4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.” And they came closer. He said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7 God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God (Gen 45: 4-8a)
In this text we read about how God preserves his people in the midst of forces and pressures that seek to do us no good. Joseph the son of Jacob knew this very well. If there was ever a person who knew the forces and pressures of life that seek to pull apart and press us down it was Joseph: sold into slavery; sent to prison, forsaken and betrayed by family and friends. Yet through all of that Joseph persevered; Joseph prevailed; Joseph persisted! He went from prison to prominence! How? Why?
4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.” And they came closer. He said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life… God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God.”
In our text Joseph is pointing to a biblical truth which is throughout the Old and New Testaments: that is, the truth that God preserves us. In a theological parlance or manner of speaking this is known as “remnant theology.” All throughout sacred history God has always preserved for Himself a remnant: in the days of Noah there were eight; Abraham there was one (Isaac); in the days of the Judges God whittled down Gideon’s troops from 32,000 soldiers to a mere 300 to win the battle; in the days of the evil King Ahab there were 7000 who would not bow their knee to Baal; in the days of our Lord he taught that broad was the road to destruction, but narrow the road to life; in the days of the Apostolic church it was known as a “little flock.” Joseph points this out to explain how he persevered and how he was used by God to preserve his family in the midst of a great famine, taking them from Canaan to Goshen, preserving 70.
One of the things we learn from the life of Joseph is that in spite of our abilities, our tenacious perseverance, we are held up and preserved by God. I like to say that God preserves us in our perseverance. Paul says, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling, knowing it’s God who works in us to will and do!” As we look back in faith upon 2013 we are aware of how God has preserved us. As we look forward in hope may we look to God and his plans for us in 2014 as He again continues to preserve His people! Pray for your leaders and your church this coming year for God’s preservation!
Soli Deo Gloria