Summary: To overcome like Joseph and Jesus, consistently trust God and see His plan for positive outcomes for all people of faith in God and faithfulness to His redemptive purpose.
In Joseph’s Story We See the Warp and Woof of God’s Plan for a Positive Outcome
Genesis 45:8-9 . . . 45:25-28 . . . 47:5-10 . . . 47:27-28 . . . 50:15-24 . . .
In a recently discovered document, I learned that shortly after my Scots Irish 3-great grandfather Robert emigrated from Ireland to America and settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, he gave as his occupation “weaver” - no doubt in reference to the weaving industry so prevalent in Northern Ireland.
As I pondered this week how best to capture the essence of what we have discovered about the life of Joseph, whose story we have focused on for the past six weeks, certain imagery associated with “weaving” kept surfacing, I suppose due to my discovery of my ancestor’s occupation at the time I was reviewing the role Joseph played in the grand design of a pattern being woven by the Master Weaver of our lives.
From the weaving process comes the term “Warp and woof” which I have heard used as a metaphor for describing that which forms the basis of one’s pattern of life or the “glue” that holds it all together, often spoken of as “the fabric of life”.
With that metaphor in mind, it occurred to me that: In the story of Joseph, we see the ‘warp and woof’ of God’s Plan for a Positive Outcome for those who trust the Lord with all their heart! You might say that:
Joseph’s life was but a weaving of the pattern which God planned. So is your life and mine - as simply but eloquently stated by the poet B. J. Franklin:
“My life is but a weaving between my God and me. I do not choose the colors; He knows what they should be; He views the pattern from His, the upper side, while I see it only from this, the underside. Sometimes He weaveth sorrow, which seems strange to me, but I will trust His judgment and work on - faithfully.
‘Tis He who fills the shuttle; He knows what is best; I shall weave in earnest, and leave to Him the rest. Not ‘til the loom is silent and the shuttles cease to fly will God unroll the canvas and reveal the reason why the dark threads are as needful in the weaver’s skillful hand as the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned.”
In such a life – what I choose to call “a Joseph kind of life” – a life that sees God at work in every situation and circumstance – certain characteristics stand out. Looking at the fabric of Joseph’s life, four dominant threads or themes become obvious: In God Joseph consistently trusted. Between his birth and death dates, there was no dash - no straight line. What we see is a vertical zig-zag! Ups and downs!
Favored by his father, envied by his brothers, betrayed, sold and enslaved, proved himself reliable, entrusted with responsibility, yielded not to temptation, falsely accused and imprisoned, proved himself honorable, elevated to a powerful position, governed with such honesty and integrity that every element of society acknowledged and applauded God to whom Joseph gave the glory!
To God, and family, Joseph remained consistently faithful. He understood the big picture. He had more than a clue. He knew what God was up to, inasmuch as he had been born wise as to his role in God’s overall plan of redemption that had begun with his great-grand-father Abraham, advanced by his grand-father Isaac, and uniquely carried forward by a God-allowed turn of events involving favoritism on the part of his mother Rebekah and his father Jacob.
Faithful to God’s promise was Joseph as he became God’s instrument for preserving family members who were to be rescued from the destitute situation in the land of Canaan, relocated to a place of plenty prepared by Joseph, restored to favor with Joseph against whom they had sinned, and received a renewal of God’s promise to bring them to a place where God’s kingdom would be established by a descendant within the lineage of this family.
To God, and country, Joseph remained consistently loyal. Would loyalty to God and his country of origin matter since Joseph found himself in a place beyond his homeland borders, serving people of a different culture and value system where it would be so easy to get caught up in it and become a part of it?
Whether or not it matters depends on one’s degree of devotion to God and family. In Joseph loyalty had been instilled at birth then inspired by a coat of many colors signifying the multitasking that lay ahead of him and the variety of relationships that would test his strength of character and the fabric of his inner being. Would he bend . . . break . . . give in . . . give up . . . succumb . . . overcome?