Daily Devotional

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Joseph and His Brothers

Joseph’s brothers said to one another, ‘Here comes this dreamer. Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits, then we shall say a wild animal devoured him, and we shall see what becomes of his dreams.’     Genesis 37:19-20

There are so many disturbing elements to this story of Joseph and his brothers. There is a father loving one son more than the others, and a son who seemingly takes pleasure in boasting of dreams of dominion over his brothers, and brothers who plot and carry out harmful actions against their younger sibling. What is most shocking is that this is the very family the Bible tells us serves as the source of God’s revelation in the world. Somehow, Jacob’s dysfunctional family serves as God’s ambassadors to the world. This might cause even the most faithful person to question God’s better judgment.

 And yet, this dark and troubling story is punctuated by a few pinpricks of light. There was Reuben, who convinced the others not to kill Joseph in the hope of rescuing him later. There was Judah, who lobbied his brothers to sell Joseph into slavery instead of letting him die in a pit. And there was Joseph himself, who fostered a belief that somehow God is still in control of the whole mess. Perhaps those little pinpricks of light in the darkness are all God needs to work powerfully in our world and in our lives.

 Can you identify little slivers of light that have broken into your life and allowed God to work with you in truly important ways?

 Lord, the story of your family—a story of which we are very much a part—is a story littered with malfeasance, treachery, and sin. It is amazing you choose to work with us. There are moments when we show glimmers of what we might be, but those hopeful moments seem as fleeting as a candle in the wind. And yet, you continue to walk with us, work with us, and love us in the hope that your light might be more fully and more consistently reflected in our own living. Let just such a light shine through me today. In Jesus’ name, I pray. AMEN.