January 31: Joseph’s Pivotal Circumstances

Read Genesis 37:1-36

I heard his story as a young child in Sunday School. Joseph was the one whose father loved him best and proved it with a beautiful colorfully-striped coat.

I imagined him wearing it everywhere, even into the pit that his hateful brothers threw him into before they sold him. As a child, I felt sorry for Joseph. After all, he couldn’t help that his father loved him most.

So at the end of the story, when Joseph became a ruler in Egypt, it made perfect sense to me. The good guy finally got what he deserved. And they all lived happily ever after.

But today, I see Joseph’s character a little more clearly. It proves a far cry from undeserved animosity.  You might say Joseph was a 17-year-old tattle-tale, full of pride and dare I say a good bit of brat, who couldn’t keep his mouth shut.

Don’t get me wrong. Joseph’s brothers had no right to commit the hate-crimes they did. Nobody, no matter how bratty, deserves that kind of spiteful abuse. But as I read the account today, I find a little more understanding for the depth of his brothers’ resentment that had been building all those years. “(T)hey hated him and could not speak a kind word to him” (v. 4).

So when they picked him up and threw him into that pit, Joseph found himself in a pivotal circumstance that God would use to lead him into deeper, fuller life. You might call it a catalyst God used to make Joseph more fully alive.

When we study the life of Joseph we find circumstance upon circumstance in which God worked to complete the man He had called to help save His people. Each one was an opportunity to grow and become more fully alive as God saw fit.

If we look closely, we might find ourselves somewhere in Joseph’s story, too — the bratty brother full of pride, the hateful Judah full of bitterness, the broken father facing his own sorrow and fear, the wrongfully imprisoned Joseph waiting for the promise of release. We may even find ourselves inside some pivotal circumstance of our own, at which point we can choose to remember God’s perfect plan:

To make us fully alive even through this situation and use it as a catalyst to better and more life in Him.


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