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Ash Wednesday reminded me – and still reminds me – that death is one of the great “levelers” in our world. No matter how powerful or wealthy you might be, no matter how influential your leadership, you will die, just like every other human being.
Before we leave the story of Joseph naming his sons, I want to share one more personal example. If this seems a little self-indulgent, I apologize. But I do believe that part of what I’m supposed to do in these devotions is share my own life of faith with you, even as my focus is upon God’s Word as it shapes our prayers.
I’m struck by the last few words in Joseph’s explanation of Ephraim’s name. He could have stopped at “For God has made me fruitful.” Instead, however, he added “in the land of my misfortunes.”
The first thing that impresses me about Joseph’s mention of God is how simple and straightforward it is. He didn’t explain anything about the God he served. He didn’t go on about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He simply said, “God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.” He did this in a way that seemed natural, honest, and modest. He said what he believed without undue elaboration or defensiveness.
Genesis doesn’t tell us how Joseph dealt with his disappointment. The story leads us to believe that Joseph continued on much as he had done before, faithfully managing the prison, serving both the prisoners and the chief jailer (38:21-23). We are not told, however, how Joseph felt or how he prayed during this time.
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