Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Praying for you, your family, your community, and the rest of the world. Right now, the whole world is suffering because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Let’s pray together to God, Our Ever-Loving Father, His mercy and protection on all, and God’s healing on those who are infected by the COVID-19. We all believe God’s grace and love rest on all who look upon Him every moment with faith in Him.
The LORD is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength. (Psalm 23:1-3a)
Two sons were born to Joseph and his wife, Asenath, the daughter of Potiphar, the priest of On. Joseph named his older son Manasseh, for he said,
“God has made me forget all my troubles and everyone in my father’s family.”
Joseph named his second son Ephraim, for he said,
“God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.”
Joseph became the 2nd most powerful person in Egypt, the most powerful country at that time, after Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. But his heart could not completely get rid of the painful past. His brothers sold him to slavery. Joseph begged not to sell him, but none paid attention to him. They actually enjoyed watching Joseph being taken away by the Ishmaelite traders, who handed over twenty pieces of silver. Joseph vividly remembered his brothers’ faces and shouting each other in joy, “Let’s see what will happen to Joseph’s dreams.”
Joseph could not take off his eyes to His brothers, and they were getting smaller as the traders were taking Joseph away. Then they completely vanished from Joseph’s eyes. However, his brothers’ vicious smiles never left Joseph, which was, instead, engraved deep into his brain, and his heart became completely cold to his brothers. They were the greatest evils ever he had experienced throughout his life. To Joseph, the sky was falling, but there was no place to escape. Joseph was in chains like the other slaves. Joseph knew he was under the mercy of the Ishmaelite traders because he was one of the properties that they bought to sell for profit.
Joseph did not know where he was taken. Joseph went wherever the Ishmaelite traders went as long as they held Joseph before selling to another owner. Joseph was merchandise, and he had no voice at all to the Ishmaelite traders, his owners. Additionally, he saw his brothers’ faces whenever Joseph closed his eyes, although he had never wanted to see them again. They never left Joseph but haunted him while hurting Joseph again and again. Joseph truly wished to erase the faces, but he could not. Day after day, he had to suffer.
Many days later, the Ishmaelite traders arrived in Egypt, where they sold Joseph to Potiphar. Potiphar was captain of the palace guard. Joseph watched Potiphar’s face, the new owner’s face carefully. He looked decent. In fact, who could be worse than his brothers sold him to slavery? Joseph was taken to the other slaves in Potiphar’s household. Joseph was just one more new addition. He did not know how to behave because he had never been a slave before. He had to learn everything from the bottom to be a slave. He had to learn to survive. One goodness was his life as a new slave was too harsh, which made him forget his brothers. It really helped Joseph. His hate against his brothers was slowly dissipating. Soon, his miserable slavery made him forget his brothers. Joseph had no luxury even to remember his brothers.
God saw Joseph, who became a slave from the most favorite son among the twelve sons by his father, Jacob. God, who loved Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham, loved Joseph. As Joseph was emerging out of the initial shock and hate against his brothers, God reminded Joseph of the dreams that God gave him. With the help of God, Joseph again remembered the dreams. His dreams were so special and precious to Joseph. Who would have a dream that all of his brothers bowed low to him? Joseph had the same dream twice, and in the second dream, even his parents bowed low to him. Joseph realized that His dreams came from God, and God was with him. Since then, Joseph could not forget his dreams for the rest of his life because it was a special gift from God.
Joseph was determined to live out his dreams. Then Joseph worked hard. Potiphar noticed this and realized that God was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did. It pleased his owner, so Potiphar soon made Joseph his personal attendant. He put him in charge of his entire household and everything he owned. From the day Joseph was put in charge of his master’s household and property, God began to bless Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake.
However, Joseph again got into a problem. Potiphar’s wife seduced Joseph by grabbing him. Joseph ran away, but he left his clack in her hand. Potiphar, who believed Potiphar’s wife’s accusation, put Joseph in prison. Joseph did not do anything wrong, but he was ended up in jail. He kept faith before God, but God did not protect him.
Joseph was truly disappointed. Even God betrayed him like his brothers. He truly struggled because he had no place to go. However, God used the opportunity for Joseph to mature in faith. Then how could Joseph restore his faith in God? Again, the answer was God Himself. God reminded Joseph of his dreams. In the jail, Joseph saw his dreams again and stood up again in faith. Joseph overcame the miserable reality.
God was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And God made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden. Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. God saw Joseph maturing in faith, which pleased God.
Then God moved on to the next step for Joseph. Pharaoh’s chief cup-bearer and chief baker offended their royal master. Pharaoh became angry with these two officials, and he put them in the prison where Joseph was, in the palace of the captain of the guard. God gave them dreams, and they told their dreams to Joseph.
