favor lost, favor regained—in spite of himself
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The Bible is our instruction manual, history, present, future. G-d's words, drawing us into the hidden, His deep. We read what's written. But what about what’s not said—between the lines and within the strokes of each Hebraic letter? Those crevices are often where revelation and back stories emerge.
This soul-arrow story is part of a series, birthed from my Soul Remodeling post. In the Bible, G-d calls individuals—and the entire nation of Israel—into a soul-wilderness journey, where He takes them off the grid . . . away from the common and into a holy, deeper understanding within their soul.
There are three components of G-d’s soul-remodeling process: The love call (a lech lecha לֶךְ-לְךָ process to go for and into yourself). The deconstruction-reconstruction soul process. The emergence.
Position doesn’t just happen. It’s given by G-d. Joseph’s prophetic dreams weren’t a free pass to ride the tails of his royal or priest-like, multi-colored coat, k’tonet pasim, כתנת פסים—k’tonet is the name of the high priest’s garment, perhaps a hint of Joseph’s future soul story.
No, those dreams were manifestations of a calling that would first become a lightning rod in G-d’s hands— a tool that would spark situations and form a wilderness path for Joseph’s soul.
It began with his father’s favoritism and skyrocketed to his brothers’ actions and reactions to Joseph’s golden position and arrogant dream talk.
Sforno—Italian rabbi and regarded Torah commentator (late 1400s)—chalked up Joseph’s behavior to “youthful immaturity.”
I disagree. His dream flaunting, scandalous reporting of his brothers, and overall swag demeanor were firefly flashes . . . momentary peeks into Joseph’s soul character.
Think of David. He had a significant calling and anointing from the L-rd early on—yet in his younger days, he walked honorably in humble service before G-d and King Saul, remarkably so despite the latter’s escalated jealousies and murderous attempts. True, later on David exposed his Achilles heel with Bathsheva. But when Natan the prophet confronted him, David owned up to his sins. He was, from beginning to the end, “a man after G-d’s own heart.”
Likewise, Joseph’s soul had flashes of revelation from G-d when he was young. So he wasn’t suffering from a lost soul identity, reliance on his nefesh—lower part of the soul’s matrix, entrenched in this earthly realm—or ignorance of his destiny.
It was a matter of Joseph’s soul not being prepared to walk in its destiny.
Hit pause—reminder of soul parts.
Click this popup: Soul Matrix recap
Neshama (neh-shah-mah)—breath/breath of life, nishmat chayim [נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים], that G-d breathed into Adam per Genesis 2:7—higher/holy part of the soul, attached to G-d, drawn to His holiness and higher dimension, bringing His light and voice through. It's linked to your soul identity—and attached to your ruach.
Ruach (roo-akh)—wind per Genesis 8:1 [רוּחַ]—human spirit, rises/descends. Seat of emotions (the heart). Works like a transmitter, stirs your love for G-d and exhales the breath of G-d's love to the world. Acts in tandem with the neshama to pull the nefesh and entire soul matrix upward. It's positioned/attached between your neshama (higher soul part) and nefesh (lower soul part).
Nefesh (neh-fesh)—living being, seat of appetite/craving, lowest part of the soul. From the Hebrew shoresh/root nafash [נפש] meaning “to rest” per Exodus 31:17. The life force (Leviticus 17:11), includes the physical body. Entrenched in an earthbound reality, focused on and tethered to the natural realm/physical world and attached to your ruach.
Only humans have a neshama. But every living being—human and animal—has the ruach and nefesh soul-matrix parts. See Job 12:10; Genesis 1:20-21, 24; Ecclesiastes 3:21; Proverbs 12:10; Isaiah 56:11.
Read the blog post Combat Zone to see how the soul matrix can play out in your soul journey.
There was another thing. Like any of us, Joseph had to learn about prophetic gifting. Per Genesis (Bereishit) 37:8, his brothers hated him yet even more for his dreams and for his words.
Here’s the point. We’re not always meant to share the secrets Adonai gives us from the secret place. It shouldn’t matter who sees or learns what G-d revealed to us . . . or who recognizes our gifting.
We need to remain intentionally prayerful on if, when, where, to whom, and how much to share. And if we believe things need to be shared, we should double-check our motivations. Is it to seek self glory, recognition, position, approval?
And that was the thing with Joseph. His motives for the dream boasting were suspect. His brothers didn’t recognize him, didn’t approve, and the only position they wanted him to be in was down in that animal pit or out of Canaan altogether.
Nonetheless, Joseph was destined to become the linchpin—a sustainer for B’nai Israel—in spite of himself.
