Summary: In the wrinkles of this tragedy, God is present and working. He’s working to bring about His good and see His plans realized. It may not be a pretty picture at this point. But that just goes to show how broken our world is - and how persistent God is.
God in the Ebb & Flow of Life:
Betrayal and Burlap
Scripture Text: Genesis 37.18-35
Last-week, I tried to lay the ground-work so that we would have a realistic picture of Joseph’s family-life. It isn’t pretty!... Hatred, …jealousy, …resentment, …favoritism …in-fighting ~ …the ingredients that-make unsavory-recipe of brokenness.
This week, we find these-ingredients coming-together in a shocking-way. These attitudes and animosities have-been mixed-together and baking-in-the-oven of time ~ …and what we see take-place in today’s story is the fruit of what began quite-a-while-ago… It just goes-to-show, that-what’s on-the-inside, …will eventually, somehow, come-out in actions.
When I urged us last-week, not-to-let anger or resentment or jealousy get a foothold in our hearts, …part of the reason we don’t wanna let this happen is because it will come-out! Somehow, someway, those-feelings we try to push-down, …push-back, …bury-outta-sight ~ …they’ll come-out in ugly-ways!... A biting, cuttin-comment. Agreement with unfounded-gossip. Turning a blind-eye to a brother’s need. Clipping-the-wings of someone trying to fly. Refusing to read the new-chapter of someone’s-life who is trying to turn-the-page. Don’t let things take root in your heart… …except for the love, mercy, and compassion of God! Whatever gets-a-foothold… Whatever-takes-root in the soil-of-your-heart… It will produce fruit!... A lemon-tree cannot produce anything-else, …other-than sour-fruit. Don’t let anger, hatred, jealousy, or resentment take-hold in your heart!
Joseph’s brothers don’t take this advice to-heart. And the-things-that did-take-root in their hearts ~ …they produced absolutely-shocking fruit! A plot to murder. Violence against a brother. Sold into slave-traders’ hands. Profit from betrayal. A plan to cover-up their dirty-deeds. A scheme to deceive their aged-father!... Shocking-fruit! ~ Wouldn’t you-say!?!
But-then-again… What did you expect to happen?... A group hug!?! Chocolate and roses, exchanged? A friendly game of football in the fields of Dothan, once Joseph got-there!?!
On the fields-near-Dothan, …the brothers-of-Joseph hatched-a-plan to murder; …they executed an act-of-betrayal, …and they proceeded to-deceive their father ~ Why!?!
It’s really-pretty-simple!... They allowed things to take-root in their hearts that would-eventually-produce rotten-fruit!
Ya-know… you may be-able, …for-a-while, …you-may-be-able to sweep-it-under-the-rug, …or stuff-it-in a closet, …or hide it in the basement of your soul… But, whatever-it-is, …it will take-root, ..and spring-up-shoots, …and eventually…
Eventually it will produce ugly, rotten-fruit!... And-you’ll-be-surprised by what you see yourself doing; …and you’ll-be-surprised by what you hear yourself saying. You might-be-shocked that those-words came out of your-mouth; …or that your-hands did so-much-damage! But, when you’re in the heat-of-the-moment, …you’ll think, say, and do-things that you wouldn’t normally come up-with. Can you hear Joseph’s brothers justifying-themsleves?... As they sat-around the camp-fire, …with Joseph lying in the bottom-of-the-cistern ~ …It probably went something-like-this: