Day 14--Dream Coats Gone Bad--"Living Truth" (Gen 42 - 45)
January 14, 2021, 9:00 AM

Day 14 Gen 42 – 45

How can we NOT love this familiar story of Joseph and his brothers? And it absolutely makes a great Broadway play, or dramatic movie or other creative adaptation because this story has all the right elements: excellent costume possibilities, family conflict, suffering, miraculous restoration in a number of ways, and a big, happy family reunion at the end. What’s not to love?

Once again, however, it’s easy to let the familiar overcome the profound. Almost all of us know this story or have seen some rendition. How many of you picture Donny Osmond and his ginormous teeth when you think of Joseph?

The real Joseph had no Broadway staging. His coat may have been beautiful, but it was far less colorful than the version in the play. And the sin of jealousy, the abuse of power, and the festering pain of keeping a lie alive is everywhere in this story. Joseph’s brothers sinned against God, against their brother and their father. This is real, awful and ugly.

And as yet, there was no biblical law or guidance that told them the gravity of their sin. In fact, there was no bible for them to read for guidance. Jacob/Israel, their father, had wrestled with the One God, and knew the power of God’s influence and care. But what were these brothers to do when they had no road map for understanding how God would work in their lives?

They depended upon the faith of their father, Jacob/Israel. Their father’s faith was the textbook for passing along an understanding of who God is, and what God stands for. Joseph internalized his father’s faith, and carried that faith forward in everything he did. Separated from his family, enmeshed in a foreign culture, thrown in prison, brought into Pharaoh’s court to serve at the highest level, Joseph never forgot the faith of his father, and it guided everything he did and everything he said.

One of my favorite verses in all of scripture is this: “So it was not you who sent me here, but God,” which is what Joseph says to his brothers after reconciling with them (Gen 45:8). In the Message Bible, Joseph says “God sent me here ahead of you to save lives”.  What unbelievable faith! Joseph had every right to be angry, to be punitive, judgmental towards his brothers. Yet through faith, he understood that even trials and challenges in our lives can be used by God for His glory, and for our good. We don’t need to seek them out—they arrive all by themselves—pandemics, illness, grief.

My challenge for myself today—with all the places where I am privileged to see God in my life, including with this great opportunity to read the Bible with all of you, am I living and serving the way God would have me live and serve? Am I nearsighted and only see my own circumstances, or can I ask God for ‘glasses’ that allow me to see a bit farther, to know that my prayers and actions, even in difficulty, can ultimately speak louder than words about how much God loves each one of us?

I don’t need a technicolor dream coat to do this work, but I do need to be participating in the Big Dream of God for reconciliation, peace and community. Joseph’s story is a powerful example of a man doing just that.

 

 

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