Scripture: Genesis 41: 46-57
Key verses: (53-54) 53The seven years of plenty that prevailed in the land of Egypt came to an end; 54and the seven years of famine began to come, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in every country, but throughout the land of Egypt there was bread.
Reflection: The story of Joseph in Egypt is a remarkable tale of faith and trust and perseverance. You may remember that Joseph was the favorite son of Jacob, and his brothers were very jealous of him. The coat his father gave him to wear was a symbol of his favored status. The dreams he had (and shared freely) in which his brothers bowed down to him, put them over the edge. They sold him into slavery, and told his father he was dead.
Years pass, in which Joseph languishes in jail. Later, he is let out because he interprets the dreams of a paranoid Pharaoh. More troubles ensue. Joseph has a life of many dimensions, more than many of the biblical heroes we encounter. We hear of his ups and his downs, over long years. In this passage, he has risen to power through his predictions of famine and his wise counsel to store up grain ahead of time. This will prove to be what brings him back together with his brothers and his father.
This story of Joseph’s rise from prison to palace will be the focal story for our Vacation Bible School this summer. My hope and prayer is that the children hear and see more than just Joseph’s rise to power and riches. We will have failed if all they come away with is the idea that God will bless the faithful. I pray that they will hear instead that God is with Joseph in every part of his journey, both the highs and the lows. His faith in God is what gave him strength in every circumstance, and ultimately enabled him to forgive his brothers. It’s a story of forgiveness and grace, and not just prosperity. May God enable us to tell it well!
Prayer: God, you are with me when all I see is a pit. And you are with me when I feel blessed. Help me to trust in you always. Help me to see and name your grace at work in forgiveness and reconciliation and not just in power and might. In the name of Jesus the Christ I pray. Amen.
Author: Julie Hester
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].