To Be Loved By God

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. -Genesis 37:28

Dear members and friends,

A human life is filled with many dramatic moments. Regardless of how and where you were born, we all undergo a series of dramas with or without intentional choices. Among biblical figures, the life of Joseph is definitely one of the most dramatic. He was born as the most favorite of his father, Jacob, and gifted revelatory dreams by God. However, his already jealous brothers only hated him for this God-given gift. The result was that his brothers sold him as a slave to the Ishmaelite merchants. One day, Joseph was the beloved child of his father and lacked nothing, but the next day he was a slave owning nothing. 

What we should learn from the life of Joseph is not how much God loved him and thus blessed him, but how Joseph kept his own integrity no matter his situation. Joseph’s integrity is composed of two aspects: faith to his God and honesty about what he believed to be right. In the story of Joseph, there is not a single moment when Joseph regrets his faith in God or laments on his situation. Rather, we find that Joseph kept his faith no matter what, even when he became a slave. Next, Joseph did not compromise what he believed to be right regardless of the challenges or his dire predicament. Some may believe that Joseph became the prime minister of Egypt because God loved him so much, but I believe that God loved Joseph so much because he was capable of receiving that much love from God. 

Emanuel Swedenborg heavily emphasizes the fact that humans are vessels into which the essence of God can flow and be contained. However, our ability to receive and contain that which is of God is determined not by divine grace, but by the very quality of life we choose to live. In other words, how much love we receive from God is a matter of personal choice. And, the most essential capacity we need to cultivate in order to receive this love from God is to fill our hearts with love for others; overcoming jealousy and hatred which often floods our minds. 

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee