When I walked the Camino in Northern Spain, I knew how important the yellow signposts were to stay on the trail, especially in the remote and rugged terrain or new areas of exploration I experienced. These markers kept me safe and focused on the experience, without fear of getting lost and potentially spending hours or days in a detour. Many people die on the Camino each year-why? Because they fail to follow the signposts, go off track and end up over a mountain cliff somewhere.
Likewise, on the spiritual journey, there are signposts that mark stages in the journey, stages that usually correspond to certain spiritual, emotional, and psychological experiences.
It is helpful to know about these stages and be supported at each one, especially because it is common to wonder if we’re on the right track or not. We might even think we are going crazy, or getting worse, or feel like abandoning the whole thing. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to study the bible regularly, we see the actions and outcomes of the bible characters and we see how God deals with them, why, and what the outcomes will be.
I love Joseph. This is a great story to use as a guide to understanding what the signpost of your life is. Joseph was an innocent and somewhat naïve guy, but everything just always went wrong for him. Trouble seemed to find him and even follow him. But in the end, God raised him up as a mighty leader- why? Because he kept the faith and understood the signposts God had placed in his life and followed them.
These characters intentionally consented to God’s presence and God’s action in their life. If you do the same, you will see God’s provision and will work out as they did. Enjoy reading those stories and others and glean all the truth you can and live-in faith, joy, and peace, in our savior’s name- Jesus Christ.
WHO WAS JOSEPH?
Joseph was born in the Mesopotamian town of Haran, to his parents Jacob and Rachel. At the age of six, he left Haran along with his family and journeyed to the land of Canaan, eventually settling in Hebron.
Joseph was one of the twelve tribes of Israel, a son of Jacob and his wife Rachel. Joseph was known as “the righteous one,” he was highly favoured by his father because he came from his favorite wife who bore him in his father’s old age. Jacob gave him a special-coloured coat to show his love for his son. This triggered feelings of jealousy within his brothers, especially the sons of Jacob’s other wife, Leah. There was a lot of competition between Rachel and Leah who were sisters, to how many sons they could give their Husband Jacob. This may have prompted the jealousy that Leah’s children felt toward their half-brother Joseph.
These ill feelings make worse when Joseph told them two of his dreams, in which he described he is ruling over his brothers. In the first dream, the brothers were gathering wheat in the field, and the brothers’ bundles bowed to Joseph’s bundle. In the second, Joseph envisioned the sun, the moon, and eleven stars which symbolized his parents and brothers bowing to him, is it any wonder that his 11 brothers became jealous!
When Joseph was seventeen, the conflict within the family came to a head
Then One day, the 11 brothers were tending their sheep in Shechem, and Jacob told Joseph to visit them. Jacob was totally unaware that Joseph would be on the disappeared list because this would be the last time he would see his dearest son, until their reunion some twenty-two years later.
When Joseph arrived in Shechem, the brothers grabbing their chance threw the unsuspecting Joseph into a pit. A short while later they spotted an Arab caravan passing, so the brothers agreed to sell Joseph to the merchants. Eventually, he was taken to Egypt, where he was sold to Potiphar, one of King Pharaoh’s ministers.
LIFE GOES SOUR
For a while, things looked pretty good for young Joseph. God gave him favour which enabled him to in in the good books of his jailer, and eventually, he was appointed head of Potiphar’s estate. However, this would not last for very long.
Potiphar’s wife was attracted to Joseph and desired to be intimate with him. However, to her bewilderment, Joseph constantly refused her invitation. Then one day, when no one was home, Potiphar’s wife grabbed Joseph’s garment, demanding that he consent to have sex with her. Thinking quickly, Joseph slid out of his cloak and ran outside. Although Potiphar’s wife was insulted, this self-control earned him the nickname, “Joseph the righteous.”
But Potiphar’s wife in her embarrassment, took revenge upon Joseph, telling her husband that it was Joseph who had tried to entice her. Potiphar was mortified and reacted in anger by placing his once dependable assistant in prison.
BACK in PRISON
Joseph being a highly honest and competent man, his jailer soon chose him as his right-hand man. In time, his good character went in his favour once again, when Joseph effectively interpreted their dreams, accurately predicting that the cupbearer would be released and the baker, hanged.
Two years later, King Pharaoh had two dreams, and none of his priests were able to interpret them. Then the cupbearer remembered the Hebrew youth from his prison days, suggested that Joseph could give an interpretation to Pharos dreams. By this time, Joseph was now thirty and was able to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams as being a divine warning for seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. Joseph advised Pharaoh to prepare by storing grain during the first seven years. Amazed by Joseph’s wisdom, Pharaoh appointed him as his viceroy, second only to himself, and tasked him with equipping the nation for the years of famine.
Meanwhile, the effects devasted nearby Canaan where Joseph’s family lived. Joseph’s brothers heard that there was grain in Egypt, so they went there to buy needed food from the viceroy, not realizing that he was their very own brother.
Joseph upon recognizing his brothers decided to use this opportunity to observe whether they truly regretted having sold him, and used the youngest son Benjamín as the bait. On several occasions, Joseph tested his brothers’ resolve to save their youngest brother Benjamin—Joseph’s only maternal brother—from the plot he set up for him. Once he saw their devotion toward Benjamin, Joseph finally revealed his identity to his shocked siblings.
THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS
Following a sincere reunion, Jacob and his family settled in the Goshen section of Egypt. This series of events teaches us the proper attitude toward difficulty and misfortune. Upon discovering Joseph’s identity, his brothers thought he would use his royal powers to take revenge against them for selling into slavery.
However, the sentiments expressed by Joseph were quite the opposite, he said-“But now do not be sad, and let it not trouble you that you sold me here, for it was to preserve life that God sent me before you… You did not send me here, but God.”
Should we adopt this attitude as well?
. Have you had a Joseph experience? If so, how did you deal with it?
Let me know, and I would love to hear from you in our comments section below.
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