He said to them, “Hear this dream that I have dreamed: Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.” His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?” Genesis 37:6-8
Rhetorical questions in scripture are posed by someone incredulous. Consider the brothers’ outrage? Time answered the question with more than a touch of irony. In Genesis 41:43, Pharaoh set Joseph in the chariot behind his and called out to the people, “You’ve got to be kidding, Joseph. You mean to tell us that you’re going to rule over us?” “Bow the knee!”
The Philistines laughed and posed their rhetorical questions to Saul about the absurdity of a small boy, unarmed, taking on their Goliath. Chief priests, Pharisees, and the likes of Pilate posed similar questions to Jesus about His claim to be a King.
All the questions follow a similar theme and are answered by a God who reminds us that He is not predictable and nothing is impossible when He is behind it. He uses the foolish, the uneducated, the weak, the stuttering, the outnumbered, the shamed, the forgotten, the underdog, and the smallest…..to glorify His name.
Let me bring this home to each of us today. Who is laughing at you? Perhaps you’ve heard rhetorical questions already today. “Who do you think you are!” When God’s child knows that he is called, loved, blessed, and empowered by the Spirit of God, such confidence offends most. It can even rub against the grain of those in the church.
There is always an irony. No one should be threatened. Each of us is called, loved, empowered, and invited into a holy confidence if we are willing to do the hard spiritual work that precedes it. Few love God enough to seek Him on that level though. Instead, spiritual laziness abounds. God’s children feel entitled to the blessing, like Joseph’s brothers, without having to engage in the spiritual disciplines.
For each who has been taunted today, know you are in good company. Do not let any man steal your confidence. Time will write your story and silence the voice of every accuser. Walk humbly with your God and that doesn’t mean apologetically.
Do not let accusers undo me. Amen