did to Joseph, they hated Yeshua all the more. They took hold of Him and stripped Him of his clothes, just as the sons of Israel did to Joseph hundreds of years earlier. Then they took Him and placed Him upon the tree, declaring Him to be accursed before G-d. And finally, Yeshua descended into the pit and the sons of Israel declared him dead.
Joseph, the ever-faithful servant, after being sold as a slave, never wavered in his walk with God. Joseph showed himself to be faithful and trustworthy to all around him, and seeing this his captors favored him above and beyond all others, they put him in charge, trusting him with all they had. After several years went by, the opportunity again arose for Joseph to stand tall before Adonai. Joseph recognized that again God was giving him direction and opportunity when two of his cellmates had dreams. Joseph interpreted the dreams, and after they had come true it was Joseph’s turn to stand before Pharaoh.
Pharaoh had a dream also, and after nobody could interpret it for him, his servant remembered Joseph. He told Pharaoh how Joseph interpreted his dream and it came true. So, Pharaoh called for Joseph to stand before him. After Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream he was elevated to the second most powerful position in the land. Through it all, Joseph remained faithful. He waited patiently for Adonai to open the doors and fulfill His promises.
Likewise, Yeshua, after descending into the pit, rose again before all the people. Yeshua took His place at the Right Hand of the Father, just as Joseph took his place at the right hand of Pharaoh. Yeshua showed Himself to be Faithful and True, as the foreshadowing of Joseph did as well. The story of Joseph and his great trials stand before us as an example. It is not that Joseph was more than a mere man, it was that he put his trust, hope, future, and life into the Hands of G-d Almighty. He knew that the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is ever faithful. So, he simply put his trust in G-d.
Likewise, we should stand apart from the ways of this world, and put our trust in the Pierced Hands of King Yeshua. We should follow Joseph’s example and ever remain faithful before G-d and man, and in due time Adonai will lift us up as well. Knowing this, being set before such a great cloud of witnesses, let us strive for the prize set before us. Let us set aside all that would hinder us, and let us remain ever faithful before our King.
Revelation 22:20 (TLV) 20 The One giving testimony to these things says, “Yes! I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Yeshua!