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 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.
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.
What was it that made Joseph so different from his brothers? (This is a talk I’d like to develop for a men’s group.) Although they shared the same father they had a distinctly different Dad.
The ten older sons knew their father as Jacob, the deceiver. By the time Joseph came on the family scene Jacob wrestled with God to break his will and God later changed his name to Israel–“he struggles with God.”
Jacob and Laban’s trickery was handed down well to this generation of deceivers. The deep depression their father endured didn’t impact the sons enough for any of them to break down and confess that Joseph was still alive in Egypt. They even forgot about their little brother when they went there years later to survive the severe famine.
Joseph knew the changed man his Abba had become. I believe Israel poured himself with passion into this son born in his advanced age. Especially since Joseph was the first-born from what was supposed to be Jacob’s only wife. This son gave him a second chance.
Joseph would be told of the day Esau gave his birthright away in a fit of hunger for a bowl of stew, this is why Joseph wore the coat of many colors proudly. Reuben, the first first-born of the family threw his birthright away in a moment of sexual passion with one of Jacob’s wives, this is why Joseph ran away from Potiphar’s wife without his clothes.
So, how about you? The birthright we have as Christians is one of being adopted into God’s family. The rights of Jesus have been given to us. Don’t despise this birthright.
Study the Bible to learn how God expects His children to live.
Then, live it proudly.
I’ll see you later. Wade