September 07, 2014

Jacob's Impassioned Grief

Genesis 37:31-36

Jacob … mourned for his son many days. All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted.
—Genesis 37:34-35


The air was heavy with grief. Jacob’s sons had to listen to their father’s soulful lament day after day as his weeping cast a shroud of gloom over everything. After a while, Jacob’s children tried to find a way to move him past his sadness. But nothing worked. Jacob “refused to be comforted.” He took solace only in the grim prospect that one day he would be reunited with Joseph in death.

The sons’ attempts to comfort their father failed because they were the ones who had gotten rid of Joseph and had faked the appearance of his death. This scene is heavy with irony and hypocrisy. Not one of the brothers came forward with the truth. Jacob’s cries were like a call to come clean, but no one budged. The fact that they refused to spill their secret only emphasizes how deceptive their hearts were. Even the pain of an inconsolable father didn’t break through their hardened resolve. Can evil be so entrenched? Amazingly, yes.

Is there any deception and wrongdoing that you need to confess? Come to the Father, who stands ready to forgive through the saving work of his Son. He came so that we can fully live, with consciences clean and clear!

Father in heaven, we sometimes have a cavalier attitude toward our own sins. May this picture of callous consciences alarm our hearts. Help us to face up to our faults. In Christ’s 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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