Genesis 39. This is the chapter we’ve been waiting for. It’s all going off with Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. She’s a wicked woman and wants Joseph to sleep with her. He tries to run away. She grabs his coat and screams. Her story beggars belief. She tells her husband that Joseph tried to rape her! Potiphar, despite knowing that the Lord was with Joseph, had no choice but to throw him in jail.
“Close every door to me…”
We were once fortunate to see “Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at the London Palladium with Phillip Schofield in the lead role. I think he’d only been in the role a short time because we were nervous that he wouldn’t be able to carry it off. A TV presenter singing? But he did really well and obviously enjoyed it enormously. But then came Genesis 39:20 “So he took Joseph and threw him into the prison…” and one of the most difficult songs in the musical. We were blown away by how well Phillip Schofield sang. A lovely moment and so emotional for everyone there!
The Biblical Joseph, meanwhile is still favoured by God and so is soon helping the warden run the prison. Soon he is helping to look after two of Pharaoh’s servants. They are very upset by a dream they have each had. Joseph, if you remember, is very good at interpreting dreams.
First, the cup-bearer tells of his dream. Joseph listens and interprets it to mean that the man will be freed in three days and restored to his former position. Joseph begs the cup-bearer to tell Pharaoh that he was unfairly imprisoned, and pleads for his own release. The baker hopes that his dream will have a favourable outcome, but Joseph tells him that he will die in three days.
And, sure enough, three days later the cup-bearer got his old job back and was so happy he completely forgot about Joseph. The baker, just as had been predicted, was executed.
Now, two years go by and Pharaoh has two disturbing dreams in one night. He calls for his staff, but no one knew what it meant. Finally, the cup-bearer spoke up and told Pharaoh about Joseph. His big moment had come. But Joseph hesitates. The ability to interpret dreams comes from God, he explains. (And not one Elvis look-a-like in sight!)
Matthew 12 concludes with some very challenging words. Jesus is speaking to his disciples and his Mum and brothers want to speak to him. But he points to his disciples and says, “These are my mother and brothers.” What to make of this? I think the important part here is that his family is not in the room with him. For whatever reason, they have something else to do. Who (at that moment) is more important to him? The ones in the room, listening. His Mum and brothers will have to wait: their time will come.
We move on to Matthew 13 and Jesus talks to the crowd in parables. Entire books have been written by learned people discussing what the parables mean. Or what they think the parables mean! I prefer to skim across them and what do we find? Instructions on how to live a better life. The seed sower. Most seeds failed, but some grew. Should he stop sowing? No, not at all. Should we stop listening just because we don’t understand? No, not at all!
Psalm 17 is a prayer for justice. The writer cries out to God for protection against those who are attacking him. He defends his position by saying that he has followed the Lord’s commandments. He cries out, (17:14) “… Destroy those who look to this world for their reward…” We gotta keep plugging away. Every day, not just once in a while. Keep sowing those seeds of goodness. Some of them will grow.
Proverbs 3 continues to give us some lovely closing words, (3:35) “The wise inherit honour, but fools are put to shame!”