Studying the story of Joseph has taken a little longer than expected, but with the stories of his life, it could have taken much much longer for me to get a grasp on his journey from a shepherd to a high governing official.
From the boy who shared too much with his brothers - jealous brothers at that - to the many dreams he shared while wearing the coat of many colors, the too many "atta-boys" from a father who often forgot the calling and covenant the Almighty God had made with him way back when, to the plotting and scheming that the brothers did to get him away and in the pit, and later sold as a slave; this was just the beginning of a life of forgiveness and trust that Joesph was to live.
Then, being a diligent and honored man in the house of the Potiphar, Joesph was accused by the enuch's wife of unwarranted advances, and next came jail time. Then came more dreams. Then came more betrayal and rejection. The root of trust and betrayal grew deep in Joesph. He leaned on the only one he could - God. He then once again moved up in ranks and before we knew it, he was second-in-charge of the land of Egypt.
We become amazed at the grand plan of God. Over and over.
We read the story in the last chapters of Genesis and it seems to all get wrapped up so quickly, but this story took years. Years!
A new brother was born and raised, a father left empty to his core out of disappointment. Brothers who lived in guilt and shame at every turn. Then came famine. Utter despair. The tide begins to turn, and God's plan to renumber his chosen people begins. More bargaining ensues, more deals made. Deception from years past rears its ugly head and brothers are still not trusted. Joseph's heart, in the healing process for years, finally gets its first exercise. In his humanness, tears flow. A man of power is still weak.
Finally, we hear how he and his brothers alone make restitution. In shock and awe, they are able to go home and tell Jacob the great truth of his son's life. Restoration is made in such a grand way, by even Pharaoh himself, we believers must know that everything God restores is better, stronger, and greater. Much pain and great grief was a layer in the lives of these men throughout history, but so was much faith and great trust in a plan that never came as a surprise to the Creator of all.
During this study, I have felt betrayal like I never have known. I have been imprisoned in a "jail" (of my own doing), I have only hoped that others around could recognize that "God was with me." I have had dreams that make me sit up and take notice. I have seen my own family restored in relationships I did not think could happen. I am in no way calling myself a Joesph, but I do feel a kindredness to his plight and great life of forgiveness.
I am ever so greatful for the forgiveness offered to me. All of us need a Savior. He is enough.