Posted by: Bro. Lawrence D. | February 18, 2009

Joseph as the Shadow, Jesus the Fulfillment: My Paradigm For Suffering the Loss of Family Relationships

I’ve heard certain evangelical ministers decry the “Dare to be Like Daniel” applications of the Old Testament. I understand their concern (that it boils down to moralistic teaching and hardly lifts up the Lord Jesus Christ) but I will risk going against their grain in this post. (Though I do intend to present Christ!)

The story of Joseph has been my favorite story in the bible since the Sunday School classes of my youth. I always identified with him because he was a “dreamer”. I have always, and I mean always, had very vivid dreams in my sleep. As I got older, more and more details of Joseph’s story came clear to me and I saw many more parallels between he and I. But the one’s that were most important I didn’t see. I mean this man had a character and tenaciousness in his devotion to God, that I can only yet hope to attain. But now I’m starting to realize why the Lord had me to identify with Joseph. And also why, in a greater since,  the demeanor of the Lord Jesus Himself is my goal. Let me explain…….

1. Like Joseph, I am the son of my father’s old age. (39) My dad didn’t love me more than my brothers, or my sisters for that matter, but I am the only one that he raised from birth to high-school graduation. I think that this is by God’s design because my dad became a Christian shortly before I was born. Therefore, he was saved while he was raising me. Seeing him study the bible constantly, and believing him to be the smartest man in the world, it caused me to develop a love for studying the word of God.

2. Jesus was His Father’s only begotten Son. He was special to His Father in ways that cannot be exhaustively explained. However,  He had the testimony, that “I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” (John 8:29) Though I have definitely not reached a point to be able to make such a claim, nor could I ever truly make it, I do desire to have the dedication to God the Father that our Lord had. Even if it means I lose family relationships. 

3. Like Joseph, God has decided to show me many things in that study for which, not just my brothers, but my mother and many others despise me. I have issued challenges to them all at different times to show me where I was wrong. They either copped out by saying, “I don’t won’t to argue” or “I’ll get back to you”. Well, I’m still waiting.

4. Jesus was rejected by His brothers until after His death and resurrection. He was truly despised and rejected of many men.  (Isaiah 53:3) According to Hebrews 12:3 he “endured such hostility by sinners against Himself”. And there is no doubt that at times this included His family. But His attitude was “whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” Again, I desire to take this attitude as my own in regards to my allegiance to Christ and Him alone. (I request that those of you who are reading this pray for me in this area.) I desire to “go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.” (Hebrews 13:13)

5. Like Joseph was by Potiphar’s wife, many of my family members are falsely accusing me of many horrible things. I’m even having my motives and intentions for breaking with my father’s church and the entire COGIC organization questioned. They all believe that I am following men instead of God. And none of them would admit that if that man that I was following was them, then they wouldn’t have a problem. Like Potiphar’s wife, I believe that they may be convicted and embarassed by the progress in biblical knowledge that I’ve made so their only course is to invent and harbor false accusations and false assumptions. In the case of Joseph, we never see him pleading his innocence. (Though we can imagine he may of.) But we do see him enduring while receiving undeserved punishment. Trust me, this is a major area of struggle and failure for me. So another prayer request comes in here.

6. We all recognize that our Lord was falsely accused many times. He was falsely accused of speaking against the temple, threatening to destroy it (Matthew 26:61). He was falsely accused of falsely claiming to be the Son of God. (John 19:7) But according to Isaiah 53:7, “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.” (see also Matthew 27:13-14) The very One who when rightly judged was found without fault (Luke 23:13-15) said nothing nor did anything to defend Himself that He might fulfill all righteousness before the Father, on behalf of all those who would believe on Him. (Again, I must insert yet another prayer request here. I’ve already asked several brothers personally for their prayers in regards to this. I chafe at false accusations. I practice self-defense all the time. But I won’t to be more like Christ in this regards.)

7. After all that Joseph suffered, right at the time that he had the upper hand on his brothers and in the many subsequent opportunities that he had where he could have exacted revenge, he had this to say: “”As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.’ So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” (Genesis 50:20-21)

8. And here’s what the scripture declares concerning our Lord’s attitude toward His suffering, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame,… (Hebrews 12:2) He suffered greatly for the joy that was set before Him. And He refused to feel the shame that so easily overtakes me when I believe that I’m suffering wrongfully.

