Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Lowly Shepherds

It's been a long time since I read Genesis from beginning to end. I love the historical stories that it shares. Today I read Gen 44-46, about Joseph revealing himself to his brothers during the famine. A couple of items caught my attention.

When Joseph sent his brothers back to Canaan to get his father and all his relatives, the last thing he told them was "Don't quarrel on the way!" We have five children, two of them boys, and some of their quarrels are pretty spectacular. I can only imagine what it would be like to have 12 boys (well, actually grown men) travelling together for a long period of time. Just the quarrels over directions must have been rowdy!

The other item that I found interesting was near the end of chapter 46 -- verses 31-34. Joseph told his family to tell Pharaoh that they are shepherds. Since they were shepherds, I wonder why Joseph had to explain this. The last verse states that "all shepherds are detestable to the Egyptians." Shepherds were almost always looked down upon regardless of the culture they were in. They were smelly, sunburnt loners who didn't seem to fit in with the rest of the world. Many of God's favorite people were shepherds -- Jacob, Joseph and his brothers, David, and those he chose to tell first of His son's birth.

It would do us well to remember that God has a special place in His heart for those who seem to be should we!

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