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Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

The Merit of Joseph

by Bishop Athanasios

"And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh: and Jacob blessed Pharaoh." GEN 47:7.

Joseph had been promoted in the kingdom. He wore robes of royal apparel, but Joseph was not afraid nor ashamed to identify with his old father, a man of 130 years, with homespun clothing (nothing appealing), a shepherd, and an abomination to the king outside of the merits of Joseph.

See some of the contrasts that stand between the monarch, Pharaoh, and Joseph's old father:

1) One was a patriarch; the other was a monarch.

2) One was the covenant head of a number who were destined to become a mighty nation; the other was a mighty monarch of a nation destined to be humbled before the seed of Israel.

3) The occupation of the lesser was an abomination to the greater.

4) One dressed in shepherd's apparel, the other in royal apparel.

The contrasts between the two were as far as the East is from the West, but in Joseph they were able to have reconciliation; they were able to have unity through the merits of Joseph.

This is a blessed gospel principle that is taught to you and me in Christ. It is in the merits of Christ that the Father can look upon sinners with favor that were an abomination in His sight, and that He can appoint them a portion in the goodness of the land.

Joseph was not ashamed to honor his old father by owning him before his master. Not only was he willing to identify with his old father, but he honored him. It was a great honor for Jacob to be introduced into the presence of the king and to be able to come and pronounce his blessing upon the king. This was a great honor that Jacob received as a result of Joseph honoring his father. We read that in Verse 7, "And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh." He seated his father in the presence of the king, "and Jacob blessed Pharaoh." Notice the contrast of events. Joseph brought Jacob into the presence of the king, and yet it was Jacob who pronounced the blessing upon Pharaoh.

Words of respect are worthless unless our actions correspond. Think of Jacob's homespun apparel in contrast to the royal apparel of Joseph and Pharaoh. Joseph knew how despised such would be before the king's court, yet he was not ashamed to honor his father by giving him a seat in the presence of the king. He was not ashamed to honor his father before Pharaoh, who would look upon him in his own merit. Joseph knew that outside of his merit, his father would be an abomination in the sight of Pharaoh, but it was in what Joseph had done, it was in the love that Pharaoh had for Joseph that he could look upon Jacob with favor.

Pharaoh was clearly touched by the loyalty of his servant Joseph. In his first meeting with Joseph, Pharaoh said, "Who can we find one who is wiser?" Pharaoh highly esteemed Joseph. Joseph had proven himself; what he had prophesied came to pass. There were seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine had become a reality. Pharaoh was touched by the loyalty of his servant Joseph and gave him a token of his pleasure, saying, "The land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell," GEN 47:6. Pharaoh understood that Joseph was genuine.

There are many lessons to be learned from this royal interview that took place between two princes. Jacob, as a patriarch, was a prince with God; he had power with God. Pharaoh was a prince in the realm of nature. Here we see a royal interview between two dignitaries.

The king had learned by Joseph's actions that he could hold him in unquestionable trust; therefore, he could look upon Joseph's honoring of his old father as an indication of righteousness.

Solomon said in PRO 16:31, "The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness." The king had no reason to question that Jacob had come to his "hoary head" in the way of righteousness, because he was the father of the son that had performed in the king's presence and whose service the king was well pleased with.

See Also:

The Spirit of the Law
Receiving Christ is a subject that is much misunderstood, and vitally important to our salvation.

Peace of God
A Christian perspective on obtaining lasting peace.

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