Joseph

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Photo by Saad Chaudhry on Unsplash

In my study journey, I have taken a side trip.  I did not study the word pain this week.  I had Joseph on my mind.  Finally, I sat down and visited him in Genesis chapters 37-49.  I read about a family torn apart by favoritism, jealousy, greed, and hatred. What a wild week.  We got the air conditioning fixed and have blessed cool air running through the vents.  The heat plus humidity here in South Florida sucks the energy right out of you!  I’ve been keeping up, just barely, with the Camp challenge.  So far I’ve logged 46 hours of the 50-hour challenge.

While I didn’t have time for my in-depth bible study, I listened to podcasts, homilies, and videos to boost my spirit.  At one point over the last couple of weeks, I was listening to someone’s teaching on Joseph, Jacob’s son.

The scripture shows God uses something terrible to work for good.  It went something like this:  Joseph’s brothers become jealous and sell him into slavery.  but God guided Joseph’s life.  The Pharaoh learns of Joseph’s talent to interpret dreams and calls for him.  When the time of famine came Joseph reunited with his family and saved them from starvation.

Joseph was a man guided through life by God to save God’s remnant.  When the truth is revealed to his brothers, Joseph states in Genesis 45:7 (NABRE*):

“God, therefore, sent me on ahead of you to ensure for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives in an extraordinary deliverance.”

Until this weekend, I had not read Joseph’s story for decades. I’m pretty sure I was a child the last time I really listened to the story.  At the time I learned the history but not the God behind the story.

This time I barely got the message.  What captured my attention was the story of a family torn apart.  I mulled over this for days.  A father’s favoritism fostered anger and resentment.  Brothers fanned each other’s hurt and jealousy with gossip.  In their fully grown hatred, they plotted murder.  The firstborn could not kill his own brother but went along with the greedy plan to sell him into slavery. [see correction below]  They lied to explain his disappearance.  They rid themselves of the favorite.

The loss of their youngest child devastated his parents**.  The family heals.  An old wound becomes a scar as life follows its path.

Talk about pain!  Just thinking of the pain in each member of this family makes my head throb!  It had to hurt not being the one favored by your parent.  Desire to succeed drove them to failure in capturing the love of Jacob.  The acid of anger ate at them, while jealousy screamed in their hearts.  Murderous and greedy thoughts clamored for action.

How did Joseph feel?  He wanted his brothers to like him.  They gave him hate.  Did righteous anger burn slow when his brothers sell him into slavery?  What about losing his freedom?  Was he depressed?  How on earth did he accept his fate?  How did he not blame God?

Then there is the loss of a child.  The pain sears the soul.  It doesn’t matter if there is one child, or two, or twelve sons.  Jacob thought death took his son.  Whether the separation is death, a family rift, or something else; the pain is unbearable until healed by time, reconciliation, or God himself.

In my life, the death of my sister and a workaholic father walking away from God tore my family apart.  Rather than leaning on God, we each tried to lean on each other.  When one leg of the triad emotionally left us, the tripod fell.  My mom and I learned to lean on God.  I don’t know if my father ever turned to God in his pain.  I hope he did.

When a family is torn apart, the pain continues for years.  Lies compound.  Sins pile on over the years.  In the three decades since my sister’s death and the slow demise of my family unit, I have learned two things.  First, God and time heal all wounds.

The second thing is when we lean on God; he brings something good out of the pain.  I leave Jacob’s family healing from the sins that forced a rift between a father and his sons.

My heart hurts for families today who can be divided by forces within and forces from outside their control.  Families are fragile.  Any one thing can rip a family unit to shreds.  Just for starters, it can be rebellion, drugs, alcohol, success, death, crime, politics, faith… Fill in your family’s pain here.  If you suffer from this pain, here is my prayer for you today:

My God, please grant your child peace today as this family heals from the traumas they face.  Protect them as they face the world today.  Holy Spirit bring comfort to their soul and strengthen the faith flowing in their spirit.  Continue your work to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit in this one.

In Jesus name, amen.  In the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit amen {the sign of the cross}

My next post will be more of Joseph’s story.  God bless you today,

Milly

* The scripture is from the New American Bible Revised Edition

** The scripture only describes Jacob’s grief as a father.  Although not mentioned I know Rachael’s grief for her son, whom she could not bury, must have been unbearable too. [see correction below]

CORRECTION:  Studying Genesis this week to learn more about Joseph, I found I made two errors in Joseph’s story.  Last week I started in Chapter 37.  This week I wanted to learn more about his birth.  His birth is recorded in Chapter 30:24:  “ and she calleth his name Joseph, saying, `Jehovah is adding to me another son.'” [YLT]

I found the first mistake in Chapter 35:  I find the Racheal dies during Benjamin’s birth.  I was mistaken.  For some reason, I thought she died on the way to Eygpt after Joseph had been revealed.  She would not be here on earth when Joseph’s brothers sold him and reported him dead.

The second mistake is with Reuben, the firstborn.  Genesis 36:29-30 describes Reuben’s anguish at Joseph’s disappearance (after his brothers had sold him to the Midianites).

I apologize for missing these details.  God Bless.

3 thoughts on “Joseph

  1. Thanks for your prayer Milly! As I read it and reread it, I could relate it to so many families I know and have heard about. So I prayed that for some of the families on my heart.

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