As Joseph interpreted, three days later, Pharaoh restored the chief cup-bearer to his former position. But Pharaoh impaled the chief baker, just as Joseph had predicted when he interpreted his dream. Pharaoh’s chief cup-bearer, however, forgot all about Joseph, never giving him another thought. Joseph was again disappointed. His new friend, the chief cub-bearer, did not keep his promise to tell Pharaoh about Joseph to be released from the prison.
Indeed, the chief cup-bearer was the only hope to make Joseph get released from the prison. Joseph was again hurt by yet another person whom he trusted, which was truly bitter. Joseph had two choices. He could continue living in the bitterness. Or he stood up again in faith while trusting God. Joseph chose the latter. He was mature enough not to dwell in the bitter betrayal. Joseph moved on while trusting God with a prayer to God. God saw Joseph, and God was even joyful over Joseph, who won the bitter betrayal in faith.
Joseph was ready, and God started the next step. God gave dreams to Pharaoh. Pharaoh dreamed twice one night. The next morning Pharaoh was very disturbed by the dreams. So he called for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. When Pharaoh told them his dreams, not one of them could tell him what they meant.
Finally, the king’s chief cup-bearer spoke up about Joseph, and Pharaoh sent for Joseph at once. Joseph was quickly brought from the prison. Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream last night, and no one here can tell me what it means. But I have heard that when you hear about a dream you can interpret it.”
“It is beyond my power to do this,” Joseph humbly replied. “But God can tell you what it means and set you at ease.” Joseph gave all glories to God even before Pharaoh, who was regarded as a god at that time.
Joseph carefully listened to Pharaoh’s dreams and responded, “Both of Pharaoh’s dreams mean the same thing. God is telling Pharaoh in advance what he is about to do. The seven healthy cows and the seven healthy heads of grain both represent seven years of prosperity. The seven thin, scrawny cows that came up later and the seven thin heads of grain, withered by the east wind, represent seven years of famine.
“Therefore, Pharaoh should find an intelligent and wise man and put him in charge of the entire land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh should appoint supervisors over the land and let them collect one-fifth of all the crops during the seven good years. Have them gather all the food produced in the good years that are just ahead and bring it to Pharaoh’s storehouses. Store it away, and guard it so there will be food in the cities. That way there will be enough to eat when the seven years of famine come to the land of Egypt. Otherwise this famine will destroy the land.”
Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the entire land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and placed it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in fine linen clothing and hung a gold chain around his neck. Then he had Joseph ride in the chariot reserved for his second-in-command. And wherever Joseph went, the command was shouted, “Kneel down!” So Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of all Egypt. And Pharaoh said to him, “I am Pharaoh, but no one will lift a hand or foot in the entire land of Egypt without your approval.”
Joseph became the 2nd most powerful person in Egypt. Then Pharaoh gave Joseph a wife, whose name was Asenath. She was the daughter of Potipher, the priest of On.
As predicted, for seven years the land produced bumper crops. During those years, Joseph gathered all the crops grown in Egypt and stored the grain from the surrounding fields in the cities. He piled up huge amounts of grain like sand on the seashore. Finally, he stopped keeping records because there was too much to measure.
Joseph got full recognition from Pharaoh. He became a superstar among the people, and all praised Joseph. Since his brother sold Joseph to slavery, Joseph’s life was so hard. First, Joseph fought for His survival as a slave under Potiphar’s ownership and, then, for his vindication because Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph. She was truly upset after she failed to seduce Joseph. Then Joseph repeatedly fixed his eyes on his dreams rather than the unfair world that only brought pain and agony and trusted in God, who gave him his dreams. Joseph indeed overcame the insurmountable life challenges. It was easier said than done. He had to experience his life pain by truly hitting bottom twice. Especially, the first betrayal of his brothers who sold him to slavery was unbearable, which indeed never left him, although he forgot about it because he was so busy fighting for his life.
Joseph’s life was getting better and being comfortable as the 2nd most powerful person in Egypt, but the past pain came back and haunted him. When he opened his eyes, he could see the enormous achievement: the huge country was operating under his management. His interpretation was right. There was plenty of harvests for seven years, and he gathered one-fifth of all the crops harvested in Egypt and stored the grain, which was like sand on the seashore. However, when he closed his eyes, he saw his brothers’ faces. Joseph shrank back as the haunting memory came back. Joseph lived in two worlds: his huge external success that everybody praised and his haunting memory coming back with his brother. As he made more external achievements, Joseph suffered more deeply. The unfinished heartache in him came back, which he did not know its existence till it came back to his life, especially the highest part of his life.
