September 03, 2014

Escalating Hatred

Genesis 37:1-11

They hated him … They hated him all the more … And they hated him all the more …
—Genesis 37:4, 5, 8


Redemption comes hard when people who do evil believe they have done nothing wrong.

The greatest evils are often committed in the name of a cause or ideal. Today, suicide bombers give up their lives to attack “the Great Satan.” During World War II, millions of Jews died in the name of Aryan supremacy. In the Middle Ages, inquisitions hunted down heretics who seemed to threaten the “purity” of the Roman church, and many people were tortured and killed. In Bible times, rebellious kings and priests tried to gain power and keep control by killing God’s prophets—including Jesus.

Though we don’t know what Joseph tattled about his brothers, it soon becomes clear that they don’t like him. Seeing their father’s favoritism for Joseph, they begin to hate him. They hate him even more when he describes a dream in which his brothers bow down to him. Even his father rebukes Joseph when he describes another dream in which it seems that his parents and his brothers will bow down to him.

Though Joseph may be mostly innocent in all this, it’s not long before his brothers are seething with hatred for him. And hatred, once enraged, is blind to all considerations but its own.

But God will not let their hatred stand forever, nor ours. He rescues us from our self-destruction!

Lord, search our hearts for any lethal infections. Turn us away from destructive attitudes and actions. Thank you for your forgiveness. In your name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Kenneth D. Koeman

Rev. Ken Koeman is a pastor at Bellevue, Washington, Christian Reformed Church. He has written Today devotions in past years and has also authored numerous articles for The Banner, the magazine of the Christian Reformed Church. Ken and his wife, Kay, live in Bellevue and have two children and five grandchildren.

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