They tried to bury me but didn’t know that I was a seed.
Jacob called his son Joseph and asked him to go find out concerning the welfare of his siblings who had gone to Shechem to feed the flock. Shechem was a good country for feeding cattle and for pasturage.
Going to Shechem however was a very risky thing to do that time. Not long ago, Simeon and Levi had slain the men of Shechem out of anger for defiling their sister. So, the Shechemites were obviously livid and could retaliate.
After waiting for some time and not receiving any news concerning their affairs, their father Jacob decided to send Joseph.
In Genesis 37:13 the Bible underlines that Joseph responded in the affirmative “Here I am.” This shows that he wasn’t coerced into going but accepted in obedience to his father, and in sincere love for his siblings. He wasn’t bothered about the hatred that his siblings had displayed before now towards him. He only cared about their welfare and that of the flock.
Joseph at Shechem
Joseph immediately picked up his coat of many colours and ran down to Shechem. On arriving at Shechem he discovered that his brethren were not there. He searched but could’t find them; he could have turned back to go home seeing he had fulfilled his assignment. But he searched further and further until a man saw him wandering in the bush and asked what the problem was. When he enquired of his siblings, the man told him that he overheard them talking about going to Dothan.
Why they decided to move from Shechem to Dothan, which is 15 miles from Shechem, isn’t specified in that passage of the Bible. Maybe they couldn’t find sufficient herbs for the flock or they decided to leave Shechem because it represented a danger to their lives.
Dothan, the high road to Egypt
However, the location of Dothan is very important to note. You see, when God designs the future of a man, he arranges the situations and circumstances that would continually lead the man towards fulfilling that purpose.
A number of us remember Dothan as the scene where one of the greatest miracles of Elisha the prophet was performed (2 Kings 6:13-18). But that’s not all. Dothan is exactly on the highway from Mount Gilead to Egypt, a route for caravans from the East. So, it’s located on the path that would lead to Egypt, the place of further suffering, but also, the place of Joseph’s exaltation and the fulfilment of the dreams God had shown him.
God is the master strategist. Sometimes, the plans and strategies He employs may not seem traditional or logical but that’s the best plan.
The Plan to kill and bury him
On sighting Joseph from afar, his brothers orchestrated a plot to kill him, to bury this little boy that is beloved to the father and full of lofty annoying dreams. The dreamer is here, they exclaimed, as they discussed who should thrust the first cut through his heart. Had Reuben not intervened, the others would have killed Joseph in cold blood. But God was at work.
So, at the suggestion of Reuben, they agreed to bury Joseph in a pit, leaving him to die of asphyxia. The type of pit they lowered Joseph into was one that had a narrow mouth that a single stone could cover. It was the type of reservoirs dug by shepherds in the East to serve for supply of water for the flock in the end of the dry season. The mouth of the tank could be covered with a stone but inside is a big storehouse.
He was kept under the ground, sinking in mire, his flesh creeping at the touch of slimy creatures, in darkness alone: that is to day, in a species of confinement which tames the most reckless and maddens the best balanced spirits, which shakes the nerve of the calmest, and has sometimes left blankness of idiocy in masculine understandings. (Scofield).
While this happened, they were busy eating and drinking the same dainties that Joseph had brought to them from home. What a heartless set of people! No wonder Amos exclaimed woe to “They drink wine by the bowlful and anoint themselves with the finest oils but do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph.” Amos 6:6 HCSB
Joseph sold to the Ishmaelites
Joseph wouldn’t have gone to Egypt by another means. What could have possibly made Jacob allow him leave Hebron for Egypt at that young age? Nothing. But God needed Joseph to go before and prepare for the preservation of the seed of Abraham and for the fulfilment of a promise that Abraham’s seed will be as the stars of heaven and as the sand by the seashore (Genesis 22:15-18)
How many things we must endure if we want to realise the promise given to us by God. God tests us sometimes to see if we truly merit what He has promised. The dealings of his brothers helped prepare Joseph for his sufferings in Egypt.
On sighting the Ishmaelites and Midianites, they decided to sell him, “why not make some money off this dreamer. He will still die at the hand of the Ishmaelites or along the way. Either way, the important thing is that he gets off the way and his blood will not be on us.” So, they sold him, thinking that he was gone forever. In fact, they killed one of the flock and invented a horror story to cover up their atrocity.
Joseph at Potiphar’s house
But that was not the only attempt to bury Joseph because on reaching Egypt, a wealthy and influential man named Potiphar bought him as a slave and another delicate test began. As Joseph worked himself up the ladder to the senior leadership role of the house, Potiphar’s wife also grew fond of him. Satan realised that his original plot via Joseph’s siblings had failed and so came up with another one.
Balaam is notorious for advising Balak to organise a feast with naked ladies for the men of Israel. That way they’ll lust and go into the women and God’s protection over their lives would cease, and he’ll be able to curse them. Balak did and it worked perfectly (Numbers 25).
So, the idea was to alienate Joseph from God, then kill him and bury his dreams. The harlot will always hunt for the precious soul (Proverbs 6:26).
Humility and divine providence in Jail
When that failed, the next plot was to jail him. Perhaps his dreams would be locked in the prison never to see the light of the day. But Joseph’s experiences have taught him humility, absolute obedience and trust in God, the giver of dreams.
Joseph continued to serve in the prison and God gave him favour before the prison warden. He went on to interpret the dreams of Pharaoh’s officers. That disposition in using his gifts and potentials for the service of strangers was the springboard that catapulted him to the full manifestation of his dreams.
You tried to bury me but didn’t know I was a seed
That was the final test that opened the portals of the Egyptian palace to the young child from Hebron. He’d eventually become the prime minister of Egypt. His dream would come to pass, and his siblings and father would eventually come to bow themselves before him.
In Genesis 50:19-21, Joseph told his siblings “you tried to bury me but didn’t know I was a seed sent to save your lives and the lives of many people.”
They tried to bury Jesus. But He was a seed
Another seed that was killed and buried was our Lord Jesus Christ. He was killed and buried by the Jews with his grave guarded. They felt that burying Him was the end of His authority and influence over Israel. Same was the thought of Satan who instigated these men to perform such acts.
But they didn’t know that Christ’s death and resurrection will forever remain the single most powerful and impactful event that will change the entire world for good. They were unable to foresee that the number of men and women who will be saved through faith in Christ’s death and resurrection, will be infinitely greater than those He was able to reach during His lifetime (1Corinthian 2:7-9).
Beloved, are the devils and their human cohorts trying to bury you, your talents and dreams? Follow the examples of Jesus and Joseph. You’re a seed that will germinate to save lives in due season.
God bless you and have a pleasant week. It’s our week of germination and fulfilment of dreams.
They tried to bury me but didn’t know I was a seed.
- The imprisoned mind.
- Perfect in love
- Stages of Christian Growth and Maturity
- The Curse of Instability: Reuben as a case study
- The Lonely God and his busy wife
- The bill of Coronavirus: Stay Your hand O LORD!
- A lean soul as seen in Psalms 106 verse 15 (Part 1)
- Historical background of Judah in the days of Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel – Divine Influencers Part 1
- King’s seed and the Princes – Divine Influencers in Babylon Part 2.