Parasha With Passion – Torah Reading Cycle – Week #9
In Parashat Vayeshev, we are introduced to a seventeen year old boy named Joseph. The sojourn of Joseph is by far one of my favorite stories in the Bible. The sojourn of Joseph teaches us that great leaders are not born. Great leaders are made.
In the Body of Messiah, we talk very loosely about having the “anointing.” Everybody wants an anointing. However, the olive must first be crushed in the olive press before it can produce its sweet oil. If you ask any leader, they will tell you, the anointing will always cost us something.
You show me a man or woman used by God; I will show you an individual who has been misunderstood, rejected, wounded, and, in Joseph’s case, betrayed, abandoned, and almost left for dead.
Take a look at Ezekiel. As a prophetic act, God told Ezekiel to shave his head, strip naked, bake bread over coals of dung, and prophecy to Israel that just as he was a reproach to look upon, so had Israel become a reproach to God! How would we like that kind of anointing?
How about Hosea? God used Hosea’s private humiliation as a public display of His unconditional love towards His unfaithful people Israel. Ezekiel, Hosea, and Joseph are just three examples of those whose lives were emptied until the only thing that was left within them was OBEDIENCE. Do I still have any takers for the anointing?
Let’s take a look at Genesis Chapter 37. God gave Joseph a prophetic dream. This dream foretold the calling upon Joseph’s life. Joseph was surely destined for great things. However, there is a thin line between being confident in one’s abilities and being obnoxious☺. God will often give us dreams a size too big so that we can grow into them.
“Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”
Revealing this dream made Joseph’s brothers hate him even more. If we have to get a “vote of confidence” from everyone around us in our service to the Lord – we are not LEADERS, we are POLITICIANS. A politician serves at the pleasure of man. Leaders serve God’s purposes.
In (Luke 2:19), Mary, the mother of Yeshua, after being told of the GLORY that she would bring forth “hid what was told to her in her heart.” The young patriarch Joseph should have hid the revelations that he received in his heart.
However, stumbling is not failing and Joseph would eventually learn that STRENGTH like his is best served in HUMILITY. God never uses us GREATLY until He tests us DEEPLY. Joseph would become the man in whom the SURVIVAL of nations would depend. God knew that a famine would devastate the entire known world from Egypt to the land of Cush. God needed someone who could administrate His resources without selfishness so that the nations would SURVIVE.
“He called down a famine on the land. He broke the whole supply of bread. He sent a man before them, Joseph, sold as a slave. They hurt His feet with shackles, he was put in irons— Till the time that his word came true— the word of Adonai proved him (Joseph) true!”
In Genesis Chapters 37-40, Joseph endured a series of unfortunate events. Joseph went from being “the heir apparent” to being a prisoner in a foreign land. Yet, God did not abandon Joseph in his sufferings. God used these circumstances to build within Joseph character and conviction.
The foundation of leadership is character. Character is more important than skill, more important than charisma, and more important than power. Joseph could not carry out the mandate of leadership upon his life until he first developed character.
Moreover, conviction is the strength that fuels character. Suffering is often the catalyst that brings conviction. It was conviction that caused Gandhi to take a seat on the floor and refuse to eat until his people were free. We do what we do because of our convictions.
Ask any great leader, they will tell you that no one in their right mind would choose to do what they have been called to do. It is conviction that moves us forward. God is looking for men and women who have conviction. Men and women who will say YES. Even if we have to say YES through our tears. We must obey God. We do not have a choice.
In Parashat Vayeshev, God stripped Joseph of the coat that boasted his favor. God stripped Joseph of all rank and splendor. Emptiness is always a prerequisite to receive the Divine. God must empty us before He can fill us. Through fiery trials Joseph was proven, cleansed, and purged for God’s great purpose.
At last, the metal became ready for the Maker’s hand. God would indeed use Joseph to preserve the posterity of His people. Joseph entered Egypt a slave, but would become a leader. There will be times that God will allow us to walk through pain so that we can experience His ultimate REDEPMTION! Joseph lost the favored cloak received from his earthly father. However, Joseph was adorned with royal robes after God proved him faithful. Likewise, as God’s ambassadors on the earth, let us also be proven faithful, so that after we have been tried, we too may be adorned with garments of praise, righteousness, and nobility.
“Those who sow in tears will reap with a song of joy.” (Psalms 126:5)
Torah: Genesis 37:1 – 40:23
Haftarah: Amos 2:6 – 3:8
Next Torah Portion: Miketz