Today’s story is about Joseph. Winnie reminds me of Joseph. She just keeps pushing through all the trials and pains.
The purpose of this weekly missive is things I learned this week (usually the hard way). on the mission field and in Christian life in general. None of ot is easy. My journaling (these writings) helps me deal with a lot of things, and someday, hopefully, my own kids will read them. The purpose of this particular writing is this.
1. Be content in where you are and trust God to get you out of there.
2. Don’t let your situation, no matter how horrific, affect your character.
3. Don’t hold grudges. Not even with yourself.
4. Don’t let success for to your head.
5. Anyone (even an average Joe Schmoe) can greatly be used of Godbif he is content wherever he or she is, has a good character, is humble and forgiving.
Genesis 37:3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.
Joseph (Joe as we say today), is a common name today. Joe in Spanish is Chepe. I know a million Chepes down here. Soldiers call each other Joe as in GI Joe. Common. New Yorkers refer to Joe Schmoe as just another guy. Joe is a just a common name of a common guy. No one is made great by the name. I have a navy seal friend named Joe. I have a pastor friend named Joe. My talented guitar friend Joe (Chepe) from my favorite group ‘Hermanos Gutiérrez’. My Sat AM Bible teacher from CC old bridge is named Joe. All great men, supporters financially and emotionally. But they are great because of their characters. Not because of their names.
The Biblical Joseph was the favorite of his dad, Israel. Until I taught like upon line about his life again (10 chapters out of the 40 in the book of Genesis) he was just another name in the Bible that people name their kids after. It’s interesting that God used only 10 words in the book of Genesis (the beginning)to describe the creation of the universe;
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. and 11 chapters to describe Joseph.
10 entire chapters to the life of Joseph (chapters 37-40). Interesting. The reason for that, as in the rest of the Old Testament, is to point to Jesus Chist, our Lord and Savior. It is said that there are almost 70 similarities between the life of Joseph and the life of Jesus. As we grow in faith and in maturity (like Joseph had to), there will be those similarities between us a Jesus as well. It’s not so much about sitting on a church pew as it is spending time alone with the Lord (Jacob as a Pastor of animals, lots of alone time), and going and doing what and a where God takes you (most time to places you do not want to go, like a hospital stay, or the bedside of a loved one) or any one of a million other places you might not want to be. There you will be more in the image of Christ, as you should be as a Christian.
Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son,
Joe (Joseph) was a normal guy with a normal name. The only difference between his father and himself is that there was no record of him ever sinning. Veronica and Dave Fish, my Sunday school teachers taught me that he was about as sinless of a person that ever lived. I always remembered that. His dad, Israel (called earlier Jacob) was saved and sanctified later on in life, but you see his sin, selfishness and cry-baby-ness throughout his life. Not Joseph though.
Joseph’s strength was contentment and trust in the Lord. He was the best pastor out of the 11 other brothers, probably because he had a great attitude. He rose to the top in his fathers eyes so he gave him a coat with pockets as sleeves (probably made out of other colors). Like old politicians and pastors down here with each of the 4 pocket of their guayaberas filled with important stuff. Israel in effect made Joe the boss over his brothers because of his character and contentment. God chose him because He knows the future(it’s all the same to Him) and knew that Joseph was going to be content and have a great character.
Now it was time to develop Joe’s character even more through patience and surrender. God gave him dreams, and being young (17) and inexperienced he shared these dreams with his brothers who were already furious because their dad made him boss over them.
They wanted to kill Joe (which I am sure surprised him) but instead sold him into slavery to the Ismaelites (Muslims). Joseph was crying begging his brothers for mercy as he was being dragged off to a place where he didn’t want to go. Betrayed and beaten by his beloved brothers and supposed friends.
Zac 13:6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
We know the rest of the story. Bottom line;
Joe was an excellent son. The best!
Joe was an excellent shepherd. The best!
Joe was an excellent slave. The best!
Joe was a excellent manager. The best!
Joe was an excellent prisoner. The best!
Joe was an excellent dream interpreter. The best!
Joe was an excellent ruler of the nation. The best!
Joe was an excellent forgiver. The best!
Joe was an excellent savior of Israel. The best!
All because of the fact that he was content wherever life took him. He always gave credit to God. And he forgave everyone who did him harm readily. The biggest thing we teach our kids is character, contentment and forgiveness. It’s not easy where they live, but it’s crucial.
Like Paul said from prison;.
New International Version
11 ….for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.