Today’s part of our story reminds me of those famous Snickers commercials. You know the ones. Someone is pitching a hissy fit about something and a friend says, “Have a Snickers. You’re not yourself when you’re hungry.” Then the “hissy fit pitcher” takes a bite of a Snickers and all of sudden he’s a different person . . . back to his old self.
Well, apparently when Joseph’s brothers were talking about killing him, they were hungry, because the next verse says they sat down to eat.
Genesis 37:25-28 / Contemporary English Version (CEV)
25 As Joseph’s brothers sat down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with all kinds of spices that they were taking to Egypt. 26 So Judah said, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and hide his body? 27 Let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not harm him. After all, he is our brother.” And the others agreed.
28 When the Midianite merchants came by, Joseph’s brothers took him out of the well, and for twenty pieces of silver they sold him to the Ishmaelites[a] who took him to Egypt.
Sometimes eating can keep us from making poor choices. I know stopping for lunch at the mall food court has saved me from many poor fashion . . . and financial . . . decisions! But seriously, when your blood sugar is low, your brain doesn’t function normally.
I’m not excusing the brothers’ plan to kill Joseph. But sitting down to eat a meal apparently calmed them a little and also focused their attention on a caravan headed to Egypt. And that gave them an idea.
Judah voiced it: What are we going to gain by killing him and covering it up? Let’s sell him to this caravan of Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him–after all, he is our own flesh and blood. The other brothers agreed.
So that’s what they did.
Don’t you just love how the brothers made this new option sound so gracious. Joseph’s brothers decided that it WAS NOT OK to kill their own brother and go lie to their father about what happened to him.
However . . . it WAS OK to sell their brother as a common slave to a group of foreigners who would take him to Egypt . . . so they would never have to look at him again! At least they could now lie to their father about what happened to Joseph with a much clearer conscience, right?!?
That’s the first truth I see in these verses.
1. We tend to grade sin on our own self-made scale.
I sometimes look at my own sin and remember how badly I COULD have behaved . . . and feel good about my final choice . . . even though it was still bad behavior! And then I turn around and expect perfect behavior from others. Ridiculous.
2. People who are not “sold” on your dreams/visions will sometimes go to great lengths to distance themselves from you . . . even to the point of betrayal.
3. Some of our decisions are the result of us not liking the role it looks like we’re going to play in the future. But there are some things we cannot change.
I’m sure as the caravan faded from view, the brothers were thinking—–Finally! He’s out of our lives. We’ll never have to look at Joseph again or listen to another one of his dreams or watch our father dote on him. Ever again.
What they didn’t realize was that they had just set in motion a chain of events they could never have imagined. They had just sold their future savior for 20 pieces of silver. Thinking they were cutting off an unwanted branch of their family tree, they were actually jump-starting a section of their family’s history where they eventually become a nation of innumerable people while living as slaves in a foreign land.
1. Who is bothered by my dreams for my life? Why do I keep sharing with them? Whose dreams bother me?
2. What is my personal scale for sin? Which sins are “not so bad” in my eyes? Which ones are almost unforgivable?
3. When/How have I pushed my destiny away? How has God brought it back into my life?