The Word for today:
God never appeared to Joseph.
But His leading and shaping hand is more evident in Joseph’s life than anyone else in Genesis, many of whom God appeared to. In fact, there is no person in the Old Testament in whose life the purpose of God is more clearly seen.
This should be an encouragement to every child of God. None of God’s children today have ever had a direct revelation from God. When the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us, God’s expression to our age was finished, complete:
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son. (Hebrews 1:1-2)
It is for our encouragement that God did not appear to Joseph directly because we can still know that He is leading and directing us.
Above all, the story of Joseph is about God working his will through the everyday events of life. There are no miracles here. God does not suspend his natural laws to make things happen. God’s hidden hand arranges everything without show or explanation, without violating the nature of things:
And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. (Genesis 45:7-8)
God is not just the God of the extraordinary, but the God of the ordinary as well.
His power and infinitude take the good and evil actions of Joseph’s family, of Pharaoh and his servants, and use their actions for good (Gen. 50:20).
God providentially brings about Joseph’s rejection so that Joseph might ultimately be used to effect his people’s salvation. “Providence” is the hand of God in the glove of human events:
Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen.