Read Genesis 37:18-36
ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you?” (Genesis 50:19 NLT)
When we think of God’s people, we tend to think one of two things. We might think of the Israelites who were God’s “chosen people”, or we might think of specific characters in the Bible. Either way, we tend to idealize the people we are thinking about. For instance, we may think that God’s people are super faithful, holy, perform miracles and live wholly devout and righteous lives. Unfortunately, this idealism enables us to distance ourselves from being God’s people, because we feel that we fall short of those ideals. As such, I have decided to write a devotion series on specific characters in the Bible in order to show you how much these Biblical people are truly like us, and how much we are truly called to be God’s people.
Part 16: Gang of 11. We all know how siblings can be. My sister and I were super close; however, that also tended to make us super enemies at certain points. There are a couple of great examples that proves what I am talking about. When things were good between my sister and I, they were really good. When they were bad, things got really ugly.
For instance, the summer leading into my freshman year in high school, my sister and I used to ride our bicycles all over the place. I was trying really hard to lift weights and beef up to get on the high school football team. I just loved football. I used to ride my bike to the gym which was only a little over a mile away.’
One day, while riding my bike to the gym with my sister, I got hit by a pickup truck while crossing the road. I had thought I looked both ways before crossing, but clearly I did not look good enough. My sister witnessed the whole thing happen and she was the one who picked me up off the road and helped me to get to the shoulder. She sat me back down and then rode her bike to the nearest phone booth (remember those?) to dial 911 for help. My sister literally saved my life.
On the other hand, my sister (who is younger than me by two years) loved to tease me and egg me on. I remember one incident where she was throwing pebbles at me. She kept hitting me in the back with them every time I looked away and then laughing hard when I swung around each time to tell her to knock it off. Finally, I had reached my boiling point and I picked up a rather large pebble and threw it back at her, accidentally hitting her in the head.
She let out a painful wail and began to cry. I instantly knew I had messed up big time and went into let my parents know. I tried to minimize the damage I had done, saying I only “tossed” a rock at her because she was throwing them at me; however, when they came out to check on her, she had blood pouring (and I mean pouring) down her head. Her strawberry blonde hair was now crimson red. She turned out to be fine, as head wounds bleed far more than the average wound anywhere else; however, I was in trouble…BIG TIME.
Well, Jacobs sons were no different. In tough times they stuck together with the strong bond of brothers. They defended their sister’s honor when she was raped. They protected their youngest brother Benjamin, knowing that any harm to him would cause their father life-threatening grief. They weren’t evil people anymore than I was evil for throwing a rock at my sister. They ultimately loved their family, and would die to protect them.
With that said, they were also human…VERY HUMAN. And they had their serious flaws. As we will see a little later in this series, they too were tested by the rivalry they ended up having with their youngest (at the time) brother Joseph, who was that little snot-nosed brat who could do no wrong in daddy’s eyes. To top it off, the little twerp kept telling them that he was better than them and that they would one day be worshiping him and serving him as slaves. Like me, they had reached their boiling point, except they weren’t just one person; rather, they became a gang of eleven and they ganged up on Joseph seeking to literally kill him.
Thankfully, Reuben thought better of it and convinced his brothers that it would be better to put him in a cistern to leave him to die (for he secretly wanted to come back and rescue him); however, Judah convinced the other brothers to sell Joseph into slavery and make a buck off of him. It was a decision that would later haunt them; however, it was a decision that did keep their brother alive. While, their brothers did seriously sinned in the sight of God that day, God did not abandon them. They did come to realize how wrong they had been and did eventually come to a place of reconciliation with their brother. They were still God’s people despite their flaws, and eventually became the founding fathers of 11 of the 12 tribes of Israel.
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.” – Anne Lamott
Lord, forgive my sinful shortsightedness, and my emotional reactions. Restore me in grace. Amen.