Let me throw out a weird word that is packed with meaning. I wonder if you've ever heard it used. I hadn't, yet I've experienced it and I bet you have too. The word is "Theophany". A Theophany is the appearance of God, or a manifestation of God. It is the realization that God is with us and when He is, He is usually up to something good.
I think most of us expect our Theophany to occur in those mountaintop moments where it is very clear that it is God, like the moment Moses had on Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb. Or Elijah had on Mt Carmel.. Or Peter, James and John on Mt. Hermon at the transfiguration. But sometimes God comes, not on the mountaintop, but in the storm, in the depth of the sea. So it was for the disciples in Matthew chapter 14 that day when Jesus came to them ‘about to pass them by’ on the water.
And so it was for Joseph. Genesis 39:21 "But while Joseph was there in the prison, The Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those hold in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there."
This is an important detail in Joseph’s story and in your story and mine. Imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Imprisoned because his brothers had sold him as a slave and told his father that he was dead. Imprisoned because he served his master well as a slave and was promoted to a prominent position only to be falsely accused by this masters master’s wife…. It would be easy for Joseph to become isolated, to focus only on his own disappointment. Instead, Joseph realizes that he is not the only one for whom life hasn't turned out according to plan. He has learned to recognize God’s presence, God’s Theophany in what most would consider Joseph’s darkest moment. And so Joseph, he treats disgraced prisoners like human beings - he notices them, askes about them and expresses genuine interest in them. He helped a couple of cell mates, a baker and a butler. It was the morning after they had troubling dreams we're told. "When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they were troubled." (vs 6) Through Joseph’s worst of times, he had developed character… “he noticed they were troubled….”
Think back with me a moment to where we began our journey with Joseph. He was the favored son. He wore the robe. He had big dreams. As long as Joseph was wearing the robe, would Joseph have understood that God is enough, that can take any circumstance and use it for His bigger purpose... As long as Joseph was wearing the robe, he would never have had the opportunity to meet the baker or the butler. I wonder if he would have even noticed them, let alone discover he could interpret their dreams.
Can you imagine the growth that Joseph experienced, the character transformation that was occurring inside of him? Of course you can, because in your own Theophany you have experienced the same. You’ve found meaning in your best and worst of circumstances if you are a follower of God.
This weekend our Teen Minister David, will unpack this chapter in Joseph’s story and yours and mine. We will have popular recording artists Carrollton with us in worship both Saturday and Sunday. I hope to see you here. Dave