“But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.”
Perhaps Jacob’s older sons didn’t understand why Jacob gave authority to his youngest son rather than them. Maybe, they were driven by their own insecurities after hearing about Joseph’s dreams and were trying to control the situation. Perhaps sheer frustration and sibling rivalry and jealousy drove them to attack their younger brother. Something unnatural was about to happen. Whatever the case, a tragic and cruel event is unfolding, and it all began with distance and lack of meaningful connection with their father and with their brother. They were at a distance physically, but also emotionally and spiritually.
Genesis 37: 18 reveals that while Joseph is at a distance, before he reaches the others, the plotting for his demise begins. The brothers are already digging the pit, before Joseph gets on the scene. They are planning to kill their own Father’s son. Isn’t it tragic? Here are Jacob’s son’s; children belonging to one Father. One would expect some allegiance to one another; some loyalty, some compassion, some… thing…but sadly, we won’t find it here.
An unknown author has written: “What we don’t understand we fear. What we fear, we judge as evil. What we judge as evil we attempt to control. And what we cannot control…we attack.
Friends, at the root of many of the world’s issues today is distance- distance from God and from one another. The growing sense of individualism and social isolation is a threat to human survival. This emerging tribal instinct that causes us to think in terms of “us and them” is a daredevil slide that rapidly descends into a dark pit without water. Satan’s intention is clear-death!
And that nagging fear, that nagging uncertainty about the future, is the Holy Spirit’s way of reminding us, that this is unnatural. It is God’s way of telling his people, this is not his plan for humanity. The greatest commandment Jesus says: Is to love God with all your heart, soul and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27). The plot can only move forward when there is fear. Therefore beloved, stand up to fear. Stand up in Jesus’ name. Stand against it in your office, in your church, within your family and in your social clubs. The enemy may dig the pit, but we serve a God who shows up in the pit and renders victory. He takes what the enemy means for evil and turns it around for good. He did it for Jacob and Joseph; he did for Daniel, and Lazarus, and Shadrack Meshach and Abednego, and he will show up for you and for me too.
We may be in a pit, but in the words of Bill and Gloria Gaither, “Something good is about to happen.”
Dear Father, thank you for declaring victory over the grave which is the ultimate pit. We believe you are about to bring about something good within the church, from all the dark issues that surround our world. Give us the strength, to stand against fear, and teach us how to love you and then how to love our neighbor. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.