He climbed his way up from the pit and produced a grand entrance into the palace. He was escorted into the throne room and stood ahead of the king. His exit from the pit was thrilling. His entrance into the throne room, grand. This was his moment. How would Joseph take advantage of the ultimate chance? By remaining standing.
“So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was speedily brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his garments, he came just before Pharaoh. Pharaoh stated to Joseph, ‘I had a dream, and no one particular can interpret it. But I have heard it mentioned of you that you hear a dream so you can interpret it.’
This is it. This is his moment of greatness, his opportunity to prove himself, but Joseph chose to stand ahead of the king without arguing his case: “I can’t do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires (Genesis 41: 14-15).” “It isn’t me,” he insisted, “it is God.” I understand that amongst Joseph and God, this was an essential statement, but how did Pharaoh hear Joseph’s response? Confident. Protected. He could trust Joseph who was not there to ask for himself, but to stand just before Pharaoh and God waiting to play the role they had in mind for him. Joseph stood prepared to serve. Pharaoh looked about the room and saw energy hungry sycophants itching for promotion, power and wealth, and compared them to the young man standing ahead of him ready to serve. He knew he could trust Joseph.
We’ve spent a few weeks preparing for Rosh Hashanah, Judging our Dreams, Mastering the Exit, excited for our Grand Entrance. We have very carefully examined our lives and promised to boost. We are organizing for the coming year, but, as this week’s portion, “Nitzavim,” “Standers,” reminds us, in a single week we as well will have our huge moment we will stand prior to the King. We will have an chance to argue our case, to plead, promise, praise, and repent. We have climbed our way out of the past, prepared for our entrance into the New Year, but there is one particular moment that defines our future: The moment we stand before God. How will we stand?
Joseph urges us to use this great opportunity to say with simplicity and honesty, “I cannot do it.” It isn’t about me. I stand prepared to serve. No matter how properly we have ready, our self perception is limited. When we stand before God, we stand just before the only A single Who sees our infinite potential. The chance of that moment, when we stand ahead of the King, is to stand ready to connect to ourselves as God sees us, complete of promise, ready to accomplish something. In that moment of standing ahead of God we can be transformed. We begin the Stand saying, “I cannot.” We finish the Stand by saying, “I can. I will.”
Take a stand. Prepare for that moment, and for all the great moments that will stick to.