Joseph’s Story Part 1

Joseph’s Story 

Part 1

 

“Yow! Boy, does my head hurt. Where am I?”

I tried to open my eyes.

“Oh man, even my eyes hurt and it’s too dark to see anything. Okay, what can I feel?”

I sat up and began feeling around with my hands and feet and could feel nothing but dry, dusty, hard, round surfaces and walls.

“Nothing but rocks here, it’s terribly hot, it’s exceptionally dry and dusty and—oh, my head still hurts, my eyes hurt and so does just about every other part of me … and I’m talking to myself. How crazy is that? Okay, what can I hear or smell?”

I leaned back, listened, and sniffed.

“So, I can hear some sheep and it smells like someone has used this cistern as a latrine. Wait a minute,  where is my coat? Oh no, Father is going to kill me if I lost that coat. But I’ll have to wait to worry about that. For now, how did I get here and … for that matter where is here?”

I rubbed my sore head and then my eyes before trying to open them again. 

“Alright, I can finally see a sliver of light up there. Okay, I think I get it now. My brothers took some unreasonable offense to something I said, beat me up, stole the special coat that father made for me and stuck me down a dry cistern. Wow! I knew I wasn’t popular with them, but what did I ever do that made them mad enough to do this? Hmm … it may have started soon after we moved here from Paddan-Aram. Come to think of it, it may have gotten worse when I had those dreams. Oh man, my head still really hurts. I think I’ll sleep for a bit using these rocks for a pillow like Father did on his way to Paddan-Aram before he met Mother. Yes, a little nap is what I need to get it all straight in my brain.”

 

# # #

 

I remember sitting at the desk in my father’s tent tallying up columns of numbers to help Father manage our flocks and herds. Then father entered the tent and I called him over to show him what I had found, “Father, did you know that since we arrived here in Canaan, our flocks have grown by 25%? The pastureland here must be much better than it was at Paddan-Aram. Also, you might want to think about selling some of them off. The size of our flock is getting too large and difficult for my brothers to manage. They are having to move the flocks much more often to find new pastures.”

Father sat on a chair near me stroking his beard and said, “You know, I think you might be right. Why don’t you go to where your brothers are keeping the flocks and report back to me what you see.”

I am pretty sure I made a face and said, “Are you sure about that Father? I have not been warmly received by them since you gave me this wonderful new coat.”

Father just smiled and said, “Why don’t you let me worry about them. You just go first thing tomorrow morning and then bring me a report on how your brothers and our flocks are doing.”

“As you wish, Father.”

That night, I had a large meal and then retired to my tent where I had a strange dream. My brothers and I were out harvesting grain and stacking the tied up sheaves in neat bundles. It was really hard work. I remember getting really sweaty and then the beginnings of blisters on my hands. The blisters hurt a lot, but then the strangest thing happened. One of my sheaves stood up on end and then the sheaves of my eleven brothers all bowed down to it. It was so weird that I woke up and had to get a drink of water. After that, I slept for the rest of the night without any more dreams. That dream stuck in my head so I couldn’t forget it. 

When I found them, they avoided talking to me but Reuben gave me some tasks to do. I did them quickly so I could do the inventory that Father asked for. 

At lunch, I decided to tell my brothers about my strange dream. That might have been a mistake. I spoke up loud enough for everyone to hear and said “Listen to this dream. We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!” 

At first, it didn’t seem like they wanted to listen. Some of them turned away from me at the beginning but when I got to the part about their sheaves bowing down to mine, they got angry, rushed at me and started yelling at me, “So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?” Then they all stomped off to care for the sheep. Talk about getting in my face! Needless to say, I shut up and silently continued with the inventory Father had asked for.

When we got home, I reported to Father that my inventory did not match up with the numbers that my brothers had given him. I told him that I thought they were selling some of the sheep without telling him so they could have spending money. I thought I saw some women hiding in their tents while I was there. Father said nothing about my report, but he questioned them thoroughly when they got home a week or so later. They seemed to pretend from then on that I did not exist. None of them, except for Reuben would even talk to me. 

Several weeks later, I had another dream and one night at dinner I stood up and shared the dream with my father and my brothers. “The sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed low before me!” Father scolded me. “What kind of dream is that?” he asked. “Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow to the ground before you?” This surprising reaction from my father seemed to match my brothers. I think they were jealous of me. My brothers wolfed down the rest of their food and took off. They rushed rudely past me nearly knocking me over with their arms and elbows.

After his initial outburst, Father sat quietly while he finished eating. He said nothing to me when I left to go to my tent. 

# # #

A few weeks passed by and then Father asked me to go and check on my brothers again and bring back another report. I can tell you, I was not in any big hurry to see them again, but headed to Shechem as I had been asked to do.