I want to close with a few texts of scripture:

Matthew 16:24-27

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny Himself, and take up His cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it  profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Luke 14:26-27,33

“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes; and even his own life, HE CANNOT BE MY DISCIPLE. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me CANNOT BE MY DISCIPLE…..So then, none of you can be my disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.”

I ask that you pray with me that the Lord would apply all the correct attitudes demonstrated in all these verses to my heart so that I will willingly desolve any and all relationships that keep me from being the Lord’s disciple. Whether it be family, friends, mentors, etc. I want to have one-heart devotion to my Lord and Savior.

No matter the cost!

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Responses

  1. Bro. Lawrence,
    I was just talking to my 10 year old about Joseph this morning on our way to school. I have to finish it tomorrow. I love how you tied it into Jesus’ fullfillment.
    It is an awesome thing to realize how the Old Testament is all about Jesus. Plus how our circumstances have been lived out through the bible and we can know how to best handle them. Either by forgiving and loving as Jesus did or by holding onto bitterness and being destroyed by our own selfishness.
    Praise God…

  2. Maybe this is what Jesus was talking about when he said:

    “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ ” -Matthew 10:34-36

    -Danny

  3. Bro. SOwen,

    You are one of the brothers that I had in mind when I said that I’ve already asked several for their prayers. I didn’t know that I would be tested so soon after asking for the prayers but God did. He has even prepared my way by having ask good brothers like you and Lionel and Brian and DTG and now Bro. Danny.

    Thanks for your earnestness on my behalf.

  4. Bro. Danny,

    That scripture is one of the most powerful examples of how wrong of an idea most people have about our Lord and anyone attached to Him! You hit right on it!

    By the way, how have you been? I haven’t heard from you in a while. I have a powerful testimony coming up in a few so be on the look out for it. It will probably be “My Favorite Attribute of God: Part 2”.

    Let’s keep one another in prayer.

  5. BLD

    I am praying for you bro. Keep on towards Christ my friend, serve Him wholeheartedly.

    Karsten Miller

  6. Bro. KM,

    Thanks for your prayers brother! Give me a call later man. It’s been too long since we last spoke! How’s the family?

  7. Hey Bro,
    I am going to call you on Monday, I haven’t forgot. Just been a little busy!!

  8. Got you!

  9. Wonderful post Bro. Lawrence!

  10. Thanks Brother CJ!

  11. Lawrence-

    Danny beat me to the Matthew verse, but I have lived that verse for 20 years. After being born again and marrying my wife, my Roman Catholic family all but disowned me.

    They would not accept invitations during the holidays to come and visit and have never extended an invitation to us during the past 20 years.

    They would move and not even tell me where they were located.

    My brother and sister did not even call me to tell me my mother was dying until they needed me to come and pay to put her in hospice care.

    During her last few months I was able to spend a large amount of time at her bedside and present Christ to her, discuss a lot of things with her and when she could no longer communicate, I just read the gospels to her until she died.

    I know a little of what you are going through, maybe from a different perspective, but I will be praying for you and your family.

    Your brother in Christ.

    BTW: I alreday told you this on Lionels blog, but I will say it again here, I am sorry that I called you a racist and do not think you are a racist.

    I think you and I are just misunderstaning what each otehr is saying on the issue.

  12. Bro. Hutch,

    I’m sure your story is an incredible one and I hope to hear you share it with me soon. Hit me on my personal e-mail (lawrencedacus@aol.com) so we can exchange telephone numbers.

    Hutch, you are very valuable to me as a brother in Christ. Whenever I see your name on a comment on Bro. Lionel’s blog I always read it because I expect to be enlightened, challenged and/or encouraged. I hold nothing but love and respect for you in my heart. I thank God that He used that experience to make me take a look at my heart in that area and I found out that I wasn’t squeaky clean. So please brother, know that I forgive you and I desire your forgiveness for my offense toward you.

    Let brotherly love continue!

  13. great post…i touches on a lot of what i was going to ask you about…i dont see what the big deal about you leaving is…its not like you left the actual Church…i’ve already heard rumblings that my grandfather feels some kind of way because I left COGIC…i’d like to think that he wouldnt treat me funny…man, ill be praying for you and your family..


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