Going the Extra Mile
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Scripture Reading: Genesis 37:16-17
19th March - 25th March, 2018
He replied, “I’m looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are grazing their flocks?” “They have moved on from here,” the man answered. “I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan.
Our Scripture reading is taken from a series of events narrated in the book of Genesis, and in order to grasp the importance of today’s Scripture reading, I encourage you to read the preceding chapters. In Genesis 34, Simeon and Levi, two of Jacob’s sons had deceitfully attacked the city of Shechem and killed all their men at a time when they were incapacitated because they were recovering from circumcision. In doing this, Simeon and Levi breached an agreement they had reached with the men of Shechem by which they were to undergo circumcision, and their prince was to marry Dinah, Jacob’s daughter whom he had raped. In Genesis 34: 30, Jacob notes that the deceitful and aggressive actions of his sons would cause him to be hated by the people in that area. He was therefore wary of the area of Shechem.
This was the reason why, after Jacob’s sons had taken their sheep to graze in the Shechem area, Jacob later on decided to send Joseph there to check on the well-being of his children and his flock. Take note that despite the dangers associated with the Shechem area, when Jacob sent Joseph on the errand to check on his brothers’ wellbeing, Joseph was willing to go (Genesis 37: 13). We must also note that despite the hostility his brothers had shown him earlier when he shared his dreams (Genesis 37: 5), Joseph still stepped out and made himself available.
Joseph’s attitude here was a foreshadowing of Jesus. When Jesus came to earth as a child and grew up in ancient Israel, He already knew that the Jews hated him and would kill Him. However, because of the depths of His love for us, He took it upon Himself to bear the punishment for our sins and redeem us form the penalty of death and separation from God. Jesus said yes to the Father and thus fulfilled His purpose (John 17: 4, Hebrews 12: 2b). The fulfilment of Abraham’s purpose also began when he said yes to God by believing in Him (Romans 4: 21- 22).
In stepping out to obey his father, Joseph showed trustworthiness. We must note that obedience to God is the key to fulfilling purpose and to fulfilment in life. Faithfulness in your current level is what prepares you for your next level (Luke 16: 10). When Joseph did not find his brothers in Shechem, he could have returned to his father to say the assignment could not be completed, but instead, he went the extra mile (Genesis 37: 17). While going the extra mile, Joseph encountered challenges that seemed to threaten his life, but those experiences only led him to Egypt where he eventually became the prime minister of the leading world power of that era (Genesis 41: 41- 43).
It is in our interest to obey God. He loves us, and we can trust Him because His instructions are not burdensome (1John 5: 3, Matthew 11: 30).
In pursuit of God’s purpose for your life, go beyond the call of duty; go the extra mile…!
For further study:
John 17: 4, Hebrews 12: 2b
Romans 4: 21- 22, Luke 16: 10
Genesis 41: 41- 43, 1 John 5: 3
Matthew 11: 30
Prayer: Thank You for this encouraging reminder about service and faithfulness. I ask, Lord Jesus, that You empower me within and enable me to be faithful in pursuing Your call on my life. I receive Your grace to live my life for Your glory alone, in Jesus’ Name. Amen!
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