Rev. Dr. Marva D. Usher-Kerr

GENESIS 45:3-11, 15

Joseph said to his brothers, & I am Joseph! Is my father still living; But his

brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his

presence. 4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, Come close to me." When they

had done so, he said, I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!

5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling

me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For

two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years

there will be no plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to

preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great

deliverance. 8 So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made

me a father to Pharaoh, LORD of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.

9 Now hurry back to my father and say to him, This is what your son Joseph

says: God has made me LORD of all Egypt. Come down to me; don't 39 delay.

10 You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me-you, your children and

grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. 11 I will provide for you

there, because five years of famine are still to 1 I will provide for you there

because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise, you and your

household and all who belong to you will become destitute;

Most of us have been surprised at some point in our lives. Some surprises are good in that they bring joy such as a marriage proposal or acceptance into a job that you weren’t expecting. However on the other, on the other hand, hand there are surprises that are not so great such as the sudden death of a friend or family member or being fired from your job without cause.

The reactions that surprises invoke can vary from loud exclamations to stunned amazement especially if the one delivering the surprise isn’t someone you expect.

I remember that as I was coming up to one of my big birthdays, I had sought some friends and family to go out with me to celebrate. However as hard as I tried everyone was too busy or didn’t return my call. The one friend that did return my call was one that I considered a bit flighty and not known for keeping time. However, I went to her house at her appointed time to pick her up. When I arrived, they wasn’t ready. No surprise there!! My friend asked me to help her by going into the basement and her clothes from the dryer. By now I am fuming but I was resigned to doing this if it would get us moving!! As I went

down in the dark basement and then turned on the light, I was greeted by a SHOUT of SURPRISE…GOTCHA!! I was so shocked that I was stunned into silence and nearly ran the other way. The woman, who I still call friend, had pulled off something that I never would have thought she could. There were at least sixty of my family and friends there. She made a seemly sad and lonely day for me into one of joy and thankfulness which has touched me all these years.

When we look at the scripture today, it seems that Joseph’s brothers felt a lot like I did that day. They

were shocked to see the brother that they had sold into slavery and thought lost to them forever, alive

and no longer a little silly boy but a strong leader. Surprise!! Not only he was a strong leader but Joseph , had the power to save them, their entire family and the entire Egyptian nation!!!

God sometimes surprises us by using people who we have underestimated to bless our lives. Joseph lets his family know in versus control 7 and 8 in no uncertain terms that God’s hand was in the turn of events that

lead to that surprising moment. Despite the treatment that his brothers had dealt him, this ruler was

willing to show them the same grace and love that God had shown him. Without him, all of them would have died in the desert and been lost to the dust.

Our church, the United Methodist Church, has struggled with its birth pain as it has evolved into

something we are totally confused about. Sometimes we have forgotten in the midst of these times


God wants to still surprise us even today!! Sometimes we are not open to the wonder that that surprise

will bring to our lives. Granted some of the surprises might not be ones we want but we needto be

willing to allow the surprises of God to work for us as the Lord wills

Thoughts for today: Think back on your life. Can you remember at least one Surprise that sprung on you

for your good especially by someone you didn’t expect it from? How can you perhaps be the instrument

of a God designed, surprise gotcha God-designed moment for someone else?

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