Have you ever wondered whether our knowledge of the Bible could be used like a handful of cut flowers? Is it possible that separated from their root and purpose, inspired proverbs, parables, predictions, stories, or letters could be used in ways that leave them unable to bear the fruit for which they were written?
Think for instance not only of the storyline of Jonah, but of what we remember about Joseph, the son of Jacob.
After comparing notes, my guess is that we’d agree that the most memorable moment happens when, in a surprise reunion with his brothers, Joseph tells them that what they intended for evil, God meant for good (Gen 50:20).
But what if we use this story only to remind ourselves that God can turn the awful experiences of our lives into an opportunity for our benefit? What if we even go so far as to see that the twists and turns of Joseph’s life reveal a God who knows the future; rules over circumstance; and cares for us far more than we ever imagined?
These are all important and valid points. But what if we stop here? Could a handful of cut flowers stop short of renewing our first love for the God who not only loves us, but our enemies as well?
Let’s take another look at Joseph in a way that links him closely to what we know about Christ. In the end, God uses Joseph to show compassion to his cruel brothers– even making them into patriarchs of the 12 tribes of Israel. Just as amazingly, in the end, the God of the Bible also useds Joseph to show compassion for the Egypt that would later enslave and torment the descendants of Joseph’s family– until their day of Exodus.
Has my imagination gotten the best of me? Or is the link real? All of a sudden it seems so important to see that just as God used the betrayal of Joseph to put him in a position to be the rescuer of his brothers and the whole land of Egypt (Gen 50:20), so the Father of heaven used the betrayal of Jesus to make him the Savior– not just of his chosen people– but of the whole world.
So I find myself praying this morning, Father in heaven, forgive me for using your Word like a handful of cut flowers, purchased at the price of your Son, for the sole comfort and good of myself and those I naturally love.
PS Just noticed sleet beginning to hit the windows. Sounds like the rain, ice, and snow predicted for today has begun. Funny how big benevolent thoughts suddenly morph into something like– guess I’d better throw the sandbags back into the bed of my pickup before heading to work… But somehow, the dots still connect…