As Resurrection Lutheran strides through God’s Great Story in Sunday worship, this week we stop to observe Joseph the dreamer. Joseph’s story covers the final third of Genesis, chapters 37 to 50. A character study, we watch Joseph mature and embrace his unique calling from God. Like many, his story will be a bumpy one.
At first Joseph strikes the reader as an arrogant, self-absorbed, spoiled teenager of 17. He brags to them of his special dreams in which his brothers and even his father bow down to him (Genesis 37:6). Joseph has not learned to acknowledge God as the source of his gift. He has not learned to be humble in his use of it. His dream will come true when he rises up to become second-in-command in Egypt. However, before Joseph can rise up, he will be beaten down several times.
His jealous brothers will attack him and sell him into slavery in Egypt. He will rise up as a favored administrator in a local household, only to be tossed in jail when he is unjustly accused of adultery. He will languish in prison because others have forgotten his talent with dreams. Joseph is on an emotional rollercoaster. Through all the dips and turns one refrain remains constant: “The Lord was with Joseph.” (Genesis 39:2, 23) God did not prevent Joseph from suffering unfairly, but gave him the strength and courage to walk through it.
When Joseph finally has his chance to help the Pharaoh with his dreams, Joseph gives God full credit.
And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not I; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.” Genesis 41:15-16
Humility can be a difficult lesson to learn. For years, Joseph sat in jail due to a false accusation. Early in my ministry I faced an unfair accusation from a visitor to my church. I wanted to yell and shout, but all I could do was keep silent and let the accusation fade away with time and the help of others. Until it did I was constantly praying, “why Lord, why?” No direct answer came, only the promise of God’s presence. Like Joseph, I had to learn the valuable lesson that God was in charge.
When have you learned a difficult lesson through a humbling experience?
Lord Jesus, humble me that I might trust you completely.