Jacob pulled back the leather-strap closure of the tent; sheltering his face from blowing dust with the sleeve of his cloak, he stepped outside. He was losing hope of seeing his sons returning from a second trip to Egypt. Leaning upon the staff left by his deceased father Isaac, searching for signs of movement upon the horizon, he began to pace. Were his old eyes deceiving him?
Was it the trampling of camels or donkey hooves kicking up dust or merely the wind? Sun would be setting soon. He would recline for rest, await the sun’s return and continue the watch for his sons. They had gone to the fertile Nile Delta in hopes of bartering with the Pharaoh’s steward for grain. Fingering his wooden staff, he mulled the mystery of grain becoming the staff of life.
Despondent, He lamented his inability to sustain the lives of his clan and dwindling herds. Clenching his fist, he beat his heaving chest and hung his head in shame. He had always been so confident, so sure of himself. His shrewdness was of no help now. He began to doubt the goodness of Jehovah. How could a merciful God allow little ones to suffer pangs of hunger?
Turning his eyes once more toward the trodden path, he found no solace or solutions. Despondent, Jacob shuffled back into the stifling air of his shelter. His knees buckled and he slumped to the dirt floor, falling prostrate. Forlorn, he wept. “Why Oh, LORD? Why do you curse us? Will we perish in this ceaseless drought and famine?”
In the hunger of near-starvation, he drifted off to fitful sleep and began to dream. He saw his beloved Rachel. Vibrant, with rosy cheeks, she was caressing her boy child, Joseph; hungry, Rachel succored him at her bosom. Jacob loved him more than he loved all his other sons. Jacob, his mother Rebecca’s favorite, had continued the grievous sin of favoritism.
Joseph awoke with a start. Someone was coming. He arose swiftly; expectantly, he went outside.
As the approaching group drew closer, he began to count heads.
Benjamin…I could not bear the loss of Benjamin too. Yes, I see him now!
“Glory to God, I see donkeys and wagons heavy laden!”
His youngest, Benjamin, had consoled him after the death of Joseph. All he had left of the dreamer Joseph was a blood stained multicolored coat. When reunited with his sons they exchanged embraces and each one greeted him with a holy kiss. The sons were all talking at once. Overwhelmed and perplexed, he tried to make sense of their stories…
“Reuben, you’re the eldest. Tell me what this is all about!”
“Father, the LORD has heard your cries! Your son Joseph yet lives! He is head steward in the house of Pharaoh. It is your Joseph; he distributes grain from the storage house. He asked about you father. He instructed us to return home quickly, to gather you and your entire household and return to him without delay.” Jacob nearly expired in hearing such inconceivable news.
How many years have passed?
After his loss of Joseph, he had torn his garments, dressed in sackcloth, wept and mourned. He was inconsolable after hearing horrendous accounts of the death of Joseph. Heartless brothers shared graphic details of a ferocious animal attacking and killing Joseph. Could this new story of Joseph’s life, good fortune and authority be true; or was it an illusion of a demented mind?
“It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die (Genesis 45:28b KJV).”
Jacob could once again provide food for family and flocks. He longed to see the face of his beloved Joseph; this was a dream come true. Jacob’s sons and servants packed personal belongings, loaded excited children, women and the weak into wagons. The Hebrew patriarch, Jacob began a trek from Canaan to Egypt. Israel’s God, JEHOVAH-JIREH supplied the staff of life.
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