Friday, March 7, 2014
JOSEPH WENT INTO THE PIT A BRAT
Recently a blogger that I follow, and who is quite blunt in his observations of life, was asked to critique another man’s blog. The man stated that he would be glad for any criticism that might come from that. He definitely was not. The words he hurled back cannot be repeated here. The review was quite negative, to say the least. The following portion of that review struck me boldly. Hmmm… I thought he just might be talking to me. So as I set out to start writing again, I decided to take his advice to heart:
2) The content isn’t very good. I read a few of your posts. For the most part, I agree with your points, but you didn’t communicate them in a way that provoked me, entertained me, enlightened me, or educated me. If you can’t do any of those things, I’m not going to be inclined to return to your blog. It’s not enough to be right – you have to be engaging. And, as they say in the radio industry, never be boring. In terms of driving traffic and earning money, boring is the worst thing you can be. Boring is death. Never be boring. Be provocative, be entertaining, be enlightening, be educational; never boring. Unfortunately, right now, you’re boring.
So be warned: I am going to try to not be boring.
Some people have had conniption fits in the past over my voicing my opinion that Joseph was a brat. “NO!” they say. “Joseph was sweet and wise and wonderful.” And, eventually, he was that. But before he was tossed into that pit, he was a bratty button pusher; one who took full advantage of being the favorite son. That is, the son of Rachel, who was well known to be the favorite wife, but was barren for years. When she finally gave birth to Joseph, they both spoiled him half to death in their thankfulness for his birth. Ah, Joseph was a spoiled brat, not just a common brat.
What brings me to this subject once again is a new Bible Study I am doing on perseverance which begins with the story of Joseph. There is a quote there with which I disagree strongly, though not entirely. The study author says,
In his book, I Really Want to Change, James MacDonald points out that many people today believe they are what they are because of their past. They believe they cannot change until they have dug up the past and spilled their guts about it. MacDonald says that the Biblical message is the reverse, that is, the key to changing is to forget.
MacDonald suggests that if any need(ed) counseling because of (a) painful past, Joseph did.” This guy was coddled by his father, pampered as the youngest and ridiculed and ultimately rejected by his brothers.”
Basically this is based on Philippians 3:13,14 where Paul says that he moves on to the future while forgetting the past. But we have evidence that Paul did not forget his past: He put it in its proper place. He “got over it” and did not dwell in it because he was counseled by God, Himself, about being forgiven and forgiving as He met with God for three years preparing for his ministry. He did not carry it as a burden or baggage; but he did not "forget" it and we think of "forgetting." He used it.
I believe that Joseph was also counseled – by God – in his trip to Egypt. He went into the pit a brat, but he came into Egypt with a whole new attitude and a strong trust in the God who was with him and the God he was with.
I do believe that we must not live in the past. But I also believe that we must deal with it and how it controls us before we can move on. It was three years after entering recovery and spending hours and hours in God’s Word, before I felt that my heart and mind where ready to move forward and leave the past where it belonged: in the past.
But I have not forgotten my past. In fact I use it frequently here in my blog. I just don’t live there anymore. And I have the ability to remember without emotion, while keeping my emotional state in the present. That is, I believe, the key to moving forward..
Let’s admit right up front that Joseph came from a pretty dysfunctional family. One disfavored wife and two concubines gave birth to the first ten sons (and several daughters.)You might say that they were born of sex, not of love. Jacob loved Rachel beyond comprehension and waited and waited for their lovemaking to produce a child. Meanwhile he dutifully had sex with his other wife, Leah, and with the concubines that she and Rachel gave to him to increase their own “ownership” of children. With ten sons and who knows how many daughters, things were not often on an even kneel.
Then, along came Joseph and all bets were off. The brothers (and possibly the sisters?) united in their hatred of this favored son. How dare he take all of their father’s attention? How dare he poke at them over and over again about how much his father loved him more than them? How dare he even move up to claiming that they would all be bowing to him in the end? How dare he?
Ah…. But he did. He did remind them every chance he got. He did push their buttons and show off his favoritism over and over. And then he had the gall to say that someday they would bow down to him! How dare he do that? He dared because he knew he could get away with it. He was born a sinner just like everyone else. And it showed.
But God was at work in Joseph’s life at all times and began to be knowledgeably with Joseph daily during the trip to Egypt and through all that happened there.
May we be bold enough to look at our past, deal with it, and then get moving forward, using it to make us stronger in our faith while not staying in the past. Moving on from our past is absolutely necessary; even if nothing we would call drama ever happened there.
Some people find it difficult to move on because they feel some kind loss that their lives did not have drama. They, too, must move on and make a life beyond their past which includes memories of pleasant things. But, trying to live your life today the same way your family lived it in the past can be just as crippling, if you make that your goal. Use it, don’t lose it, but don’t try to live it over again. That was then, and this is now.
God bless you all. Please let me know if you agree, disagree, want to spit in my face or want to hug me. I would love to have conversations with you. Especially let me know if you find all of this boring - and why. : )