The next morning I packed a bag, put on my special coat, and rode my favorite donkey to where my brothers were supposed to be tending to the flocks. But, they weren’t there. So I had to look around for them. After an hour or so, I ran into a man that told me that they had gone to Dothan. Typical. They are so unreliable.

When I first saw them, I could tell that they could see me too. I waved at them and could see a lot of hurried activity. They seemed to be huddling together about something. I hoped that it was because they had forgiven me for telling them about my dreams. I hoped for a warm welcome.

But, when I got there, they grabbed me by the arms and tied me up. They were arguing among themselves trying to decide what to do with me. I have to say I was actually frightened when I heard them say, “Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns. We can tell our father, ‘A wild animal has eaten him.’ Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams!” 

But then, Reuben came to my rescue. “Let’s not kill him,” he said. “Why should we shed any blood? Let’s just throw him into this empty cistern here in the wilderness. Then he’ll die without our laying a hand on him.” 

I was hoping that Reuben was secretly planning to rescue me and take me back to father. But my brothers ripped off the beautiful robe I was wearing and threw me into an empty cistern. 

 

# # #

 

I woke up from my nap to the sound of my brothers arguing again. It seems like that’s all they ever did. But then I heard the sound of camels, They removed the lid from the cistern and threw down a rope so I could pull myself out. I have to say that I got my hopes up that they had changed their mind. It was a wonderful feeling that lasted only until I got up to the top of the cistern and climbed out. Then they grabbed me and took me over to some rough-looking men with a caravan of camels and shoved me to the ground in front of them. I looked around to see if Reuben was there to stick up for me, but he was nowhere to be found. The traders gave Levi what looked like twenty pieces of silver and then grabbed me, tied my hands together, and then tethered me to one of their camels.

As we traveled away, I could hear one of my brothers say, goodbye dreamer! It felt like my life was over. I needed to connect with my father’s God. No one else was going to help me. So I prayed as I walked. 

“God of my father Jacob, his father Isaac and my great-grandfather Abraham. I have taken you for granted all of my life, but I need you now. I was born into privilege and luxury. I was the favorite son of my father and did not appreciate any of it. When I had dreams of being worshipped and bowed down to, I took pride in my lofty position and lorded it over my brothers. I am sorry, Lord. I am sorry for my pride and my arrogance. I know that from now on I will need to walk closely with you and learn humility from you in order to survive. A slave’s life is very hard. Please accept my repentant heart and walk with me on a daily basis. Teach me to walk in your ways, O Lord. Keep me close to your heart and protect me with your powerful right arm. Amen.”

A few weeks later, after walking all day every day behind a camel and trying to make sure that I avoided stepping in his droppings, we arrived in Egypt. I was taken to a slave market and sold to an important looking Egyptian man named Potiphar. I was then taken to his house, cleaned up and put to work cleaning everything in sight.

 

 

Enoch and Noah – Part 6

I was frightened by the big cats at first, but they turned out to be pretty friendly as long as I didn’t get too close.

Then I saw another ladder leading even farther down.

Hmm, I’m pretty sure that this is where Papa told me not to go. But, I wonder what it looks like down there”.

Just then I heard some strange rustling around noises and noticed that the lamps that lit up each of the lower levels seemed to be out. I began to get very curious. I looked around to see if anyone was around.

Papa will never know if I look just once.”

So, I began climbing down the ladder and I was turning and twisting around trying to see what was there when suddenly the ark lurched and my foot slipped. I lost my grip on the ladder and began flailing around trying to grab onto something when my left leg got caught in one of the steps of the ladder.

There was excruciating pain, a horrible snapping sound and then I landed hard on my back, flat on the deck. The next thing to hit must have been my head because I blacked out for a while.

When I awoke, I was in more pain than I had ever imagined in my whole life. I realized I had broken my leg badly. I couldn’t keep from yelling and crying it hurt so badly, but no one came. I was down there all alone.

I realized that my father and uncles were cleaning out stalls at least two decks above me and couldn’t hear me.

Where is Grampa’s God when I need Him?

I immediately felt completely alone and in the dark. Then I began to feel afraid. I didn’t know how often they came down to this level to care for the animals.

My eyes began to gradually get used to the dim light.

I began to yell again.

“Help,” I yelled as loud as I could.

“Help!”

“Help!”

After the second or third yell, there was this really weird echo. It sounded a lot like a horn of some sort.

Every time I hollered help, that strange horn echoed back to me.

After about five or six times, I tried to sit up and look around.

Through the tears in my eyes and into the dim light, coming toward me was the biggest animal I had ever seen.

