Daily Office Readings for Wednesday of the 4th Week of Lent: Year 2
“Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die; but God will surely come to you, and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” So Joseph made the Israelites swear, saying, “When God comes to you, you shall carry up my bones from here.” And Joseph died, being one hundred ten years old; he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.” (Genesis 50:24 to 26)
I love re-reading our ancient stories. In the ending of Genesis, Joseph tells us how God can, and will, bring good out of what was intended to be evil. There is a lot of crying with Joseph and his brothers about their sad history, but there is forgiveness with new understanding about what God has done, and is doing.
Joseph was embalmed, a gift procedure from Egypt. I personally believe the making and baking of bread also came from Egypt, it’s just how I ponder about things. But we must note that Joseph wants his bones to be taken back to the promised land when they leave Egypt. Joseph, who married a non-Israelite woman, and had sons by her, was more wise and perceptive than I (or we), have given him credit for.
Joseph tells them that God will come to them and bring them up out of Egypt. He doesn’t say when, or how, in or in whom, God will do this. And, after many, many generations of Hebrew families, and many kings of Egypt, we will get Moses. He is the second Hebrew-born, Egyptian-raised, person to lead the Hebrews after Joseph. God’s action is played out in the person of Moses as it was with Joseph.
As the Book of Genesis ends we again have God identified as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. God will next be identified as “I AM” along with continuing to be the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. While God does not change, our knowledge of God evolves. God still acts through us, even today. Our God is not a God who said I WAS, or, I WILL BE, but rather, I AM. For me, I see the essence of God as pure Loving Goodness with Mercy. We always have goodness first and then comes some sinister human action requiring mercy. This has happened throughout human history. It is happening now in Ukraine.
Let us continue to pray for God to bring Ukraine out of danger, in God’s time, and in God’s own way, and in the person or persons God chooses.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John