It was a brand new challenge to Joseph. Joseph struggled in the haunting memory. God, who dearly loved Joseph, nudged Joseph one night that he could not sleep. Joseph came back to himself, and he prayed to God for His strength to truly overcome his hard feelings against his brothers. It was not easy. Whenever he closed his eyes to pray to God, he saw his brothers laughing at him as they sold him to slavery. Their intention was pure evil to destroy Joseph’s dreams. His brothers thought that they had put the last nail on the coffin of Joseph’s dreams. They were joyful because there would be no more Joseph’s dreams. Joseph thought that he overcame his emotional hurt, but it was not. The lasting pain never left him.
God saw Joseph, and again, God walked closely with Joseph by holding Joseph’s hand as God did through his journey to become the 2nd most powerful person in Egypt. He fervently prayed to God for his strength to get out of the haunting memory. He prayed and prayed, and God heard his prayer.
God answered by giving two sons. Joseph was so happy to have his own sons. He finally sent away his haunting memory once for all because He experienced God and His loving hand. As Joseph got the first son, he named his first son Manasseh, which means “God has made me forget all my troubles and everyone in my father’s family.”. After he got the second son, he named Ephraim, which meant “God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.” Then, he could completely forgive his brothers and forget what they did to him forever. It was Joseph’s true victory in God!
At last, the seven years of bumper crops throughout the land of Egypt came to an end. Then the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had predicted. The famine also struck all the surrounding countries, but throughout Egypt, there was plenty of food. Eventually, however, the famine spread throughout the land of Egypt as well. And when the people cried out to Pharaoh for food, he told them, “Go to Joseph, and do whatever he tells you.” So with severe famine everywhere, Joseph opened up the storehouses and distributed grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout the land of Egypt. And people from all around came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph because the famine was severe throughout the world.
Joseph became even more famous among the Egyptians and the nations around Egypt. Joseph walked the walk given to him faithfully and truly enjoyed God’s blessings. Many of Joseph’s footsteps were so difficult. Initially, he almost failed, but he stood up again and followed the dreams that God gave him while trusting Him. God was always with Joseph no matter what happened to Joseph — whether his faith was tested and weakened, or he regained strength and stood firm on faith. After all, the one who truly made Joseph endure all things was God.
The famine also came to the land, Canaan, where Jacob and his brothers lived. When Jacob heard that grain was available in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why are you standing around looking at one another? I have heard there is grain in Egypt. Go down there, and buy enough grain to keep us alive. Otherwise, we’ll die.”
So Joseph’s ten older brothers went down to Egypt to buy grain. But Jacob wouldn’t let Joseph’s younger brother, Benjamin, go with them for fear some harm might come to him. So Jacob’s sons arrived in Egypt along with others to buy food, for the famine was in Canaan as well.
Since Joseph was governor of all Egypt and in charge of selling grain to all the people, it was to him that his brothers came. When they arrived, they bowed before him with their faces to the ground. Joseph recognized his brothers instantly.
Finally, Joseph’s dreams became a reality. His brothers indeed bowed low to Joseph as Joseph dreamed twice. Because of his dreams, his brothers hated Joseph. To destroy Joseph’s dreams, they sold Joseph to slavery. Then they thought that they had succeeded in destroying Joseph’s dreams. However, God used his brothers’ evil conduct as the very means to make Joseph’s dreams come true. It was not all.
Most importantly, God made Joseph truly know God by going through many ups and downs that very few people had ever experienced before. God loved Joseph, and God was always with Joseph. People knew God was Joseph as Joseph lived out faith in God while fixing his eyes on the dreams that God gave him. God kept pulling Joseph ahead through the paths of righteousness, and Joseph followed God while trusting in God. What a beautiful journey of Joseph — walking with God and trusting in God under all circumstances!
My Jesus, as Thou wilt
By Benjamin Schmolk
Translated by Jane L. Borthwick
My Jesus, as Thou wilt!
Oh, may Thy will be mine!
Into Thy hand of love
I would my all resign;
Through sorrow, or through joy,
Conduct me as Thine own,
And help me still to say,
My Lord, Thy will be done!
My Jesus, as Thou wilt!
Though seen through many a tear,
Let not my star of hope
Grow dim or disappear;
Since Thou on earth hast wept,
And sorrowed oft alone,
If I must weep with Thee,
My Lord, Thy will be done!
My Jesus, as Thou wilt!
All shall be well for me;
Each changing future scene
I gladly trust with Thee.
Straight to Thy rest above
I travel calmly on,
And sing, in life or death,
My Lord, Thy will be done!
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me. (Psalm 23:3b-4)