It was sort of a brownish grey with big floppy ears and a long huge nose, an absolutely monstrous, grey, wrinkly body and legs twice as big around as my Uncle Ham. Just as I started to get a good look at it, it rose up its nose and made that horn sound I had been hearing.

It walked slowly over to me with its nose pointed at me sniffing me and then touching me. I was scared at first, but its touch was so gentle I stopped being afraid. It pushed at me a little bit, like it was trying to help me stand up. I reached up to feel it’s long nose and it began to pick me up and cradle me with it. I felt the pressure on my leg get less and the pain got easier to handle.

I wasn’t sure what was going on or why this animal was doing this. I looked up and I could tell the big thing was also looking down at me. I began to feel very relaxed and very tired. My eyes had trouble staying open and I must have fallen asleep for a while.

When I woke up, the animal was still holding me up. I began to call out for my father. “Papa,” I would call out. I was not very loud at first. I did not want to frighten my protector.

“Papa!”

I would repeat a little louder each time.

“Papa!”

“Papa!”

After a while, I stopped because I wasn’t getting any answers. The pain was still pretty strong and I was getting tired again. I was also very thirsty and starting to get more afraid that no one was answering me.

I was getting scared and I didn’t know what to do.

I thought about what Grampa might do and, just as clearly as day, I could hear his voice talking to me. “Enoch” he said “you just tell the Lord what you need when you need His help. He will help you. God is faithful, just you wait and see.”

Enoch and Noah – Part 5

“Enoch … Enoch … come on son, it’s time to get up.”

“Okay Mom, just five more minutes …”

I had one more stone to roll before I would beat those town boys at their own game. I lined up my shot and just as I was about to make it …

“Enoch, you need to get up and do your chores. Come on, son.”

“Okay, okay …” Realizing the game was just a dream; I stretched my arms and legs, and then opened my eyes and tried to focus.

The room was pretty dark, “Where was my window, my furniture … my stuff?

Then suddenly I felt my bed lift up from behind me and tilt to my left. I quickly looked around, “What is going on? My whole room moved!

“Huh? Wha—where am I?” I said out loud.

“It’s alright, this is your first time waking up on the ark,” my Mom’s voice again filtered through the morning fog in my head.

Then things began to look familiar, “Oh, yeah, that’s right …”

Memories of the last days, weeks and months began to flood back into my mind, the work on the ark, the fire, the townspeople attacking Grampa, the animals arriving, the rains and flooding and finally the door of the ark closing on the outside world the Lord had decided to destroy.

“Ok Mom, I’m going.”

I got up, dressed, washed, grabbed a chunk of bread from the table and headed up toward the large pen with the netting containing all the birds that came with us on the ark. I have to feed them and clean out their pen.

There was singing and wild calls coming from the top of the ladder I had to climb to get to the upper level. I really like all the birds, feeding them isn’t too bad. It’s the cleaning up after them that’s yucky.

I grabbed a couple of buckets and filled them with the different kinds of food the birds liked and went into the pen. When they saw me with the food, the sound of all the birds got so loud I nearly had to cover my ears.

Looking up into the branches of the trees my Pop and uncles had brought in and mounted to the walls of the pen, I saw many of the birds moving to the lower branches. They seemed eager to eat.

It’s a good thing I looked up because one of the birds was dropping something yucky. I just barely got out of the way in time.

After cleaning out the pen and putting out the food, I sat on the bench inside the enclosure and thought for a while. “This is going to get boring real fast if this is all I have to do every day,” I said to myself.

I had asked Grampa how long we were going to be on this trip. But, the only answer I could get from him was “The Lord will let us know when He is done out there. Just be patient, Enoch.”

So, I decided to explore the Ark.

The first thing I did was to walk all the way from end to end on the deck my birds were on. I had already done that topside (that’s what we call the top deck of the Ark where you could go outside) but, I didn’t want to stay out there because it was still raining.

But, I wanted to see everything.

So I walked and walked and walked, each day I went to a new and lower level.

I looked and looked and looked. I had never seen so many different kinds of animals in all my life. A lot of the animals were new to all of us and we didn’t know what to call them. Many had come from very far away and many were very strange.

I wanted to see them all, even all the creepy, creeping things, no matter how long it took.

One night at supper, we talked about what I was doing.

“What did you see today, Enoch,” Mama asked.

“I saw the monkeys and the antelope and the . . . um . . .striped horses,” I said.

Papa laughed and said, “Those are called zebras son.”

Then he spoke up in his stern voice, “I don’t want you going down to the lowest levels son. The big cats and other very large, dangerous animals are down there. They may be safe enough but, I don’t want you to take any chances. Do you understand me?”

