Destiny Motifs

Destiny motifs

Destiny Motifs

Dogood wrote an expository essay on destiny motifs.  He had a difficult time starting the essay as reminders of all the essays he had written over the years, most of them fictional and still in his imagination, distracted him. He saw the light when he recalled a definition he gave at a teachers’ workshop.  “An expository essay is a type of writing in which the writer exposes a topic or exposes themselves to the topic.”

Do you believe in destiny, a predetermined cause of events? If so then there must be little markers or patterns or motifs that direct you along your path of life. For instance, the motif of wood in the life of Jesus– He was born in a manger to a carpenter and died on the cross. I will use two stories from the Bible to illustrate destiny motifs: Moses the waterman and the dressing and undressing of Joseph.

Destiny motifs

Baby Moses’s first playground was the River Nile. He had a floating cot made of papyrus. The melodies of the cascading waters of the Nile and the whistles of the reeds were his lullabies. Once he was rescued, he grew up in the palace. He was called Moses, meaning drawn from the water. There must have been enough water to play with in the palace in the form of fountains.

Unfortunately, he had to leave the beauty of the waters for the desert because of a rash decision. Ever wondered why on that day he intervened? It was not the first time for the Egyptians to whip the Israelites, and neither was it for Moses to take a walk. My guess, water was involved. Perhaps the slave had asked for water. And the mention of water or sight of it stirred a visceral reaction in Moses. He murdered the Egyptian and had to run.

He went to Midian and sat by a well. While on the run, some people like Elijah rest under a tree, others like David hide in a cave. But not Moses.  At the well, Moses helped Zipporah draw water and water her flocks,  and he got himself a wife. In the desert as he looked after his father in-law’s flock, he had to look for water both for him and his flock. One day in the desert, Moses saw a burning bush. It caught his attention because it was not water and he moved closer to investigate. Had it been water, perhaps he would have taken a rest like he did at the well. Perhaps he would have gone to swim and invite his flock to drink from a new watering hole.

When Moses went back to Egypt, the first two plagues were about water. First, the waters of Nile turned blood, then the Nile was infested with frogs. Later as he led the Israelites away from Egypt, he was called to part the Red Sea and to call the waters back. In the Desert of Shur, when the Israelites complained that the waters of Marah were bitter, God showed Moses a piece of wood that he threw into the water, and the water turned sweet. Again, when the Israelites complained and quarreled with Moses about lack of water at Rephidim, God told Moses to carry the same staff he struck the Nile with and strike a rock at Horeb.

Moses did not cross the waters of Jordan into the Promised Land because he disobeyed God at the waters of Meribah Kadesh. God told Moses to command the rock to yield water, but Moses struck it.  As Moses, the waterman, led the Israelites from Egypt, he carried the bones of Joseph. Joseph had opened the door for the Israelites in Egypt many years back.

Dressing and undressing of Joseph

Joseph means may Jehovah increase, add. When one has such a name you can be certain they have many motifs. God used Joseph to increase Israel’s territory by occupying Egypt. We can argue that Joseph had two main motifs: dreams and clothing. You can read more on the dreams, the convergence of the three dreams in prison in Bill Crowder’s Joseph: Overcoming Life’s Challenges.

Joseph was Jacob’s 11th child and Rachel’s firstborn. Had that been an African family, Joseph would have had enough hand-me-downs to last him a lifetime. You bet, having waited that long, Rachel was not going to allow Joseph to wear used clothes. If anything, it was her time to put all the theory of dressing a baby into practice now that she had a son of her own.

His dad did not help matters by buying Joseph a richly ornamented robe and dressing him in it. Any time I see a multi-coloured African shirt or cloak, I am reminded of David. David, having met a colleague who has a long Bantu middle name that can easily pass for a sentence in other languages, resorted to calling him Joseph. His friend protested, “That is not my name.” David said, “You are wearing a multi-coloured shirt like Joseph.”

The richly coloured African prints when well sewn do compliment. But one wrong stitch and they end up looking like pajama shirts or like one has been stuffed into a carton. You can try this at home,” the next time you see a lady in a multi-coloured tunic, call her Josephine. Tell her, Josephine is the female version of Joseph, and Jehovah will increase her.”.

Joseph wore his richly ornamented robe to look for his brothers at Shechem. I always wonder why he wore his robe on this occasion. Would you wear your best robe for such an errand? May be Joseph set out to remind his brothers he was the prefect (boss) and they were the shepherds (servants). His brothers had moved to Dothan. There they undressed him. That robe must have been a motif of their jealousy; now it was a piece of evidence.

When Joseph’s brothers told their father about his death and showed him the bloodied ornamented robe, Jacob tore his clothes and put on sackcloth.

Joseph became a slave and was sold to Potiphar. As a servant in Potiphar’s house Joseph must have worn decent servant clothes seeing that he was the head of the servants.

Potiphar’s wife was planning how Joseph and she would get undressed together. She must have undressed as a way to entice Joseph to undress or allow her to undress him. When he refused, she grabbed his cloak which she used as evidence against him.

In prison, he wore the standard prison wear for that period. One bright morning he was called by Pharaoh to interpret a dream. He shaved and changed his clothes. After, Pharaoh dressed him—he put his signet ring on Joseph’s finger, dressed him in robes of fine linen, and put a gold chain around his neck. From then on, Joseph was expected to dress or be dressed like royalty.

Pharaoh gave Joseph a wife, Asenath. The only woman allowed to tear Joseph’s clothes, undress him and perhaps dress him.

What is your destiny motif?

Martin Mburu

Judge Dogood © is a fictional character created by Martin Mburu

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