When we are born, we are usually brought to our parents to mature in a unit we call family. Initially, we have no choice. Later, of course, we can repudiate the relationship, legally change our names, and refuse any contact with family members, but the DNA record in every cell of each person ties them incontrovertibly and permanently to specific ancestors – their family. No matter if orphaned, abandoned, kidnapped, adopted or sold, everyone has a family, and no one can change a genetic heritage. It is determined before birth, and therefore involuntary.
In Genesis 35-50 there is the account of Joseph, son of Rachel and Jacob, later called Israel (35:10). Rachel was Jacob’s second wife; her sister Leah was the first. Jacob also had two children each by Bilhah (Rachel’s maidservant) and Zilpah (Leah’s maidservant). Jacob’s favorite of his 12 sons was Joseph, who (37:2) brought a “bad report” about his brothers to Jacob. This caused his brothers to hate him, and when Joseph told his dreams (37:6-10) their hatred increased.
When Jacob sent Joseph to find his brothers, they saw him coming and resolved to kill him. Reuben, the eldest of Leah’s children, urged that Joseph not be killed, but cast into a deep pit, intending to rescue him later. Judah, Leah’s third child, urged his brothers to sell him to a passing Midianite caravan, which they did. The Midianites sold him in Egypt to an officer of Pharaoh, Potiphar, who set him in charge of all he had, recognizing that the Lord was with him.
Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him of impropriety, and Joseph was imprisoned. The jailer recognized his ability and set him in authority over the prison, where he interpreted the dreams of the incarcerated butler and baker. The butler was freed, but forgot Joseph’s plea that his unjust circumstances reach the ears of Pharaoh. When Pharaoh told of a troubling dream, the butler urged him to call upon Joseph for the interpretation. When Joseph told Pharaoh about an impending famine and urged him to set someone in authority to store the grain in years of plenty to offset the famine years, Pharaoh selected Joseph. And in the famine years when his brothers came to buy grain, he eventually told them (45:8), “So now it was not you who sent me here, but God---”. This statement reveals his profound insight. The hatred and injustices experienced had made him merciful, able to reconcile and unite his family. So – when you experience hatred, misunderstanding, false accusations and lies – how often do you realize God is molding you, and thank him for the experience?
Joseph’s family was more dysfunctional than yours or mine, but God used the siblings’ evil intent for His purposes. Faith and wisdom develop from suffering. Do you desire only pleasure? Take this opportunity to pray! Spirit of God, descend upon my heart; Wean it from earth, through all its pulses move; Stoop to my weakness,
mighty as you are, And help me love you as I ought to love. Amen
Today, Pray for Christians and SDB brethren in South America: Brazil, Chile, Argentina and developing groups in the area.