Second Chances, Do-Overs, and Being Born-Again

Genesis 41:41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.”

Just like that, it was done.

Genesis 41:42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and people shouted before him, “Make way!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt. 44 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.”

That’s power. Wait, but there’s more:

Genesis 41:45 Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, to be his wife. And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt.  46 Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout Egypt.

Wow.  In our series “Joseph: a Life with Many Colors,” one day Joseph wakes up as a prisoner in charge of other prisoners and by evening, he was Pharaoh’s top guy. 
In the life of a person with lesser character, that could prove disastrous. 

Think about it:

  • Surely Joseph had not forgotten what he’d said to Pharaoh’s cupbearer only two years earlier: “But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon.” (Genesis 40:14-15).  How did Joseph feel about being unjustly imprisoned?
  • Might a person suddenly elevated to power use that power to get back at the people they blame for their imprisonment?  Maybe the cupbearer for forgetting for 2 full years?  Who else might have been on Joseph’s get-even-with-‘em list…if Joseph was that kind of person?  That hussy married to Potiphar?  Potiphar, that wimpy guy listening to his lowlife wife who was a lying snake?  The Midianite traders willing to buy a human being?
  • But Joseph wasn’t the kind of guy to get even with people.  So, here’s a question: what’s the difference between Second Chances, Do-Overs, and being Born-again? 
  • In my recent days in the Valley of the Shadow of Cannabis, I read all 600-plus pages of our legislation.  Much of it had to do with expunging the criminal records of minor offenders in the “war on illegal drugs”.  Their criminal records are being wiped clean.  Think about what it takes to have authority to expunge offenses.  Consider the issue of just or unjust imprisonment, and the outcome of erasing criminal records.  These folks will receive a second chance, a do-over.  Has their character automatically been changed, simply from being given a second chance?
  • How is being “born-again” different? 
  • Now, in the Old Testament, “born-again” isn’t the term, it would be “God-follower” and Joseph was one.  How did his relationship with God make a difference when he was living as a slave, unjustly imprisoned, serving time, and his actions upon finally being released to freedom? 
  • “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).  This isn’t a second chance or a do-over with the same old inputs.  Why would I say that?

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on September 30, 2019

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