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Reading in Genesis

April 25, 2006

1.29.2006

I’ve just finished Genesis recently and was completely enthralled by it–partly because of little expectation on my part and clearly because of its content. I’d have to say, maybe b/c it’s the last thing I read, that the story of Joseph gripped me the most. There was a guest speaker in Qatar at Doha Fellowship and he actually taught using this story. I had never heard it before being that I’d never read through Genesis and was never a Sunday school attender when I was little (at least not enough to dive into Genesis that deep). Needless to say, God was using this story in all different areas of my life.

Character transformation has to be the most touching part of the story as well as forgiveness and reconciliation. Joseph started out as a tattle-tale and a prideful young man, boasting about how his brothers would bow down to him one day. “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” vs. 37:9 Over the course of his life, after being sold by his brothers and being sent to prison on false pretensions, he grew into quite the man of God. Still human with blunder, no doubt, but transformed all the more.

Something I admire is his willingness to give the credit to God as he was using the giftings God had given him. He was not about to take the glory. “Then Joseph said to them, ‘Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.'” vs. 40:11 He claimed the power to be of God.

Joseph also handled change and challenge well. He clung to the Lord and allowed himself to be used in a mighty way. For example, when he was in prison he stepped out of his comfort zone as he went from the prophet to the interpreter.

Joseph aslo understood the importance of holiness and purity. He realized that committing such an act of adultery would not just be sinning against a man but also against the Holy God. “My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” vs. 39:9 He stood his ground as Potiphar’s wife attempted to seduce him. As a result he was sentenced to prison due to the lies of the woman; however, in the end, Joseph realizes the most important fact: “[man] intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” vs. 50:20

This very truth in vs. 50:20 can be spoken over his whole life as he extends grace to his 11 brothers, forgiving them completely. “‘So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.’ And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.” vs. 50:21

As Joseph dealt with all of the “wahalas” (problems) in his life, Genesis speaks of him weeping 5 different times. One of the Bible’s most intensely emotional scenes was when Joseph weeps so loudly people heard it in the next room, and Joseph’s brothers were speechless with terror and guilt. “And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it. Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am Joseph! Is my father still living?’ But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence.'” vs. 45:2-3

And of course…his dreams of prophecy came to fruition, for in the end his brothers did bow down to him…he was a leading man for the Pharaoh and saved the nation from famine, for God had given him a clear interpretation of a dream depciting 7 years of abundance and 7 years of famine. With this, he collected the crops and stored them away for the 7 years of famine to come. He distributed the food as needed and collected the money. Eventually his brothers were to come before him, not knowing it to be him….and the story goes–they bowed before him… “Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the one who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground.” vs. 42:6

And….this is where we get the 12 tribes of Israel…the 12 sons of Jacob aka Israel.

“Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall. With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility. But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, because of your father’s God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you with blessings of the heavens above, blessings fo the deep that lies below, blessings of the breast and womb. Your father’s blessings are greater than the blessings fo the ancient mountains, than the bounty of the age-old hills. Let all these rest on the head of Joseph, on th ebrow of the prince among his brothers.” vs. 49:22-26

There are so many other good stories in Genesis but this one stood out to me the most–probably because I heard a teaching about it and Mary was reading it at the same time I was reading it so we could talk about it…regardless…I was greatly impacted…

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