March 22 Lent 2 – A change for Joseph
37 This advice seemed wise to Pharaoh and all his servants, 38 and Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man with more God-given gifts than this one?” 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, no one is as intelligent and wise as you are. 40 You will be in charge of my kingdom, and all my people will obey your command. Only as the enthroned king will I be greater than you.” 41 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Know this: I’ve given you authority over the entire land of Egypt.” 42 Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, he dressed him in linen clothes, and he put a gold necklace around his neck. 43 He put Joseph on the chariot of his second-in-command, and everyone in front of him cried out, “Attention!” So Pharaoh installed him over the entire land of Egypt. 44 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh; no one will do anything or go anywhere in all the land of Egypt without your permission.” 45 Pharaoh renamed Joseph, Zaphenath-paneah, and married him to Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera the priest of Heliopolis.
Then Joseph assumed control of the land of Egypt. 46 Joseph was 30 years old when he began to serve Pharaoh, Egypt’s king, when he left Pharaoh’s court and traveled through the entire land of Egypt. 47 During the seven years of abundance, the land produced plentifully. 48 He collected all of the food during the seven years of abundance in the land of Egypt, and stored the food in cities. In each city, he stored the food from the fields surrounding it. 49 Joseph amassed grain like the sand of the sea. There was so much that he stopped trying to measure it because it was beyond measuring. 50 Before the years of famine arrived, Asenath the daughter of Potiphera, priest of Heliopolis, gave birth to two sons for Joseph. 51 Joseph named the oldest son Manasseh, “because,” he said, “God has helped me forget all of my troubles and everyone in my father’s household.” 52 He named the second Ephraim, “because,” he said, “God has given me children in the land where I’ve been treated harshly.”
Comment: from a brother sold into slavery, to respected household help, to a prisoner, to the one who controlled the land of Egypt: Joseph’s journey intentionally reminds us that God is with us even during the unfair times that interrupt our lives.
14 King Herod heard of all this, for by this time the name of Jesus was on everyone’s lips. He said, “This has to be John the Baptizer come back from the dead—that’s why he’s able to work miracles!”
15 Others said, “No, it’s Elijah.” Others said, “He’s a prophet, just like one of the old-time prophets.” 16 But Herod wouldn’t budge: “It’s John, sure enough. I cut off his head, and now he’s back, alive.”
17-20 Herod was the one who had ordered the arrest of John, put him in chains, and sent him to prison at the nagging of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. For John had provoked Herod by naming his relationship with Herodias “adultery.” Herodias, smoldering with hate, wanted to kill him, but didn’t dare because Herod was in awe of John. Convinced that he was a holy man, he gave him special treatment. Whenever he listened to him he was miserable with guilt—and yet he couldn’t stay away. Something in John kept pulling him back.
21-22 But a portentous day arrived when Herod threw a birthday party, inviting all the brass and bluebloods in Galilee. Herodias’s daughter entered the banquet hall and danced for the guests. She dazzled Herod and the guests.
22-23 The king said to the girl, “Ask me anything. I’ll give you anything you want.” Carried away, he kept on, “I swear, I’ll split my kingdom with you if you say so!” 24 She went back to her mother and said, “What should I ask for?” “Ask for the head of John the Baptizer.” 25 Excited, she ran back to the king and said, “I want the head of John the Baptizer served up on a platter. And I want it now!”
26-29 That sobered the king up fast. But unwilling to lose face with his guests, he caved in and let her have her wish. The king sent the executioner off to the prison with orders to bring back John’s head. He went, cut off John’s head, brought it back on a platter, and presented it to the girl, who gave it to her mother. When John’s disciples heard about this, they came and got the body and gave it a decent burial.
Comment: I wonder if John thought of Joseph’s story while he was in prison?
7 My heart, O God, is steadfast,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.
8 Awake, my soul!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.
9 I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
10 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.
Prayer: upon you we rely, O God, with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. Amen.