Israel limped over to his favorite chair and sat down. “Joseph. I have a job for you.”
Joseph left Benjamin and came to their father. “What is it, Abba?”
Israel placed his hand on Joseph’s shoulder. “Your brothers have taken the sheep to Shechem. I’d like for you to check on them for me. I have a feeling something bad is about to happen. Let me know how they’re doing.”
Joseph nodded. “Shall I take one of the servants with me?”
Israel shook his head. “That won’t be necessary. You’re old enough to go alone. I trust you. Remember what I’ve taught you: God will be with you wherever you go; and don’t despise your birthright. ”
As the sun dipped below the horizon Joseph sat down near a rock that looked the right size to support his head as he slept on his side. He wondered if God would speak to him as He’d done with Abba.
He pulled some dried meat and almonds out to eat. He sent up a prayer. “God, I know my brothers don’t like me very much. I think some of them actually hate me. I really feel like I need to ask You for Your protection from them.
At mid-day Joseph came to Shechem. The emptiness brought a panic to his young mind. “Abba was right. Something has happened to them.”
As he searched the ground for signs of where they might be a man approached. “What are you looking for, young man?”
“My brothers were supposed to be here with our family’s sheep.”
“Your sheep grazed this plain off in no time. I over-heard your brothers say they were going north to Dothan.”
Joseph looked from the man to his own pack. “Thank you. Our Abba will be happy to hear they’re all right.”
As Joseph descended the last hill he saw Dan point his way. Soon all the brothers were gathered together.
Joseph looked down at his coat and prayed. “Okay, God, I’m proudly wearing Abba’s extravagant gift to the birthright son. They obviously know it’s me coming. I ask that You protect me, whatever happens next.”
As Joseph came into the group of men they pretended to ignore him. “Hi, guys.”
Gad put an arm around Joseph’s shoulders. “Well looky here. If it isn’t the colorful tattle-tale. What brings you to this section of the Promised Land, Boy?”
Joseph tried to shake free. “Abba’s worried about you guys. That’s all, if you give me enough food to make it back home I’ll leave in the morning to let him know you’re in Dothan and everything’s fine.”
Naphtali pulled the string loose that held the coat shut. “We have other plans for you Mr. Big Mouth.”
Gad grabbed the collar and pushed Joseph out of the coat. “It looks like I now have the birthright. How about that?”
Joseph spit at him. “You’ll never have the birthright. Especially, while I’m still alive.”
The men formed a circle and spun Joseph around from one to another as they approached an empty well.
Asher taunted him. “Let’s see, how do those dreams go? We’re supposed to bow down to you. Isn’t that right?”
Issachar grabbed him. “It’s going to be kinda hard to bow to somebody whose lower than us. Isn’t it?” He spun around and Joseph fell into the pit.
Joseph looked up at his brothers’ faces.
Zebulun spoke up, “Let’s go have lunch, guys. This might appear to a passer-by that we’re bowing to him.”
The men laughed and jeered. Somebody kicked some dirt on Joseph as they left.
Before the day was done Joseph found himself tied to the back of a camel bound for Egypt. Thank you, God, for preserving my life. Don’t worry, Abba, I’ll never forsake my birthright.
Ever have one of those days when nothing seems to go your way? I’m sure you never had one as bad as Joseph’s day here. I don’t think anybody saw God in any of the events that transpired that day. He was there and He’s in your life right now, too. Your circumstances may have you believing otherwise.
God has a plan for your life. What you’re going through now is developing you into the image of Jesus Christ if you’re His follower. That’s what Romans 8:29 promises us.
It follows the more popular Romans 8:28 verse: All things work together for good… That good is becoming more like Jesus. That’s what life on this planet is all about.
One day we’ll exchange this pain-filled, cumbersome physical body for our glorified body we’ll experience for the rest of eternity. Just like a caterpillar exchanges the bulky, multi-legged body for that of a light-weight, free-flying butterfly we’ll be better. No, we’ll be perfect, just like Jesus. OH, what a glorious day that will be.
Until then we must endure the limitations placed on us now. The tests and pains of this life are for our good. Trust God for that.
Have you ever put yourself in Joseph’s sandals in this story? I hope I just did that for you here. He wouldn’t find out until much later who talked the majority of brothers out of murdering him. Yeah, God did protect him.
Joseph’s mettle would definitely be tested in the years ahead of him. We have the advantage of reading his story in the Bible. He had to take it one day at a time as it unfolded.
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You likely won’t become a prominent world leader. But, you can become a leader to someone who will go through the same thing you’re enduring now. When you share with them how God brought you through the fire He’ll become real to them, too.
Once God takes over a life anything is possible. That will only happen through an introduction by you with Jesus.
He’s the only way to God for anybody.
I hope this gives you a glimmer of hope that you’ll fan into the flame God is igniting in your heart now.
I’ll see you later. Wade