Thursday, January 26, 2017

from pit to palace

So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the robe of many colors that he wore. And they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it.
Genesis 37:23-24

The long story of Joseph and his brothers ends the book of Genesis. Joseph is a good kid with a jealous bunch of brothers. He is clearly his father's favorite, and though he never asked for that favor from his father, that paternal doting enraged his brothers. Although it seems Joseph was somewhat naive, his willingness to share his prophetic dreams unfortunately make him look better than the rest of his family and this was perceived as arrogant. His brothers turned their jealously to hate, and then hate to conspiracy.

Joseph's story also shows us a man whose life is testament to God's sovereign care. When the brothers are intent on murdering Joseph, the voice of Reuben spares his life. And then, quite "co-incidentally" a wandering trade caravan of Ishmaelites shows up at just the right time to provide Joseph's ticket to Egypt. There in God's directorial skill, Joseph would serve first as a slave, then live as a prisoner, and then rise to be prime minister of all of Egypt. This is not the typical career path. His wise administration would save a nation and his own family during a large-scale regional famine.

Of course none of this was known to Joseph as he sat stripped of his robe, vulnerable in a pit, listening to his brothers conspire to kill him, then sell him into slavery. It wasn't a great option to be a slave in the house of Potiphar, but Joseph made the best of it. It wasn't a grand ambition to be a prisoner in the king's dungeon. Yet a sovereign grace seems to be working and though the circumstances may make it look like God is far away, He is not. Joseph remained a faithful man of character and practiced an obedient faith. God rewarded that in ways that could never have been imagined. It had to be dreams coming true. Those insights can help Christians stay at the hard stuff of our lives, even if our present circumstances, like Joseph's, seem more pits than palaces.

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