God With Joseph & God With Us
We express exasperation these days with this phrase: "No repetition, Caleb, no repetition." Because...
"Can I have dessert? Can I have dessert? Can I have dessert? Mommy, Mommy, Mommy. Can I have dessert? Can I, can I, can I? Dessert, dessert, dessert. Please, please, please, Mommy."
When he wants to make a point, Caleb repeats himself. Reminds me of Moses talking about Joseph...
Genesis 39:1-6 Now Joseph had been taken to Egypt. An Egyptian named Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him there. The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, serving in the household of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made everything he did successful, Joseph found favor in his master’s sight and became his personal attendant. Potiphar also put him in charge of his household and placed all that he owned under his authority. From the time that he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house because of Joseph. The Lord’s blessing was on all that he owned, in his house and in his fields. He left all that he owned under Joseph’s authority; he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.
Genesis 39:21-23 But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him. He granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. The warden put all the prisoners who were in the prison under Joseph’s authority, and he was responsible for everything that was done there. The warden did not bother with anything under Joseph’s authority, because the Lord was with him, and the Lord made everything that he did successful.
Four times Moses drives home his point: The Lord was with Joseph. And this makes sense because Christians serve the With-Us-God.
- Genesis 1 - "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." The first concept any Jewish person would understand about God’s presence with his creation is that he was in fact present with us. God inhabits the heavens and the earth the way a king inhabits the temple in his kingdom.
- Genesis 3 - Adam and Eve hear the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze. That holy wind of God blown into the garden by God’s physical presence with us in the beginning.
Genesis 39 - Before Pharaoh (the most powerful leader in Egypt) hired Joseph, what caught his attention?? Pharaoh saw “the Lord was with Joseph.”
Genesis 46 - Before Jacob dares leave safety to return to Egypt, God says to him, "don’t be afraid to go—I will be with you!!"
Genesis 48 - Right before Jacob dies, his parting words to his son Joseph are: "I’m am going to die but God will be with you. Go get the land and be sure to bring my bones there too."
Here’s my point... The Jewish understanding of God’s presence was this: God is the With-Us-God. The With-Us-God is present hovering over the heavens and the earth during creation, walking in the garden before the fall, accompanying us through the wilderness (cloud by day, fire by night), present in the temple in Jerusalem, and present for the victories of God's most famous heroes...
- When God rescued his people, he brought them out of Egypt in the Exodus, and while they wandered in the wilderness to the promised land, God’s presence accompanied them with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
- Right before David defeats the giant Goliath, he tells Saul he can in fact face this impossible mission to defeat their enemy because God would be with him.
- When Deborah ruled all of Israel--meaning she was president, head over the military, God’s chosen leader, and one of the most successful judges, she said they would defeat their enemies because what? God will be with us.
Christians serve the With-Us-God.
God is with us like he was with Joseph. God is with us when we face sibling hate, human trafficking, wrongful accusations, wrongful imprisonment, unsolicited sexual advances, temptations, dream interpreting, famine, and even when we have to forgive our enemies. God is with us.
I wonder what you're facing now. Because I've got loved ones fighting incurable pain, debilitating debt, infertility, hatred, betrayal, loneliness, and divorce. The kinds of texts I get send me to my physical knees because the challenges are too great, too many. And then I remember God is with my friends. He is with me now. Right now.
Never has God's abiding presence meant more to me than in this season of life. Bless you, God. You are the With-Us-God.