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In the last article we'd learned, that after Jacob had discovered, that his sons had went out towards Shechem, in order to feed the flocks they were managing. Jacob had became concerned for their safety, so he'd sent his most trusted and favorite son Joseph, out to see about his older brothers.
Now keep in mind, that the reason why Jacob had become so concerned, dealt with the conflicting and damning history, that his household had with the Shechemites.
As a matter of fact, it would be by the sword of Jacob sons, the Shechemites would end up falling under:
"Three days later, while all of [the Shechemites] were still in pain [from being circumcised], two of Jacob’s sons...
"Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male. They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword and took Dinah from Shechem’s house and left." -- Genesis 34:25,26
And it was because of this, Jacob would find himself constantly looking over his shoulder: "[The sons of Jacob] carried off all [the Shechemites] wealth and all their women and children, taking as plunder everything in the houses. Then Jacob said to [his sons] Simeon and Levi, "You have brought trouble on me by making me a stench to [their allies,] the Canaanites and Perizzites, the people living in this land. We are few in number, and if they join forces against me and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed." -- Genesis 34:29,30
So after Jacob had asked Joseph to go out and see about his brothers, and being the loyal person that he was -- Joseph would do, as his father had instructed him... but much to his surprise, when he had reached Shechem, he'd discovered that his brothers weren't there. But in spite of this, Joseph would continue to search for them.
And thanks to a stranger, that had seen Joseph frantically looking, the stranger asked him: "What Are You Looking For?" And Joseph responded by telling the stranger, that he was looking for his brothers. And it's at this time, that the stranger would inform Joseph, that his brothers had headed towards Dothan. Know that Dothan wasn't too far from Shechem -- so right away, Joseph headed there to look for his brothers.
Now, when his brothers had seen him approaching, it would be at this time, that they would began plotting a way to murder him. Remember, that they'd hated and envied Joseph, because of the close relationship that he had with their father:
"Here comes that dreamer. Come now, let's kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal had devoured him. Then we'll see what comes of his dreams." -- Genesis 37:19,20
But after Reuben (the oldest of them all) had heard about their plans, he didn't want Joseph to get hurt -- so he pleaded with his brothers, by making a suggesting: "Let's not take his life, or shed any blood. Throw him into this pit (cistern) here in the desert, but don't lay a hand on him."
Understand that Reuben had made this plea, with the intent on leaving the area -- only to head back later after his brothers had left, in order to rescue Joseph from the pit. For he wanted to bring him back home safely to his father. Now, when it comes to what Rueben was offering -- I often wonder, that by doing this, if Reuben had felt like this was his chance, to gain back some of the favor, he had lost with his father? Remember, that Reuben had lost his birthright (and favor), behind his sinful acts, which involved him sleeping with Bilhah, his father's wife.
Nonetheless, Reuben would leave from his brothers before Joseph had arrived. Now shortly after Joseph had reached his brothers -- they'd immediately stripped him of his richly ornamented robe that he was wearing. Now keep in mind, that this robe, was the one that his father had given him, in which his brothers were jealous of. After they had done this, they threw him into the dry, dark, empty pit that was located near them.
Know that they had no pity, no remorse, and overall, their acts were probably inhumane? For they had fallen to the lowest of lows -- when it came to them, treating their own brother in this kind of way. Know that they threw Joseph into that dark pit, hoping to leave him there to starve, while he died: a cold, slow and lonesome death. And after they had done their evil deed -- they'd decided to fix, and eat themselves a meal, while Joseph begged for his life: "Then they took him and cast him into a pit. And the pit was empty; there was no water in it. And they sat down to eat a meal..." -- Genesis 37:24,25
Oh, how they were filled with poisonous malice, as their younger brother moaned and began withering away in that dark pit, as they ate their supper.
Soon after, they would look up and see a caravan of merchants approaching, for they were made up of Ishmaelites and Midianites. Know that this caravan, had come from the city of Gilead, which was known for its rich resources in commodities -- for their camels were loaded with: spices, balm and myrrh. Now when it comes to the place that was known as "Gilead" (for the name signifies "hill of testimony") -- know that it was simply a mountainous region, that was located east of the River Jordan.
