September 05, 2014

How Hatred Explodes

Genesis 37:17-25

They saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.
—Genesis 37:18


A dormant volcano can look peaceful and calm on the outside, like Mount Baker in the state of Washington. Yet deep within its core, hot lava continues to build up pressure. It may take centuries, but this volcano probably will again “blow its top.” Hot lava is rarely contained forever.

Hatred can simmer a long time too. It boils deep down in the soul. Sometimes it leaks out a little, but people who long for complete revenge and satisfaction for their hate will bide their time as it stews within. They wait patiently for just the right time to make their move.

As a result, the victims of hatred are often taken by surprise when it erupts. Joseph too was blindsided. He never saw it coming; nor did father Jacob.

But as Joseph journeyed toward his brothers at Dothan, they noticed him in the distance and saw their chance. Far away from home and from Jacob’s protection, this would be the perfect time and place to get rid of “that dreamer” once and for all. So they made their move.

Then, after throwing Joseph into the cistern, the brothers sat down to a meal as if nothing unusual had happened. With hatred, people believe that their acts of revenge are justified. Sometimes we nurse our grudges and bitterness in self-righteousness. Yet God comes searching for us. He will not let us wallow in self-pity forever.

O God, if any hatreds are boiling in my soul, alert me to their danger. Give me the power to stop them before my looks, words, or actions become hurtful. In Jesus, 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.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!