“Yes Papa,” I said.

There were still lots of other parts to explore that I hadn’t seen yet. And, there were lots of animals yet to see.

Every day for several weeks I went out and looked and explored. I was having a great time until one day when I was going down to one of the lower levels where we kept the larger animals.

Hmm, here’s another ladder going down, I don’t remember seeing this one before.” I thought to myself. Down at this level, the cages were much larger than the ones higher up.

Wow! I bet the really big animals are down here. One more level won’t hurt …

Enoch and Noah – Part 3

Then I got to thinking about all the extra birds and remembered the big area toward the top of the ark. It was like several really big rooms without walls. We had hauled in and mounted a bunch of different sized dead trees, so they would have someplace to roost if they wanted to. Then I remembered the stuff called fish net Pop had hauled up there. He said it would come in handy for keeping the birds where they belong. That was a little confusing to me because the net stretched from the floor to the ceiling and everyone knew chickens can’t fly. But, I had lots of other things to do, so I had no time to think about that.

The next day, right about the time the sun came up, Grampa came and woke me himself.

He said, “Today is the day, Enoch.”

“Today is the day for what?” I said.

“Today is the day the animals will begin to arrive. We need to be ready.”

“How do you know that, Grampa?”

“The Lord told me, and He is faithful, just you wait and see.”

Grampa was right. Even before breakfast, the animals began to arrive. They came in pairs. Grampa had me counting them to keep track. There were lions, pheasants, elephants, tigers, cows, horses, sheep, oxen, cats, dogs, monkeys, bears, and even snakes and all sorts of animals I had never seen before. They showed up…all by themselves. Pop and my uncles pointed them into one of the many, many pens or stalls that had been built. There was no fighting. It was amazing!

As for me, I couldn’t believe the numbers and types of birds that began to show up. Pop had gotten the netting up only a day or two before, and all of the birds either flew in or walked right into the big room we had prepared for them. I couldn’t believe it. This went on for seven days. Grampa was right. The Lord was being faithful. He was bringing all of the animals to us!

While all of that was going on, Grammie Naamah, my mom, my two aunts, and all of my sisters and cousins were helping get our stuff onto the ark. I had to tell them what I wanted to bring and what could be left behind. This was starting to get a little scary. It was really happening! For a while, it was sort of like…a dream! But, now…it was way too real. How was this ark going to float with all of these animals and us inside? How were we going to take care of all of these animals?

Grampa must have noticed the way I was feeling. He came over and pulled me aside. He squatted down next to me and looked me right in the eyes.

He told me there was nothing to be afraid of. The Lord had promised to take care of us, and He always kept His promises. “God is faithful,” he said, “just you wait and see.” And then, he gave me a real big hug. I felt better.

Then I saw Pop watching us. He smiled, came over, and hugged me too. He told me to trust Grampa and to trust in the Lord. “God is faithful,” he said, “just you wait and see.”

Pop then told me I had been doing a much better job of being dependable. He was going to count on me to take care of all the birds, not just the chickens. He was sure I could do it. He put his hand on my shoulder and smiled at me. I was so happy, I felt like my heart was going to bust out of my chest.

There were a lot of animals on board. So I got really busy taking care of all the birds. I needed to care for them the same way I took care of the chickens at home. It was the same job, only it was a lot bigger than before. I went up to where they were kept to sort of look around, and I couldn’t believe all the different types of birds. I still had no names for them, but boy, were some of them beautiful. They were different shades of every color in all sorts of combinations and, boy, were they noisy! Each one seemed to be talking or singing or chattering in some way. It was noisy, but beautiful.

We had covered the floor with sawdust and wood chips left over from the construction of the ark. That helped a lot with the mess the animals left on the floor. We also had a lot of hay to use both for food and to cover the floor. That way the animals could lie down and sleep at night.

Then, after the seventh day, the animals stopped coming. It was weird after they had been coming for so many days.

Then it got really cloudy outside. These clouds were darker than I had ever seen before, and soon it was almost like nighttime. The wind blew harder and harder, and then…water started falling from the sky. I’d never seen water fall from the sky before. Then it came down harder and harder. It came down so hard we could barely see a stone’s throw away.

Enoch and Noah – Part 2

The people that lived in the city in the valley thought his warnings about God destroying the earth were the ravings of a crazy old man. One day I was in town with Pop getting some supplies and I heard Grampa’s voice from down the street.

I walked down the street to see what was going on. Grampa was standing up in the back of his wagon speaking loudly. “Turn from your wicked ways, my friends, before it is too late!”

