Proper 14 (19), Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
August 7, 2011: Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28; Psalm 105: 1-6, 16-22, 45b; 1 Kings 19:9-18; Psalm 85:8-13; Romans 10:5-15; Matthew 14:22-33
Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28: “Jacob settled in the land where his father had lived as an alien, the land of Canaan. 2 This is the story of the family of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was shepherding the flock with his brothers; he was a helper to the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he had made him a long robe with sleeves. 4 But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him.
12 Now his brothers went to pasture their father’s flock near Shechem. 13 And Israel said to Joseph, ‘Are not your brothers pasturing the flock at Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.’ He answered, ‘Here I am.’ 14 So he said to him, ‘Go now, see if it is well with your brothers and with the flock; and bring word back to me.’ So he sent him from the valley of Hebron.
He came to Shechem, 15 and a man found him wandering in the fields; the man asked him, ‘What are you seeking?’ 16 ‘I am seeking my brothers,’ he said; ‘tell me, please, where they are pasturing the flock.’ 17 The man said, ‘They have gone away, for I heard them say, “Let us go to Dothan.” ’ So Joseph went after his brothers, and found them at Dothan. 18 They saw him from a distance, and before he came near to them, they conspired to kill him. 19 They said to one another, ‘Here comes this dreamer. 20 Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; then we shall say that a wild animal has devoured him, and we shall see what will become of his dreams.’ 21 But when Reuben heard it, he delivered him out of their hands, saying, ‘Let us not take his life.’ 22 Reuben said to them, ‘Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but lay no hand on him’—that he might rescue him out of their hand and restore him to his father. 23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the long robe with sleeves that he wore; 24 and they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it.
25 Then they sat down to eat; and looking up they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with their camels carrying gum, balm, and resin, on their way to carry it down to Egypt. 26 Then Judah said to his brothers, ‘What profit is there if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? 27 Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.’ And his brothers agreed. 28 When some Midianite traders passed by, they drew Joseph up, lifting him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt.
Matthew 14:22-33: “Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. 25 And early in the morning he came walking towards them on the lake. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’
28 Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ 29 He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came towards Jesus. 30 But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ 32 When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.”
Proper 14 (19), Eighth Sunday after Pentecost Comment: Can anything good come out of the desert? We learn from watching documentaries and movies that the desert is a place that threatens human survival. Food and water are scarce; there is little or no shelter from the sweltering sun by day and freezing cold at night.
Jesus had the habit of going out into the desert to pray, to be alone with God. In other gospel accounts of Jesus’ desert experiences you will find that when he came out of the wilderness, miracles occurred. This occasion was no exception. Jesus walked on the water and honored Peter’s request to join him.
In the story of Joseph, we find him cast into desolation by the spirits of jealousy, hatred and murder. But just ahead in chapter 41, we find Joseph is rescued from the wasteland of abandonment, slavery and prison to save the nation of Egypt from starvation by famine.
It is good to know that in the spiritual dry times of our lives, these examples are here to remind us that the God of Joseph and Jesus will replenish us so fully that there will be enough, even an overflow to pour into the lives of others.
© August 5, 2011