Genesis 37:12-36

If you skipped the story link (above) go back and read it! This is one of the most beloved and oft told stories of the entire Old Testament. It’s not a list of names but a real and true story about real and true people!

Joseph’s place as the favorite son and his willingness to share his less than flattering dreams with his family members, and his propensity to rat out his brothers, is about to punch him in the nose. His older, bigger, stronger, meaner brothers are about to exact their revenge for those attitudes. As he runs a fact finding mission for his father the brothers take the opportunity to deal with him permanently. I suspect is was the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah who suggested they kill him outright. Reuben and Judah seem to have cooler heads (and more authority as older sons) to put forth another path. As you read the story, it would seem the plan evolved as the situation unfolded. The first suggestion was murder, followed by simply putting him an abandoned well, which then led to an opportunistic sale to some traveling Ishmaelite traders. The brothers complete the deception by dipping Joseph’s coat in goat’s blood thus giving them something to tell Jacob. Now, Joseph is a slave and the brothers believe they have ended that problem forever. What they were actually doing was playing right into God’s plan to save Jacob’s family from certain death by starvation. Even Joseph himself is able to see that truth by the end of the story. (Gen 50:20)

Joseph was forcibly sold into slavery and we can be fairly certain he would not have chosen that for himself. Things happen to us all the time that we wouldn’t have chosen if given the chance. Maybe someone rear ends you on the way home from work. Your life isn’t ruined, but you sure do have to face some hassles. Perhaps your boss speaks poorly of you to his boss and your reputation is sullied. These are circumstances outside of your control and yet you have to deal with the fallout. Joseph now has to deal with his life as a slave. He didn’t ask for that, nor did he choose. But he does get to deal with it. What we learn from his story is that even when we find ourselves in a mess that is not of our own making, God can and will use it to further His kingdom. It requires that we trust Him implicitly. While the immediate situation seems bleak remembering that He can always turn lemon into lemonade is crucial. That doesn’t mean you will miraculously enjoy a difficult situation. But it may mean that your attitude about it can be one of trust rather fear or anger. That’s why we read these stories over and over. They remind us of God’s power and His love.