Genesis 37 & 38
I didn’t make it to posting anything yesterday because I had the sudden and rare urge to vacuum and mop all the floors of our house. And once I discovered all the hidden corners and crevices where our golden retrievers’ hair likes to congregate, let’s just say it took a lot longer then expected and left me utterly exhausted. So, I spent a little of yesterday and today reading in Genesis 37 & 38 and thinking about this guy Joseph. You see, I’ve read this story before, I think many of us have. Perhaps you watched (like I did) a sunday school teacher use her felt board to show Joseph’s colorful coat and tell the story of his journey from being the favorited son of Jacob, to the most hated brother, to sold into slavery, to… well, I don’t want to spoil the story. In fact, as I read it and stopped at the end of Chapter 38, I tried to think of what I would’ve been thinking as Jacob, as the brothers, as Joseph, not knowing the end of the story. You see God is not mentioned at all in these chapters, not in when Joseph shares his dreams, not in His thoughts on the brothers betrayal and lies, and not in Jacobs response to the grief of losing his son. And though God isn’t mentioned it doesn’t mean He is not there. You see, without spoiling the story, I already know that this is a story of God’s redemption for His people. In fact, all the stories in scripture lead to that… redemption, restoration, it’s woven into the thread that runs through the lives of every single individual. There is the promise of redemption, if we trust the only ONE who can redeem. But, I doubt Jacob, Joseph and his brothers were thinking about that redemption in these moments. How often, do the circumstances in our life feel so arbitrary, such needless suffering and loneliness and pain and heartache. Is there a purpose in all of this? It’s easy to look at Joseph’s story (knowing the whole story) and see God’s hand at work. It is so much harder to look at our own stories when we are IN THE MIDST of the pain and suffering and see the bigger picture. And yet, it’s in these places where we learn to trust, to trust in the ultimate HOPE that is to come… the kind that doesn’t disappoint, the kind that’s found in the saving work of Jesus Christ. He’s our hope. And he’s at work in the darkest places, in the bleakest circumstances, in the places where it seems all hope is lost. Still he is there. Many days, this story God is writing for us doesn’t make a lot of sense. We are in the midst of it, like Jacob who thought he lost his beloved son and Joseph who probably thought his life would now be defined by pain and suffering, we are moving forward wondering simply how we will survive the days and months ahead. We don’t know what perspective a year, 5 years, 10 years or even our view from heaven will give us, but we are confident that it will be a far greater perspective then we could have ever dreamed possible.
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
“Life is not a straight line leading from one blessing to the next and then finally to heaven. Life is a winding and troubled road. Switchback after switchback. And the point of biblical stories like Joseph and Job and Esther and Ruth is to help us feel in our bones (not just know in our heads) that God is for us in all these strange turns. God is not just showing up after the trouble and cleaning it up. He is plotting the course and managing the troubles with far-reaching purposes for our good and for the glory of Jesus Christ.” – John Piper, A Sweet and Bitter Providence: Sex, Race, and the Sovereignty of God
Questions of Reflection
- What circumstances in your life, pieces of your story seem to make no sense?
- What would it look like today to know that “God is for us in all these strange turns” and to live in light of that?
- Ask God to help you know His presence and to “teach you what you cannot see” (Job 34:32).
Tomorrows Passage (Day 30)
Still with Joseph in Genesis 40 to however far I get 🙂
And p.s. – Thanks to all those who have commented/emailed/messaged me the hidden treasures God is showing you along the way.. I’ve loved reading them and finding even more treasures with you as a result!
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