Thursday, January 19, 2006

Reading The Message, accidentally

I was doing my OYB readings this morning, and I accidentally read Eugene Peterson's The Message version in my browser. At first, during the Joseph story, I was just surprised at how the words were leaping off the page at me, and then when I got to Jesus and the parable of the sower, I realized why.

Some key passages about Joseph and the way he always blessed others just by following God:

From Genesis 39: 3 Joseph & Potiphar
His master recognized that GOD was with him, saw that GOD was working for good in everything he did.

From Genesis 3:23 Joseph & the head jailer
The head jailer gave Joseph free rein, never even checked on him, because GOD was with him; whatever he did GOD made sure it worked out for the best.

From Genesis 40:8 Joseph, the cupbearer & the the baker
They said, "We dreamed dreams and there's no one to interpret them."
Joseph said, "Don't interpretations come from God? Tell me the dreams."

Genesis 41:15,16 Joseph & Pharaoh
"I dreamed a dream," Pharaoh told Joseph. "Nobody can interpret it. But I've heard that just by hearing a dream you can interpret it."
Joseph answered, "Not I, but God. God will set Pharaoh's mind at ease."

It's all about God for Joseph, no matter the circumstances. And every task he is given is like a sacred calling from God--there is no complaining, no whining, no wondering why God is unfair, or wishing that his talents were being better utilized. It's not just a matter of Joseph's deep gladness meeting the world's deep hunger. He's just faithful. Period. (And do you think that David could have been faithful in that situation, with Potiphar's wife throwing herself at him??)

And then Jesus' words in the parable of the sower were so powerful in this paraphrase:

Matthew 13:9-13
"Are you listening to this? Really listening?"
The disciples came up and asked, "Why do you tell stories?"
He replied, "You've been given insight into God's kingdom. You know how it works. Not everybody has this gift, this insight; it hasn't been given to them. Whenever someone has a ready heart for this, the insights and understandings flow freely. But if there is no readiness, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That's why I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight. In their present state they can stare till doomsday and not see it, listen till they're blue in the face and not get it.

Help me tell Your story, Jesus.

Micah Girl


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