The crowd laughed and one man shouted back to him, “Oh yeah, what’s going to happen to us. Is your God going to wag his finger at us?” Then the whole crowd laughed some more.

Grampa kept talking, “The Lord God has told me that if you all do not repent of your sins and change your ways, He is going to destroy you all!”

That same man shouted back at him, “I don’t like your tone, old man. You better stop your preaching or something bad will happen to you.”

Grampa looked straight at him and said, “I can’t stop preaching. God has appointed me to warn you.”

The man stooped down and picked up a rock, “Well, I’m appointing myself to warn you, old man. Knock off your preaching!” And he threw the rock at Grampa hitting him on the arm. Then the others started picking up things to throw at him too.

Grampa grabbed the reins of the animals pulling his wagon and had to drive away as fast as he could. People still ran after him and threw things at him. One of them hit him in the back of his head.

Grampa told me later that part of believing in the Lord was obeying what He asked you to do even when it was hard or crazy or maybe even dangerous.

One time when it was late at night, we were all asleep, and Grammie Naamah came to our house and pounded on our door yelling, “Fire! Fire! The ark is on fire!” We all jumped up out of our beds and ran toward the west meadow. We could see the glow in the sky and the flames as soon as we passed our gate. When we got there, we could see all of the lumber and supplies were on fire and some flames were moving up the side of the ark.

Pop sent me down to the creek that ran through the meadow and told me to stay there, fill buckets with water, and keep filling them until the fire was out.

My cousins grabbed the empty buckets and brought them back to me to re-fill.

I filled them over and over and over again. I began to get so hot and tired I thought I was going to die. I wanted to quit so bad. But I knew I had to keep going. I couldn’t disappoint Pop or Grampa again.

We kept it up for what seemed like hours and hours. I must have filled more than a thousand buckets.

Each time I thought the fire was finally out it would shoot up again somewhere else. I could see my Pop up at the top of the ark, pouring bucket after bucket of water down the side.

I knew I had to keep filling those buckets. Everyone was depending on me to keep them filled.

It was a long time before the fire was out. We all gathered around the ark to see if there was much damage, and fortunately, there wasn’t much. It was mostly the scaffolding and supplies that were destroyed. The side of the ark looked worse than it actually was.

We gathered around and prayed for a while, but I couldn’t help wondering why the Lord would allow this kind of thing to happen if this was really His project.

Now I knew that the people around us not only thought we were crazy, they were frightened enough of us to try to keep us from building the ark. But we just kept on building anyway. “God is faithful,” Grampa said, “just you wait and see.”

Grampa has always been like a special friend to me. We’ve done a lot of stuff together and he also likes to tell me about the Lord.

He and the Lord seem to be pretty good friends. Grampa says that he talks to God a lot. He says that God talks to him too. He said the Lord told him that the whole world was going to be destroyed because it was so bad.

He doesn’t tell me a lot about all of that badness. He says I’m better off not knowing about it. He says we can talk more about it when I get older.

Some of the boys I know have told me some stuff though, and it is pretty disgusting. Yuck! I don’t even like thinking about it!

Then came the day Grampa told us that the Lord had told him we would be loading up the ark soon for our trip in it. Wow! He and Pop and my uncles have been working on this thing for over a hundred years, and it’s really weird to think about it being finished.

When Grampa was talking to everyone about it yesterday, he told me my job would still be taking care of the chickens and “a few more birds.” That’s when he told me about all the different kinds of animals that were going to be coming with us.

I almost laughed because there weren’t any of those animals up here in the high desert. He told me not to worry about that. The other animals would come and it was my job…our job to take care of them. “God is faithful,” he said, “just you wait and see.”

Evidently the animals won’t tell God no, either.

Enoch and Noah – Part 1

 

I wonder exactly what Grampa means when he says his God is always there and always faithful,” I thought as I lay in the hayloft of the barn practicing a new song on my flute.

“Enoch, where are you?” The angry voice startled me.

“Uh oh, what did I do now?” I stuffed my flute into a pocket, climbed down the ladder and ran toward the door of the barn.

“I’m coming, Pop!”

I couldn’t help but think to myself, “Where is Grampa’s God when I’m in trouble?

When I got to the barn door, I saw Pop standing in the goat pen comforting a distressed goat. Then I knew what was wrong. I had forgotten to milk the nanny goats, but they didn’t forget and were making their displeasure known, loudly.

I ran toward the goat pen. “I’m sorry, Pop, I was in the barn and forgot to do the milking.” I gathered the stool, the bucket, and started milking.

“What were you doing in the barn that caused you to forget the goats…again?” he said. “Were you busy doing some work or just day dreaming?”

