Bible Readings: Gen 37:3-8, 17b-22, 26-34;50:15-21 (Luke 6:35)
A recipe for disaster! The idea that Israel loved Joseph more than anyone of his other children is simply a bad idea. When seeds of favoritism are planted weeds of anger grow among siblings intoxicating family relationships (Genesis 37:4). If that wasn’t enough, family bonding in the Israel household was further hampered by Joseph’s teenage naivety and arrogance. Par for the course of most normal 17-year-old teenagers! Add to this the past sin of deception (Jacob’s deception plan to inherit his father’s blessing-Gen. 27) that shows up in the current generation (Joseph’s brothers deceiving their father telling him that he had been killed by a wild animal-Gen. 37:20).
Favoritism, arrogance, and deception. What family hasn’t experienced these things!
What can God do in a context like this?
God keeps his promise to future generations. Like Joseph, he responds graciously to those who have sinned against him (Gen. 50:20). Whether we think that everything happens for a reason (i.e. the sovereignty of God) or that he simply works for our good even through the evil we encounter (i.e. man’s free-will), he is still working out his purpose in those who trust him. As the title of an old hymn reminds me, “God is working His Purpose Out”!