Daily Update #228

Reading: Gen 37:3-4,12-13,17-28

Good morning everyone,

I am sure this story is very familiar, not just well known, but also known for its authentic portrayal of people.  A lot of the story feels not just familiar, but also unjust. But the story doesn’t focus on that, it unfolds gradually, each incident gradually showing us more human weakness or more of God’s guiding hand.

As we may know how the story continues, Joseph is often out of the frying pan and into the fire. Joseph became a useful servant, only to be falsely accused and imprisoned. Under threat of death, his gift of interpreting dreams eventually secures his release. Through his role under Pharaoh, saves his brothers from the famine that threatened their livelihoods as well as Egypt’s. It is a carefully woven story, finishing the book of Genesis. Joseph seems to suffer, suffer and suffer again. Lies, envy, hatred, abuse, imprisonment and estrangement are only replaced with reunion, healing and safety at the conclusion. Here Joseph declares to his brothers,  ‘as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.’

We looked at Joseph’s story during Lent a couple 2019. I wonder how the reflections we had then stack up now.

  • However highly favoured or blessed, it is more often the case than not that God’s people suffer before they enter his peace.
  • God allowed the situations, even though they were very difficult and dangerous. Suffering brought out things that Joseph would never otherwise have been able to do and other people were blessed by Joseph as a result.
  • There is a Godly outcome, but Joseph only realised it once it had come to pass. He never saw where God was leading him, though we know God was with him, (Gen 39:23). We rarely know the outcome from the beginning, we are to trust God in spite of what may happen.

 Suffering was the way in which Jesus made God’s love, justice and forgiveness real and known to us. It is the way the Father most often works. For Jesus, the joy of what he would accomplish would cause him to endure the cross. I wonder how we would respond.

Heb 12 1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

As part of your prayer today why not use Psalm 31 to consider the areas of challenge and protection that you have experienced with God. Identify with him the human responses you have taken and thank God for the Godly responses he has shown you.

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
31 In you, O Lord, do I take refuge;
    let me never be put to shame;
    in your righteousness deliver me!
2 Incline your ear to me;
    rescue me speedily!
Be a rock of refuge for me,
    a strong fortress to save me!
3 For you are my rock and my fortress;
    and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me;
4 you take me out of the net they have hidden for me,
    for you are my refuge.
5 Into your hand I commit my spirit;
    you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.
6 I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols,
    but I trust in the Lord.
7 I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love,
    because you have seen my affliction;
    you have known the distress of my soul,
8 and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy;
    you have set my feet in a broad place.
9 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
    my eye is wasted from grief;
    my soul and my body also.
10 For my life is spent with sorrow,
    and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my iniquity,
    and my bones waste away.
11 Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach,
    especially to my neighbours,
and an object of dread to my acquaintances;
    those who see me in the street flee from me.
12 I have been forgotten like one who is dead;
    I have become like a broken vessel.
13 For I hear the whispering of many—
    terror on every side!—
as they scheme together against me,
    as they plot to take my life.
14 But I trust in you, O Lord;
    I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in your hand;
    rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
16 Make your face shine on your servant;
    save me in your steadfast love!
17 O Lord, let me not be put to shame,
    for I call upon you;
let the wicked be put to shame;
    let them go silently to Sheol.
18 Let the lying lips be mute,
    which speak insolently against the righteous
    in pride and contempt.
19 Oh, how abundant is your goodness,
    which you have stored up for those who fear you
and worked for those who take refuge in you,
    in the sight of the children of mankind!
20 In the cover of your presence you hide them
    from the plots of men;
you store them in your shelter
    from the strife of tongues.
21 Blessed be the Lord,
    for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me
    when I was in a besieged city.
22 I had said in my alarm,
    “I am cut off from your sight.”
But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy
    when I cried to you for help.
23 Love the Lord, all you his saints!
    The Lord preserves the faithful
    but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
    all you who wait for the Lord!

Grace and peace