Opening Prayer: “Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.”
Daily Scripture Reading: Genesis 37:12-17
Today we meet back up with Joseph and his brothers on rather a treacherous journey. In Genesis 37:12 we read that Joseph’s brothers went to graze their father’s flocks near Shechem soon after being told about the dreams. Shechem was a land of rich pastures but past destruction. Genesis 34 tells the story of Dinah, the daughter of Jacob and sister of Joseph, being raped by the prince of this region. The brothers plotted revenge on the city by convincing all the men to be circumcised so that a marriage between Dinah and Shechem would be possible. While the men were incapacitated, two of the brothers attacked the city and slaughtered every male. Then the rest of Jacob’s sons showed up and plundered the land and looted the wealth. They even led all of the women and children away as captives. Let’s just say that the Jacob’s boys were not popular in Shechem. After they had been gone for some time, it seems Jacob became nervous about their safety so he sent Joseph on the 60 mile trek to find his brothers.
And here, on the road of past destruction, outside of the protection of their father’s home and authority, the brothers exact their revenge once again, a family is torn apart, and Joseph’s life is forever altered.
We know, in the end, that God’s hand was on every twist and turn in Joseph’s story. We know that it was all part of the plan. But the dangerous road to Shechem (and on to Dothan) presents some questions for us. In your life are there places of destruction you continue to return to? Do you ever choose to leave the protection and authority of your Heavenly Father’s presence through disobedience, and unwise choices? The brothers waited until Joseph was out from under Jacob’s favor to plot his demise. Our enemy will do the same. But when we reside close to home, close to His presence and His ways, our soul will avoid the dangerous traps the enemy has set.
I don’t know if your Shechem is a destructive habit, a toxic relationship, an apathetic attitude, a disordered desire, or a physical place that puts your soul in danger. Jacob’s decision to send his sons back to Shechem was unwise. His decision to send Jospeh to his bitter brothers was dangerous. God is a better father and under His authority and our obedience, His presence will lead us to safety for our souls.
Today’s Big Questions: What is your Shechem? Have you found yourself back on a road of past destruction and danger for your soul? Have you wandered out from the safety of your Heavenly Father’s protection through disobedience or unwise choices?
Prayer Response: Spend a few moments asking the Holy Spirit to reveal any destructive or dangerous patterns you have been returning to. Commit to staying close to his side and beneath His protection.
Optional Action Step: Choose to fast for one meal today or tomorrow as a representation of walking away from old destructive habits. Spend the time you would have spent preparing and eating the meal praying and worshiping.
Closing Prayer: “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21