Season after Pentecost (Proper 14 [19]): The Psalm Passage – Preacher and Seeker recite praises to the Lord concerning Joseph

Preacher: “O give thanks to the LORD, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples.”
Seeker: Praise the Lord, for our God has been mighty amongst us and has shown mercy, grace and justice to the people.
Preacher: “Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wonderful works.”

Seeker: I will praise the Lord’s name and tell of the wonders that have been done on my behalf!
Preacher: “Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.”

Seeker: I cried out to the Lord, my Lord God, and I was answered. I searched for assurance and my soul was calmed. My heart and soul felt heavy, and my spirit was in a dark place. But the Lord brought light, and my gloom vanished. Now I rejoice for I dwell within the Lord’s favor and love.
Preacher: “Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually.”

Seeker: I sought the Lord when I was weak, my strength nearly gone. My knees were weak and shook beneath me. My arms were tired, and eyes closed in fatigue. The Lord gave me rest, and revived me. Now I sing the Lord’s praises and my body is filled with the strength of the Lord.
Preacher: “Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered,
O offspring of his servant Abraham, children of Jacob, his chosen ones.”

Seeker: I have read stories of the Lord’s mercy and favor. It is good news to my ears that Lord does not abandon the Divine’s children that have been called out.
Preacher: “When he summoned famine against the land, and broke every staff of bread, he had sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave.”

Seeker: Joseph was taken from his family had settled, and traveled to a distant land. But the Lord was with him.
Preacher: “His feet were hurt with fetters, his neck was put in a collar of iron; until what he had said came to pass, the word of the LORD kept testing him.”

Seeker: Joseph was sorely tested, refined in the fires of tribulation. But his spirit shone bright because the Lord was with him.
Preacher: “The king sent and released him; the ruler of the peoples set him free.”

Seeker: Joseph worked under the king’s supervision, but he served the Lord first.
Preacher: “He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his possessions, to instruct his officials at his pleasure, and to teach his elders wisdom.”

Seeker: Joseph accomplished many things, and received great honor. He extended a compassionate hand to his family, and the people who lived in the land of famine received relief. Joseph honored to the Name of the Lord, and the Lord was faithful in the promises given to Joseph’s family.
Preacher: “Praise the LORD!“

(Psalm 105: 1-6, 16-22, 45b)

TO SAVE LIVES: It’s easy to be a hero when . . .

“And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.” (Genesis 45:5 from Genesis 45: 1-28)

I hope I have mentioned often enough that this is the second round of commentaries on the verses from Bread for the Enemy. I do not know if the same readers are reading now as were reading these posts back in 2008. If so, I apologize for twice now harking back to what was said before. But if I were to say anything about this verse, it would not be much different than what I said five years ago. So, here is what I said then. If it sounds familiar, well, you’ll know why.

Gracious after the fact

In this verse again we have the story of brothers. And I find it so appropriate that God’s shalom is seen being worked out in families. There is something so right in learning about shalom in families. However, I must point out that Joseph, who is the speaker in the above text, is showing this graciousness AFTER he had gotten his position in Egypt. I have to wonder if he would have felt as gracious during his captivity and slavery in Egypt.

Often humanity has difficulty showing shalom when one is in difficult time themselves. When one is stressed and pressed upon, the tendency is to stress and press upon others. It is easy to show shalom when one is in good circumstances; much harder when shalom is not present for one’s self. Granted, there are those who have been magnanimous when they themselves have been struggling. But these instances we see as unusual, and because of this, worthy of praise.

Joseph was able to see God’s hand guiding him toward Egypt and placing him in a position that he could insure the survival of not only his family, but the people of Egypt. If we can see God’s hand in our lives, guiding us through the tough times, we might be more able to show shalom to those around us. As I said, families are a good place to learn about shalom. But do not forget, when it comes right down to it, we are all in the family of God, and so should show shalom to even our most wayward and erring of siblings.