Joseph Rises to Second in Command to Feed Egypt and the World, Sunday School Lesson, October 2, 2011
Click here to listen to the Issues Etc. interview with Tom Nummela of Concordia Publishing House.
This week’s Sunday School lesson focuses on Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams. While he was in jail, two key persons in the Pharaoh’s service, his baker and cupbearer, were jailed because Pharaoh became angry with them. Both had dreams while in prison. Joseph was given the meaning of their dreams by God, and the interpretations came to pass — the cupbearer was restored to his position and the baker was executed. The cupbearer soon forgot about Joseph as he went about the service of his master, the Pharaoh of Egypt. After two years had passed, Pharaoh was troubled by some dreams. He called together the magicians and wise men of Egypt, and no one could interpret them. It was at this time that the cupbearer remembered Joseph. He was brought before Pharaoh and was given by God the interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams — 7 years of plenty, and 7 years of famine throughout Egypt and the world. Pharaoh made Joseph the second in command, in charge of all Egypt
From the very pit of despair and humiliation, God raised Joseph, at the right time, to feed the people placed in his care as well as the known world at that time. 41:57 tells us that the famine was so severe that all the world came to buy grain from Egypt. The story of Joseph is a story of the Christ whom God sent into the world to save mankind and to feed all those who come to him not with food for the belly, but with the bread of life. This story also shows how God cares and provides for you and for me. Joseph held fast to the hope that God would deliver him from this prison, that he would preserve and protect his life. Joseph did not become bitter or curse God, and God did not forsake him. Joseph confessed the truth of God in the very presence of the Pharaoh. And God raised Joseph up to be the second in command, to sit at the right hand of Pharaoh, the father of Egypt. Not because of what Joseph did or the confession he made, but because God’s plan for salvation had been working since before Joseph was sold in slavery in Egypt.
God took what was low and humble, and made him great. Such is the work of our God, to create life from nothing, to make hope out of despair. And we, like the magicians and wise men, are powerless in these divine matters. And we can sit in awestruck wonder, and sing vague songs about God’s majesty and awesome power and love and how it makes me feel and seek that experience and encounter with the divine in some sort of mystical union with God, or we can take heed and listen to the Word He gives us that HE is at work in your life for you in Christ, providing, protecting, and preserving your very life. Not so that you can stand before Him as He is in His full Majesty and Divine power and Glory, but so that you can live here in this world, today, carrying the Cross as a disciple of Christ, taking Christ to the world.
The Marys, Peter and John the beloved disciple. All go to the empty tomb the morning after the Sabbath. The first day of the week. A new week. The angels tell them, “Jesus is not here; you will not find Him in a tomb.” The tomb is empty. There is nothing there but messengers. Heavenly messengers relaying a message from the risen Christ. They go away despondent, not understanding that our God is the God of the living. Christ cannot be found in the tombs of the dead. He leads us from death to life. New life for all who follow Him.
The disciples go about their lives. They are met on the road to Emmaus and do not recognize Him. Christ, however, opens their eyes and makes Himself known to them in the Word and in the Sacrament, the breaking of the bread. He reveals Himself to the 10 and then to the 11 apostles. Behind closed doors. In a locked room. Christ makes Himself known to them, and He makes Himself known to us. He is risen. Christ is alive. He makes us alive too.
Click here to listen to Deaconess Pam Nielsen of Concordia Publishing House discuss this week’s Sunday School Lesson on Issues, Etc.
This week’s Sunday School Lesson: Abram Rescues Lot. This would not be the last time that Abram intervenes to rescue his nephew. Note the mysterious figure of Melchizidek, the Priest of the Most high God from the town of Salem, better known after King David as the city of Jerusalem. Here Melchizedek blesses Abram, and shares Bread and Wine with him. Sound familiar? Interview with Deaconess Pam Nielson of Concordia Publishing House. Click the link below to listen.
This week’s Sunday School Lesson: Noah and the Flood. Interview with Deaconess Pam Nielson of Concordia Publishing House. Continue Reading