Isaiah 56:1, 6-8
Today’s message is a continuation from last week’s where we spoke of families having or playing favorites among their children. To my surprise over 70% of families or parents studied freely indicated they had favorite children and exhibited such not realizing the life-long pains and injuries inflicted upon the other children.
There were terms such as “PFB” Precious First Born, “YLO’” Youngest Love/Lavish One, to “NSC,” Neglected Subsequent Children. We explored and examined this having favorite children directly from a Biblical perspective, about a family that did favoring one child over another on a generational basis, speaking about Abraham, the treatment of his sons Ismael and Isaac, then Isaac continuing such with his sons Esau favored over Jacob, then Jacob favoring his youngest son Joseph over all his other brothers, and Jacob being very upfront obvious and open about such, making him an ornate colorful robe, and having Joseph report on his older brothers work performance.
The disliking of Joseph grew to near homicidal levels within Joseph brothers so much so that they plotted to kill him. But Benjamin persuaded his brothers to not spill Joseph’s blood in their anger but rid themselves of him by selling into slavery to a traveling band of traders headed into Egypt.
Now this is a good time to re-visit one of the always occurring themes of God, when you’re in the midst of mess and or messiness such as Joseph brothers were living. The messiness Joseph’s brothers were suffering under was not of their on doing or making. Their messiness was the explicit favoritism Jacob showered on Joseph exclusively in the presence of his brothers.
God has the both the inclination, the nature and the loving transformational power to turn or transform our messes into miracles. Some put it this way the trials and testing of life’s various challenges we go through with faith, when behind us become our testimony. The Apostle Paul says “…in all these things you are more than conquerors through him/Christ Jesus who loved us.” (Romans 8:37) Peter shared; “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone o devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
Someone wrote; “Don’t let your emotions be your decision maker. Stop and pray, let God lead you. God can change everything.”
All this is to say we are going to have some messes, some challenges to content with, but be assured God is with us, hold on to your faith, pray, seek the company and counsel of the righteous, of the faithful and know you are not alone that great cloud of witnesses, the Holy Spirit, the Son and the Almighty, Elohim are not just with you, but advocating on your behalf.
Let us now pickup where we paused last week in our Scripture readings out Genesis. The precious, loving and indulged Joseph has now been sold off into slavery to a caravan of traders headed to Egypt.
Joseph’s brothers Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan and Naphtali now having in their mind fixed or resolved their problemed younger sibling go on with their life. A word of caution or warning, if your fix for a problem does not have the seal of approval from God, your fix will not hold. When you fix your problem with the presence, sight and approval of God it is fixed up and through eternity.
Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah and the other brothers of Joseph their fix, though not wholly condemned by God, was nevertheless not wholly approved or affirmed By God. Therefore, there would still be future ramifications we’ll get to those momentarily. So, remember that when you implement your quick-fix, without first taking it to God.
So, the brother’s fix will re-visit them, but the once precocious Joseph is now embarking on new life experiences. He’s no longer living as a favorite, he’s now a slave, he’s purchased by Potiphar, the Pharaoh’s Chief Steward, he rose to manage Potiphar’s household.
One day Potiphar’s wife wanting to have a moment with the handsome young Joseph is rebuffed by Joseph, nevertheless she falsely accuses Joseph of attacking her, he finds himself imprisoned. From being his father’s favorite, having a tailored-made colorful ornate robe, sold into slavery in Egypt by his jealous brothers, purchased to work in the house of the Pharaoh’s Chief Steward, rising to manage his entire household, now finding himself imprisoned falsely by some false charges, Joseph by all rights could become bitter, give-up, blame everybody and everything for his current condition, but he prays to God, he plans, he works and he strives to not just make his situation/condition better, but to improve and transform his life.
He becomes the warden of the prison number one guy, recalling and remembering his propensity for understanding dreams, and visions which angered his brothers when he shared their sheaves of wheat would bow to his, Joseph was prepared when the opportunity presented itself again.
When Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker were imprisoned, his skills at interpreting dreams served to get him before the Pharaoh to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams that would preserve all Egypt, and surrounding nations concerning preparing for a famine that would last five years.
From the favorite in his father’s house, to the prison house-to-the palace house, this was Joseph’s journey, Joseph’s story. He is now the governor, the number two ruler of the Egyptian Empire. Like Joseph, never think or believe your story, your struggles won’t redeem, or inspire others who need to hear your story so they can know that God is still turning our messes into miracles…
In man’s law which God’s law always supersedes there is a term/condition titled; “causation factors.” Meaning but for the actions of one or ones, the results would not have happen. A question that can be asked is was there a direct “causation” of the actions of Joseph brother’s that contributed or caused all that he encountered and endured while in Egypt?
n today’s reading out of Genesis, a famine has been upon the land for years. Shortage of food in Canaan forces Jacob to send his sons to buy grains from the Egyptians. Benjamin, Joseph’s younger brother remains at home as Jacob fears losing him, as he earlier lost Joseph.
When Joseph finally encounters his brothers again, he deliberately conceals his identity. He accuses them of being spies and tells them to return with Benjamin or he will not sell them grain. The ongoing famine forces Jacob to reluctantly send his sons back to Egypt with Benjamin, and they are unexpectedly invited to dine at Joseph’s house.
Joseph then tests the character of his brothers by placing a silver cup in the sack of Benjamin and falsely accusing him of theft. When Judah offers to stay in place of Benjamin, Joseph knows that his character has changed and reveals that he is their brother. Joseph explains they need not feel guilty for betraying him as it was God’s plan for him to be in Egypt to preserve his family.
He told them to bring their father and his entire household into Egypt to live in the province of Goshen because there were five more years of famine left. Joseph supplied them with Egyptian transport wagons, new garments, silver, and twenty additional donkeys carrying provisions for the journey. Jacob is then joyously reunited with his son Joseph.
In closing know this, realize this and strive to live into this, in both good times, and challenging times. When you’re no the favorite of those you’re in the midst of, know and fully realize you are always God’s favorite, it matters not what others say are do when they are un-righteous, wrong, or oppressive God is with you, and will you see you or those of your household who hold fast to God’s word to God blessing them.