November 22, 2009

In the Pit of Death

Genesis 37:1-24

They hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.
Genesis 37:4


Jacob loved Joseph and dressed him well. Colorful dreams predicted a glorious future.

Who could stand in his way to the good life? Brothers! He described his dreams to his parents and brothers. Who could think ill of him? Brothers!

Their jealousy fueled their hatred. Hatred and jealousy are no strangers even to people who belong to the family of God.

When Joseph came for a visit, his brothers threw him into an empty waterhole. They wanted to kill him, but instead they sold him into slavery. Then they pretended he was killed by some wild animal. (See 37:25-33.)

Few of us would kill, but many of us hold grudges and hold on to hatreds. Maybe you’ve caught yourself wishing ill will toward someone who hurt or offended you. Jesus taught that hatred and murder are twins: hate your brother, and you’ve committed murder. Though Joseph’s brothers did not kill him outright, they sent him off to a fate that could easily end his life.

The brothers’ hatred not only changed Joseph’s future but also blinded them to God’s purposes so that it destroyed their own family ties. How could this family be an instrument of God’s truth and grace?

Remember this: though his people often did ungodly things, God overcame evil with good (Romans 12:21).

I admit, Lord, that you sent Jesus Christ to die and to cleanse me of my jealousies and hatreds. Help me to turn from evil and do good. Forgive me in Christ. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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