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The Pearl of Great Price

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Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had bee born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him. Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field, when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said. Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing own to me.” When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind. Now his brothers had gone to graze their father’s flocks near Shechem and Israel said to Joseph, “As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them.” “Very well, “ he replied. So he said to him, “Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me.” Then he sent him off… When Joseph arrived at Shechem, a man found him wandering around in the fields and asked him, “What are you looking for?” Joseph replied, “I’m looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are grazing their flocks?” “They have moved on from here,” the man answered. “I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’ ” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him. “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.” When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life, “ he said. “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the desert, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father. So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the richly ornamented robe he was wearing—and they took him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it. As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt. Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed. So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt. When Reuben returned to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes. He went back to his brothers and said, “The boy isn’t there! Where can I turn now?” Then they got Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. They took the ornamented robe back to their father and said, “We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son’s robe.” He recognized it and said, “It is my son’s robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.” Then Jacob tore his clothes; put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “No,” he said, “in mourning will I go down to the grave to my son.” So his father wept for him. Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard.[1] 

The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favour in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. So he left in Joseph’s care everything he had; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate. Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he effused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her. One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.[2]

The master’s wife had set Joseph up and once again Joseph ended up in prison. He was betrayed by her dishonesty regarding the circumstances that really took place. Again the Lord honoured him and gave him favour while he was in prison. The Lord showed him kindness and granted him favour in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and He was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.[3]

Joseph became the most powerful man in Egypt next to Pharaoh.[4] He suffered much hardship from the trickery and deceit of his brothers, and then injustice by the lies of the master’s wife who caused him to be put into prison. But Joseph remained true to his character and lived out his dreams and the vision that God gave him. He didn’t allow circumstances or obstacles to get in his way. Hardship was turned into victory and Joseph’s humble heart was one of forgiveness in all the circumstances that he encountered.

This is such a perfect similarity to the life of our Lord. He was betrayed by the religious leaders of His day. Judas betrayed Him with a kiss. The nation of Israel rejected their Messiah. He was wrongly accused, taken to trial, beaten and whipped at the hands of sinful men. They placed a crown of thorns on His head and mocked Him. He was sold for 30 pieces of silver by Judas, and His followers left Him when things were too hard. He was made to carry His own cross, and then they nailed Him to it by His hands and feet. Jesus never spoke a word against His executioners, but He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[5]

Jesus was completely innocent. He came to do the will of His Father. Both Jesus and Joseph were falsely accused and betrayed. Yet they both chose to walk through the trials set before them, choosing to forgive and demonstrating it with their lives. Jesus saw beyond the cross and knew that this would bring salvation to all and honour to His Father and the Holy Spirit. Joseph knew that God had a plan for his life, and Joseph was given the opportunity of saving the nation of Egypt and the surrounding countries from famine and destruction. Jacob received the best of the land through Joseph for himself and his family. What rejoicing there would have been when Joseph was reunited with his father!

So then, what is the pearl of great price? “The Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”[6]

Both Jesus and Joseph wept. Jesus wept for the nation of Israel, but they would not accept Him as their Messiah, the King of all kings. Joseph wept for his brothers. He did it in such a way that it kept honour in the family and gave honour to his father. He told the servants to leave the room, he wanted to be alone. Jesus died for the nation of Israel and the whole world to redeem man from sin and destruction. Jesus worked to honour His Father at all times. He only did what He saw His Father doing. Jesus came to reveal His Father to us so we could have a relationship with Him, who is our Heavenly Father. Joseph saved a nation and the world from famine and destruction. Joseph had a relationship with God as Father. He knew that his life was special to God. Everything he did was blessed and he found favour with God and man. No matter what the circumstances were, Joseph knew his God as Father. Jesus had a relationship with His Father and the Holy Spirit. He trusted Them to bring to pass the greatest miracle of all – salvation for all. He restored a relationship with our Father that was broken by sin, and gave us resurrection life. The pearl of great price is more than precious jewels or any amount of money, for to look for these and find them brings delight and joy for a short time, but it doesn’t last.

But to seek the eternal riches that our Father has for us is the pearl of great price. It will have lasting effects both now and for eternity and gives honour to the Father, for He deserves this. To be able to forgive and go beyond all expectations that exist in this realm, both Jesus and Joseph showed us by their lives the extent of the call that they both walked, beyond and to the cutting edge, so we would follow their example. Jesus knew that by honouring His Father allowed the joy of the Holy Spirit. To bring Jesus back to life again, Jesus trusted Them and laid His life down. Jesus fulfilled Hs Father’s request and dreams to have the honour and joy of many children who would desire to be His sons and daughters, not just His disciples. And then to truly be His elect of the Holy Spirit, for God set eternity in the hearts of men that we would seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness so that we would produce perfect works for His great pleasure. “I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”[7]

What a reunion and expectation when Joseph saw his father Jacob! What a release when Joseph forgave his brothers, even though they feared him and wondered whether he would hold a grudge against them. Joseph reassured them and promised them the best of the land with their father Jacob.

What victory Jesus has given to us through His death and resurrection! What unceasing love He has leashed upon us! What grace and truth He walked in! What power He moved in, despite the hands of men who didn’t receive Him! Jesus learned obedience by the things that He suffered.

We can learn to take hardships and challenges as stepping stones to greater victories, victories that will lead us to a greater reunion of joy with our Father, and which will bring us to the pearl of great price that will last for eternity.

“As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love. If you obey My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his Master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in My Name. This is My command: Love each other.”[8]

How wonderful our God is to give us such treasure that will last forever! His thoughts and His ways are higher than ours. He is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, so let us look deeper into what the Lord has for us, and may we run the race that is set before us so that we will endure to the reunion of our Lord Jesus with great expectation and joy for His return.

And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor will any ferocious beast get up on it; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.[9]

Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we love You. Amen!


 

[1] Genesis 37:3-36

[2] Genesis 39:2-12

[3] Genesis 39:21-23

[4] Genesis 41:40

[5] Luke 23:34

[6] Matthew 13:44-46

[7] John 15:11

[8] John 15:9-17

[9] Isaiah 35:8-10

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