Thursday, January 16, 2014

Missing: The Heart of Joseph

This morning my Bible reading included Genesis 43-45. Most of us are familiar with the story of Joseph. Joseph's mother died during his youngest brother's delivery. He was born late in the life of his father. His father spoiled him making him is favorite which caused his brothers to hate him.

As a matter of fact they hated him so much that one day they plotted to to kill him. When Reuben prevailed upon his brothers not to kill Joseph he was thrown into a deep pit. Joseph was then sold to a traveling company of Ishmaelites who were traveling from Gilead to Egypt.

While in Eqypt he was falsely accused of attempted rape and thrown into prison. In prison he interpreted the dreams of two high level government personnel of whom he begged to be remembered in order to be released from prison. We know that they "forgot" Joseph and did not remember him to the King and he remained in prison for another two years.

Many are familiar with Jospeh's "famous" statement recorded in Genesis 50:20, "...as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive." Genesis 50:20, NKJV). I have quoted this a number times and I have prayed it a number of times when I faced great difficulties. I have thought of Joseph and his situation even as I wept broken hearted from the trials I was experiencing. 

But, I read this morning Genesis 43-45 and I was absolutely "arrested" when I came to 45:5-8. Joseph's attitude almost choked the life right out of me. Allow me to summarize it:

  • Joseph finally reveals himself to his brothers
  • Joseph wept for joy and love as he spoke with them
  • Joseph asked for news and information about his father
Now, listen to him as he talks to his brothers:

First, he tells them "I am Joseph your brother whom you sold into Egypt."

Second, "but...do not be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here." Notice what Joseph says next:

"...for God sent me before you to preserve life." Joseph is telling his brothers, whom he could be extremely angry at and could have them killed, don't be angry at yourselves. You thought you sent me to Eqypt, but you really didn't, God sent me here - and for a purpose.

Then again in verse 8 Joseph says, "So now it was not you who sent me here, but God..." As I type this my eyes have filled with tears, my throat is dry, and my  heart, well my heart, what can I say.

Deprived of his mother, growing up with an aged father, rejected by his brothers, treated roughly and rudely, thrown in a pit, threatened with murder, sold as a slave, falsely accused of attempted rape, thrown in prison, stabbed in the back, and "my brothers, don't be mad at yourselves, you didn't send me to this fate, God did?

 If only I could ever come to have such insight in God's glorious and sovereign character and to be able to view the few petty transgressions against me as Joseph did.

4 comments:

writing for pleasure said...

Good post Gregg, have been away from the blogs for a few days still trying to sort out my end of Google.

Yvonne.

Larri said...

I love it when God reveals something new to us in the familiar passages we've read for years. Thank you for sharing your insight. May we all have Joseph's wisdom when enduring trials. Happy Thursday, Gregg!

Susan said...

I agree with exception that Rachel died in childbirth while giving birth to Benjamin.

Gregg Metcalf said...

Susan - you are right and thanks! Somehow the "editor" missed that. I corrected it. Thanks again.