Photo by Daniel Curran on Unsplash
It is possible to graduate in 13 years (give or take a few months) with even a good chance of doing so summa cum laude.
First, he completed his Certificate in Basic Slavery. (This took quite some adjustment, as he came from a favoured background, multi-coloured coat and all, and it was his brothers who forced him into this course of study. Only 17, he was rudely and suddenly taken from his internship in “Introduction to Shepherding Family Livestock”.)
Next, in a foreign institution, he went on to secure his Diploma in Household Administration with a minor in “How to Flee Seduction”. (Even though he aced that exam by scooting off, he was demoted and given less attractive assignments and lodgings.)
He gained his Bachelor’s degree literally by default (being handsome and imposing, but unavailable to his master’s wife) and earned his Masters in “Managing Detention & Correctional Facilities”.
By now he could have wondered: I’m doing well, but do I really want to make a career out of this?
While still detained against his personal wishes, he completed his coursework – waiting to defend his Doctoral thesis on “The Management of Dream Interpretation, with special emphasis on Occupational Hazards” – having finished his practicum in two case studies involving a butler and a baker.
Are you willing to look for the invisible hand of God at work behind the scenes of your suffering and to embrace His sovereign purpose?
Yes, Joseph was finally recognised for his exceptional wisdom and knowledge and appointed to a high office in the land, second only to Pharaoh. His daily work consisted of a mix of Surplus Collection, Famine Control and Supply Chain management, involving storage, warehousing, sales and distribution over a 14-year sustainability programme.
And all because of family issues.
If all roads lead to Rome, then all fingers seem to point to Father Jacob. Practising favoritism was the killer. Having four wives didn’t really help, but that was part of life in those days.
How could it go so wrong? Wasn’t he part of the grand design to be father of a mighty nation?
For a start, he was one of a pair of twins! So, how much closer can you get?
And Abraham was their grandfather. What greater spiritual heritage could there be than this?
Esau and Jacob lived contemporaneously with Abraham for 15 years. Surely, Grandpa Abe must have mentored them in ways both eternal and practical?
We are told that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob dwelt in tents together (Hebrews 11:9). According to Rev Abraham Park, their godly ancestors Shem, Shelah and Eber were all alive at the time of Jacob and Esau’s birth. What inter-generational impact and input.
Their birth was much anticipated, yet delayed. It’s obvious that Abraham must have prayed just as fervently as Isaac for the babies to spring forth, as he knew what it was to have such a delay.
How could it go so wrong? The twins couldn’t have been more different, in almost every aspect of their character and values. And in turn, Jacob’s sons were willing to contemplate murder.
No family is spared spats, disagreements, even outright fights.
When news broke that our Prime Minister had tussles of his own with his siblings, we understood: No-one is exempt. Everyone stands in need of prayer.
Joseph pressed on to complete his post-doctorate “abstract of his life” and gives us hope. Nancy Guthrie, in The One-Year Book of Hope shares:
“I don’t know if Joseph could see God’s sovereignty as he served as a slave in the house of Potiphar, as he languished in prison, when he interpreted Pharaoh’s dream of coming famine. But I do know that eventually Joseph embraced the big picture of God’s sovereignty, enabling him to tell his brothers, ‘Don’t be angry with yourselves that you did this to me, for God did it. God has sent me here to keep you and your families alive so that you will become a great nation.'” Genesis 45:5, 7
More than saying, “God used it”, Joseph says, “God did it”. This is the severe and sometimes unsettling sovereignty of God at work. “Are you willing to look for the invisible hand of God at work behind the scenes of your suffering and to embrace His sovereign purpose?”
And from His hand, His blood. Thicker, much thicker.
This article was first published in IMPACT Magazine and republished in Salt&Light with permission.