Ever feel like nothing goes right? The whole world against you? Put the tea kettle on and break out the cookies; or, if you would rather crack a Mountain Dew and a grab box of Krispy Kremes because this is going to be good. Check out Joseph:
Joseph is the guy people are always grabbing at, for good or evil.
- His brothers (for evil--got him from behind);
- Midianite traders (for good? Rescuing him from his brothers?);
- The Potiphar (for good or evil?);
- Mrs. Potiphar (for evil, definitely).
And while they are grabbing, God is using and directing.
Folks nowadays like consistency, especially the kind that profits them and grows. But Joseph was climbing a very peculiar ladder--always successful, but always on the bottom, except when on top. God was lifting him up, and others were pulling him down--and it never seemed to go to his head. The light was always over his head, and darkness under his feet. Amazing.
When God is directing and using, where would you say you were on the ladder when all is going right on wrong? Joseph was not out to serve his own interests and this is worthy to note. Joseph also some unique characteristics--he maintained a constant youthful outlook, a naivete toward life. I knew one pastor who would probably have called Joseph the Gomer Pyle of the Bible, always in a state of, "goll-ly''. He may seem the gullible type, but he certainly was not stupid. But instead of walking blindly in and out of situations, complaining about what did not suit him and loudly lament his bad days, he confessed the sovereignty of God and his satisfaction in His plan to glorify Himself. He was a Gomer Pyle for what God was Doing!
Joseph was also a man of contemplation and prayer. I infer this from thc fact that he had a great deal of time . . . by himself . . . alone. If he were only a man of contemplation, he would have left his prisons a philosopher. Instead, he was released a theologian! He thought much about where he was and why. He had time to replay and regret and plenty of time to repent. Joseph talked to God about his stuff, instead of reasoning and conniving his way. Together with this, I think it would be safe to assume he was not one who could do as he pleased. Instead, he knew he was one held accountable to God ultimately.
He had no rights to claim. All he could do was nurture what he had. At times he had to put away Private Gomer and break out the Colonel Rambo--he had to fight like a man.
Riches I heed not,
nor mans empty praise.
Thou mine inheritance
Now and always.
Chapter 42 summary (this is worth the read, folks): A famine hits the land (a threat to the promise God made to make a nation out of Jacob's sons) and Jacob (whose name was changed to Israel--but his old name is used here--curious) tells his sons to quit standing around gawking at each other and go to Egypt for food. The Jacobsons load up the camels and go--leaving Benjamin home at dad's
request insistence. Joseph recognizes his brothers, and tests them by throwing them in prison for 3 days. Suddenly they realize that selling their brother and lying to their father (how many years ago now? Long enough to bring prosperity to the Potiphar and prison system--and at least two years beyond that when a butler suddenly remembers him) was not such a good idea after all. Joseph finally ''lets them go" with the promise to return with Benjamin--oh, by the way Simeon stays as ''insurance" to return. Joseph sends them home but sneaks their money back in their sacks. The Jacobsons discover the money and scoot home just a little bit faster. At home they have to pretend they "just" discovered the money--and (quietly) ohbythewaypopwehadtoleaveSimeonasahostagesocanwe
One Jewish encyclopedia says the mourning of Jacob could be heard in Egypt from Canaan and the Egyptians feared.
Time enough passes to allow all the grain to be eaten. "Famine still Raging, Promise still Threatened," read the headlines (they cannot go buy food unless Benjamin is with them--so they take him . . . with double the money). The Jacobsons load up the camels again only this time with gifts--the same items carried by the traders who bought Joseph (hmm). Joseph receives them royally and they don't know what to think.
The Jacobsons go back home but Joseph hides his cup in Benjamin's sack (he's not finished with them yet). The boys are arrested and accused of stealing a sacred object (like Rachel stole Laban's gods and hid them). The boys are so scared but convinced they did nothing wrong, say to Joseph, "whoever you find with your object will die" (the same thing Jacob said to Laban).
And, lo, it was foundeth in Benjamin's sack. Did'nt Rachel die giving birth to Benjamin? See Gen 35:16-20.
Do you think Joseph was dropping some heavy hints?
And look at what is God doing!
- Gen 35:9, 43:29 Blessing-giving
- Gen 35:10-15 Conversing, Name-calling and Promise-renewing
- Gen 39:9 Standard-setting
- Gen 40:8 Dream-interpreting
- Gen 41:16 Answer-giving
- Gen 41:25, 39 Plan-revealing
- Gen 41:28 Providence- setting
- Gen 41:32 Sovereign-doing
- Gen 41:38 Servant-indwelling
- Gen 41:51 Toil-forgetting
- Gen 41:52 Fruit- producing
- Gen 42:18 Fear-Recieving
- Gen 42:28 Conviction-giving
- Gen 43:14 Mercy-giving
- Gen 43:23 Treasure-Returning
- Gen 44:16 Iniquity-revealing
- Gen 45:5 Life-preserving
- Gen 45:7-8 Send-beforing
- Gen 45:9 Leader-making