Reading: Genesis 37: 12-28
Verses 23 and 24: They stripped him of his robe… they threw him into the cistern.
Joseph does not have the best of days. He heads out to check on his brothers and the flocks and ends up being sold into slavery. His brothers’ hatred of him most directly leads to this event. But the hatred did not begin today. It is something that has been building. The favored son comes alone, wearing that coat that Dad gave him, and evil thoughts are at hand. Our text reads, “They stripped him of his robe… they threw him into the cistern”.
We have a tendency to want to blame someone when bad things happen to us. Sometimes we identity a person or group of people and we cast blame on them. Sometimes it is an occurrence of nature that causes our hardship. Sometimes when all else fails, we blame God. Seldom do we look inward right away to find the source of our troubles or hardship. Joseph probably first blamed his brothers and then maybe Israel for sending him out alone. At some points He probably questioned or blamed God. From what we know of Joseph, it is unlikely that he became introspective.
In reality, many had a hand in what happens to Joseph in our passage today. Israel has favored and spoiled Joseph. This day he sends him off alone to a group of brothers who are jealous and dislike Joseph. Joseph himself has helped build the animosity by sharing his dreams and by tattling on his brothers. Satan has also been at work, fanning the flames of anger and planting thoughts of murder.
Although God is not mentioned in the text for today, God is also surely at work. He softens Reuben’s heart and then Judah’s. The caravan doesn’t just happen to come along. Yes, in our lives nature, the bad decisions of others, and our own poor choices can cause us hardship and trial. But in it all, God is still present. God still has the bigger picture in sight. His plans for us are ultimately for good and to prosper us. As Joseph’s story unfolds, trials continue to come yet God remains at work always. The same is true for us. As the story of our lives unfold, may we trust into the God who loves us and seeks good for us.