Summary: God is there for me in the midst of daily concerns.
THE LORD WAS WITH JOSEPH
Genesis 39: 2, 3, 21, 23 - "The Lord was with Joseph …"
A ’buzz’ word of society these days is the word ’dysfunctional’. It is a word that covers a multitude of issues and problems that beset people with communities and families. If there was ever a family that could be labelled dysfunctional was the family of Jacob the patriarch - four wives … three that were victims of circumstance, one that was the love of his life. These four women competed for the attention of Jacob. As we know Jacob had twelve sons to his four wives. And it seemed that Jacob had long l9ost any control and authority over the ten eldest sons. Scripture does not paint these ten step-brothers in good light. They were a rebellious, do as they like, rough and tough individuals. What they did well was to scheme and fight.
Within the family was another son, Joseph, who was his father’s favourite. Most probably because he was the first-born to his first love. Or, because being the second youngest, he was around home with his ageing father longer, taking in the story of Jacob’s life, becoming very familiar with it, that he felt close to his father. The older brothers by now had taken other much of the responsibility of managing Jacob’s vast estate. Joseph had time, along with his full brother, Benjamin to enjoy home life as the other brothers tended the flocks and herds. We might say that Joseph had every opportunity that his brothers didn’t. It seems that he did enjoy certain privileges, and more importantly the trust of his father. Maybe, Jacob having failed with his other sons invested much of his time and energy in Joseph moulding him to what he wanted him to be. However, the Scripture does state, that Joseph, "brought bad to his father about what his brothers were doing." (Genesis 37: 2). Further, because Joseph was the favourite son, the other brothers, "Would not speak to him in a friendly manner". (Genesis 37: 4). The other brothers plainly ’hated’ Joseph. That hatred was evidence all the more when Joseph told the other brothers about his ’dreams’. The brothers did not miss the encoded message attached to Joseph’s dreams. Jealousy festered within the family circle. The story of Jacob and his sons shouts dysfunction, dysfunction, and more dysfunction1 Not a happy family at all.
Joseph’s brothers took their opportunity to be rid of Joseph, selling him into slavery and lying to Jacob.
Somehow, I don’t think I would like to be in a family like Joseph’s, would you?
Although, Joseph seems to have played a part in attracting his brother’s anger, it also seems that he had something, s0omthing that marked him out as different to his brothers. Maybe, more than his brothers Joseph sensed the magnitude of God’s blessing on his father’s life, and he cherished those things that Jacob told him about God.
It is not till Joseph is in Egypt, a much-repeated statement is recorded about his own unfolding story - "The Lord was with Joseph". God was with Joseph in the many twists and turns of his life. God was with Joseph protecting him and providing for him. This statement concerning Joseph caused me to think in the past few days. It caused me to ask a question - "Do I believe God is with me?" … Always?
Joseph certainly did not have an easy time of it. He certainly knew anguish and suffering. The narrator of the Joseph story does not want us to lose sight of the fact that Joseph was always surrounded by God’s love and care. We might say that it did not look like it, but non-the-less God was there. Is God there for us? It might not look like it, but he is.
God was there midst the dysfunction of Joseph’s family - he was there midst their hatred; he was there midst their cutting remarks; he was there midst their stony silence; he was there midst their cruelty. He was there!
God is there for me! The daily concerns of life is attended by God’s mercy and grace.
God is with us! Joseph survived the ’ups’ and ’downs’ of his life, because of this fact. We too can survive in life resting in this fact of God’s continual company. Resting!
Lo, I am with you always …
For a moment let us focus on our lives, the concerns that intrude … God is with you!