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Joseph

When the bell rang, announcing that lunch recess was over, we'd all run over to the North entrance of Edgemere Elementary School, line up and wait for Mrs. Walls, our 5th grade teacher to come and escort us into the room. It wasn't a sad time, like you might think, we were happy to be going inside because as soon as we got to the room, we'd put our heads down on our desks and listen to Mrs. Walls read us a story.

Some days we traveled down the Mississippi with Huck Fin and Tom Sawyer, others we sat beside Thoreau on Walden's Pond. But my favorite trip that we took was to Ancient Egypt with Joseph. Mrs. Walls read to us straight from the Bible what has become one of my favorite stories.

Later, when I took Hebrew in Seminary, it was this story that we translated from the Hebrew text and several times over the course of my ministry I've either preached sermons based on this story or did a dramatic monologue, dressed in costume as Joseph. But none of those encounters with this text can ever replace the first time I heard the story in my 5th grade classroom.

With my eyes closed, the only reminder I had that I was still in modern times was the cold desktop that was pressed against my cheek. I could see the brilliance of the coat of many colors and feel the dampness in the pit. I felt Joseph's despair when he was down, and elation when he was exalted.

It is a story of courage, of determination and success. But more than that, it is a story of God's providence and watch care over His people. Put your heads on your desks, if you will. Get quite. I want to tell you a story...

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