December 7 – Jesse Tree Story Day 8
We’re beginning the 2nd week of Advent today looking into the life of Jacob’s son Joseph. The length of today’s reading may scare you a bit, but if you’ve seen the musical, or been in it a couple times like me, you’ve got the gist of it. And I apologize ahead of time if I break into song during today’s post.
Can you think of a time in your life when God turned something bad into something good?
READ: Joseph in Genesis 37 and 39:1-50:21 (or condensed version – Genesis 37:3-4 and 50:15-20)
Jacob had a lot of sons, and don’t forget from yesterday, Jacob had some issues. So, he made it pretty obvious that he had a favorite son, Joseph, and that was basically a curse—things got miserably horrible for Joseph after Jacob gave Joseph a beautifully ornate coat. Think: Cinderella’s ugly step-sisters reaction when she was ready to go to the ball in her beautiful bird-and-mouse-made dress, but worse. Left for dead, sold into slavery by his brothers, convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, sent to jail—Joseph’s life was a lot worse than mine. But God saw him, loved him, and lifted him out of there, amazingly, to the second in charge of all Egypt.
And despite all of his horrible misery, Joseph didn’t dwell on it. He focused on God’s blessings in his life. In verse 45:8, he points his brothers to Who was ultimately responsible for all that happened to him: “’So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.’” He didn’t say, to my brothers be my horrible misery but, rather, to God be the glory! God opened Joseph’s eyes to see clearly that he wouldn’t have received all of these blessings from God if his brothers hadn’t gotten the ball rolling with their jealousy and cruelty. In a situation that’s dragging you down, maybe even into depression, it’s hard to change your focus outside of your pain to your God who loves you no matter what. But God sees you, and His arm is outstretched ready to lift you out, if you can let Him.
Joseph’s brothers still don’t understand how Joseph can be such a nice guy after what they’ve done to him. Joseph tries again in Genesis 50:20: “’You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.’” Forgiveness. How awesome that you and I are forgiven in the same way through Jesus. How else does this verse point to Jesus?
Before Jacob dies, he gives a blessing to each of his sons. It seems like the perfect ending to Joseph’s story is for him to be in the lineage of Jesus, right? But he’s not. Remember, God can use anyone to do anything. Matthew 1:2 says Judah gets the honor. Look at Jacob’s blessing to Judah in vs. 49:10: “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.” Hallelujah, Jesus is coming!
God sees me, loves me, and will lift me out of the mire if I let Him.
Thank You, God, for the example of Joseph in Your Word. So much to learn from him! As the days get shorter and colder, my mood plummets. I can usually stay up through Christmas because I can distract myself with all of the preparations and family time. But once it’s January 2, I crash. As that time draws near, please help me to remember Joseph, all that happened to him, and how he saw You in it all and gave You the glory. Help me to see You and give You the glory no matter my circumstances.