So Genesis comes to a close. What began as a perfect world…with perfect people…quickly filled with sin of all sorts. The embodiment of perfect unity was quickly replaced with shame, violence, deceit, betrayal, fear…the list goes on. And on. And on. And the earth is still just an infant.
But there are two consistencies throughout Genesis: human failure and God’s kindness. Adam and Eve hid, terrified and ashamed because of their sin, and God “made garments of skin and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21) Abraham, Isaac, Jacob…over and over, they doubt, they question, they lie, they manipulate. And over and over, God is patient, faithful and kind. Joseph is arrogant, taunting his brothers with grandiose dreams. His brothers are spiteful and cruel, only showing remorse when they fear backlash. Still, God shows mercy.
There are consequences, of course. Some are severe and most last beyond their lifetimes. But there is also and always…mercy.
Thank you Jesus, for sharing Joseph as a picture of your patient love…as an example of dignity. He suffers so much because of the actions of others. Still, he responds so poised, so compassionate, and so willing to see divine providence in every detail.
“Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. (vs.19-21)
How many times do I act ridiculous in response to offenses that are embarrassingly less offensive than what Joseph experienced! Forgive me, God. Help me to believe – really believe – that you intend it for my good. May your mercy inspire compassion in me…as it did in Joseph. May awareness of your perfect plan inspire confidence deep in my soul…as it did in him. May my life be a picture of patient love so that others will see you and know that there is so much more to life than this tiny dot on our timeline.