Nobody Knows the Trouble I'VE Seen!
Oddly enough the story of Joseph seems like a deviation from the path that takes us from God’s promise of salvation in Genesis 3:15 to the coming of the Saviour in the Gospels. Joseph isn’t in the kingly or the priestly line that leads us to Christ. His brother, Judah, is the man we should be watching for that part of the story.
But then again, there are lots of stories told in the Scriptures that, while they don’t have to do with the main story about which Scripture is written, do contribute significantly to the story. And Joseph is one of those.
Joseph was a younger son, the son of Israel’s favourite wife. Because of who his mother was, Joseph became a favourite son. His brothers despised him for it.
Joseph also had dreams. I have dreams too, but so far none of them have gotten me into the difficulty that Joseph’s did. By the end of Genesis 37, Joseph goes from pampered favourite son to a lowly slave nobody in Egypt, courtesy of his jealous brothers.
But there are two other characters that are worthy of mention in the beginning chapters of Joseph’s story. His older brother, Reuben, although complicit in what happened to Joseph, tried to save the boy. “When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. ‘Let’s not take his life,’ he said. ‘Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the desert, but don’t lay a hand on him.’ Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father” (Genesis 37:21, 22, NIV).
He meant well, but didn’t have the “intestinal fortitude” to stand between Joseph and the rest of the pack from the beginning.
Compromise doesn’t always work out well.
Judah was the one who came up with the plan to make some money off Joseph by selling him to the Midianite traders who were passing by the camp. It seems as though the other brothers had meant to leave Joseph to die in the well, so Judah’s actions actually saved the boy’s life. “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all his is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” (37:26, 27, NIV).
Bad motives contaminate even the best intentions.
On the plus side, God had Joseph’s back all the way, in spite of his brothers. It's always good to know that despite what others may do, or not do, God's plan for our lives can't be thwarted.