Recently I was looking at the life of Joseph, the events that groomed him, the people that mocked him, and the God who delivered him. One particular verse danced off the page at me. Genesis 37:4 “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.”
For many of us, this story brings back mental images of a colorful jacket, jealous brothers, a pit, and some selling of ‘merchandise’, (it’s a great read … Genesis 37) The word used in verse 4, “they … could not speak a kind word to him” seems to get lost in the translation a bit. In the Hebrew the word is ‘shalom’. The brothers due to their jealousy and hatred could not speak peace to Joseph. Peace … health, prosperity, and amazingly so, it can be rendered … ‘safe’.
Noticing on in the story of the brothers turn tormentors, they 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! I try to imagine, did they just grab him and throw him in the pit?
It says that they stripped him of his robe, the very thing that ticked them off in the first place. They attempted to remove the evidence of his favored relationship, the gift from their father. I believe this was not done in silence, I bet there was a lot of taunting going on. Rude comments, jesting, a jab here and shove there. Then the final jab, leading to pit dwelling.
Jealousy and hatred withhold peace. May we think of our own lives, 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 in their potential, staying healthy … or not? 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. Are we giving them the gift of peace or throwing them in a pit. (ouch!)
I have heard it said, “Bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” It actually hurts us in the long run. In short, the story goes on that Joseph becomes very successful while the brothers and family live in feminine, they ultimately end up going to Joseph for their very survival. So, who was it that ended up in the pit? The brothers or Joseph?
The author of Hebrews admonishes us to peace, Hebrews 12:14 “Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life … ” (NLT) Yes, work it WILL be, yet peace is what we are called to. Paul states in Galatians that the fruit of the Spirit, the qualities of having Jesus in our life are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control. (Gal. 5:22,23) “Oh Jesus, we invite You, we need You, live in and through us, may we be Your ambassadors of peace.”
Peace or a pit?
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” ~ Heb. 10:24)