Life. Life happens. Have you ever come out of a foggy situation, tattered and a little bruised, (metaphorically speaking) your heart aches with disappointment in someone’s behavior?
Recently I was looking at the life of Joseph, the events that groomed him, the people who mocked and forgot him, and the God who delivered him. One particular verse danced off the page; “When the brothers saw that their father loved him (Joseph) more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.” – Genesis 37:4
This story brings mental images of a colorful jacket, jealous brothers and a pit. “They … could not speak a kind word to him” seems to get lost in many of our Bible translations. In the Hebrew, the word is ‘shalom.’ The brothers, due to their jealousy and hatred could not speak peace to Joseph. In Hebrew thought peace is more than just the absence of war, it is health, prosperity, blessing and it can be rendered as safe.
Fascinating, the lack of peace in this story. The brothers turn tormentors, see Joseph from afar, and their deceitful plan is forever etched in history. First, they plan to kill him. Nope to harsh, (don’t we ALL rationalize) then they find what was convenient, a deep well. When in haste convenience seems to always trump wisdom! They strip him of his robe, the very thing that triggered all this emotional rage. They attempted to remove the evidence of his favored relationship, the gift from their father. It doesn’t say it in the narrative, but I imagine there was a lot of taunting going on, rude comments, jesting, a jab here and shove there, then the final shove leading to pit dwelling. After this, young Joseph was then sold to traveling merchants; a life of slavery overshadowed him.
Jealousy, bitterness and hatred withhold peace. Are we speaking peace to and over others, are we allowing them a safe place in our life? Are we doing our part to help them prosper, stay healthy and out of bondage… or not? Perhaps we are overshadowing them with unforgiveness? Is there someone who has what we want? Oh, it may not be the enduring love of a father, but perhaps our jealousy stems elsewhere. Are we acting out in pain hurting another due to our upset NEED for something? Need to be proven right, the need to appear superior, or is it just plain bitterness. Are we giving them the gift of peace or throwing them into a pit.
Peace or a pit? Our choice.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)
Further study: See Psalm 34:14; Hebrews 12:14; Romans 12:18-21, 14:19; Galatians5:22,23; James 3:13-18; Colossian 3:12-15.