they saw him from afar, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him. they said to one another, “here comes this dreamer. come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits. then we will say that a fierce animal has devoured him, and we will see what will become of his dreams.” but when reuben heard it, he rescued him out of their hands, saying, “let us not take his life.” and reuben said to them, “shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but do not lay a hand on him”—that he might rescue him out of their hand to restore him to his father. [genesis 37:18-22]
so many attitudes are born out of jealousy.
hatred. we see in earlier verses that joseph’s brothers hated him because of his dreams and his arrogance in presenting them. here, we see their hatred has grown to the degree that they want him gone for good.
violence. not only are they wishing for his death in their hearts, but they are willing to put this hatred into action and actually take his life.
gossip. hatred toward joseph leads them to further ignite each other’s distaste for him. they bring down his character to deepen their disgust.
judgment. although highly misused in our culture, the word judgement is well-defined here with these brothers as they go beyond discerning joseph’s fruit and sin, and together deem him no longer worthy to be alive.
conspiracy. they stir each other up to evil deeds. they use the affirmation of the group to urge each other to gang up on joseph. only one brother had a limit on what he was willing to do to seek revenge.
in a family, sometimes sin will be raw, sometimes favoritism will be hurtful, sometimes arrogance will be exhausting. but in God’s family, we have clear instruction on what to do with these struggles.
strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. see to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; [hebrews 12:14-15]
be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. [ephesians 4:32]
and let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. so then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. [galatians 6:9]
i therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. there is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. [ephesians 4:1-6]
are you living at peace with the family of God? are you striving for unity and forgiveness? how are you actively fighting jealousy in your own heart?
Father, give us a passion for your bride, the church. give us humility before you that we might live in unity with the body. thank you for your grace and forgiveness. thank you for your Son Jesus Christ, who binds us together. thank you for your steadfast love. amen.
~ arwen eastman