Who is Yahweh? The God behind the scenes

When Moses went to Pharaoh with God’s demand for the release of the Israelites, Pharaoh asked (not unreasonably), “Who is Yahweh?” And Moses might have said, “Well, it’s a long story…”

Part 12 (Genesis 37-47)

God does not speak to Joseph directly but through the medium of dreams (which require interpretation), and these dreams foretell future events. He is a God who acts behind the scenes, and Joseph comes to recognise this through the ups and downs of his own life. Within an inch of being murdered by his own brothers, at the last minute he is sold into slavery instead (Genesis 37:25-28). Falsely accused of rape and thrown into prison without trial (Genesis 39:17-20), a few years later he is suddenly given the opportunity to interpret the dreams of Pharaoh (Genesis 41:14-16) – as a result of which he is catapulted into high office (Genesis 41:39,40). So Joseph is well aware that his success is due to God’s planning, not his own. In fact, he is so fully convinced of God’s sovereignty over events that he even credits the seven-year famine to God (Genesis 41:28).

When Joseph is finally reunited with his brothers (Genesis 45), he feels no trace of resentment or bitterness towards them; he wants reconciliation, not revenge. For God, who “in all things works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28), has turned their evil intentions and wicked deeds to enormous good. Because of God’s providence, their crime against Joseph has resulted in the preservation of thousands of people (Egyptian and Canaanite, as well as the family of Israel) who would otherwise have starved to death. And God’s chosen people have been welcomed into Egypt as guests, there to settle and wait for the time when they can claim the land of Canaan for themselves.

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