"God's Plan for the Nations - From the Life of Joseph"
From Genesis to Revelation the Bible reveals God's ultimate plan for the nations of the earth. Genesis reveals the foundation, Revelation reveals the culmination.
To properly understand God's heart of redemption for the nations, Genesis needs to be set securely as the foundation. The ancient Israelites were well acquainted with their sacred writings and the larger narrative presented by each book.
Three, Dramatic, Downward Steps
Genesis starts with three, dramatic, downward steps:
1. Adam and Eve failed to obey God's command to not
eat from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:1-24). The results were devastating and Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden and cut off from the tree of life.
Corrupted angelic beings left their proper domain and had intercourse with human women resulting in a hybrid race called the Nephilim (Genesis 6:1-7). This exponentially increased the level of wickedness on the earth until judgment came in a great flood.
3. Humankind failed to obey God's command to fill the earth and subdue it (Genesis 1:28, 9:1, 11:1-9). Instead they gathered in one place to build a tower which would reach to Heaven—the tower of Babel. In response,
God scattered the people and confused their language.
Three Sons of Covenant and God's Promise to the Nations
Despite these downward steps, God had
a plan for the nations that He did not abandon. He moved to restore all that was lost. He did this by initiating relationship with three sons of covenant—Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In fact, God cemented these covenant relationships with His identity by
making Himself known as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Exodus 3:6).
In Genesis, the account of the three downward steps (Genesis 1-11) is followed by the account of the three sons of covenant
(Genesis 12-36). Genesis 12:1-3 is the pivot point in the narrative:
"Now the Lord had said to Abram: 'Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show
you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
With this promise the destiny of the nations turned from despair to hope.
The Destiny of Joseph
A second major pivot point is initiated
with the story of Joseph (Genesis 37-50). Through a couple of dreams God revealed Joseph's destiny to him. Also through a couple of dreams God warned Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, that there would be seven years of extreme abundance, followed by seven years
of extreme famine. Joseph interpreted the dreams and gave Pharaoh a plan that would spare Egypt and the surrounding nations from catastrophe. Joseph was immediately promoted to carry out the plan.
very real way Joseph was raised up by God to fulfill promises given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The result: the nations of the earth were spared from being decimated by famine.
The Larger Narrative
Here's the larger narrative of Genesis:
1. Three, devastating, downward steps for humanity (Genesis 1-11).
God initiates relationships with three sons of covenant (Genesis 12-36).
3. Joseph is positioned and promoted so that Egypt and the nations can be spared (Genesis 37-50).
Egypt was an idolatrous nation and yet God desired to save the nation and reveal Himself to them through His covenant sons and daughters. God's plan has not changed.
The Foundation of Genesis
and the Hope of Revelation
The book of Revelation can not be properly understood without first understanding the foundational revelation presented in Genesis. That's why Revelation presents a picture of
every tribe, tongue, people and nation before the throne of God (Revelation 5:9). That's why Revelation speaks of the restoration of the garden of Eden and the access of the nations to the tree of life (Revelation 21-22).
In Genesis the sons of covenant determined the destiny of nations. In Revelation sons and daughters of covenant do the same. Revelation is a story of hope and restoration—not despair and destruction. God's plan isn't to destroy the nations,
rather, it is to destroy the evil forces that have deceived those nations. Our part in this master plan is to cooperate with God.
God released the dreams to Joseph—a son of covenant.
• God released the dreams to Pharaoh—the ruler of an idolatrous nation.
God released the word of wisdom to Joseph that would spare Egypt and the nations.
• God favored Joseph so that Pharaoh promoted him to carry out God's plan and do God's work.
God's end time vision for the nations of the earth is being revealed. The foundation of Genesis is being established and the hope of Revelation is being restored. God's heart is one of redemption. He loves the nations. That's why He sent His Son
to redeem them (John 3:16).
Jesus was obedient on two counts: Firstly, to the death of the Cross, and secondly, to Yahweh's decree in Psalm 2:8: "Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance..."
The treasure is the nations. That's what Jesus and the Father desire more than anything else. They will have this inheritance.
Rise of the Josephs
life is a prophecy of hope that speaks to our generation. The prophecy has three stages to it. Firstly, Joseph was shown his destiny (Genesis 37:5-11). Secondly, He was tested (Psalm 105:16-19). Thirdly, He was promoted (Psalm 105:20-22). In the testing phase
he had many opportunities to give up in despair.
The same is true of today's Josephs. God, however, is anointing them to see with new eyes. Josephs see redemption when others see only despair and destruction.
Josephs are apprehended by God's heart of redemption and join with Jesus in asking for the nations.
By Nathan Shaw
of David Ministries
528 Ellsworth St. SW
Albany, OR 97321