Rise to Power – Genesis 41

Talk about whiplash – Joseph is in the prison in the morning, in a palace by nightfall!

Just as Potiphar had put Joseph over his house, Pharaoh now puts him over his nation, second in command. He gave him his signet ring, giving him the power to give orders with the same authority as himself. And I wondered what the ring looked like, having seen pictures of jewel encrusted staffs taken from Egyptian tombs. I would imagine Joseph’s eyes were popping out as he could hardly believe what was transpiring!

Then came the dress parade, complete with gold chains. Once dressed, Pharaoh took him out for a ride, Joseph in his own chariot, right behind Pharaoh, people cheering and waving. The chariot stopped and the people bowed their knee, not knowing that just days ago, this was a despised Hebrew, jailed and forgotten. 

Now everyone in Egypt knew of him!

Then there was waking up in his own bed, pinching himself as servants waited on him, bringing the best food and wine in Egypt. He went from a prisoner to protected, expendable to vital to a nation and a ruler.

And personally he continued in grace, as Pharaoh renamed him an Egyptian name, so he would not identified with his past. And he gave him in marriage to Asenath, the daughter of a high priest, an honor only Pharaoh could have given.

And the babies came, and Joseph did not forget the Lord his God. He named the first Manasseh because “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.” The second he named Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”

And Joseph worked the plan God had given. And just like in other situations, he was fruitful.

Many of us might have broken under the strain of the transition, the acclaim, feeling unworthy and incapable. Or maybe we would have changed with the wealth, and become prideful? Maybe we become comfortable with the protection wealth and power provide? Maybe broken under the pressure of providing food for a nation, for the world?

But Joseph embraced the position God, not Pharaoh, had placed him, and left the results up to God.

He followed the plan God, not Pharaoh, had given him. 

A Timeless Question – Psalm 82

Over and over again, I remember David asking God why he seems to be blessing the unjust. But in Psalm 82, I saw a twist I’ve never seen before.

God asks us why we judge unjustly…

“How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked?”

Wow.  In the midst of these turbulent times, it’s quite an indictment. Are we showing partiality? Why? What motivates us? How are we showing partiality? Do we judge unjustly?

He then describes to us a way out…

“Give justice to the weak and fatherless; 
maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. 
Rescue the weak and the needy; 
deliver them from the hand of wicked.”

I’ve avoided topics around racial tensions in the US, but this hit me as a slap in the face. It’s not a political issue. It’s a compassion issue. Even more, it’s a justice issue.

Do we dominate poorer communities because they are weaker? Are there “wicked people” who get their strength from overpowering others? Is there a people, a race, who has been afflicted and destitute of their rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Are they being taken advantage of for personal gain?  

Have I contributed to this injustice? 

What is my responsibility to give justice?

So many questions come out of one pure, timeless, question. Asked over and over again through the centuries. Through every culture. Because every culture has been the same, and it hurts the heart of God. 

 How am I going to respond? What are my answers? What is God asking me to do?

I wish I had more answers. Right now I don’t. I will listen, continue to listen, to God and to others. And I trust God will show me, will show us, what heart change that is needed and what actions need to follow.

Pray with me.