My heart was wandering in the sands,
a restless thing, a scorn apart;
Love set his fire in my hands,
I clasp’d the flame unto my heart.
—My Heart Was Wandering In The Sands, Christopher Brennan
So G-d steps in. Separated from the common in his life, Joseph was brought down physically to Egypt, which signified his soul being brought down to a lowly place spiritually to become deconstructed and then reconstructed into the holy. A place where Joseph would first have to become one with his barrenness (personal “desert” experience), unshackled from all that he felt he was due or previously “owned”—including physical and spiritual gifting, positions as prophesied, favor with his father, then Potiphar— and transformed into one who becomes ownerless (hefker,הֶפְקֵר).
It would take a while. Becoming ownerless and relying on G-d for promotion and release aren’t easy on the soul matrix. The nefesh—grounded and pulled to things of this world—and its old habits die hard. Even with all Joseph had gone through, he still attempted to wield matters in the natural to force birth his prophesied future position.
CASE IN POINT: GENESIS (BEREISHIT) 40
Egypt’s king sent his chamberlains (cupbearer and baker) to prison, where they served for a year along side Joseph. The king’s duo each had a dream that only Joseph could interpret.
Despite his physical imprisonment and its boa-constrictor-like grip on his soul, Joseph still knew on some level that G-d was keeping the communication channels opened . . . flowing understanding through his neshama, higher part of the soul that’s connected to G-d.
It was undeniable. G-d’s authoritative words were echoing in Joseph’s soul.
Flashes of lightning lit up that prophetic-anointing moment within Joseph’s soul. He recognized it, stepped up, spoke out. After all, don’t interpretations belong to G-d?
But like in any dim room, after that flash of light, darkness returns.
Does Joseph remember all the flashes of G-d’s lightning through his soul over the years to carry him through? Not right then.
He doesn’t merely ask the cupbearer to remember him before the king when the dream comes to pass—that would have been understandable. The Hebrew reveals that Joseph pleaded, graveled, begged (nah, נא ) with the cupbearer to have lovingkindness/compassion (chesed, חסד) on him before the king so he could get released from prison because he was, after all, innocent.
נָּא עִמָּדִי חָסֶד וְהִזְכַּרְתַּנִי אֶל פַּרְעֹה וְהוֹצֵאתַנִי מִן הַבַּיִת הַזֶּה:
Joseph may have been thinking enough already.
My soul can’t breathe in this uncertain darkness any longer.
My mind is exhausted. My heart is weakened.
Favored in this prison pit or not, I want out—and I want out now.
And what about my prophetic dreams that I know G-d spoke to me?
I’ve waited long enough . . . time to take action.
There is a difference between faith (אמונה) and trust (בִּטָּחוֹן), per commentary in The Stone Edition of the Chumash (Parasha Vayeishev, Genesis 37-40:23, pg 221). Believing G-d exists is faith. But trust is having the certainty, the confidence, that G-d is “involved in events and that their outcome accords with His will.”
Joseph’s faith was sure. G-d existed. G-d speaks to His people. G-d can do the impossible. G-d gives flashes of light to reveal our steps along the way.
BUT TRUST WAS ANOTHER LEVEL
Trust is faith in action. It would take his entire soul matrix—neshama, ruach (human spirit), nefesh—working in tandem, listening and daring to believe upwardly . . . maintaining a firm standing, going beyond what the physical eye and natural mind could perceive.
I can so appreciate Joseph’s soul moment. It’s the stuff these biblical soul-arrow stories are made of. These people are real. Human. Broken. Quivering or questioning themselves, others, G-d—even in their moments of faith and trust, regardless of who they are and what they are about to do with G-d that is amazing.
They are you, me, and everyone else on the planet.
G-D KNEW JOSEPH’S SOUL POTENTIAL
He cast His light through Joseph’s soul to reveal things from a different perspective on high. Much had been gifted in Joseph. Now more was required to birth it forth. Two more years in the pit. Two more years of walking with G-d toward the uncommon, a holy place within his soul.
Surely, I said, my heart shall turn
one fierce delight of pointed flame;
and in that holocaust shall burn
its old unrest and scorn and shame
—My Heart Was Wandering In The Sands, Christopher Brennan
Pride was worked out, and humility worked into the new fabric of his soul. Grace was deposited, mercy was infused, and forgiveness (especially for his brothers) was birthed. He not only was physically delivered from the prison, but delivered spiritually—and lifted up in his relationship with G-d, lifted up and into a position of authority among his captors, and later, lifted up in the eyes of his brothers and father.