As for the caravan? The Sacred Record reveals, that it was headed towards Egypt, when Joseph's brothers had seen it. And it's at this point, that Judah would say to his brothers: "What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come, let's sell him to the Ishmaelites and Midianites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood." -- Genesis 37:26,27
And after hearing Judah's suggesting, the sons of Jacob would be in total agreement. So when the caravan had came by, they ended up selling Joseph to them, for twenty shekels of sliver. And after their deal had been completed, the caravan headed off towards Egypt (along with Joseph.) As for Joseph's brothers? they would head out, as they began their journey back home.
In the meantime, Reuben had headed back to where he had left his brothers. And it's at this point, he'd seen that his brothers had left the pit in which they'd threw Joseph in. So Reuben headed there, in order to rescue him. But when he arrived, he'd noticed that Joseph was no longer there. So as he stood there, in great distress and anguish, he'd ripped his clothes:
"When Reuben returned to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes. He went back to his brothers and said, 'The boy isn't there! Where can I turn now?'" -- Genesis 37:29,30
Now as we get to this part of Joseph's life -- many would say, that this was unfair treatment, and why would God allow for Joseph (who was a good person) to go through this type of ordeal? Know that it's this type of thinking in today's world, which has so many questioning the love of the Lord. But what people don't seem to understand, that it was the love of the Lord, that allowed Joseph to make it out of that wicked situation. For his brothers would have brought about his demise, if God had not been with him and intervene.
Also keep in mind, that if that caravan had not approached, Joseph would have probably died in that "pit of darkness" with his brothers standing by looking down over him. And even though to a natural perception, it would seem that Joseph is still in a bad situation -- know that he's still alive, so therefore, he still has a chance to make it out of this unfortunate situation. For we must remember, that God is always there for us... and that He would never turn His back on those, who have made the decision to believe and follow in His ways.
As a matter of fact, we are the ones, who would probably turn our backs on the Lord, if things don't go the way we wish they would, when it comes to our everyday lives. For there are times, we fail to realize, that God has placed us in a position, that would have probably led us to greater things -- if we'd only had the faith to see it through. Know that in order for those great things to come about in our life, there are times, that we will have to endure a little bit suffering, extra training and hard work.
Know that it takes training and hard work, in order for us to be successful in the things that we set out to do in life. And on top of this, sometimes we have to be removed, ripped, or displaced from our current life environments (or comfort zones), in order for that to happen.
Always remember, that the things that happen in our lives, are for a reason -- no matter how bad they may seem at times. The mere fact that we're able to survive it (when it would have consumed many others) speaks volumes, on why God chose us to go through it in the first place. Learn to be a fighter for what you want in life, and stop pointing fingers, making excuses and looking for handouts... you know, taking the easy way out. Never forget that God created you to be great, and He didn't create you to be a slave to someone's limited rations.
Know that we should be relieved, to find out that we have the strength, the will, and the courage -- to survive the deep dark valleys that we will constantly travel through, when it comes to our daily lives. And only after surviving, these unexpected ordeals (deep dark valleys) -- one will find themselves emerging from the darkness, with some much needed: new found wisdom, understanding and strength. For it will be these new found attributes (both mentally and physically), that we've just discovered deep from within ourselves -- that will give us the much needed tools, that will help aid us, when it comes to being more successful and effective at the next level, both spiritually and naturally.
And when you finally make it to those high mountain tops, and you find that you are constantly achieving the goals that you've set for yourself in life. Don't forget to tell God: "Thank you Lord for helping me to make it! And for helping me, to continue to do so. And oh, by the way? What a view this next level has. Thank you so much, for answering my prayers, and for never leaving me."
So my question to you, would be: "Do you have the required faith, to finish the journey (and work), that the Lord has placed before, and within you?" :
"I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in My Name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask Me for anything in My Name, and I will do it." -- John 14:12-14
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