Struggles That Lead to Blessing
Scripture Reading: Genesis 37:12-28
12 Now his brothers had gone to graze their father’s flocks near Shechem, 13 and Israel said to Joseph, “As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them.”
“Very well,” he replied.
14 So he said to him, “Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me.” Then he sent him off from the Valley of Hebron.
When Joseph arrived at Shechem, 15 a man found him wandering around in the fields and asked him, “What are you looking for?”
16 He replied, “I’m looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are grazing their flocks?”
17 “They have moved on from here,” the man answered. “I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’”
So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. 18 But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.
19 “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. 20 “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.”
21 When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. 22 “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.
23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the ornate robe he was wearing— 24 and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.
25 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.
26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.
28 So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels[a] of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.
“Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns. . . .”
Joseph’s brothers hated him because their father “loved Joseph more than any of his other sons.” Joseph had also had dreams in which his brothers bowed down to him, and he had told them about those dreams (see Genesis 37:1-11).
The brothers hated Joseph so much that they wanted to kill him. One day the opportunity came, as Joseph went out to the fields where his brothers were grazing their flocks. The brothers seized Joseph and threw him into a pit.
Instead of killing him, Joseph’s brothers sold him as a slave to some traveling merchants, who took him to Egypt. Imagine Joseph as a slave being dragged around at the market. Imagine the hardship he endured as a slave in Egypt. What kinds of pain would have filled his heart?
Looking at the rest of Joseph’s life, we can see that “the Lord was with him” and “gave him success in everything he did” (Genesis 39:3, 23; chap. 40-50). Through that path of hardship Joseph eventually became second in command over Egypt. God used Joseph to save people from a terrible famine, including his whole family and people from all the surrounding nations.
Jesus came to suffer and die for our sake, and through that path of many hardships he rose in victory over death and ascended to heaven, where he now rules over all the earth. His path through suffering has led to blessings for us all!
Lord, when we face sufferings, help us to focus on the blessings we have in Jesus, and to persevere. In His name we pray. Amen.
GOD gives the Victory