Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Gen 39 Devotional

Blessed to be a Blessing?

In our last meditation, we considered that God was going to bless the nation of Israel, starting with Abraham so that they could be a blessing to others (Gen 12).

Yet as we noticed, Judah and his brothers seemed to utilize the blessings and privileges given to the fledgling nation of Israel and abused them for their own selfish gain – turning more into wild animals (Gen 37:23) than benevolent princes.

So how do we solve a problem like Judah?

Well, Moses gives us some clues, pointing at the end of Gen 38, once again to the birth of the promised seed (Gen 3:15) – the one who would break out against (or into) this decaying race, not to destroy them – but bring the dawn (Gen 38:28-30).

And then immediately, we are told of Joseph’s descent into Egypt (Gen 39:1). Unlike Judah, he is forced into this descent and becomes a slave – a servant. That is his new identity, no longer the royal son.

But yet through his service, Joseph becomes a tremendous blessing to everyone around him (Gen 39:2-6). In fact, as Tze-Ming mentioned, ALL benefit when Joseph is in charge. ALL benefit through the suffering and humiliation of this son, who was beloved by his father (including Potiphar and wife!).

Ironically, Joseph’s continual faithfulness to God and Potiphar only leads to more pain on himself. Joseph’s life continues to get worse – he gets harassed, tempted, thrown into jail, left to rot. Yet it is THROUGH his betrayal, his temptation, his trials, his wounds - that others benefit. Each level of his descent leads to greater levels of sustained blessing to others.

Joseph is not blessed to be a blessing. He is cursed to be a blessing.

Strange as it seems, God is in the background of all this, God is the one who orchestrated his descent, his suffering service, his humiliation. It is God that chooses to afflict him – and it is God that channels the blessings to others through his misery.

So then, how will the nations be blessed? How do we solve the hypocrisy of Israel?

The two questions are related. It is all found through this One – the Suffering Servant. And so Moses’s biography of Jesus Christ continues…

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)

If you wish to be blessed – all you have to do is be under His Rule, His Household. The primary application here is not that God will make you suffer to the extent that Joseph did, not that you have to resist temptation to his level, but rather that the Chosen One will suffer and resist on your behalf. Trust Him, let Him rule your life and you will be blessed – God will work in all things for your good.