Thursday, September 02, 2010

Reuben’s Intervention on behalf of Joseph - Genesis 37:21-22

But Reuben heard this and rescued him out of their hands and said, "Let us not take his life." Reuben further said to them, "Shed no blood. Throw him into this pit that is in the wilderness, but do not lay hands on him"—that he might rescue him out of their hands, to restore him to his father.

Reuben was Jacob’s eldest son by Leah whereas Joseph was Jacob’s eldest son by Rachel, Leah’s sister. Four of Jacob’s twelve sons were born to him through Leah and Rachel’s personal maids. Reuben (the first of the twelve sons) was quite a bit older than Joseph (who was number eleven). There must have been some affinity between the two because of these connections. Reuben attempts to save Joseph’s life by talking his brothers out of their plans to kill him. Instead, he talks them into throwing Joseph into a pit. Ruben planned to secretly rescue Joseph later when he had a chance and return him to Jacob. The motivation for that may have simply been he cared for Joseph, he was a nice guy, or he wanted to gain favor in the eyes of his father and this was an opportunity to achieve that.

Although God is not mentioned directly in this portion of scripture, He plays a most critical part. It is God that arranges for Reuben to attempt to do what he does. Unbeknown even to Joseph, God is protecting him from death because He has a task for him to perform. With God there is never a second approach to how He wants to do things. There is never an alternative in place in case His chosen method fails.

That is the message for us from these verses. God is taking care of us even when we are not aware of it. Our job is to make sure we are available to be used by Him. Then no matter what happens, we can rest assured that He will enable us to complete the task He has assigned us. Having said that, we may often have misconceptions about what God wants us to achieve or accomplish. There are plans that God may want us to participate in but never see the completion of. There are occasions when he ‘transfers’ us to another task (part of His original plan in the first place). Sometimes, He even arranges to take us ‘home’ and thus ‘off our assigned duty’. I believe it is critical for Christians to be so resolved as we live our lives every day. Ready to work for Him, ready to be re-assigned by Him, and ready to be ‘honorably discharged’ by Him.

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