Suffering and Glory

Scripture Reading: Genesis 37:5-8; 25-28; Genesis 41: 14-16; 33,41

5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. 6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: 7We 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.”

 8 His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.

 25 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.

 26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.

 28 So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.

 Chapter 41:14 So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh.

 15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. 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.”

33 “And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt.

41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.”

The story of Joseph is told in the last thirteen chapters of Genesis. Looking back on the life of Joseph, we can realize that Joseph’s rise to the palace of Pharaoh was not the result of some unusually good luck. In the pages of Genesis, we see that Joseph endured a series of painful events in his life, which were all a part of God’s divine purpose.

The story of Joseph reminds me of the words of Paul from Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”.

Many of us wait for that one big break that will lead us to a life of prosperity and fame and power. We desire to be successful in this world and we want other people to know that we have made it, that we have arrived. There are those who leave behind family and friends to pursue that “big break” in Hollywood, Nashville, or New York. Most of us tend to think of finding success in some dramatic life-changing event.

It would be easy to read the story of Joseph and think that his “big break” occurred when the cupbearer mentioned his name to Pharaoh. After all, this seemed to break that long and agonizing chain of events which had followed Joseph since his brothers sold him into slavery.

However, we must be cautious about holding up the story of Joseph as a example of suffering and glory. While it is true that Joseph did indeed suffer and was able to experience some “glory” while still on this earth, it is the exception, not the norm.We must be careful to not look at the events of Joseph’s life as a promise that all who are faithful in suffering will experience glory in this life.

There are many who suffer on a daily basis and their suffering remains until they take departure from this earth. I believe that our “present sufferings,” does serve to prepare us for the future glory that we as believers will experience.

During our present suffering we must cling to our faith, to our belief that our Father who resides in heaven, is watching over us and is preparing us for a glorious, eternal future in heaven, free from suffering.

 

 

 

 

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