Monday, November 16, 2009

Squanto, an American Joseph: A Thankgiving Story

“God sent me before you to preserve life.”
“You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good.”

-Genesis 45:5; 50:20

In 1605 Squanto was an American Indian living with his people in what is now called New England, USA. He and several of his friends were captured by an English fishing expedition and taken to England.

Squanto lived with the English Captain, learned English, learned to eat English food, and learned English customs. Nine years later he came back to America on another fishing expedition and was finally allowed to return to his village.

Just a few months later, however, another group of Englishmen arrived and Squanto was taken prisoner again. This time he was taken, with other American Indians, to the slave trading port of Malaga, Spain. There 27 American Indians were paraded on an auction block and sold, many to Arab slave traders. When it came Squanto’s turn a monk walked by, took pity on him, and bought him. He was taken to a monastery and there learned about Jesus.

Eventually the monks gave Squanto his freedom. Homesick, he made his way back to England and finally to his home in America. But when he arrived home, he discovered that his entire tribe had been killed by a mysterious disease, probably brought by the white man. Imagine being kidnapped, taken to a foreign land, sold into slavery, then losing your family, even your entire tribe, to disease.

Squanto went to live with a neighboring tribe. In 1621 he learned of a group of Englishmen attempting to settle in the area that had belonged to his people.

What a chance for revenge! Before him was a magnificent opportunity to even the score.

Rather than revenge, Squanto went to their aid.

The Pilgrims knew little to nothing of surviving in the wilderness. In four months they had managed to catch only one codfish.

God had perfectly prepared Squanto for such a time as this. He knew their language and their customs. He knew how to survive in a hostile land. Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to fish, stalk deer, plant pumpkins, skin beavers and deer, and what wild food was edible. He taught them how to plant corn with a fish underneath for fertilize.

William Bradford, governor of Plymouth Colony, called Squanto “a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation.”

The Pilgrims had a Thanksgiving celebration at harvest to thank God for His goodness. Ninety Indians came with five dressed deer (venison) on poles, 12 dressed turkeys, berry pies, fish, fowl and vegetables. For three days they feasted and celebrated. They had foot races, wrestling, and archery contests. This event became a tradition each year. It is the origin of our modern day Thanksgiving holiday.

In 1622 Squanto became ill with Indian fever and died within a few days. He desired “the Governor to pray for him, that he might go to the Englishmen’s God in Heaven.”

In his brief years, Squanto lived the life of an American Joseph. What an example of taking the evil of men, and turning it into good.

Baptist Press article 11-23-2005 by Erin Curry, and The Spirit of America by Kenyn M. Cureton.
Children’s book, Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving by Eric Metaxas.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, November 16, AD 2009.

1 comment:

  1. David, this was so neat to read. It makes me sad in one way. But the other side of a struggle and sacrifice such as this has its own reward. I think of all the struggles our ancestors endured in order to give us what we have today. I think of the soldiers who go abroad to protect and defend us. I think of how God gave us His written words to encourage us with the bravery, courage and boldness--of those saints throughout the ages. We could not be encouraged in our difficulties watching the fat and happy be fat and happy. We owe much to others who walk in the faith of God and keep the faith of God, despite the conditions of their lives. I feel so small at times. selahV


What do you think?