THE NEW EWE
"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
April 9, 2008
Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
The past couple of weeks I've written about Ruth. This week I want to go back to Genesis and talk about Joseph.
Genesis 50:20 says, “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.” In order to truly understand what Joseph meant when he made that statement, you have to go back and read about his life.
The story of Joseph begins in Genesis 37. He was age seventeen at this time. Joseph was feeding the flock with his older brothers, and brought a bad report of them to his father. The Bible doesn't say what the bad report was. It may have been that they were mistreating the sheep, or not keeping a close eye on them, or engaging in activities that were wrong. But Joseph told his father, which more than likely made his brothers think of him as a tattle-tale.
Now we all know of situations where there is sibling rivalry; and even in the best of families, there are times when one child will tell on the other. But the conflict between Joseph and his brothers went far beyond that.
Jacob was Joseph's father, and the Bible says that he loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. He made Joseph a special coat, out of many colors.
But when Joseph's brothers saw that their father loved him more than all of them, they hated him and could not speak peace-ably to him.
One of the worse mistakes a parent or grandparent could make is to play favorites. It causes dissension and hurt among the children. At times, it cause them to react negatively to situations or to behave in such a way as to try to draw attention to themselves.
My parents never made any difference between my sister and I, and we all were shown the same amount of attention and had no doubt that we were loved equally. But my Grandma Horton was a different story. I'm not sure how she was when my dad and his siblings were growing up, but she very obviously had her favorites where her grandchildren were concerned. There was no question or doubt as to who were her “special” grandkids. My sisters and I all knew that out of us five girls, Linda was Grandma's favorite. And Linda knew that too. We could also all name who her other favorite grandchildren were. When family members are shown preferential treatment and given extra attention, it makes the others feel less important and less loved.
To compound matters for Joseph, he had a couple of dreams that he shared with his brothers, which made them hate him all the more.
In the first dream, they were binding sheaves in the field. Joseph's sheaf arose and stood upright; and his brothers sheaves stood all around and bowed down to his sheaf.
His brothers reply was, “Shall you indeed reign over us? Or shall you indeed have dominion over us?”
In Joseph's second dream, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to him. He shared this dream with his father and brothers. His father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?”
Joseph's brothers all envied him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
Later, Joseph's brothers had went to feed their father's flock, and Jacob sent him to go check and make sure that all was well with his brothers and the flock.
When Joseph's brothers saw him coming from afar off, they conspired against him to kill him. Apparently the hatred and jealousy that they felt towards Joseph had grown and festered over time, to the point where they despised the sight of him, and desired his death.
They said to one another, “Look, this dreamer is coming! Come, let us now kill him, and cast him into some pit; and we shall say, 'Some wild beast has devoured him.' We shall see what will become of his dreams!”
But their brother Reuben heard them, and he delivered Joseph out of their hands, and said, “Let us not kill him. Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit which is in the wilderness, and do not lay a hand on him.” His plan was to deliver Joseph out of their hands, and bring him back to his father.
Joseph arrived, and his brothers stripped him of his coat of many colors. Then they took him and cast him into a pit. Afterwards, they sat down to eat a meal. They looked down the road and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites, with their camels bearing spices, balm, and myrrh, on their way to Egypt.
Judah spoke to his brothers and said, “What profit is there if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother and our flesh.”
Even though Joseph's brothers hated him and wanted to be rid of him, they apparently still had a conscience and couldn't quite make themselves commit the act of murder. Perhaps they thought that if Joseph was gone, then their father would love them more. They may have just wanted their little brother out of the picture, but not have his blood on their hands nor the load of guilt murdering him would bring.
The brothers brought Joseph out of the pit, and sold him to the traders for twenty pieces of silver. The traders then took Joseph to Egypt to sell as a slave.
Apparently, Reuben had gone to look after another section of the flock or take care of another matter, because he wasn't there when this all took place. He later arrived back at the pit, and saw that Joseph was not in there; and he tore his clothes.
He returned to his brothers, and said, “The lad is no more; and I, where shall I go?” He panicked and was fearful when he saw that Joseph was gone. I'm not sure whether or not his brothers told him what they had done, or let Reuben believe that he had been killed by a wild animal.
They took Joseph's coat, killed a baby goat, and dipped the coat in the blood. Then they brought the coat back to their father and said, “We have found this. Do you know whether it is your son's tunic or not?” How innocent they sounded, when they knew exactly whose coat it was!
Jacob recognized it and said, “It is my son's tunic. A wild beast has devoured him. Without doubt, Joseph is torn to pieces.” Then Jacob tore his clothes, put sackcloth on, and mourned for his son many days.
All his sons and daughters arose to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. Jacob told them, “I shall go down into the grave to my son in mourning.” Jacob wept for his son.
Meanwhile, the Ishmaelites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potipher, who was an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard.
Too many times, people react out of their hatred or emotions, without considering the consequences of their actions. The brothers wanted their father's love and attention, but didn't consider the grief he would experience when he was told that Joseph had been killed. I'm not sure that they realized the guilt that they would also have to daily live with.
We can look at the life of Joseph so far, and think how horrible! He more than likely did bring some of the jealousy upon himself by sharing his dreams with his family, telling them that they would bow down to him. That didn't help to endear him to his brothers. But you have to remember that Joseph was a seventeen year old teenager at that time. Most seventeen year olds don't have a lot of maturity or discernment. They don't consider the consequences of their words or actions.
Can you imagine the fear this teen felt when his brothers first of all threw him in the pit? Then when they pulled him up, only to sell him to some traders in a caravan, he must have been terrified. Did he think about trying to run away or what he would do to get revenge if he should ever see his brothers again? Joseph may have known that his brothers didn't like him and were jealous of him, but in that very moment when they threw him in the pit and then later sold him, the truth of how deep that hatred ran had to have hit him square in the face. I'm sure that Joseph felt very betrayed that his own flesh and blood, his own brothers, would treat him as they did.
Betrayal cuts very deep; whether it was a spouse, family member, or a close friend who was the one who did the betraying. When we put our trust in someone and open our heart to them, it hurts when they let us down. Once we experience that type of betrayal, it is very difficult to forgive and for that relationship to ever be repaired. Some of us may leave home to go to the grocery store, only to get there and forget what we went after. But an offense is something that we will remember for years. It is very difficult for those scars to ever be healed.
Yet, regardless of his brothers intentions when they sold him, God had his hand upon Joseph. Even in the midst of him being sold into slavery, God worked all things together for Josephs good.
As we continue to study Joseph's life, we will see that he didn't have an easy life or enjoy a problem-free existence once he arrived in Egypt. Fact is, he did experience God's protection and times of great blessing. But Joseph had to endure a whole lot of hardship too.
When our situation looks hopeless, and even if it seems as if those closest to us have betrayed us, God is still there with us. He is working on our behalf. God will never leave us nor will He forsake us. So be encouraged and never lose hope! In the most desperate, hopeless of circumstances, God is working everything together for our good.
It's hard to imagine how the brothers could let their father go on mourning for years. When they saw how upset their dad was, did they get more jealous? And after several weeks, they probably felt trapped. They couldn't fess up then. And if one of them did fess up, they would be betraying the other brothers. He would be a tattle-tale, just like Joseph. Even if one of them wanted to get out of it, they were trapped in their lies.
We can easily feel trapped in sin, too. We might feel too guilty or scared to confess, or helpless to change. Jesus is the way out. He already knows anything we've done wrong, so it should be easy to confess to Him. He came to bring us The Comforter (the Holy Spirit). Even if those sins we want to leave behind have consequences, The Comforter will be with us through anything.
1 lb. Hamburger
1 can cheese soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can (1 cup) milk
1 can cream of onion soup
1 can mushrooms
Approx. 2 cups Tater-Tots
Cook hamburger and drain. Add all remaining ingredients, except the tater-tots. Pour into a casserole dish; top with tater-tots. Bake at 350 until brown.
I have a great-nephew, who is two years old. He has a baby sister who is 10 months. His parents have been trying to potty train him. He was doing really well, but then started regressing. While at daycare he is still doing good, but when he gets home he has started acting like a baby at times. He found an old pacifier one day and began sucking it. One day he found one an old bottle and kept wanting it. His mom thought, “Okay little boy, I'll fix you!” She put baby formula in the bottle, thinking he wouldn't like it and that would be the end of it. Nope! He lay down on her lap and drank the whole thing.
I was telling one of my sisters about it. She said that when her son was around two, she ended up potty training him three or four times. He would do really good for a while and she'd think she had him trained. Next thing she knew, he completely stopped, and she would have to start the process all over again.
“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.” - Kimberly Johnson
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Loretta & Jon