I’ve heard many times in conversation with others that they find reading the Old Testament very difficult. And it definitely can be.
Trying to pronounce just the names is taxing to say the least. For myself, I want to know the exact pronunciation of words that are foreign to me. It seems to flow much better and the story comes more alive in my perspective. Technology has helped me in a big way. I’ve grown to be quite fond of my Alexa because this device helps me tremendously with this effort. All I have to say is; “Alexa, how do you pronounce such and such word?” I start by spelling the word to Alexa, and then- lo and behold I have the correct pronunciation.
About a month ago, I felt an inspiration to read the Old Testament. (Genesis: 37) I was once again captivated, and deeply moved by the story of Joseph. There was a production at the RiverPark Center about this very popular Biblical event. It was a wonderful play and very entertaining, but it’s so much more powerful when you read this account in the Bible.
Joseph was the son of Jacob, and his mother was Rachel. Jacob had 12 sons and he loved all of his children. But it was evident by Jacob’s actions, that he indeed favored and loved his son Joseph more.
Because of the obvious partiality toward Joseph, his brothers started to feel nothing but contempt and hatred toward their brother Joseph. As their jealousy was building up, they plotted to kill him. The brothers saw Joseph coming toward them from afar, and they said to one another, that they should kill him and throw him into a pit.
But Reuben, his older brother talked them out of taking his life and suggested to just throw Joseph into the pit instead. But by the grace of God, a caravan was approaching and his brother Judah suggested selling him for a profit.
Joseph was sold and became the overseer of his master’s house. Then Joseph was falsely accused of assaulting his master’s wife and was put into prison. While Joseph was still in prison, he had found favor with Pharaoh because he was able to interpret the Pharaoh’s dreams. Because Joseph’s interpretation of the dreams did come true, Pharaoh decreed Joseph the second most powerful man in Egypt.
Because there was a great famine in the lands, Joseph’s brothers were ordered by their father to go to Egypt to buy food. When Joseph recognized his brother’s, he was angry and no doubt still grieved for what they had done to him. Because of this betrayal, he treated them like strangers and spoke roughly to them. The few times of talking to this man, the brothers were still oblivious of who this man was.
Genesis 45: 2-5 When Joseph made himself known to his brothers, he had wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. Once Joseph made his appearance to his brothers, this is what he said; “I am Joseph; is my father still alive?”
“I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.”
I was profoundly moved by this story of forgiveness. I think about how we hold onto grudges that are so trivial, compared to such the egregious betrayal put upon Joseph.
My take on this story is that we are capable of having a forgiving heart just like Joseph. We have to ask and pray for this grace. Asking for forgiveness, and giving forgiveness can change us in such positive ways. When we forgive offenses, we leap into the window of the most powerful act of forgiveness given to us by Jesus Christ. Forgiving our sins by dying a gruesome death on the cross.
When I reflect on some of the saints that were martyred and tortured, you will hear an echo of the same victorious cry to their persecutors … “I forgive you, and I will pray for you!”
We would greatly benefit from that forgiving example from the saints.
To have had that kind of courage on the brink of death, thinking of the offender in a time of great suffering. That kind of courage is the manifestation that comes from the Holy Spirit. To achieve that kind of faith, that kind of trust, we must have a personal relationship with God. When we make God the center of our lives, we are able to achieve victoriously and endure.
Once we start to forgive those who have wounded us, we will see the fruits of that act and how it will change our lives.
Julie Murphy is an active member of Blessed Mother Catholic Church was a former contributing writer for Western Kentucky Catholic former religious catechist at Blessed Mother Church.
Don Wilkins, email@example.com, 270-691-7299