Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thirty Years

If you know who Donny Osmond is, you know the story of Joseph.  As a young man with a lot of potential, he ran his mouth a bit too much and irritated the snot out of his brothers.  They wanted to kill him--and life just went downhill from there.  They sold him into slavery.  He went to work for Potiphar and things were looking good until Potiphar's wife got mad at him and lied, which led to Joseph being sent to prison.  In prison, Joseph works for the warden and interprets dreams for a couple of Pharaoh's servants, but he is still in prison without having done a single thing to deserve it for at least two years after interpreting those dreams.  Joseph has held firm to his faith in God, and his life still sucks.

You know what comes next.  In one day, Joseph goes from prison to being second in power in all of Egypt to only Pharaoh himself.   

"Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt" (Genesis 41:46). 

The text indicates that Joseph was seventeen when the strife between him and his brothers really began to heat up.  I suspect that Joseph being sold into slavery came at that age or soon thereafter.  That means that on his thirtieth birthday Joseph had spent his entire adult life--more than a decade--as a slave and/or prisoner.  It would have been pretty easy for him to develop a rotten attitude about life, but the story is clear: Joseph's faith remained in tact, despite the adversity he faced.

If Joseph had been wrapped up in his circumstances, even when called into Pharaoh's palace to interpret Pharaoh's dreams, what would have happened?  First, God probably would not have given him the wisdom to interpret them, and back into the dungeon he would have gone.  Second, if God had granted him the wisdom to interpret them, he may have been unwise with his gift.  Instead of telling Pharaoh the meaning of the dream, and then telling him what to do about it, what if Joseph had simply said, "Sounds like you're screwed"?  His displeasure at how life went the first thirty years of his life would have robbed him of all God's blessings that he ended up receiving over the next ninety.

We must take the long view on life.  It's easy to get overwhelmed by the circumstances of the moment.  God takes the long view, and therefore we should, too.  We have to keep our eyes on the Father and trust him to deal with the rest.

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