From the pit to the prison to the palace… that about summed up the life of Joseph! Is that it? Nope… not quite…
He was 17 tending his father’s flock and sent to look on his brothers when he was thrown in the pit then sold to be a slave. He was sent to prison because he was falsely accused for sexual harrassment.
He regained his freedom at the age of 30 to be the 2nd in command of all of Egypt in the palace of Pharaoh. There was none like him – he had position and power, wisdom and wealth, fame and family.
At that point in time, we see how he felt when he named his sons: Gen 41:51-52 Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” The second son he named Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”
He saw God whether he was glad or sad; in both suffering and blessings.
It was said that life begins at 40! Joseph at 39, finally found peace and reconciliation with his brothers. He wept so loud everyone outside the palace heard him. It was such an emotional reunion. How did he feel to finally see the people his own blood, the very ones who sold him into slavery? How could he still hug and kiss them? How could he forgave them for all they’ve done? Because at the end of it all, Joseph sees God’s hand in everything. Joseph said to his brothers:
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. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
An abundant life does not consist of roses without thorns, smooth highways without valleys. Even a thorny life is beautiful and deep valleys are not total darkness when see behind the lens of a loving God.
Joseph at 40 saw and lived life as more than just places of pit, prison and palace. He lived his life in the presence of a loving God. He saw God’s hand moving and guiding. He witnessed God’s presence and share this presence with the people around him. He acknowledged God both in the good and the bad.
Where are you now in life? In a deep dark pit? Lonely, afraid, worried? Or perhaps in prison? Enslaved by pursuits of things that bring temporal satisfaction? Or maybe in a palace of the good life? In spite and despite every circumstance or whatever you are going through right now? Are you at peace? Shalom – the ultimate word for well-being.
Shalom is more then just simply peace; it is a complete peace. It is a feeling of contentment, completeness, wholeness, well being and harmony.
According to Strong’s Concordance 7965 Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. Shalom comes from the root verb shalom meaning to be complete, perfect and full. In modern Hebrew the obviously related word Shelem means to pay for, and Shulam means to be fully paid.
Jesus fully paid the price for peace – peace with God and peace with man. As Joseph lived a life of peace, let us live shalom because Emmanuel, God is with us… even in such a time as this.
Peace be with you, my friend.