January 15 | Daily Devotion

If you plan to read every verse of Scripture this year, use the  Lectio Continua (continuous reading) passages. The Lectio Semi-continua (shorter reading) is an abbreviated selection of verses from the day’s passages. Lectio Divina (divine reading) is Pastor Lionel Young’s commentary on the daily readings. See the Resources page on the Lectio Divina website for additional study helps.

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina (meditation on the text)

“Joseph said to them, ‘Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.’” ~Genesis 37:6-7

The Joseph story has become popular even in pop culture. People love a good rags-to-riches tale. But Joseph’s life is more than an underdog story; it is part of a larger narrative that plays out over two testaments. God’s sovereign guidance of His people began with His promise to “bless Abraham” and his descendants, and all the nations through him.

Joseph took his place in the narrative when he was wronged by his family. Three times in Genesis 37 we read the words, “they hated him” (37:4, 5, 8). Joseph may have been a spoiled, pretentious little brat, unfairly doted on by his father and constantly bragging about his future as ruler over his brothers, but his attitude doesn’t excuse their betrayal. His brothers were determined to dash his dreams for the future. Yet somehow, in a way that is difficult for us to comprehend, the brothers’ betrayal was all part of God’s master plan (look ahead to Gen. 50:20).

Ultimately, Joseph’s strange course through slavery and hardship brought his dreams into reality and positioned him to preserve God’s people! Sometimes God works this way. Recall that the plot to kill Jesus was also part of God’s plan to save the world (John. 3:16, Acts 4:10-12, Matt. 12:9-14)!

Acknowledging God’s sovereignty does not minimize the sins one person commits against another. Joseph’s brothers were wrong. Those who crucified Jesus were wrong. However, even though the past, specifically, your past, may be very painful, God is big enough to use it to bless you, to bless others, and to glorify His name. Can you accept your past as part of God’s plan? No matter how difficult or disappointing or disturbing? Trust Him to deal justly with those who have wronged you, and do not hesitate to ask Him to bless you beyond your wildest dreams.

Lectio Divina  is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of  Calvary Church  in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of  A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.