“Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall:  The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob.” Genesis 49:22-24

Joseph was the firstborn of Rachel, beloved by his father, pampered and spoiled, perhaps, which caused his brothers to hate him.  To top it off, he was foolish enough to share his dreams with them only causing more antagonism.

But God had a far-reaching plan for Joseph and this rejection of his brothers was just a first step in a long journey that he would take before he reached the place that God was preparing for him.  Someone had evidently taught him about God and the need to serve Him. No doubt if he had stayed at home, he would have become more spoiled and his mind would be closed to the purpose for his life.

In some ways his story is sad, he goes to take his brothers food, and they put him in a pit, and then sell him to slave traders.  At first in Egypt, he has a good position and is well liked until his master’s wife has other ideas for him, and he soon finds himself in prison.  There he gained favour with the prison keeper and with the other prisoners.  As the years went by, he remained faithful to God, not understanding why all these things were happening to him.

Finally, a former prisoner remembered him and told Pharaoh about him being able to interpret dreams.  This was no coincidence.  It was now God’s time to show Joseph how to use the integrity and wisdom he had obtained through his years of suffering. Made a ruler over the land in the time of famine, he was there to provide food for his family when they came seeking it. He was able to tell his brothers, that what they had planned for evil for him, had turned out for his good and theirs.

In our scripture, we see Jacob before he died, blessing his sons. This is what he had to say about Joseph: “The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him:  But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob.”

 Perhaps you have suffered trials and tribulations in your life that you just can’t understand.  You may have been rejected by loved ones and feel that you are all alone.  Could it be that God has something special for you to do and these things are preparing you for that day when He reveals His plan to you. Be faithful, trust God, and maintain your relationship to Him.  Then be ready to step into whatever He asks you to do. God sees the bigger picture, and He only reveals it to us a little at a time.

Prayer:  Jesus, we thank you that you have a plan and a purpose for each one of us.  Help us to be faithful to you regardless of circumstances and be ready for whatever you want in our lives.

Devotion by Anne Johnston

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