The story of Joseph Genesis 37-50 is one of my favorites. It seems to bring some new facet to light each time I read it. It's a story of love, hate, favoritism, deception, family drama, jealousy, sibling rivalry, disappointment, appointment astonishing hope and forgiveness. Yes, all the makings of a best seller.
At the beginning of Joseph’s life we see that his natural father, Jacob favors him over his older brothers. While this might have felt wonderful at first for Joseph, it didn’t go over so well for him with his siblings. This immature lad was a tattletale on his older brothers, no doubt wore his ornate coat way to often, and shared his dreams freely. This resulted in Joseph pleading for his life as his hard-hearted brothers plotted how they would murder him and the cover up that would follow. Can you imagine from favored son to dead son at the hands of his own brothers? But God...intervenes.
The drama continues from escaping the pit of death to be sold into slavery. Once again Joseph became a favorite, unfortunately by his Master’s wife. No doubt the other servants were jealous how this “Hebrew” could rise to the top so quickly and certainly the husband was furious. However, Joseph’s total focus was to please the God of his fathers and of his dreams and once again ended up in at the bottom of a dungeon. Thirteen years pass since the first pit experience until Joseph is summons to Pharaoh’s court. During that time he rose to the top trustee in the dungeon behind bars, yet spirit is free as Joseph is “remembered by God”.
This is the facet that became so evident to me this time. In spite of his 13 years in captivity, being betrayed by his own family, lied about, forgotten by others, Joseph continually made the decision to forgive and look with expectancy toward the God that had not abandoned or forgotten him. One of the evidences is by what Joseph named his sons. Genesis 41:51, “Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, ‘For,’ he said, ‘God has made me FORGET ALL MY HARDSHIPS and all my father’s house.’ (52) The second he named Ephraim, ‘For God has made me FRUITFUL in the land of my MISFORTUNES.” This is the key, Joseph allowed the God that continually throughout the story that “remembered him” to unpack his grief and disappointments and chose to forgive and move on and be FAITHFUL and FRUITFUL in spite of his misfortunes. He had made this decision long before he ever saw his brothers and stuck with it when he did see them.
What a truth, what freedom and hope to keep looking for God’s promise. Joseph lived his life to the fullest, he saved his lineage, Egypt, his dreams were indeed fulfilled and even his bones were carried into the promise land. My prayer is that God will help us all to trust Him to fulfill His promises, leave the hardships of the past and look with expectancy what God will do next.
Pastor Ruth Kaunley