Good morning my friends,
It is amazing how different the children in the same family can be. They have the same parents, live with the same rules, eat the same food, and live in the same house. Yet each of the children sees those things differently and responds differently. In my family we have some children who spring out of bed in the morning and others that we have to use sticks of dynamite to get moving. We have some children who eat everything put in front of them and others that are very particular and do not appear to eat enough to stay alive. The differences continue.
This was the case with Jacob’s family. The diversity in such a great family can be seen in the blessings he leaves with them. However, among these brothers Joseph seemed to stand apart. He had always been different from the others but now, after all his experiences he really stood out. Again, we can see this in his father’s blessings:
"Joseph is a fruitful vine,
a fruitful vine near a spring,
whose branches climb over a wall.
With bitterness archers attacked him;
they shot at him with hostility.
But his bow remained steady,
his strong arms stayed limber,
because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob,
because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
because of your father's God,
who helps you, because of the Almighty,
who blesses you with blessings of the heavens above,
blessings of the deep that lies below,
blessings of the breast and womb.
Your father's blessings are greater
than the blessings of the ancient mountains,
than the bounty of the age-old hills.
Let all these rest on the head of Joseph,
on the brow of the prince among his brothers. (Genesis 49:22-26)
His father saw all the bitter things that Joseph came through and he saw how it had strengthened him, made his character stronger, wiser. His father referred to the bitterness of his brothers but how Joseph remained steady and he correctly saw this as the work of the Lord. At the end he sums it up nicely: “Let all these rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the prince among his brothers.” It was not because Joseph was once his father’s favorite but instead that Joseph had proven to be of greater character than his brothers. He truly stood apart.
This is amazing when we remember his earlier experiences. It is amazing how he trusted his God and allowed God to forge such an incredible strength in his character. He was forged in the fires of trials. He made that decision not to allow these things to plant seeds of bitterness in him. He made that decision to walk in it. He made that decision to trust God even though he saw no way out of it. These decisions gave him the character that made him “the prince among his brothers”.
The difference is contrasted after his father’s death when Joseph’s brothers began to fear for their lives. They fell back into their old ways, the ways of their forefathers as they lied to try to manipulate Joseph’s heart. Such distrust and deceptive ways from his brothers hurt Joseph. He plainly saw through their lie knowing his father had said no such thing. Again he showed the strength of his character as he overlooked the lie and assured them again of his forgiveness and his willingness to look after their needs. Joseph must have really missed his father at that moment.
We need to arrive at Joseph’s perspective and allow God to forge our character in the trials of our lives. We too must find that determination and resolve to go all the way with our God, even when the darkness is so dark we can’t see our own hand. There are times when we have to turn off our desperate way of thinking and concentrate on the character of our God, trusting that it is better to be facing this difficulty in the will of the Father than to be experiencing sunny weather outside of his will. God’s plan is the best plan. We see the blessings that came at the end of Job’s trials. We see the blessings that came at the end of Joseph’s trials. We see how he stood out from everyone else. Would our Lord Jesus do less for us?