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  • Wayne Chasney

Poor, Poor Joseph

So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the long robe with sleeves that he wore; and they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it. (Genesis 37:23-24)


              The story of Joseph is truly one of the greats in the Bible. Jacob favors his youngest son over his other eleven sons, which of course makes them jealous. Joseph only adds to their anger by naively telling his brothers about his dreams in which he, the youngest son, rules over them all. The brothers conspire to rid themselves of this “dreamer,” and Joseph ends up in prison in Egypt.

              It seems that should be the end of the story. Jacob mourns his lost son. His other sons are rid of their pesky little brother. Let’s everyone go back to our flocks and our families and live happily ever after.

              Except then a famine comes upon the land and Jacob and his sons, and their families and their flocks are in desperate need. Somehow, they hear that Egypt has food aplenty, and so they go to see if Egypt will share. They get an audience before Egypt’s “food czar” who just happens to be – wait for it! Joseph!

              That’s right. Good ol’ Joe got himself out of prison and ended up being Pharaoh’s right-hand man through the famine. Now his brothers, who sold him into slavery and were the cause of all his previous suffering, are kneeling before him (just like his dream), begging for help.

              What would you do? How far would you go to get a little payback, which they richly deserved? How much would you gloat over them, holding their lives in the very palm of your hand?

              Lent is a season when we are challenged to grow in faith, in discipleship, as children of God. Reflect on Joseph’s situation honestly. How would you respond in his shoes? Has there been a time in the past when you chose payback, or gloating, rather than forgiveness and a new beginning?

              And just in case you don’t know what Joseph did, you ought to read Genesis 45.

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