Genesis 37: Things Are Not Always What They Seem

Joseph, the favorite son of Jacob is now entering center stage and his story tells us it’s not always a pleasant place to stand. So right out of the gate, I’m going to throw this out there…

We are part of God’s plan of redemption. Just because the place we are in is unpleasant, perhaps even painful, does not mean that it is not a good place in the plan of God.

That was heavy, so I’ll give you a minute.

His brothers thought he was boasting about dreams of them bowing down to him. Maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t, but either way, it was not what it seemed. Those prophetic dreams were not simply of Joseph ruling over his family, but of Joseph being positioned to save his family.

Jacob believed his favorite son had been killed, but it was not as it seemed. The blood on his tunic did not mean Joseph was dead, but that his brothers were covering up their own sin. His son was not only alive, but being positioned by God to bring repentance from those same brothers so they could experience forgiveness.

Those dreams Joseph had didn’t tell the whole story. He would come into a royal position of power and yes, his brothers would bow down to him, but it would all come at a cost. Because things aren’t always as they seem. In Josephs’ story we see a boy who becomes a man in the house of Egypt, a man who clearly had the favor of God on him. Until it looked like he didn’t. In the very next chapter, he went from the penthouse to the prison in a day.

We tend to see our circumstances from only one viewpoint, and that viewpoint is us. Our suffering is ours and it hurts and it can feel unjust, or at least unfair.

It is an act of faith to see it differently.

Joseph comes across as a boastful 17 year old brat. The favored son who rubbed it in the faces of the sons who were not favored. But that is not why Joseph went through what he did.

He was part of the plan of redemption. So were his mountaintops and so were his valleys. Even his brothers were part of the plan. Think of what needed to happen in order for Joseph to end up as second in command in Egypt.

  • He had to have been sent to check on his brothers that day.
  • When he didn’t find them where he thought they were, he had to keep going, rather than just go home to tell his father he couldn’t find them.
  • His brothers had to hate him enough to want him dead.
  • Two different brothers had to intervene to thwart the plan to kill him.
  • The Ishmaelite caravan had to come by when it did, and they had to decide to sell Joseph as a slave.
  • That Ishmaelite caravan had to be heading to Egypt.

The rest of the story is for another day and another chapter, but you see the point I’m making, I’m sure.

All is providence, not coincidence.

We have a God who is good, who is always for us. We know that His plans and His purposes are not only good, but they cannot be thwarted. He is in the details of our lives. He sees, He hears, and He knows. His arm is mighty to save. He is a God who saves whole families, because He is all about the generations. He knows the beginning from the end and in the fullness of time, He moves. He is a God of redemption, and His plans are redemptive in nature, and victory is always His. He does not know defeat. Ever.

So. Take a look around you. Hold your pain and your fear and your shaken life up to the light of all that you know of God.

I am believing that my current struggle and pain are part of something that is bigger than me. It doesn’t really make it less painful, but it does make it less about me and more about God. And that is what I’m after. Less of me, more of Him.

What about you? What are you after? Are you able to view your current, or past, circumstances from the lens of what God is doing in the bigger picture? Have you seen how something you’ve gone through was used to accomplish something in your life or in the lives of others?

It’s a hard perspective to grasp onto, I admit. I don’t always do it well, and I bet Joseph didn’t either. Our pain is our pain and sometimes only hindsight can see it as any good. I’d love to pray for you around this topic, so you can either drop it in the comments, or contact me via my contact page, and I promise, I will pray for you.

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