God is in the middle of the ups and downs

18 Jan

I was reminded reading the story of Joseph of the ups and downs of life; how one thing happens and we think it is good and and advantage to us and yet it turns out to be something that brings us great pain. But then something else happens and we think it is the end and nothing could be worse, and yet it somehow becomes a turning point which leads us to great joy.

I was also reminded of how impossible it is to judge God’s attitude towards you by merely looking at your circumstances, and sometimes how long it can take to figure out what exactly God is up to.

Reading through Moses’ account again this morning, I tried to pull out some of the statements which clearly illustrate all that:

Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons.

When his brothers saw that their father loved him more…they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him.

His brothers were jealous of him.

They saw him from afar, and before he came near to them, they conspired to kill him.

Reuben rescued him out of their hands.

When Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the robe of many colors that he wore and they took him and threw him into a pit.

While Reuben was away, the other brothers drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver.

His father wept for him.

The Lord was with Joseph and he became a successful man. His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all he did to succeed in his hands. So Joseph found favor in his sight.

The Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake.

Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph.

As soon as his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him…his anger was kindled. And Joseph’s master took him and put him into prison.

But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison.

The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed.

Joseph interprets dreams and asks that the person whose interpreted would remember him, when it was well with him, and do him the kindness to mention him to the Pharaoh so that they could get out of prison.

Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph but forgot him.

After two whole years, Pharaoh dreamed…and the cupbearer finally remembered Joseph. Joseph interprets the Pharaoh’s dreams and Pharaoh says, “Can we find a man like this in whom is the Spirit of God? Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. You shall be over all my house.”

Now Joseph was governor over the land. He was the one who sold to all the people of the land.

Joseph describes to his brothers what happened: “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life…And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.”

When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said ‘It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.’ So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, ‘Your father gave this command before he died, ‘Say to Joseph, please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin…’ His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, ‘Behold we are your servants.’ But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not fear, for am I in the place of God. 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. So do not fear.”

And Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out this of land…God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here…’

One Response to “God is in the middle of the ups and downs”

  1. Tommie January 19, 2012 at 5:03 am #

    Thanks for this one. Needed it.
    I liked it when you said “Moses’s account”.

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