The sun burned and sweat dripped down my back as I trudged home. We were supposed to be shepherding our father’s flocks, but Father needed to know about my brothers’ behavior. It’s my duty to give him an honest report of what’s happening, which is usually less than honorable.
I’ve watched the effect of Yahweh’s presence on my family. I remember how Father’s gait changed following his encounter with God one night. I was a young boy, but I know he hasn’t always walked with a limp.
I’ve seen with my own eyes the place where Father entered into a covenant with Yahweh at Bethel. (Genesis 35:1-15) I know the passion in Father’s eyes when he speaks of the covenant passed down since Great Grandfather Abraham. I know our family is flawed with three step-mothers, ten step-brothers, and a step-sister; what else can be expected?
Despite the chaos of home, I know Yahweh is real. I know He has called our family to greatness, especially me. Because of His calling I must always be honest, even if I anger my brothers. I must uphold my duty to Yahweh and to Father.
Shortly after bringing Father the ill report on my brothers, Father gave me a special robe. It displayed every color of the rainbow and featured elaborate stitching and intricate details. I’d never seen a robe quite like this one. (Genesis 37:2-4)
Part of me filled with deep dread when he gave me the coat. My brothers were already livid with jealousy; everyone knows I’m Father’s favorite. When I was younger, they used to joke about Jacob, our father, being Grandfather’s favorite, but comments of Father’s favoritism toward me aren’t jovial; they drip with bitterness.
This wonderful and exuberant coat, I really love it, and I love Father deeply. I don’t want to disappoint him, and I’m honored he knows me well enough to design a robe I’d thoroughly enjoy.
So, I wore the robe with pride, but the familiar pit settled in my stomach when I saw my brothers’ faces. It’s hard to feel confident and loved when the only words they speak are cruel. They purposefully trip me, ignore me completely, or mimic my every move.
Still, Yahweh reminds me of His hand on me. One night I had a dream of such vivid brilliance that I woke up breathless. It surely meant something! I felt a reassurance deep in my soul: Yahweh had something special planned for our family, like Great Grandfather Abraham and Grandfather Isaac promised.
Perhaps if I told my brothers this dream, they’d feel Yahweh speaking to them, too.
Maybe they’d know He had an important plan for our family and even for me!
Maybe, just maybe, they wouldn’t hate me as much if they knew Yahweh would use me for something great.
“Brothers! Listen to my dream! It was so real and the colors so magnificent, it surely came from Yahweh!” I told them I’d dreamed we were binding sheaves in the field when my sheaf arose and stood upright.
At first, their faces held a mixture of amusement and leariness, but when I told them their sheaves encircled mine and bowed down, their faces reddened, burning with anger.
“Oh, so you think you’re going to reign over us? You’re so full of yourself, you think we’re all going to bow to you? Ha!” They angrily laughed at me, then turned away. They hadn’t believed this dream came from Yahweh at all.
A few days later, I had another dream. Like the last, my dream was so vivid I had to squint from the brightness of the sun, moon, and eleven stars bowing down to me. I woke up wondering if I’d even been dreaming.
Perhaps if I told my brothers about this dream, too, they’d believe my first dream and they’d realize the importance of these dreams! Yahweh would use our family in mighty ways and He had a specific purpose for me!
This time I shared my dream while Father and my brothers were together. However, my face flushed a flaming red this time, not from anger, but in shame as Father rebuked me. Even he, who knew me so well, didn’t understand the significance of this dream.
It has been a few weeks since my last dream and once again, sweat drips down my face as I head toward Shechem to check on my brothers for Father. To honor Father, I donned my colorful robe and headed out to see my brothers, even though I know they’ll be angry to see me.
David: While King David wouldn’t descend from Abraham’s lineage for a few hundred years, he and Joseph were both the younger of many older brothers, who shepherded their father’s flocks. They both would start off as unassuming teenage shepherds who would one day shepherd entire nations with which God entrusted them. (1 Samuel 16)
Simeon: God spoke to Simeon through visions over one thousand years after He spoke to Joseph through dreams. Joseph would see his dreams come to fruition and eventually understand the meaning of them; so would Simeon. God is never-changing and the God who gives visions can be trusted. He is a promise-keeper. (Luke 2:25-35)
Jesus: Some scholars count as many as 105 similarities between Joseph and Jesus. As adolescents, both Jesus and Joseph were shepherds; however, Jesus was already shepherding the hearts of those around Him when He was just twelve years old. (Luke 2:41-52) There are many references to shepherding throughout the Bible, and all of them point to Jesus as The Good Shepherd. He is loved fiercely by His Father and faithfully cares for the sheep entrusted to Him (that’s us!). (John 10:11-18)
Sketched, Day 4
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