Joseph was one of twelve sons of Jacob, and he was Jacob’s favorite. Jacob gave Joseph a beautiful robe, which served as a constant reminder to Joseph’s older brothers of their father’s favoritism. In addition, Joseph had dreams that predicted a future in which he would rule over his brothers and his father and mother as well. All of this increased the animosity Joseph’s brothers felt toward him. One day when the older brothers were out in the field together, they saw Joseph approaching and decided to kill him. One of the brothers intervened, so rather than kill him, they stripped him of his robe and put him in an empty cistern. Soon afterwards a caravan of traders headed for Egypt came by; the brothers decided to sell Joseph to them. They then soaked Joseph’s robe in animal blood and devised a story for their father. They led Jacob to believe that wild animals had killed Joseph. The betrayal was beyond comprehension. Seventeen-year-old Joseph was carted off to Egypt to face 13 years of labor, servitude, imprisonment and abuse. The distance between Joseph’s dream and its fulfillment was long and painful. Sometimes discovering, understanding and living in the will of God is a roller coaster ride. You have to buckle up and hold on. God will bring fulfillment if you continue run with God and work towards his will.
Gen 37:3-4, 5-8, 10, 18-19, 23-24, 50:20; Ps 40:2; Ro 8:28
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” (Ge 50:20)
Joseph’s brothers felt betrayed by their father and subsequently took that out on Joseph. They allowed their resentment and anger to build until they starting plotting and planning for a way to rid themselves of Joseph. The devastation of betrayal runs deep. It truly is a cistern, a pit that is filled with bitterness, anger, resentment, loneliness and mistrust. When we find ourselves there, we can easily get trapped; we can get stuck in our pity, when, in fact, we must fight! When we have been stripped of our dignity, self-esteem, respect, wealth, loved-ones, whatever… it is rough to keep going. But working through the pain and grieving process is the only way to fight! Otherwise, we become another resentful person looking for revenge and doing things we never imagined we were capable of. Joseph was hurt and wounded. We see the residual pain 13 years later when he again comes face-to-face with his brothers. But Joseph used what God allowed in order to become the person God intended. That pit had a purpose. God was preparing Joseph for what he had prepared him for…to save the lives of many people.
Why would Jacob have a favorite son when he had experienced first-hand the damage that favoritism can cause? Why would God give Joseph a dream and then allow him to suffer so much injustice? Why do we think that if God places us on a path to something, it will be easy? How often do people give up because things get rough and they assume they’ve missed God’s will? What is the greatest betrayal you have ever experienced? Have you ever betrayed someone? Is it possible to betray someone unintentionally? Have you witnessed a betrayed person who remains stuck in the pit? How do you help someone who is stuck? Have you ever been stuck? How did you get out? How do you deal with resentment? Discuss this statement: God was preparing you for what he had prepared for you. How does this apply to your life?
If there is someone you have betrayed and you have not apologized, go and do it! If there is someone you harbor resentment toward, ask God to help you forgive. Consult a Christian friend. Follow God’s guidance.
Dear Heavenly Father, allow me to continue towards the goals and dreams you have given me. Give me peace and the assurance of your love, even when all others betray me. Give me confidence that even the pits have a purpose. Prepare me to fulfill your purpose for me. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.