God Is Love

February 12, 2018

Genesis 39:19-21… As soon as his master heard the words that he wife spoke to him, “This is the way your servant treated me,” his anger was kindled. And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined, and he was there in the prison. But the lord was with Joseph and showed him stead fast love, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.

            This is another story in the ongoing saga of Joseph. He was apparently a handsome young man and his boss’s wife asked him to lay down beside her with the apparent desire to have him make love to her. Joseph refused but one time when he was accosted by her, he ran out of the house, leaving his coat. The woman, then, showed the coat to some servants and eventually to her husband, and lied about how she got it. She said that Joseph tried to lay with her and she screamed and he ran out of the house, leaving the coat.

            This morning, I am particularly interested in one phrase in this story:

But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love.

            Here is how I would have wanted the Lord to show steadfast love to me:

I would have wanted to be vindicated and the lie that was told about me to be exposed and the truth revealed. Then, I would have wanted to be let out of the prison. I would not have been happy with the favor of the keeper of the prison.

            This shows me something; God’s love is toward us but we may not always appreciate it. Many married couples struggle because one spouse doesn’t how love in the way the other one wants it. I struggle with Joseph’s dilemma because God didn’t love him in the way I would have wanted.

            And that gives me insight. We, humans, have pictures of love that might not be included in God’s definition. We have explanations that are our own desires, and we make doctrines out of those. The Bible tells us that ‘God is love’ and that is our operative definition of the word , not culturally accepted songs. Unfortunately, when we write or talk about God’s love we overlay it with our versions. God is the author and initiator of all love. Period. What God gives us is because of his love for us. It doesn’t always ‘feel’ like the best option.