by Pastor Red
Genesis 45:4-8, 28: "So Joseph said to his brothers, 'Come near to me, please.' And they came near. And he said, 'I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, & there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, & to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, & lord of all his house & ruler over all the land of Egypt.' ... And Israel said, 'It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive. I will go & see him before I die.' "
If you don't remember the story of Joseph from your Sunday School days, here is the greatly condensed version:
Joseph was the first son of Jacob's favorite wife, Rachel, & was his favorite son. Jacob, renamed by God as Israel, showed his favoring of Joseph by keeping him close & giving him a gift of a luxurious coat (the one with many colors). God also blessed Joseph by giving him prophetic dreams. Because of their jealousy of Joseph, his brothers sold him to slavers traveling to Egypt. In Egypt, Joseph was sold to Potiphar, a high government official. Joseph, blessed by God, soon rose to be the head slave over all of Potiphar's house. Potiphar's wife tried to seduce Joseph into an affair, but he refused, so she lied & told her husband that Joseph tried to rape her. Potiphar threw Joseph into Pharaoh's jail. Joseph, still blessed by God, soon became the head trustee running the jail under the warden. The Pharaoh threw two of his highest servants into the jail. Through a gift of God, Joseph interpreted the servants' dreams, the head baker would be executed but the head wine steward would be reinstated. After Pharaoh had a series of nightmares, the wine steward remembered Joseph, & he, through the help of God, was able to interpret Pharaoh's dreams. Pharaoh made Joseph his head minister & put him in charge of running the whole country.
When his brothers stood before Joseph in all his finery as prime minister of Egypt, they were in awe of his power & authority. When he revealed that he was their brother Joseph, they feared for their very lives because of the treachery they had wrought on him as a teenager. (How do you forgive someone who sold you into slavery?) But Joseph worked a miracle; he forgave them for what they did to him. How? What did he know?
If you were to chart Joseph's life, it would look just like a roller coaster. High: favorite son. Low: thrown in a dry well. Middlin': taken out of the pit. Lower Low: sold as a slave. High: chief steward in Potiphar's house. Low: thrown in prison on trumped up charge. Middlin' High: Head trustee in prison. High: interpreting dreams of Pharaoh. Highest: prime minister of all Egypt.
I am sure that Joseph did not live life as a Pollyanna. I am sure that each time he was at his lowest points he wept, cried, moaned, & felt true grief & sadness, possibly even out & out depression. He did, however, never let any of those terrible occurrences color his faith in God. He relied solely on the God of his father, grandfather, & great-grandfather (Jacob, Issac, & Abraham). He, like an Old Testament Charlie Brown, kept slugging away, running toward the football, & trying to fly the kite. His trust & reliance on our Father in heaven did not waver even in the face of injustice, lies, & utter tragedy. And in doing so, he not only was God's servant to save his own family, the chosen people, he became a physical prophecy of Christ Himself. he was once reported as dead, but now is not only alive, but alive & blessing his family with life itself.
It is enough, no matter what we have to go through, He is alive!