We have managed to keep up with the reading, but have not been as thorough or as thoughtful as the weeks before. I have been taking pretty detailed notes on the Old Testament, trying to soak up all the stuff that I can sometimes miss when I am reading through a passage. But this week Jeff has been reading the passages out loud, and instead of taking notes, I have been chatting with him about it all.
Do you have someone you are reading along with?
This week found us reading all about Joseph, and the struggles he encountered. How his wretched brothers, out of jealousy, plotted to kill him, and in the end sold him off instead. How he found his way to Potiphar's home, only to be chased down by the woman of the house, and tossed into prison. How he was forgotten in prison, and then remembered once more...and finally made his way to second in command to Pharaoh.
Joseph finally became reacquainted with his brothers when they came looking for food during the famine. His brothers did not recognize him, and Joseph took his time revealing himself.
When Joseph finally told his brothers who he was...this is what he said to them...
"I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me me before you to preserve life...
Now therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God: and he has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt." Gen. 45: 4b and Gen 45:7
Are you able to look at life this way? Can you look into the eyes of those who have hurt you and see them this way? Joseph was completely filtering his circumstances through the eyes of the Lord. How does he do this? I know I am not one to forgive or forget easily. I can hold onto my hurts fiercely. Can you imagine how that scene might have played out if Joseph had held onto bitterness? How his whole life could have been so different if he had not walked with the LORD through all the suffering?
All through the story there are references to the Lord being with Joseph. Here is one..
"The LORD was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. Now his master saw that the LORD was with him and how the LORD caused all that he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge."
Joseph was a man of integrity. All who came in contact with him see it. They saw the LORD in him.They recognized the LORD immediately. Is this what happens to you? Do the people around you recognize the LORD in your life? Are you living in such a way that reflects Him?
I know this is simple and stuff we have all heard before. But it is good to remember, especially when we are struggling. Joseph's life was one struggle after another. And yet the LORD prevailed through it all. He never choose to walk away from the LORD when he himself had been forgotten in prison. He waited on the LORD, and the LORD prevailed.
I have to admit, I am nothing like Joseph. As soon as things get difficult, I fall right back into sinful patterns. I do not wait upon the Lord, I get angry and frustrated and want to give up. I do not want to forgive, or try to see how the LORD may be in a difficult circumstance, working out some greater good that perhaps we cannot quite see. And what is truly pathetic is that there are so many times the LORD has shown His face upon our life even though we have been impatient and acted out of frustration. HE is incredibly patient with us!
Oh may I be more like Joseph in the days to come.
Funny...just looked down at Psalm 16: 1-3
Preserve me O God, for I take refuge in Thee
I said to the Lord,
"Thou art my Lord, I have no good besides Thee,"
As for the saints who are in the earth, (like Joseph?)
They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight....
and later...Psalm 16: 5-11
The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You support my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.
I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;
Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.
I have set the LORD continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Joseph was not shaken)
Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will dwell securely.
For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
Do you suppose Joseph reflected on his heritage?
He remembered who he really was, and trusted that the LORD would remember him, too?
That is faith, isn't it?
Trusting the LORD to remember us?
Reflecting on who we are in HIM?
In HIS presence is fullness of joy.