Summer Devotional and Sermon Series
Week 8/Heroes: Jacob
I typically have a specific allotment of time each day to read the Bible. Somedays it’s not enough time. It’s like binge watching “Stranger Things,” the end of the episode has a cliff hanger and you need to watch the next. Next thing you know, it’s way past your bedtime and you are dreading the morning. The chapters of Joseph’s life are like this. One just leads to the next.
When it starts, we see Jacob’s blatant favoritism for Joseph. Intrinsically, we know that this should not be, but it plays out in front of us all the time. I was my grandmother’s favorite. I never really knew it but my sisters and cousins have told me. My grandfather, Athur Gerdes, had passed away four years before I was born. Until this point my dad had two sisters and not brothers and he himself only had daughters. Everyone was done having babies. There was no one to carry on the family name. Then I came along three years after by sister. I was “unplanned.” Everyone assumed I would be a girl until I popped out. My parents named me, “Timothy Arthur.” I was the baby. I carried my grandfather’s name. I carried the family name. I was the favorite. For a while my grandmother called me “Little Arthur” and my parents would correct her. My Christmas presents were always a little more. My birthday was never forgotten. I never noticed but everyone else did.
My eyes were opened the year my grandmother made everyone afghan’s for Christmas. Mine was much bigger and had the best pattern and color scheme. I still use it today and that was 30 years ago! Of course, I used that fact to needle my sisters from time to time. I didn’t understand that each time I did that I was pouring salt into an open wound. I don’t do that anymore because at some time I crossed the line and my sisters let me know it.
I can’t imagine what was going through Joseph’s mind when he crossed that line, or as he sat in the pit, or on the camel ride to Egypt, or as a slave, or a prisoner. At some level, I’m sure he blamed his brothers, but I’m also sure that he blamed himself too. If he had been a little more humble and empathetic it probably wouldn’t have happened. They had sinned but so did he. We all have moments where if we could hit the “redo” button we would.
One of the astounding things about life with God isn’t just that he forgives our sins and we can learn from them, but that he actually can even use our atrocities to fulfill his plan. When all is said and done, Joseph said to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20 (NIV) Paul writes, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)