Spoken Prayer – Out loud, pray for God to speak to you through your reading. Praise God for giving us His word. Ask the Spirit to help you read with faith, and to live out what you hear from God through the passage.
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Joseph Sold By His Brothers
by Katie Borden
You know the text in Ecclesiastes that states, “there is nothing new under the sun” (1:9)? Today’s passage in Genesis brings this phrase to mind. Envy, malicious intent, and all other manner of sin have been around since almost the very beginning.
In today’s passage, we see Joseph, the favored son of his father Jacob, deeply wronged and betrayed by his very own kin. Not only Joseph, but his father Jacob and everyone else in the story face the consequences of sin.
Even when I search for a character in the story who is sinless, I am disappointed. I want to find Reuben’s proposition to be a “noble act”, but when I hold it in front of the purity of God’s sinless nature and his law, I see it for what it is: a cop-out. A “less harmful” or “less bad” solution is not the same as a good one.
And what are we left with at the end of verse 36? A young brother sold into slavery and carted off to a faraway land; brothers with the stain of sin on their hands; and an inconsolable father, grieving his favored son. It seems as if there is no way to make things right again. It seems as though Jacob will never see his Joseph again and that he will die in his grief. I have to imagine that the weight of the brothers' sin would hang heavy on their minds and hearts (the latter chapters of Genesis seem to indicate that this is the case).
Without God’s intervention, this would be cause for despair. But isn’t it like our God to make a way where there seems to be no way? This account appears to contain a situation that can only end in sorrowful consequences for the sins of many involved, but at the conclusion of Genesis we learn that God uses this to bring about the saving of many people (spoiler alert!). And who is capable of righting these deep wrongs? No human being; only God. Thanks be to God that he brings light from darkness, healing in brokenness, and life from death.
God, we thank you that, while we are incapable of bringing about good in our sinful state, you are constantly making all things new, and you are making a way where there is no way. Work in us your resurrection power, that our sin would be put to death, and that we would be brought to life in you.