Do you remember back when you were a kid, in Sunday school and your friends would ask you who your favorite bible character was? I remember that I had too many favorites back then, which made it hard for me to give a quick answer. But times have changed and now as a grown up, I can talk about one character after another whose story has impacted my life; yet none more dearly to me than Joseph.
There are elements of surprise in his life story that keeps my imagination going. There is also something of a mystery in Joseph’s story. If you’ve never read the story of Joseph, son of Jacob, it is found in the Bible, in the Book of Genesis. Joseph and Benjamin were Jacob’s sons born of his beloved Rachel, who died giving birth to Benjamin. Jacob had many children from his other wife Leah and from his two concubines, for a total of 12. But Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other sons because he was the spitting image of his mother Rachel, whom he loved dearly.
Now, Jacobs’s sons became so jealous of their father’s attention towards Joseph that they came up with a plan to kill Joseph; however, they later decided to sell him to a merchant caravan passing through their region instead. Joseph ended up in Egypt where he goes through an amazing number of events that include, being sold as a slave, being tempted by Potifar’s wife, being falsely accused of rape and imprison for years before being delivered by the hand of God. Ultimately, Joseph becomes the Grand vizier of Egypt and ends us delivering the Egyptians as well as his own family from a devastating famine.
One thing that always strikes me as interesting is the time Joseph spends in prison. He has been falsely accused of a crime he didn’t commit and even there he remains faithful to a God that is in many ways quiet. Many times, I’ve wonder where he drew his strength from. God seemed so distant and there is no mention of others of the same faith who were there to help encourage him…What I can gather from Joseph’s story is simply this; Joseph was instructed, from a young age by his parents in the faith of a God who is real, loving and merciful. Joseph learned to believe and love God regardless of circumstances in his life, because he had seen this faith modeled by his father.
I pray we, will instruct our children with a faith that is firm and focused. That our children will see in us a better way to live, a passionate way to believe, and to trust in a God we may not see physically, but a God who is as present as the air we breathe. There are many things I learned from my parents. Many of those things have molded me and made me the person I am today. But the greatest gift they ever gave me was a strong faith in God. Like Joseph, I’ve had my share of difficulties (maybe not to the same magnitude) and struggles, but I’ve never felt the urge to compromise my relationship with God. In that sense I feel a kindred spirit to Joseph. I trust that the God of my fathers will keep me and see me through any circumstance I face in this lifetime. God was faithful then, and remains faithful today. If you have done your part in instructing your children in the way of the Lord, know that as they grow older, God will cause them to remember and eventually they will find their way back home if they are lost. They will be elevated to a place of honor and respect and God will put all things back into order for His glory and because He loves us dearly.