In the first chapter of the book of Genesis, we see that God made man in His own image and gave him His dominion to have authority (Gen. 1:26). In the last section of Genesis, the fulfillment of these matters of image and dominion is seen in the experience of Jacob and Joseph. With Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel, there is the revelation of the transformation and maturity in the divine life for God’s expression. With Joseph, who represents the reigning aspect of the matured Israel, there is the revelation of the exercise of God’s dominion and authority for the fulfillment of God’s purpose. In the experience of each of these persons, the matter of speaking is prominent and crucial.
Jacob’s first speaking is recorded in Genesis 25:31: “Sell me your birthright.” In chapter 27 we see Jacob’s speaking was an absolute falsehood as he lied to his father Isaac in order to usurp his father’s blessing. Furthermore, his speaking in chapters 29 to 32 was full of self-interest, and when he was afraid that Esau would kill him in chapter 33, Jacob’s addressing him as “my lord” was like that of an actor or politician (v. 14). However, through the experience and process of transformation, the nature of Jacob’s speaking was changed in two significant ways. Firstly, the amount of his speaking was greatly reduced, as seen in his reaction to his loss of Joseph, his beloved son. Jacob also said very little when his sons told him that Joseph was still alive and in Egypt. Secondly, at the end of Jacob’s life he spoke to his twelve sons in the way of prophesying with blessing. Instead of speaking words of conniving, Jacob was now prophesying and blessing, both of which are a manifestation of his maturity through the process of transformation. From this we can realize that our speaking reveals where we are in the process of transformation and that our growth in life is manifested in our speaking.
In chapter 37 Joseph had two dreams in which he saw that he and his brothers, as God’s people, were sheaves of life and stars of light (37:5-11). His dreams indicated that he would be exalted and reigning. But instead of Joseph’s dreams being fulfilled immediately, he was betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery for more than ten years and eventually imprisoned. During his imprisonment, Joseph was bold to speak concerning the dreams of the king’s cupbearer and baker, who were imprisoned with him, even though Joseph had not yet seen the fulfillment of his own dreams. Two years later Joseph was again bold to speak concerning the interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream. It was through his speaking that Joseph was released from his imprisonment and confinement, and it was through his speaking that he was enthroned in Egypt, as the reigning aspect of the matured life. We need to follow the pattern of Joseph to speak boldly concerning the vision we have seen of God’s eternal purpose.
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