Some of my most cherished moments in life have occurred as I walked my way through the conundrums of public leadership, often struggling through the night with concern, only to be aroused early by my Lover; a companion who encourages me to come aside and spend intimate time in the Word. Not just reading my Bible, but true moments with The Presence, The Word, the One who became flesh and dwelt among us.
How The One always gets me to just the right page in the scriptures is a mystery to me. For example, this a.m., I seemed to need a break from my disciplined annual read through the scriptures, now in Jeremiah. I sensed a need to read from the Gospels, actually flipping from John backward toward Matthew, this tax collector turned disciple. Possibly thinking that his words could provide some insight into the municipal challenges that troubled me. Of course chapter one is the genealogy of Jesus; the pages somewhat marked up from previous visits, indicative of my fascination with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.
If you have read any of my writings for any given amount of time, you know where I am headed. Joseph, the dreamer is my hero, though he is lost from the genealogy of Matthew; rather, the reader finds a departure within the first two verses as Matthew moves directly from Jacob to Judah, almost as if the famed Joseph never lived. Jesus, known by many as the Lion of Judah was birthed out of a lineage through Tamar, Judah’s daughter in law. If you do not know the story you can read it in Genesis 38.
Joseph to me, represents the perfect man, a Christ type it would seem; the son of a schemer, Jacob who wrestled with God until he finally came around (can I get a witness). The fact that Joseph, after all he did for his brothers, seems lost to the annuals of Israel has always been a bone of contention between me and God (I jest). Like a slave he ends up in Egypt. Yet if it had not been for him, Judah and his relatives would have surely perished during a most difficult famine.
This was where the morning got exciting to my spirit. As I read on into chapter two, for the first time in 40 years it would seem, I read from Matthew 2:19 (NIV), “After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt….” Why the excitement? I marvel at how God is able to intertwine prophecy throughout scripture in a way that is most ingenious. This time, the Joseph who is dreaming in Egypt is the earthly father of the man-child Jesus. Again, I am taken aback by the irony that this baby Messiah is the descendent of Judah (Judas is the anglicized Greek rendering of the Hebrew name Judah). Judah stood by while his righteous brother Joseph was sold into captivity to a passing caravan of rogues. All this because of the envy that angered theirs souls as they listened to his dreams.
You might go back and work through the story for your self. It is huge given that the family of Jesus, the Christ, the son of Joseph, has now fled into this same Egypt to escape the premature death of this cherished child. This Joseph, like his namesake of old, now receives instructions in a dream, advancing true deliverance through this descendant of Judah, who in some thirty years will would be sold by Judas to a band of religious rogues.
This Joseph, the father of the One whom Judas will betray in the garden, is dreaming in the same country where Joseph, the Christ-type preserved the seed of Abraham.
I don’t know what my readers are thinking, as I ramble with excitement about my simple discovery; but to me, these “pearls in the field” for which I would give my life, anchor me in the times when I tire as a leader.
Matthew continues, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3).