Our church recently started reading the Bible in a year, using Daily Audio Bible. The challenge is to start listening (or reading) the Bible, and sticking with it until December 31st. I've read the Bible in a year before, but it's been a while. I know that the times that I actually did that, I was really blessed. This year, I go into it with great optimism that my life will be radically and unapologetically transformed from the inside out. I have to say that I get a lot out of hearing the word rather than just reading it. However, this morning I listened to it as I read along today, and that helps me concentrate on it. My plan, initially, was to listen to it on my way to work on my iPhone. However, I think it will work better if I listen to it in the morning while I read along.
Today's reading in Genesis related the events of Joseph telling Pharaoh the meaning of Pharaoh's dreams, Joseph being put in charge of Egypt, only below Pharaoh himself, and seeing his brothers come to ask for grain. I'm always amazed when I read this account. From the outside, it looked pretty bleak for Joseph. He's sold into slavery by his brothers. He becomes great in a high ranking Egyptian's household, but is sent into prison under a false accusation by simply rejecting something sinful. He asks a prisoner to remember him when he goes back into the Pharaoh's household, but the ex-prisoner completely forgets. Another TWO years is spent in prison before he has the opportunity to get out.
When we talk about prison, I can't imagine that it's anything like the prisons of today with three square meals a day, clean surroundings, or things to do. We are not talking about easy times. We are talking about appalling conditions. God had his hand on Jacob. There is no doubt about that. However, Jacob's life was not flower gardens and pink unicorns. He had it rough. God used all of the events to bring the children of Israel out of famine, and into Egypt. He had a great plan. Yes, God could have prevented Jacob from being sold off as a slave, Potiphar's wife from lusting after him, and even the famine. However, that's not what He chose to do, because He knew that one day the Nation of Israel would be a picture of God rescuing us out of the bondage of sin. Just because God has His hand on us does not mean that bad things won't happen to us. However, we need to look at bad times with the hope that God will do great things with those events in our lives and the lives of others. That's my hope.