I kept milking the nanny goat and didn’t answer right away. Finally, I said, “I’m sorry Pop. I was thinking about something and just forgot. It won’t happen again. I promise.”

He leaned down toward me and spoke quietly into my ear, “That’s what you said last time, and the time before that.” He straightened up and spoke a little louder, “When are you going to stop forgetting and be a responsible boy?” Then he walked around to the other side of the goat, hooked a finger under my chin, lifted my face and looked me right in the eyes. “Enoch… son, you are 10 years old, and I need to be able to count on you. Please do the chores I ask you to do.”

His words burned like fire in my heart, but I didn’t want Pop to know. So I looked down again and just kept on milking.

Pop straightened up and said, “I am going over to work on the project with your Grandfather today. Don’t forget any more of your chores. I’ll check on you at lunchtime. I’m counting on you son, don’t let me down.” He turned and walked away toward the west meadow where they were building the “project”.

My hands kept milking the goat, but my eyes followed him as he walked away. I felt my throat tighten up, my eyes began to water, and my eyesight to blur.

I thought to myself, “I hate disappointing him.”

I wanted to run after him and beg his forgiveness. But I knew that the best way to get it was to earn it by doing all of my chores and doing them well. I sniffled and wiped my eyes. I continued to watch Pop walk toward the project while my hands began to milk as fast as they could.

How could I trust a God that isn’t there to help me when I need it?

As soon as I was done with all my chores, I decided to go over to the west meadow and watch Pop, my uncles, and Grampa work on the project. I ran toward a little hill that overlooked the whole meadow, and I lay down in the grass at the top of the hill facing the meadow so I could see it. It was huge.

It had been there for as long as I could remember. It was the biggest thing I had ever seen. It filled up the whole sky to the west and when the sun was setting, there was this huge, black outline I could see even from my bedroom window.

Pop told me God had appeared to Grampa and told him to build it. Grampa calls it an “ark.” He said it was a boat and would float on water. I’d never heard of a boat before.

At that moment, I wasn’t too sure about my Grampa’s thinking.

You see, all of my friends (and everyone else in town) said Grampa was crazy. They said that he was especially crazy to build the boat. There wasn’t any water to float it on here in the desert.

Grampa had spent his whole life here in the high desert, far away from any sort of town. Maybe he was a little out of touch with … things.

All I know for sure is that Pop, Grampa, and my two uncles all spend part of everyday working on it. It’s like our family thing, this boat or ark.

Every day I had to feed chickens and goats and milk the goats. I had to collect all the eggs. Sometimes I would talk to the animals when I was feeling lonely or when I was thinking that this whole ark thing was just plain crazy.

Grampa heard me talking to them one morning when I was not feeling very good about our family “project”. After I was done with my chores he took me for a walk to his favorite tree. We sat down and talked for a long time. He told me about how the Lord had really talked to him and that, at first, even Grammie thought he was crazy too.

The Day Great Grampa Disappeared – Part 3

“Oh no, I didn’t, but it did slow me down by about an hour. After I finished my lunch, I headed over to Ezra’s house.

On my way, there was an old man named Kenan sitting on the side of the road with his face in his hands. One of the wheels had fallen off his cart and most of the load had fallen off too. He was just sitting there sobbing but, I was in a hurry…”

“Then what?” asked Lamech’s son.

“I started to just run on by, but then I thought to myself, ‘What would Grampa Enoch do if he were here?’”

“So what did you do?” asked his son.

“I stopped and spent a couple hours unloading the cart, getting the wheel put pack on and reloading the cart for the old man. I would have gotten it done a lot faster but he kept asking me questions about me and my family. When I told him who my Grampa was, he lit up, smiled at me, and said, ‘Let me tell you something about your Grampa Enoch you may not know. He helped me one time when no one else would. You see there was a man who owned a huge neighboring farm and he wanted my land. At first he offered to buy it but I wouldn’t sell.’”

“The old man went on excitedly, ‘Then one of my fields mysteriously caught fire. My hands and I worked for a whole day putting that fire out. My neighbor showed up that night and offered to buy my farm again. That took a lot of gall and, to top it off, he offered me less money than before.’

The old man continued his story. ‘I went to the village elders but they were afraid to deal with the problem. My neighbor was a very rich and powerful man and he had warned the elders to stay out of his business. I knew there was only one man in our area that would stand by me and who was strong enough to stand up to my wicked neighbor – that man was your Grampa Enoch. I went to talk to him about it the next day. After hearing my story, the first thing he said was ‘Let’s pray.’ As the Lord lives, that man could pray! He talked to God like they were best friends. I don’t remember all he said, but I do remember he asked the Lord for wisdom to help me. Then he thanked God for answering the prayer, like he expected the Lord to answer him right away! He had such reverence and confidence when he prayed. I have not forgotten it all these years.’”

