The Beauty of God’s Plan | Vayeshev
By Teri Furr
Vayeshev: “And he dwelt”
During last week’s parsha, we looked intently into the life of Jacob. This week’s offering subsists as a natural overflow, finding its focus on the life of Jacob’s most favored son—Joseph. I was deeply impacted as I contemplated these consecutive portions, and was struck by the multiple parallels within the journeys of this father and son (particularly as it relates to the refinement of their character).
As was the case with his father Jacob, God profoundly spoke to Joseph through dreams. In fact, Joseph had two intensely significant dreams as a young man. In both of them, his eleven brothers (as well as his parents) bow down to him, and Joseph feels compelled to share the information uninhibitedly. I am not sure if Joseph was operating out of a prideful spirit, a lack of wisdom, or a combination of both … but it appears that he might have inherited some of the negative inclinations of his father.
Both Jacob and Joseph were called and appointed by God to lead nations, and it is clear that God allowed them to experience arduous trials in order to cultivate acceptable character in them—
Both Jacob and Joseph had to work through enmity with their brother(s), and God used it to propagate humility in both of them.
Both Jacob and Joseph found themselves in oppressive predicaments, and in desperate need of God’s intervention.
Joseph’s brothers hate him. Eventually, they take their revenge by selling him as a slave to passing merchants. While Joseph is being taken to Egypt, his brothers fake his death by rubbing goat’s blood into his multi-colored coat (the news of which devastates Jacob). They are utterly oblivious to it, but God is using the malicious reactions of the brothers. In their very effort to destroy this ‘dreamer’, they are fulfilling Joseph’s dreams. Oh, how often God works this way. He takes the very sins of the destroyers and makes them the means of our deliverance.
In Egypt, Joseph is bought by Potiphar (an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard). There Joseph submits to God’s strange providence and serves Potiphar faithfully. He rises with trust and influence over Potiphar’s household. And then, in the midst of this reprieve, more difficulty comes. Potiphar’s wife tries to seduce Joseph, yet his integrity causes him to flee from adultery. The spurned woman is vicious and lies about Joseph, and in spite of his righteousness, he is put in prison. In prison, again, totally unaware of how God is working in all of the misery, he again serves the jailer faithfully and is given trust and responsibility. Through the interpretation of two dreams of Pharaoh’s butler and baker, Joseph is eventually brought out of prison to interpret one of Pharaoh’s dreams. His interpretation proves true and his wisdom seems compelling to Pharaoh. Joseph is appointed by the king to be commander in Egypt. “You shall be over my house,” Pharaoh says, “and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only in regards the throne will I be greater than you.”
In the middle of this narrative, we are interrupted with a ‘side story’—which can be treated as a metanarrative for the entire portion. It is the account of Judah and Tamar (Judah’s daughter-in-law) whose two husbands died—both sons of Judah. Tamar is viewed as cursed, and is not given another husband. Because she desires a son to carry on the name of her first husband, Tamar disguises herself as a prostitute and seduces her father-in-law Judah (now a widower). Tamar becomes pregnant with twins, yet escapes the consequences for her actions based on Judah’s sin against her. The stunning beauty of it all is that this is the ancestral line of King David … and ultimately of Yeshua the Messiah. This brings us to the fundamental theme of the entire portion—God works even among broken and sinful people to bring about His purposes. This is the beauty of God’s plan, and I believe it is the wisdom of God’s plans that 1 Corinthians 1:24-29 talks about—
“But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength. 26 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. 27 Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. 28 God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. 29 As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.”
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About the Author
Teri Furr is a wife, mom, and minister of the gospel. She is an executive pastor at The Refuge church and has been traveling, preaching, and teaching for over 20 years as a part of the great duet for her life (King Solomon wrote over 1,000 songs, but the one he called the ‘Song Of All Songs’ was a duet between the Bridegroom King and His beloved). She believes the Lord’s favorite song is the one that we join in with Him to release a sound into the earth. You can learn more about her ministry on www.TeriFurr.com
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