Reading Through The Bible in 2011, Part 13
What I Read Today: Genesis 42-46.
What Stood Out Today: Genesis 45: 4-8: “Then he said, ‘I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. Now, do not be upset and do not be angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me ahead of you to preserve life! For these past two years there has been famine in the land and for five more years there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God sent me ahead of you to preserve you on the earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now, it is not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me an adviser to Pharaoh, lord over all his household, and ruler over all the land of Egypt.'”
Random Thoughts About What I Read:
In Shakespeare’s The Tempest there’s a quote that’s always stood out to me: “What’s past is prologue.”
It’s deep. Think.
I was born in a very blue-collar, steel-working community. My paternal grandparents owned their own modest business. My maternal grandparents were white-collar with some degree of reknown in our community (Pappy was an executive who hired everybody that worked at the steel mill that seemed to employ everyone we knew).
My family moved to the suburbs when I was six.
I had a childhood loaded with memories of summer nights playing hide & seek, or having BB gun wars in dug-out basements of the homes being built in my subdivision, of make-shift pick-up sports where we had to adapt rules to the yard/driveway we played in, or of bicycle jumps over picnic tables/trash cans, of finding an attic full of Playboys by accident, of taking the dare and kissing one of the cute girls in our neighborhood. You get the drift.
My parents were happily married.
I was better than average at most organized sports.
My dad died unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of 36.
I was a latchkey kid.
I spent a lot of afternoons either in an empty house listening to aggressive & angry music or at the batting cage I rode my bike to for self-therapy of pounding baseballs.
My sister and I went from home-cooked meals to Mac & Cheese, microwaved hot dogs with Kool Aid or soup.
I was an average student…
…except in English, which I dominated.
I dated a great girl, and became friends with her friends that I didn’t know very well before then.
I had great friends.
I was president of my class.
I never told my friends about seeing punk bands whenever they came to town–which was rare, but I loved the nights I got to go to.
I had a job at the local country club, and the local movie theatre.
My neighbors who went to the same high school were involved in the band, and wound up getting to know a lot of them when there were post-game get-togethers there.
I enjoyed my high school years…but often felt that I was an outsider looking in on it sometimes.
I spent years away from church & Christians…and I spent years with them after that.
I enjoyed my college years, but I graduated in 3 calendar years because I couldn’t wait to get on with my life.
I spent some time making horribly unwise decisions after standing firm before my fraternity brothers for a year before that. Then rebounded.
I spent some time dating around.
I fell in love with the girl of my dreams. She said “yes.” I’m still smitten 22 years later.
I have daughters.
I have a career that’s really just living life in concert with other Christians and I enjoy it.
I could go on.
I feel like I went too far already.
But I’m wanting you to see something about my past.
See, my career is working with teenagers.
In the suburbs of Dallas.
And most go to public high schools.
Check out that list.
Is there a “type” of teenager I don’t have some ability to connect with?
The athlete. The musician.
The broken family.
The angry young man.
The bow-headed cheerleader.
The youth group kid.
The non-church kid.
The kid that works their part-time job.
I could go on, but did you catch that my past was PROLOGUE?
All through my childhood events and people and experiences were popping into and around my life that prepared me for what I would be doing in God’s plan…
…even if I had no idea what that would be at the time.
My guess is that Joseph had the same type of reality-check once his brothers showed up.
The same brothers who sold him into slavery.
The same brothers who threatened to kill him by throwing him in a well.
The same brothers who lied to their dad about him being killed by a wild animal.
And he would wind up in Potipher’s house as a blue-collar servant.
And he would rise to white-collar leadership.
He would be unfairly accused of sexual harassment.
He would wind up in jail.
He shared a cell with two people who were accused of crimes–one apparently exonerated, one apparently executed.
His unique ability to interpret dreams which was highlighted in prison would be remembered and he’d have the chance to help the king out.
He got a new gig in the king’s palace.
He rose to a position of power & regal leadership.
And it all made sense to Joseph.
His role was to help his family survive. His ability to interpret a dream helped his king plan ahead with food to withstand the famine in the land. They had plenty when others were starving.
Among the starving were his very own brothers. Jacob, his father, had heard Egypt had plenty. Better go buy some stuff from those who had plenty so his family could live.
So here are the brothers, bowing down to Joseph…just like his dream that caused them to hate him so many years ago. Joseph sees it.
And his past became prologue.
All the ups and downs. The wins and losses. The high times and the low ebbs. From prison to king’s palace.
It was all prologue to save his family.
What was going on in his day-in, day-out for the better part of two decades was getting him ready and putting him in position to do something in His plan.
So that is what is running through my brain right now. This idea that my past led to my now, and my now is preparing for my future…
…and that’s a tremendous encouragement that God is at work while I’m in it.
Whatever the “it” is.
(Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 47-end)