An interesting thing happened when Joseph was asked to go in search of his brothers in Genesis 37:13-17. Jacob had asked him to go to Shechem because that was where his brothers went to feed the sheep. When Joseph got there, he searched for his brothers but couldn’t find them. Had Joseph not been an obedient child, full of love for his brothers, he would have quickly turned back and gone home. But he continued searching.
It was while Joseph wandered in the bush in search of his brothers he met a man who told him that his brothers had gone to another town called Dothan because they couldn’t find forage for the animals in Shechem. Had he not continued to search, he wouldn’t have met the man in the first place. In fact, in Torah, that man is thought to be an angel. But that’s not all.
The persistence of Joseph led him to start another journey in the direction of Dothan. If he hadn’t loved his brothers and desired to know how they fared, he would have turned back and headed home, after all, his father had asked him to go to Shechem originally. But you see, God was searching for another quality besides obedience and love. He wanted to know how far Joseph could endure hardness, how decided Joseph was to fulfil these dreams, how many more miles he was willing to cover to see his sheaf rise and the other sheaves make obeisance to his sheaf.
And one beautiful thing about God is that he orchestrates situations to test your conviction of the dreams he has given and your persistence in the little steps before fulfilling these visions. At the end of the test of persistence lies a clear path towards accomplishment.
Joseph didn’t know how the dreams would come to pass. He certainly wasn’t aware that he would be ferried to Egypt, and I can even attempt to say that Jacob, his father wasn’t aware of how nor where these dreams from God will be fulfilled. But God knew, and he planned it perfectly well.
Dothan, the place where the brethren of Joseph had gone to feed the flock, is located on the caravan route from the East to Egypt. Practically, Dothan is the high road that leads to Egypt. From Dothan, Israel, to Egypt would be between 240 to 280 miles on a particular route.
God had planned that Joseph would go down to Egypt and someday become the prime minister of the land. This Joseph wasn’t aware of. But God caused his brothers to leave Shechem and position themselves in Dothan. This way, Joseph can be sold to the merchantmen who would ferry him to Egypt, where his dreams will be fulfilled. Had Joseph not persisted, he wouldn’t have gone to Egypt, and his sun wouldn’t have risen for other stars to bow to.
Reflection: Sometimes, when God asks you to persist, to go a bit further, you may not understand why, but just do it. Don’t get frustrated and turn back because you will only be cutting short the dream or elongating the time before its accomplishment.
The qualities God wants to find in you today will be important for your journey to accomplishing that dream tomorrow. Sometimes he orchestrates situations to test your level of persistence and resolve. Don’t fail Him. Stay on track, for Dothan on the high road that leads to Egypt.