So, update: Back in August at some point (can’t remember exactly which day now but I wrote it down somewhere) I finished copying out the Bible! Woohoo!  I celebrated by texting the four people who would actually find this exciting and gave some thought to “what now?”  The response was pretty clear.  Start over. This time I would use a version with which I am unfamiliar and this time (prepare to shake your head) I was going to pay attention to what it says about God.  Ok, so yes, in the last several years of copying scripture I had often learned new and awesome things about God, but the plan is to focus on what scripture says about God.  So, before I dive into copying each day, the plan is that I ask God, “Why did you want to record this?  What are you telling us about yourself by telling us this?” Turns out, this is a great question.  And ya, I know I’m not the first person in history to ask it.  This is kind of the whole point in reading the Bible, I am aware. But there’s some context for you.

Also, my life is a bit…uncertain these days.  We are going through stuff.  I’ve got a kid who has been going through a really hard time.  Our family business is also…going through a hard time.  So, my life feels pretty chaotic, and I wake up frequently in the middle of the night with a brain full of problems that I must fix right now before I sleep ever again, even though I have no control over most of them.   It’s a season I could happily skip, but God does not seem eager to help me skip it.

Cue Genesis 37.  The narrative turns to Joseph.  This kid’s family life was a bit of a disaster.  Polygamy, favouritism, lots of deceit…and in the middle of it all stands Joseph who is 17 years old.  He is the first son of his dad’s favourite wife, and his dad treats him better than his older brothers. His brothers, somewhat predictably, aren’t fond of him.  He has a nasty habit of spying on them for his dad and keeping him updated on their misbehaviour, and he doesn’t have the presence of mind to keep his dreams to himself, even when they seem to suggest his not-so-loving brothers will one day bow to him as though he was their king.

He doesn’t immediately stand out as the hero of a story, but it becomes apparent that God has a really big plan that involves him.  Not only does it require his participation, but he is going to need to do some pretty serious growing up, develop some mad organizational and leadership skills and, oh yah, he’s going to need to be in a whole other country a very long way from home. 

He doesn’t immediately stand out as the hero of a story, but it becomes apparent that God has a really big plan that involves him.  Not only does it require his participation, but he is going to need to do some pretty serious growing up, develop some mad organizational and leadership skills and, oh yah, he’s going to need to be in a whole other country a very long way from home.  

I’m really hoping you know enough of this story to follow because it’s a bit of a long one and I can’t cover it all or most of you are going to just close this page and I’m not going to get to show you what I learned, and that would make me sad, because I am kind of excited about it, and I don’t like to keep stuff I’m excited about to myself.  (Also, I refuse to fix that sentence.  It’s 5am.  I have to share.  If this is coherent at all, praise God.)

ANYWAYS…I come to this passage on a particularly tough morning.  And I remember to ask, “God, tell me about yourself.”  In the next half hour or so God said, “I make plans.  I make them for good reasons.  They don’t always look like good plans from your perspective, but they always are.  If you could see what I am doing, you’d be really thankful that I’m doing what I’m doing.  Trust me when I say NOTHING is changing my plans. I am doing a thing.  It’s a good thing, and nothing anyone else does is going to stop me from doing this thing.  And that’s a good thing.”

Seriously y’all – have you looked at the story of Joseph lately?  Read Genesis 37 through 46.  God’s plan requires Joseph to be a brilliant administrator ruling Egypt, but at the moment he is a bit of a spoiled brat, thoroughly antagonizing his older brothers in Canaan.

The lengths to which God goes to get this unlikely job done are mind boggling.  Jacob (his dad) decides to send the “spy kid” to let him know what stupid thing his brothers (who, by the way, are all working their tails off day and night out in the open fields taking care of their dad’s flocks) are up to now.  God has decided now is the time for Joseph to relocate to Egypt.  He has not mentioned this to anyone.  In my experience he rarely feels the need to explain himself.  That aside, he has arranged for some Midianite traders to transport him to Egypt.  But they are passing through Dothan, and Jacob is sends Joseph to Shechem where his brothers are taking care of the flocks.  Except he gets there, and they aren’t there.  Joseph wanders aimlessly for a bit and somehow bumps into a guy who met his brothers when they were still in Shechem and just happened to hear them say, “Let’s take the animals to Dothan.” Why? I do not know.  Maybe there was better pasture there.  Maybe they figured if they left Shechem Joseph couldn’t come check in on them and rat them out to dad.  It doesn’t say.

Regardless, Joseph heads for Dothan.  His brother’s see him coming in the distance and decide they’ve had enough of him.  They have no idea how the little rat found them in Dothan, but this is going to be the last time they have to deal with him.  They agree to kill him and tell dad he was killed by a wild animal.  They toss him in an empty cistern while they work out the details.  Secretly, his oldest brother Reuben decides to rescue him and take him back to his dad.  But he has to wait for his moment when the others aren’t around.  But while Reuben is out with the flocks, the aforementioned Midianite traders come by and one of the brothers has the brilliant idea of making a buck off of Joseph.  They hadn’t really figured out a good way to kill him but if they sold him to slave traders, they didn’t have to kill him, he was still out of their hair, he got to live, and they made a little spending money. Everybody wins!  By the time Reuben sneaks back to rescue him, he is in a random merchant caravan destined for Egypt.

Do you see all that?  God wants Joseph in Egypt.  But Joseph is quite happy in Canaan and isn’t going there voluntarily.  So God makes his plan happen.  And it doesn’t matter what the people around Joseph do, God just weaves the story.  Joseph needs to be in Dothan so the traders can give him a lift to Egypt.  Geography will not be the downfall of my plan.  I can orchestrate circumstances to put Joseph somewhere he was never sent, no problem!  What if someone wants him dead?  What if someone else wants to rescue him and bring him home?  Doesn’t matter, I have a plan.  Do you really think people’s intentions are going to stop me from getting the job done? 

This is just the part where Joseph gets put in the right geographical location for God’s plan.  The rest of the story just keeps going with crazy circumstances.  As I said, he needed to develop some serious administrative skills.  He needed to become a really gifted leader.  So God starts by putting him in the home of the captain of the king’s guard as a slave.  There he learns administration.  But God’s plan requires that he can manage more than even a very impressive household.  So God allows Joseph to go to prison (wrongfully accused, but that accomplished the plan).  This was not just any prison. This was the prison where the king’s prisoners went, which was important because before too long he would be serving as second only to the king and that was kind of his ticket in (really long story, if you don’t know it, it’s worth the read.) But even though he was in the prison he still needed practice managing people, so God arranged for him to be super helpful to the prison warden and he basically became his right hand man and ran the place for him.  And don’t even get me started about the crazy circumstances under which he finally got out of the prison!  Bakers, wine tasters, and Pharoah all having crazy dreams…It’s a lot.

But here’s what I learned.  When God makes a plan, there isn’t thing one anyone can do to stop it.  In the wrong place? Not an issue.  Don’t have the necessary skills? Not a problem.  People try to get in the way either because of bad intentions or good? No worries.  

So when my life does not appear to be going to plan, which as I mentioned it really doesn’t just now.  It’s probably safe to assume that God is doing stuff I can’t see and wouldn’t understand even if I could.  If God has a good purpose for my life – and because I love him his word says that he does – then I can relax a little.  Because nothing I do… nothing other people do… nothing that happens around me is going to make God unable to do his thing.  





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