Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Black Sheep of the Family (10/03/13)
TITLE: In the Eyes of the Beholder
By Karen White
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When one spends time in God’s word they realize that many of the people told about in the bible had lifestyles and made choices that were not in keeping with their other family members. The first one that comes to mind was Joseph. Although the majority of people wouldn’t consider him the “black sheep” his brothers probably did since he appeared to be the family member that was regarded as undesirable.
Joseph was the eleventh and favorite son of his father, Jacob. At seventeen years of age his job was to feed the sheep with his brothers. His older brothers all resented him because of the favoritism shown to him by their father. The bible says they “hated him and could not speak peacefully to him”. The strained relationship between the older brothers and Joseph became worse when Joseph had a dream and shared it with his brothers. The dream was about binding sheaves in the field and Joseph’s sheaf rose and his brother’s sheaves bowed down to his. This did not go well with his brothers and the hatred grew.
Joseph had a second dream and again he related the events of the dream to his brothers. He told them how in the dream, the sun, moon and eleven stars bowed down to him. His brothers were outraged and even his father rebuked him for speaking of his dream.
The older siblings’ feeling of jealousy and hatred continued to build against Joseph until the day he was sent to check on his brothers who were away tending to the flocks. It was then that the older brothers decided to rid themselves of the one they considered to be an outsider. They made plans to kill Joseph.
One of the brothers however, must have had some feelings for Joseph for he talked the others into sparing Joseph’s life and throwing him into a pit. The bible tells us that the brother that spared
Joseph’s life had planned on returning to the pit at a later time to retrieve Joseph and deliver him back to their father. God however had another plan.
The brothers ended up selling Joseph to an Ishmaelite, who in turn sold him to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard in Egypt. The brothers return to their father and tricked him into believing that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal.
But as always, God had a plan for one of His own. Joseph became successful in Egypt, he had a family, and the years past. Then one day while he is going about his life his past was before him. Joseph recognized the ten men that had come to buy grain from him, they were his brothers, the ones that had so hated him they wanted to take his life, the ones that had sold him as a slave, the ones that were now bowing before him just as in his dream all those years ago. The brothers had treated Joseph as the “black sheep” but were now in dire need of Joseph’s mercy. Joseph’s story had a happy ending. He graciously forgave his brothers and was reunited with his father.
What about you, can you identify with the brothers? Or have you been like Joseph and been the one on the outside? The bible tells us that we have all sinned. And just like Joseph’s brothers we all need to receive God’s mercy. And He and He alone is able to take a sinner (black sheep) and wash him as white as snow.
Sometimes as in Joseph’s case the black sheep is really the white one, so to speak, so it is all in the eyes of the beholder. But the only beholder whose opinion really matters is God and how he sees us. In God’s eyes are you “as white as snow”?
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