To see the previous post from Genesis, go to Can God Use a Sinner Like You, or Like Me?
Joseph is a fruitful vine,
a fruitful vine near a spring,
whose branches climb over a wall.
With bitterness archers attacked him;
they shot at him with hostility.
But his bow remained steady,
his strong arms stayed limber,
because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob,
because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel
Joseph endured a difficult life. Described as “archers” in this passage, Joseph faced arrows of persecution from his own siblings–they plotted to murder him, then they settled for selling him into slavery. So he was separated from his family, while he served as a slave in Egypt. Then he was falsely accused of rape by Potiphar’s wife, after which, he was tossed into a dungeon–for years.
Jesus was another who was committed to living his life God’s way, no matter what arrows flew in his direction. He loved people, all people, including promiscuous women, prostitutes, and thieves–even when it brought brutal criticism. Although on the surface he looked as ordinary as anyone else, he healed, and helped so many, it was impossible to write it all down. (John 21:25) And though he did all these things, things no one else could do, he never bragged. The religious leadership of his day hated him. Over and over they tried to catch him in a verbal ambush, but Christ answered so cleverly and completely they eventually stopped trying. Several times they tried to kill him, but they couldn’t until his time came. His dream was to make a way for us to go to heaven, but it meant he had to die. He did it anyway.
You might be asking yourself, “How? How did Joseph and Jesus live this way?” The source of power for both Joseph and Jesus is revealed by Jacob in our text. They were both able to live the way they did “because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel…”
You have access to that same source of power you know.
Those decisions you’ve made the last few years that haven’t worked out for you? The ones that made you say, “Yea but…”
“Yea but she seemed like such a nice girl.”
“I know but he was so good to my five year old daughter.”
“Yes but she was so much fun to party with.”
And it’s true, sometimes it can seem difficult to figure out who someone is until you finally get below the surface. But you’d like to have the power to choose a partner who’s solid, stable, reliable–right? You’d like to avoid a relationship with the girl who will eventually cheat on you, or the spouse who will one day prioritize getting drunk or high, over you (and over everything else in his life). Have you ever noticed how some people seem to have an instinct for entering into solid relationships? There’s usually a power behind that. The same power behind Joseph and Jesus. It’s God–and you have access to Him.
Different Life–Different Outcomes
The ones who tend to have the power of positive relationships are the same ones who study the life of Christ in the bible. They’re the same ones who pray. They’re the same ones who go to church and hang out with others who also seek Jesus Christ in the scriptures, and in prayer.
You have access to the same power, but you have to go to the same place these people go, to get it.
So do it. Do what they do. Hang with the people they hang with. Do it for your son, do it for your daughter, do it for your parents, and for all the others who love you, and care about you. When you enter into one of those relationships that take you down, of course, it doesn’t hurt just you. When you go down, they’re hearts break.
If you go to where the power is, you can enjoy a different life.
In the end, more was written of Joseph than of any other son of Jacob’s. He was blessed as were future generations descended from Joseph. We saw in previous posts about Reuben, Simeon, and Levi, how future generations can pay a price for wrong behavior engaged in the present. (see previous posts: Sex and Your Future–Trading 45 Minutes for 1,000 Years, and Steve Jobs, Jesus, and Anger) But blessings for future generations are possible too. Joseph is an example of this–he was one who tapped into God’s power and committed to living his life God’s way–no matter what was thrown at him. The result was spectacular blessing.
Ultimately both Joseph and Jesus became the savior of Jacob’s family Israel. And the greater than Joseph, Jesus, became the Savior of much more. They were both shot at and hated, yet both have no sin recorded in scripture.
They both tapped into God’s power.
You can too.
Speaking of Joseph, Jacob said:
because of the Almighty, who blesses you
with blessings of the skies above,
blessings of the deep springs below,
blessings of the breast and womb.
Your father’s blessings are greater
than the blessings of the ancient mountains,
than the bounty of the age-old hills.
Let all these rest on the head of Joseph
[Image via: Skley – Creative Commons]
[You might also like: Lot’s Choice: Genesis 13:10-18]