While both these passages have much to look at and study I want us to focus on the issue of belief. Our belief.
Not just what, but why.
It’s apparent, if we were to read the whole account of Joseph, that we are reminded of the dreams he recounted to his brothers came true in that he did become like a king to his family. So much so that he was instrumental even crucial to their surviving a terrible drought and famine. Yes even to his whole family bowing down before Joseph. While this later and other events in between had outcomes that achieved God’s purposes these first few verses in chapter 37 seem horrific.
A late teen boy, favourite of his dad and owner of a special gift from his dad, he has become a thorn in his brothers sides as he recounts his dreams that appear to give him supremacy. So he is sold off into slavery and his coat is used as evidence of his grisly end. V20 demonstrates the mocking and destructive intent of the brothers’ actions.
Even these malicious actions of his brothers do not destroy or divert Joseph from the role chosen for him by God and fulfilled by God through Joseph. As you read on in the coming days note carefully how often God is reported as being with Joseph. Why do you think this is so? Is it more than God needing Joseph to complete His will?
Jumping into our New Testament reading of Luke 10: 1-24 we see the 72 being sent out to heal and minister to people in the name of Jesus and with little else.(v2-12). Also their return in triumph that they were able to accomplish healing of many kinds (v17-19)
Yet in a single comment Jesus puts their joy into perspective.
20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’
For me there is a salient lesson in both these passages that has a very practical outcome demonstrated by the passage from Matthew 14:28-32. As Peter seeks to walk on top of the waters to Jesus. Jesus commands Peter to do so and he commences strongly in faith.
When his faith falters through fear of the wind so does his ability to stay on top of the water and Peter begins to sink.
Does that happen to you too as it does to me? Like it did to Peter. As my faith in my amazing God falters through fears of things already taken care of by God, so those things that show weakness and sinfulness have a place to enter my life.
A prayer: Gracious heavenly Father, you who are the most high God, whose love goes on forever. Strengthen each one of us in our faith in you like the 72 you sent out so that we may continue with your mission in the places you have appointed for us. That we may rejoice that our names are written in heaven. Through your Spirit empower us also that we will fearlessly do your will while carefully looking after those who do not yet know your saving grace. These things we ask in the name of Christ and of the Holy Spirit. Amen