Friday, March 31, 2006

the Joseph story (Genesis)

The Joseph story (Genesis 37-50) is a most powerful one, and worthy of our slow reading and meditation (really true of the entire Bible, but I was moved anew by reading through this again).

You will notice that it is a very human story. Joseph lives in a rather dysfunctional family. And this plays out in his brothers, who more than less hate him, selling him to merchants who take him to Egypt.

Joseph, as you recall, goes through the pits in Egypt. God is blessing him, while man is cursing him, it seems. Yet God keeps giving him favor with people wherever he goes.

Finally he ends up interpreting from God, Pharaoh's dream. And gives his insight (certainly God-given) as to what Egypt should do. Pharaoh sees this as wisdom from God and grants to him a role and authority under, yet equal to himself. And so Joseph goes to work to fulfill this mission to see Egypt and the surrounding country through seven bountiful years of harvest to be followed by seven years of dearth and famine.

When those hard years know (or enjoy reading it for yourself) the story. Joseph's brothers show up. They don't recognize the Egyptian Joseph, but he recognizes them. Then what Joseph puts his brothers (and Jacob, and in a true sense- himself) through would seem harsh from a certain perspective. But I see it as hokmah, wisdom from God. And I have to wonder if Joseph wasn't working through some psychological dynamics present in that situation.

Certainly this is a story of forgiveness and reunion/reconciliation on a level Joseph and his brothers had never known before. And this is a story of God's hand, leading, even through evil acts, to bring about good.

A very human story, especially evident as you read it slowly and thoughtfully. A very powerful story. Touching the very chords, rhythms and dissonance of our own existences and stories.

Where do you find yourself in that story, is a good question for us to ask. A little bit everywhere, is I guess how I'd put it for myself. Seeing God's work in Joseph's brothers' lives, in Joseph's life, and as part of the bigger picture of what God was doing in the world.

God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God of Joseph and his brothers. Grant us your peace. And your kingdom. In our homes, neighborhoods, churches, work and as part of the bigger picture of what you're doing in this world. Amen.


lolly pop said...

well done i really liked reading that i am going to show it to my school thank you for letting me read that bye lauren jinks adress:43 heol conway abergele conway north wales gods world byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye

Ted M. Gossard said...

Lolly Pop,
Thanks much. Nice to hear from you. North Wales must be a pretty sight.