“Then what?” asked Lamech’s son.

“I’m getting there! Hang on to your tunic! Old man Kenan then told me what your great Grampa Enoch did next.

‘He gathered up some of his farm hands and, along with my farm hands, set a watch over my land for several nights. They would work the farms during the day and then watch over them by night. This went on for almost a week. One night they saw some men sneaking onto my land and watched as they tried to steal my sheep.

Your Grampa and his friends caught the thieves red handed’, old man Kenan said. ‘They tied the trouble makers up and put them in this very ox cart for safe keeping while they settled the sheep back down for the night.’

Old man Kenan continued his story, ‘Your Grampa Enoch got the thieves to confess what they had done and who had hired them to steal my sheep. We then took the thieves to the elders of the neighboring village. My evil neighbor was already there, boasting about how he was going to buy some additional land soon. When we showed up, his face went pale. Your Grampa Enoch was well known to the elders of the other village, so they were eager to listen to him. When your Grampa laid out the case against the evil man he became so enraged that they had to physically restrain him. The elders heard all the witnesses, found my neighbor guilty, put him in prison and seized all of his property.

Your Grampa Enoch was a steadfast friend if ever there was one. Whenever I started to get nervous about the situation he would say to me ‘The Lord is faithful, just you wait and see!’

The Day Great Grampa Disappeared – Part 2

‘Ha, ha, ha, do you know where my great Grampa is?’

“Still chuckling he said, ‘There is a family nearby who are suffering because they were too sick to harvest on time. They have also been hit hard by some sort of blight. In addition to the grain and seed, your Grampa Enoch is taking over a few farm hands to help harvest what they can and to teach the neighbor how to avoid the blight next year.’”

“I thought that was unusual, but the foreman said, ‘Let me tell you something about your Grampa Enoch you may not know. He does that sort of thing all the time. He is always very generous with his neighbors. He says that is why the Lord has given him so much. He believes God wants him to care for others and, well, he always wants to obey the Lord.’”

“Well that made me stop and think for just a moment. But, it still frustrated me because I really wanted to find him.”

“So, I asked Samuel where he was now. He told me your great grampa Enoch had gone into town to arrange the details of helping another family that had been completely wiped out by a fire. He was going to meet with the village elders to put together a group of people to rebuild the house and barn for them. He was going to pay for the wood and other materials, but he wanted others to pitch in with labor and other things.”

“Wow, Pop! Was he always that generous?”

Lamech touched his son’s head. “Samuel said he was. I was beginning to learn that it was just the way he was. I never really noticed before, but later on I remembered some things he said, like the Lord had blessed him so that he could bless others. He also said that is what the Lord would have him to do. And he always wanted to obey.”

Lamech’s son thought about it for a minute and then looked at his father and said, “So what did you do next?”

Lamech smiled. “What could I do? I had questions I needed to ask your Great Grampa. So I headed back to the village to see if I could catch up with him there.

But, by the time I got there, he had already done his business and left. I managed to speak to the elder who was a friend of my family and he said to me, ‘Let me tell you something about your Grampa Enoch you may not know. Today, he helped us deal with a very difficult situation. Two members of our village were very angry with each other. There was name calling and a lot of accusations of cheating and lying flying back and forth. It was very tense. He took each one aside separately and then talked with both of them together. By the time he was done with them, they had settled their differences and were both smiling and laughing. They even walked away together. Then your Grampa Enoch said farewell, too, and went on his way. It was amazing!’

I asked him where Grampa had gone. He told me he was going to go have lunch with his friend, Ezra, on the other side of the village. I was just about to head over to Ezra’s house when my sister, Naomi, told me Mother wanted me home to take care of some more chores and eat lunch. My hunt for your Great Grampa would have to wait.”

Lamech’s son jumped up and said, “Didn’t you tell her you had some real important questions for Great Grampa Enoch, and you needed to go see him first?”

Lamech chuckled. “I tried to, but she told me mother was not going to take no for an answer and you know your Grandmother Lois. She can be very persuasive when she wants to be, especially with her children. I didn’t dare disobey her, so I went home.”

It was his son’s turn to laugh. “You’re right; I remember a time when I tried to do something different than the way Grandmother Lois wanted it. She wouldn’t let me get away with it. She kept after me until I did it her way.”

“That’s your Grandmother! So you see, I went home for lunch.”

“You didn’t give up then, did you?” his son asked impatiently.

“Oh no, I didn’t, but it did slow me down by about an hour. After I finished my lunch, I headed over to Ezra’s house.

