A day late and a dollar short over here because I have been chewing on a piece of the Torah Portion from two weeks ago that stuck out to me. We can find this nugget in Genesis 39:9;
“There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”
If we go back to the beginning of Genesis, the Scriptures show how God gave Adam dominion over everything except for one measly little thing, a tree.
Genesis 1:26: Then God said, “Let Us make man (Adam) in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
Psalm 8:5-8: For You have made him (man) a little lower than [Elohim: God or angels], and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas.
Ancient Near East Bible Scholar, Dr. Dinah Dye, has mentioned a definition of sin that says, “sin is an abuse of power.” The Joseph narrative shows us just how heavy a responsibility it is to be given authority. The one thing Adam did not have power over was his downfall. On the other hand, the one thing out of reach for Joseph was his glory. Where Adam failed, Joseph did not. Joseph did not abuse his power but walked humbly before God.
Micah 6:8: He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?
Looking at these examples of Joseph’s life, we can see how he is a beautiful shadow of Yeshua. Joseph walked humbly with God, fulfilling the requirements of Micah 6:8. He showed mercy for his brothers who did not deserve mercy. He ruled over the nations and Israel justly.
In the same way, God gave Yeshua all power and authority, yet He never used it to devour the weak and vulnerable. Instead, He strengthened the weak and vulnerable by giving them hope. He fed, healed, heard, and saw whoever crossed His path.
Matthew 28:18: And Yeshua came up to them and spoke to them, saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.
Yeshua was unconditional love and mercy, even to those who took His life.
Luke 23:34: But Yeshua was saying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Then they cast lots, dividing up His clothing.
Yeshua walked humbly before God even though He was the express image of the Holy One.
Hebrews 1:3: This Son is the radiance of His glory and the imprint of His being, upholding all things by His powerful word.
Philippians 2:6: Who, though existing in the form of God, did not consider being equal to God a thing to be grasped.
When we are given responsibility or authority over others, like our children, students, and employees, it will be a test to see how we walk in that authority. Will we be humble and stay under the banner of God’s sovereignty, or will we do injustice by taking advantage of the vulnerable people who rely on us? Proverbs 3 can be a snapshot of Joseph and Yeshua’s life.
Proverbs 3:3-4: Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart, And so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man
When we completely trust that God wants good things for us and that He is in control, we can do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with each other. If we cannot trust that God, who sees and knows all things, is looking out for us, this world will eat us up and spit us out. We will only look out for ourselves. We will not be able to have peace in relationships and life. Peace comes from the ability to trust.
Romans 15:13: Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and shalom in trusting, so you may overflow with hope in the power of the Ruach ha-Kodesh (the Holy Spirit).