From Dream to Nightmare
Lord of light and truth, shine into my darkness today. Dispel all deceit and falsehood so I may reflect Your pure light.
Read GENESIS 37:12-36
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“But Joseph said to them…You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Gen. 50:20).
The brothers didn’t forget Joseph’s dreams. When the opportunity arises, they conspire together to murder “the dreamer.” Well away from their father’s oversight, they saw the unexpected arrival of Joseph as an opportunity to rid themselves of their number one enemy. While they collectively decided to kill Joseph, the unexpected interventions of two brothers resulted in his life being spared. Note carefully what motivated Reuben and Judah.
Reuben is anxious to regain his father’s approval. As Jacob’s firstborn son, Reuben should have been heir to the divinely promised royal line. His unseemly relationship with Bilhah, his father’s servant-wife (Gen. 35:22), however, had jeopardized his status as firstborn son. Joseph became the beneficiary and appears to have been designated his father’s heir. Reuben may have hoped that his rescue of Joseph might lead to his own reinstatement as heir. His rescue of Joseph might help him to regain his lost status. Judah’s intervention was also motivated by selfishness. He saw, however, an easy opportunity to enrich himself and his brothers. Masking his real motive with a highly ironic reference to Joseph as “our brother, our own flesh” (27), he persuaded his brothers to sell Joseph to traders en route to Egypt. Judah’s eye for a “quick buck” is a solemn reminder of how easily the desire for wealth can starve us of compassion for others. The callousness of the brothers comes to a climax as they deceive their father. While Jacob had years earlier used a goat’s skin to hoodwink his own father, now his sons use goat’s blood to trick him. Reflect on the hardness of the brothers’ hearts as they watch their father grieve so bitterly for Joseph. What would you have done in their place?
Prayerfully consider this: How are any of my desires, motives and actions different from those of Joseph’s brothers? Confess any sinful ones.
Lord, I am amazed at Your timely interventions in my life and how that which seems bad can become good. I praise You.
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