Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Joseph's Story

So recently I've been learning a lot about Joseph's story in the Bible and how it correlates to my own story.  Genesis is the first book of the Bible so obviously a lot happens there: Creation (a pretty big deal), the Flood, the Tower of Babel, Abraham's story, Isaac's story, and Jacob's story just name a few of the biggies.  Yet interestingly the story that gets the most dedicated chapters is the story of Joseph.  From his days wearing a coat of many colors to his days of sitting high in the land of Egypt, the writer of Genesis lays out the ways in which God shapes and uses this man as a Kingdom representative - and I'm learning a lot about what all of that means for me.

Dreams are an important component in Joseph's story.  The most vital learnings for me have been in the three dream accounts.  In the beginning, he's dreaming that he is the center of the universe - a very important person to whom others (including his family members) bow.  Second, after he finds himself in prison after being wrongfully accused, Joseph says that he can interpret dreams with the help of God.  Finally, when he is called before Pharaoh to interpret his dreams, Joseph acknowledges that only God can interpret dreams.  [This is obviously a pitiful Cliff notes version of the Joseph story - you'd need to read Genesis chapter 37 and then chapters 39-50.]

At 17, Joseph alone is at the center.
“Listen to this dream I had: 7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” 

Years later (perhaps late 20s), Joseph has allowed God to occupy the center of universe with him - how kind, generous, and thoughtful of him.
Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.”  

Then 2 years later, Joseph finally allows God alone to stand at the center of the universe and acknowledges his own place as a servant of the King.
But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”
 16 “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” 

Joseph's story is the tale of learning humility.  Joseph's dream of people bowing down to him did indeed come true but it was only after Joseph learned that it isn't all about him.  Joseph was representing the True King and to do that he had to learn who alone was to be the Center.

I still too often find myself at a similar place of trying to edge my way into the center of my world rather than submitting that place completely and solely to Jesus.  There is no fruit apart from living by faith in Him but I catch myself over-functioning and trying to do God's part way too often.  I learning new ways to make God the center - new ways to die to self so that resurrection life can spring forth within me and the Kingdom can break into my life.