29 When Reuben returned to the cistern and found that Joseph wasn’t in it, he tore his clothes. 30 Then he returned to his brothers and said, “The boy’s gone! And I—where can I go now?”
31 His brothers took Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a male goat, and dipped the robe in the blood. 32 They took the long robe, brought it to their father, and said, “We found this. See if it’s your son’s robe or not.”
33 He recognized it and said, “It’s my son’s robe! A wild animal has devoured him. Joseph must have been torn to pieces!” 34 Then Jacob tore his clothes, put a simple mourning cloth around his waist, and mourned for his son for many days. 35 All of his sons and daughters got up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted, telling them, “I’ll go to my grave mourning for my son.” And Joseph’s father wept for him. 36 Meanwhile the Midianites had sold Joseph to the Egyptians, to Potiphar, Pharaoh’s chief officer, commander of the royal guard.
Everyone had a plan that day. Reuben had his plan to rescue Joseph from the cistern and return him to their father. The brothers had planned to kill Joseph, only to sell him into slavery for twenty pieces of silver. Jacob had sent Joseph to check on his brothers thinking he’d return safely. Everyone had plans that ended in their lies finally putting an end to Joseph. But they were wrong. God would reveal the truth of their deeds at the appropriate time.
They didn’t see it! The father, the brothers, even Joseph completely missed it. While Joseph’s dreams worried his father and infuriated his brothers, to Joseph they were a way to brag and remind his brothers that someday they would all bow down to Joseph. No one understood that those dreams were given to Joseph by God, and that God had divine purpose and reason to see them through to the end. All along God was at work in the lives of Joseph and his dysfunctional family but they were so consumed with their own concerns that they didn’t see God’s plans for their lives.
What was Joseph thinking down in that dark pit? Stripped of his father’s colorful robe Joseph must have been in shock
and felt that God had abandoned him. All through Joseph’s story, (and it’s a story worth reading in Genesis 37-50,) God is faithful to Joseph and Joseph will be instrumental to God fulfilling his promise to Abraham, to make a nation of Israel. In his suffering, Joseph increasingly trusts in God. And just when it seems all hope is gone, Joseph is sold into the house of Potiphar, captain of Pharaoh’s guard. Through ongoing hardships, Joseph trusts in God and rises to power that will save the country from starvation and set the stage for the emerging nation of Israel and God’s delivery of his people in the exodus.
by Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
We often don’t see God at work in our lives until we can look back and see how our lives have unfolded in a way differently from what we had planned. We can trust God, through good and bad times, knowing that we are part of God’s sovereign plan of salvation through Jesus Christ to transform the world. When have you seen God’s plan
at work in your life?
Prayer: Loving and Faithful God, we put our trust in you. Guide us and help us to see you at work transforming our lives as we follow Jesus. Amen.