29 when reuben returned to the pit and saw that joseph was not in the pit, he tore his clothes 30 and returned to his brothers and said, “the boy is gone, and i, where shall i go?” 31 then they took joseph’s robe and slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. 32 and they sent the robe of many colors and brought it to their father and said, “this we have found; please identify whether it is your son’s robe or not.” 33 and he identified it and said, “it is my son’s robe. a fierce animal has devoured him. joseph is without doubt torn to pieces.” 34 then jacob tore his garments and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days. 35 all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted and said, “no, i shall go down to sheol to my son, mourning.” thus his father wept for him. 36 meanwhile the midianites had sold him in egypt to potiphar, an officer of pharaoh, the captain of the guard.” [gen 37:29-36]
a plan that can’t be thwarted
God has proven time and time again that he can and will complete his work in any way he chooses, and through any one that he chooses.
the events in this passage show God at work in an angry, disjointed family. the ‘passive parenting’ from jacob, the hatred between brothers, and reuben’s plan to make a bad situation maybe just a little better all point to a family that is not focused and not unified.
yet this is where God chooses to work.
the hatred stems from joseph’s preferential treatment, and is exacerbated by a vision from God that joseph would be great among his brothers. in an attempt to shut down that plan, and be done with joseph for good, the brothers inadvertently played right into the vision.
perhaps the most important verse in this passage is the last one. the seemingly tacked-on ‘meanwhile…’. ‘meanwhile’ serves as a foreshadowing of what is to come, and a reminder that behind the pain and anger, joseph’s story is only beginning.
what his brothers meant for evil, God was using for good. this act would place joseph exactly where he needed to be, and this trial would ultimately build his faith and fortitude.
when our lives feel broken and irrevocably lost, take hope, for God is at work in the meanwhile.
~ jason soroski