Heroic Wisdom

The concluding chapters of the book of Genesis provide as moving and as edifying a tale as anything a person could ever read.

Joseph possessed divine wisdom. When he was seventeen years old, he had dreamed that he would reign supreme. But he did not bear arms for his accoutrements. Rather, he wore a coat of many colors.

Joseph’s brothers despised him in their jealousy and conspired to sell the ‘dreamer’ into slavery in Egypt. Joseph, unarmed, but wiser than his brothers, offered no resistance.

Joseph became an attentive, prudent, and provident servant in Egypt. After Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams for him, the king of Egypt declared, “Can we find such a man as this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” Joseph came to enjoy Pharaoh’s highest favor and ruled Egypt in Pharaoh’s place.

Joseph anticipated a coming famine of seven years. He lad aside stores during the years of prosperity so that Egypt could feed the world from its granaries when the hard times came.

God had a plan to re-unite the sons of Jacob, the progenitors of the chosen people. Joseph proved to be the hero of this plan. Not because Joseph foresaw it all, or because he accomplished astounding feats of strength or guile or will. Joseph emerged as the hero because he knew how to co-operate with the strongest person in the story, namely Almighty God.

After Joseph revealed himself and was re-united with his father, his brothers begged his forgiveness for the evil they had done him years before. Joseph did not hesitate to forgive. In fact, he had long since forgotten all about it, because he was too busy co-operating with the plan of God. He told his brothers not to blame themselves: “God sent me here ahead of you for the sake of saving lives.”

Moral of the story: The strongest, wisest hero—the one who truly reigns supreme—accepts that God is in charge, and co-operates.

One thought on “Heroic Wisdom

  1. Father Mark,

    In Joseph’s life, the only “slip-up” may have been telling his brothers that their sheaves would worship his (not to mention the Sun and Moon and stars worshiping him). Yet, all served God’s purposes.

    We have a difficult time understanding it; Joseph must have had a major difficulty dealing with what life brought him in he youth; but he was up to the task.

    LIH,

    joe

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