Wednesday, October 26, 2016

TheLifeOfJoseph : Genesis 42

And so we continue the story of, 'What goes around, comes around'. By Joseph's actions, Egypt became known as a place to go to buy grain. His actions saved many lives, and by these actions, he perhaps hoped (or knew) that his family would make the trip to Egypt. 

There are many questions that need to be answered about Joseph and his life - many of which cannot be answered - but I am convinced that the Lead Conductor of this story had His plan and His ways, though often (or always) much higher than our ways, still leads us to praise Him - because trusting Him always brings about salvation!

Joseph must have longed for this day of reunion as we are told at the beginning of the story that he had a dream in which his family would bow down in front of him (Gen: 37:5-11). As a teenager, he certainly had no idea what these dreams meant, but perhaps he is creatively putting the pieces together in his mind, as he is now in a very high position of power. As said already, he maybe realizes that he will see some (if not all) of his brothers again because there was a famine in the land. 

I can't help but put myself in Joseph's position through this story, but for the first time, we are almost convinced, by the writers' style, to start to feel guilty for the brothers and put ourselves in their position. They have been living with the memory of what they have done to their brother for close to 30 years at this point, and now, believing Joseph is dead, have to live the rest of their lives with the guilt on their consciences. 

"When I think of the way Joseph behaved toward his brothers, the verse that comes to mind is Romans 11:22: 'Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God'. Joseph was certainly kind to his brothers in spite of the severity of his speech and some of his actions, and what he did was for their good. His motivation was love and his purpose was to bring them to repentance and reconciliation. We need to remember this the next time we think God is treating us unjustly." (Wiersbe OT Commentary)

Perhaps, at this stage of Joseph's life, we are cut to the heart with how severe his story is. Prison, slavery, unjust accusations, waiting, etc. All the things of a story that make up a good story. Stories we like to read but don't like to live ourselves. Joseph's story is one of courage, but we do need to remember he is a man; only a man. His decisions to do the things he did in response to his brothers pleads may have looked harsh to our eyes, but even in these decisions, the LORD was a part of the process (just like in our lives). But here's a perspective that, if viewed through this lens, I think we would have a much better response to the lives we lead (hopefully in saving many lives):

"After the promised seven years of plenty, the years of famine came upon the Middle-Eastern world, but thanks to Joseph, there was abundant grain in Egypt. God had sent Joseph ahead (45:5; Ps. 105:17) to preserve his family so that one day the nation Israel could give the world Jesus Christ, the “Bread of Life” (John 6:48)." (Wiersbe OT Commentary)

Because of the decisions made in this story and the theme of 'saving many lives', we are reminded of Jesus. In a very real way, what goes around really does come back around. This story (and all stories in the Old Testament) sets the stage for our salvation, our Messiah. Sometimes much longer than we would have liked it to, but it still does. If we only, in the midst of our stories, trusted the LORD to orchestrate in such a way that we would see our part in the Great Symphony called our lives.

If only...

May we look up from our music stands and believe the music within our souls that needs to be order to bring many to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. He is the main character. What are we doing to give Him centre stage? Are we fixing our eyes on the Master Orchestrator or are we playing our own tunes? 

Something to think about... 

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