The Story of Esther – Part 6 – Conclusion

King:                           Queen Esther we have eaten your excellent food for two days now, what is it that you request from me? I will give you anything that you request up to half of my kingdom!

Esther:                        (With her heart beating so loudly in her chest that she was afraid that the king might hear it.) If I have found favor with you, my king, and, if it pleases your majesty, please grant me my life. This is my request. Also, that you spare my people, this also is my request. For I and my people have been condemned to horrible punishment and…and…I can‘t even say it! If we had just been sold like fruits and vegetables in the market, I would have kept quiet and not disturbed the king. But, that is not the case . . .

King:                           Who is he, where is he that would do such a thing???

Esther:                        (Standing and pointing at Haman) Here he is, your majesty, the foul villain Haman!!

Esther accusing Haman

Mr. Mathisen:             Now Haman nearly choked on a bit of bread that he was eating and began to sputter food all over himself and the table. He was suddenly more frightened than he had ever been in his whole life. He did not know what to do. He did not know, nor would he have ever guessed that this lovely young queen was a Jew! How could he have known?

The king got up and walked quickly to a nearby garden to think. While he was gone, Haman went up to the queen and began groveling at her feet, pleading for his life. Just as he was doing that the king came back in and found him on the floor clutching at the queen’s feet whimpering for his life. The king thought that Haman was attacking the queen. The king called his servants and ordered Haman to be taken away. Another of the kings servants told the king that Haman had built a huge device in front of his home to punish Mordecai the Jew. The king then ordered that Haman be punished on the very device that he had prepared for Mordecai.

Haman being led to the gallows

Esther explained the whole story to the king. The king then sent for Mordecai and gave him his royal signet ring and appointed him to Haman’s old job. Esther and Mordecai then explained to the king about the proclamation and asked that the king issue a new proclamation saying that the Jews in the country could defend themselves from others that tried to harm them. He did so and on the day appointed the Jews all over the country assembled together to defend themselves. That day is remembered by Jews today as the feast of Purim.

So, always remember to be strong and very courageous and never be afraid to do the right thing.

Stanley:                       Boy! That was some story. Queen Esther sure was brave, even if she was a girl.

Mr. Mathisen:             Stanley, girls can be just as brave as boys. Remember it God who makes us really brave. We can’t be very brave at all without Him. Well, boys and girls, what do you think???

The Story of Esther – Part 6

That night the king could not sleep, so he had one of his servants read to  him the history of his kingdom. When the servant got to the part where Mordecai spoiled the plan of the bad men to kill the king, there was no record of Mordecai being rewarded. So the king decided to figure out how to honor the man who saved his life. By this time, it was early in the morning and Haman came to see the king early to ask for permission to punish Mordecai. The king decided to ask Haman what should be done to honor someone that the king wanted to reward.

King:            Haman, my faithful friend, there is a man in my kingdom that I want to honor. What should I do to honor him?

(Now Haman was so proud that he thought that the king was talking about him, so he said…)

Haman:       Your Majesty, you should dress this man in your own royal robes, let him ride on your own royal horse, let him wear your crown and have one of your most noble princes walk before the man as he rode through the whole city and shout out for all to hear “This is what is done for a man that the king delights to honor!”.

King:           Excellent Haman!! Excellent!! Now go and do all of this for Mordecai the Jew who works at the King’s Gate. Do not forget to do anything that you have suggested.

Mr. Mathisen:   Now Haman was so surprised he could not even speak. He went and did as the king commanded, he put the king’s robe and crown on Mordecai, set him on the king’s horse and led him through the streets of the city shouting “This is what is done for a man that the king delights to honor!”. Haman nearly choked on the words at times, but, did as the king instructed.

He went home with his head covered in shame. He was telling his wife all about what happened when the king’s servants came to get him to take him to the banquet with the king and queen. He was not feeling good about his day. In fact, so far, it had been the worst day of his life. But he cheered up at the thought of the meal with the king and queen. They were honoring him be requesting his presence.

When he arrived at the palace, he was taken directly to the queen’s dining rooms where the feast was to be served. He noticed all of the rich tapestries that decorated the walls, the fine furniture. The table was set with the fanciest dishes and the food. The food! It was the finest and richest in all the land. He was about to enjoy the company of the king, his beautiful young queen and the best food he had ever eaten.

The king was in a happy mood and looked lovingly at his new queen much of the time. Haman told amusing stories about his services to the king. The queen ate slowly and did not raise her head during the meal. When the king and Haman were finished with the meal, the king leaned forward and asked the Queen:

King:           Queen Esther we have eaten your excellent food for two days now, what is it that you request from me? I will give you anything that you request up to half of my kingdom!