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Read:  Genesis 45-47

Imagine this story being told around a campfire.  Bible scholars say that before written language the stories of the Bible were an oral tradition.  This is the art of storytelling, generation after generation, for hundreds of years.  They were masters.

The listening faith community had followed the ups and downs of Joseph’s life.  The favored son showing up to supervise his older brothers and wearing an ornate long flowing robe.  They were shocked that the brothers consider murdering Joseph, but then decide to sell him into slavery.  The people nod with approval when Joseph rises to the position of head servant; they gasp when Potiphar’s wife trapped him and he goes to prison.  They marvel at his ability to interpret the dreams of the cupbearer and baker, and sigh when the cupbearer forgets his promise to Joseph.  Finally, when God’s name is mentioned as the Giver of Dreams the audience knows that the story is about to take a powerful and wonderful turn.  Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams to discover that the whole world is in peril! 

Then, they’re thrilled with the turn of irony and justice; Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt and beg for the right to buy grain.  Joseph’s dream was true!  His brothers are bowing to him, as he holds authority over them.  More plot twists and turns.  A bit of suspense:  what will Joseph do?!  He ensnares them in his trap.  He makes them beg for the life of Benjamin, who was arrested.  The brothers confess that another lost son would destroy their father.  Their sincere outpouring overcomes Joseph’s tender heart and FINALLY, he reveals his identity!  Wow!

It’s not a story of sweet revenge; it is a sweeter story of love, grace, and forgiveness.  It is the most beautiful and powerful example of grace in the Old Testament.  What a compelling testimony Joseph has for following God:  trust God, yield to God’s will, and leave room for the providence of God to be at work, even when life doesn’t make sense.  The brothers are reconciled.  Soon Father Jacob will make the long trek to Egypt and they will all be together, happy and safe for the rest of their lives.  This is the work of God, Who through much of the story has been quietly working behind the scenes.  Thanks and praise be to God!  Amen.

Shalom,

Pastor Rob Nystrom