The Privilege of Being a Woman

I recently watched an interview with Alice von Hildebrand, a remarkable 92 year old Catholic woman who was a professor at Hunter College in New York City. She was married to Dietrich von Hildrebrand. She was discussing her book Memoirs of a Happy Failure. Her interview struck me because she was so humble, so wise and so together for 92 years of age. She was absolutely inspiring.

What stood out to me most was her teaching on Genesis. She wrote a book in 2002 titled The Privilege of Being a Woman. It was clear that she was honored to be a woman of God. In Genesis, it says the following:

And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:25 KJV

God made each creature after its own kind. Then, when it comes to creating man, God says, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” Genesis 1:26 KJV

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Genesis 1:27 KJV

We were made different than the rest. We were made in His image. Our first command was to be fruitful, to multiply, replenish the earth and subdue it. Later, we see that man was created from the dust of the ground. We received the breathe of life from the Lord God to become living.

But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:6-7 KJV

And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:18 NKJV

The Lord God had made the animals from the ground and created each one after their own kind. But, with Adam and Eve, God made them after His own image. The woman, specifically, was created as a helper and was not formed of the ground, but from the living man, Adam.

And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

And Adam said:

“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:21-24

This is where I appreciate Alice’s viewpoint. She understood that, as a woman, she was formed from the living man and was created as a helper. Woman was given the ability to give forth new life, more of mankind in the image of God.  She is the mother of new life and on which life depends for survival.  Woman was also given influence by the Lord God. The serpent, which the Bible says was more cunning than any beast of the field, knew that woman had influence. The serpent set his trap for her, so that she would believe the tree of knowledge of good and evil was good. Once she believed this and ate from it, she was able to give it to her husband and he then ate from it.

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Genesis 3:6 NKJV

Alice is a woman who truly understands the privilege of being a woman.

God’s Will Versus Ours

I have always found it interesting that God has His will and we have ours. He gave us free will so that we can make choices, live our lives. But, He also has a will and makes plans. Those plans do affect our lives.

Joseph’s brothers devised a plan to get rid of him. They decided that they did not want him in their lives. Of course, this sounds like a very bad event for Joseph. What ultimately could have ruined his life forever ended up being a good turn of events.

God intervened His will in Jopeph’s life. God had a plan to turn these events into something good. Joseph ended up living the dreams God had given him.

Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but  God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it  is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. Genesis 50:19-21 NKJV

God does work in mysterious ways. This is much like when my wife and I lost a newborn son and ended up having a daughter shortly after. Would we have had a daughter if we had not lost our son? We were not planning on having another child at the time. God ended up turning a tragic event (losing our son), into a very good event in having a daughter. Losing our son was hurtful. But, our daughter brought us joy. God worked something evil into something good.

Joseph Reunites with Isreal

I admire the love that Isreal had for his son, Joseph. Their reunion makes me imagine an iconic movie ending with the two embracing after all those years. Isreal thought his son was dead all this time. It wasn’t like today where we could send pictures, video and messages instantaneously to each other. Joseph had to meet his father in the land of Goshen by way of chariot. Even within the scriptures you can feel the emotions of the reunion.

So Joseph made ready his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet his father Israel; and he presented himself to him, and fell on his neck and wept on his neck a good while. And Israel said to Joseph, “Now let me die, since I have seen your face, because you are still alive.” Genesis 46:29-30 NKJV

Isreal had listened to God’s direction, and it paid off in a big way.

Then God spoke to Israel in the visions of the night, and said, “Jacob, Jacob!”

And he said, “Here I am.”

So He said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you upagain; and Joseph will put his hand on your eyes.” Genesis 46:2-3 NKJV





Fulfillment of Joseph’s Dream

Dreams are fascinating to me. In a dream, we can see things that have never happened before. We can act out, move around, feel emotions… Dreams can be mean nothing at all. At times though, dreams can communicate important lessons and it is important to know how to discern when that happens.

Joseph had a dream in Genesis that was important. In it, he had a message from God – his family would bow down before him. In Genesis 42, that dream is fulfilled.

Now Joseph was governor over the land; and it was he who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the earth. Genesis 42:6

What I don’t remember from any movie about Joseph is that he put his brothers in prison to test them. He asks that one of them go and retrieve their youngest brother. At this command, Joseph’s brothers fear that the sin of their past is upon them. Blood is required for having sold Joseph into slavery. They do not know that this leader before them that they now depend on for their very lives is Joseph.

Then they said to one another, “We are truly guilty concerning our brother, for we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded with us, and we would not hear; therefore this distress has come upon us.” And Reuben answered them, saying, “Did I not speak to you, saying, ‘Do not sin against the boy’; and you would not listen? Therefore behold, his blood is now required of us.” Genesis 42:21-22

Their brother Simeon was bound before their eyes and Joseph even restores their money for the journey. Jacob, Joseph’s father, learns of all that has happened and is filled with sadness. Simeon was bound, the leader of Egypt is asking for Benjamin and he believes that Joseph is dead. They do not yet know that Joseph is testing their hearts. He wants to know where they stand after selling him into slavery.

Because of their selfishness, Joseph’s did not realize this his dream was an amazing blessing from God. Had God not prepared Joseph to lead Egypt, the famine would have killed their entire family. Jacob was called Israel and God provided for him and his family with Joseph’s leadership.  All they had understood previously was that they were bowing down to Joseph and that image in their minds had provoked their pride.  They could not foresee the need of a great leader in the land, let alone the need for that leader to be their brother Joseph.  These events are a great testament to God’s provision, protection and His communication through dreams.

Pharaoh’s Dreams

I absolutely love the story of Pharaoh’s Dreams. It is so intriguing to me that Pharaoh had dreams from God and Joseph was used to interpret them. Joseph knew who the dreams were from and who could interpret them. He knew that he could not interpret them without God.

And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it.” So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.” (Genesis 41:15-16, NKJV)

No one could explain Pharaoh’s dreams to him, not even the “magicians” that they trusted.  Joseph knew that God was trying to tell Pharaoh that there would be 7 good years and 7 years of famine. God delivered the dream to Pharaoh twice because these events were established by God Himself. Joseph followed the interpretation with a plan that would allow them to not only survive the famine, but make a profit as a thriving economy. They were to collect one-fifth of the produce during the seven plentiful years for use during the 7 years of famine.

Pharaoh acknowledged that the “Spirit of God” was with Joseph and entrusted him with power over Egypt. Pharaoh gave Joseph a wife, Asenath. His children were named with very special names: Manasseh (For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father’s house) and Ephraim (For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction) – both names giving credit to God. The events took place, just as God had told them and all countries went Joseph to buy grain because of the famine.



The Lord was with Joseph

The Lord was with Joseph in Egypt and blessed all that he did.

The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. (Genesis 39:2-4 NKJV)

It is amazing that Joseph’s master, an Egyptian, knew that the Lord was with Joseph. He even gave Joseph authority over what he had. Eventually, the master’s wife tricks him into thinking that Joseph wanted to lie with her, which he did not. The master is angry and sends him to prison.

Even the keeper of the prison sees that the Lord is with Joseph and puts Joseph in charge of the prisoners.

But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. (Genesis 39:21, 22 NKJV)