Miketz (Genesis/Bereshit 41:1 - 44:17)
For the week of 28 Kislev 5758
December 27, 1997

Preparing for Destiny

Now Joseph was the governor of the land . . .
Genesis/Bereshit 42:6

The dramatic turn of events in Joseph's life was not entirely a surprise. Years earlier God had given Joseph dreams that foretold the day when he would be a man of prominence.

It is possible that being given a foretaste of the future may have made the process more difficult. The greatness he anticipated was so contrasted by the pitiful existence he had to endure.

Some think of destiny as fate - a cold eventuality that we can't do anything about. And yet God has not set up life that way. Even though he is in control of the universe, there appears to be a wonderful interplay between his working out of history and ourselves. Life, while it seems at time to be engaged by forces beyond our control, does not have a machine-like quality about it. Rather it is full of surprise and wonder with human beingss acting as independent free agents in the midst of it all.

Leaving such musings behind, we see Joseph coming through a difficult time of preparation, though not understanding it as such. Somehow he comes through it not embittered but ready for the task at hand.

He had every reason to be bitter - betrayed by his own brothers, many of whom wanted to kill him out of jealousy, apparently forsaken by the God who spoke so clearly to him. And yet he shows no sign of resentment or bitterness. The fact that he functioned so well as a government official, after so many years of servitude and confinement, speaks of a depth of character seldom seen.

Joseph knew the God of his destiny. More than once through those difficult years, we read, "The Lord was with Joseph." He knew that in spite of what people were doing to him, God was in control after all. To know God makes all the difference.

Many of us have a hard time accepting difficulty in our lives. We spend so much energy attempting to resolve our conflicts and problems that we can fail to learn the lessons God is seeking to teach us. Maybe we haven't heard God speak to us like he did to Joseph. But he wants all of us to know him. If we know him, then we too can be prepared for our destiny.