For those of you who have siblings, children, or just want to have a good glimpse of human nature, I recommend you read again the story of Joseph. (Genesis 37-50). Joseph was the fair haired little brother who had his parents favor, got the best presents, and lorded his favored status over his brothers. His brothers finally had enough and threw him in a pit to die, but he was rescued. He was sold into slavery and then was falsely accused and sent to prison. He was rescued again and ultimately became Pharaoh’s COO. Then he is reunited with his brothers, plays tricks on them including accusing them of theft. They finally reunite and celebrate, but they have one more critical moment when the father, Jacob, dies and the brothers fear that now like Michael Corleone, Joseph will have his revenge on them.
As children we read this story and remember the many colored coat and God saving Israel from famine. Later we read it to learn about dream interpretation and scheming wives. But take a fresh look. One sees a story about sibling rivalry, deceit and attempted murder, slavery, adultery, financial responsibility, reconciliation, and family. The basis for a best-selling novel. I see it now as more of a story about a man who was repeatedly rescued even though he thought he was experiencing hardship – the pit and prison. His body was saved from tragedy, his soul was saved from a worse tragedy. Joseph learned about reconciliation with family, despite the horrible act that was done to him. He learned about the ups and downs of life and that out of the worst of situations can come triumph. Look at how he changed from a child rubbing his good fortune in over his brothers, to a man who valued his family over his good fortune. We all travel Joseph’s journey. We all have been in our own “pit of despair” and prison of our own or someone else’s making. We all have or can be saved. Can you identify with Joseph or his brothers? Where are you in Joseph’s story?