Monday, August 13, 2007

Rest in Peace

Joseph was favored. He enjoyed his father's gifts and honor until the day his brothers' envy gurgled up and he found himself at the bottom of a pit. When they sold him into slavery, he could have despaired and let himself fall into a life of anger, revenge, or even indifference. Even as his life cycled between favor with Potipher and prison, Joseph faithfully served his LORD. Ultimately, Joseph was freed and was appointed to a position second only to that of Pharoah. When he was given the chance to take revenge on the brothers who had hated him, he wept instead. Through his position, he secured a place for all of his family in Egypt so that they could escape the famine that was sweeping across their country.

Joseph was faithful to God, and God was faithful to him. Joseph was reunited with his father and lived the remained of his life with his own people in Egypt. As surely as the generations of Israelites passed on, the story of Joseph was passed on as well. One Israeli, Moses, recorded Joseph's story in written form and might very well have seen the case enclosing the mummified remains of Joseph. It had been Joseph's wish that his body would be taken back to his homeland when his people once again left Egypt.

His wish was honored, and up until seven years ago Joseph's mummy had been undisturbed in its resting place in Israel. But the story does not end there. In 2000, a Muslim mob raided the site. Since the Palestinian Authority had agree to preserve historical sites held sacred by Jews and Christians, the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak had his policemen withdraw from the site.

But the Palestianian Authority did not uphold their agreement. Instead, the Palestinian police allowed the site to be completely destroyed. Within hours Joseph's tomb had been burned to the ground. Within days the site had been razed by a bulldozer.

You can read the full story of the tomb's destruction here.

As a Christian, I love to hear the stories of the men and women who have served God faithfully. Joseph's story is amazing to me: instead of sinking into self-pity and despair, he lifted his eyes to God. We must remember his story -- we must remain faithful to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

We must also remember this attack whenever NPR or other "news sources" portray Palestinians as helpless victims of Israeli violence.

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