Joseph: 20/20 Vision (Part I)
God Foils Evil Plans
The car breaks down and you don’t have the money to fix it. The marriage seems to be worse than ever. The cancer didn’t go away. Without the proper perspective, life can really drag us down and steal our energy and our faith. The life of Joseph is a perfect example of having the correct perspective when things in life go bad.
In Genesis 37, Joseph dreams twice that his family will bow down to him. After he tells his brothers, verse 8 tells us, “And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them.” The second time he has the dream he tells his father, as well, probably hoping for a better reaction than what he received from his brothers; after all, we learn in verse 3 that “Jacob loved Joseph more than any of this other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age.” But it doesn’t go the way Joseph might have anticipated.
“This time he told the dream to his father as well as to his brothers, but his father scolded him. ‘What kind of dream is that?’ he asked. ‘Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow to the ground before you?’” (Genesis 37:10)
Have you ever had a dream that you felt no one believed in? When you told people, did they brush you off? They might tell you the odds of success in pursuing your dreams as a way to deter you. They may point out that your dream is nice but you can’t make a living doing that. Even from his father who loved him the best, Joseph is met with skepticism and no support. Immediately following, Joseph’s brothers plan to kill him and this is the first time in Joseph’s story that we see God save his life.
“’Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns. We can tell our father, ‘A wild animal has eaten him.’ Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams!’ But when Reuben heard of their scheme, he came to Joseph’s rescue. ‘Let’s not kill him,’ he said. ‘Why should we shed any blood? Let’s just throw him into this empty cistern here in the wilderness. Then he’ll die without our laying a hand on him.’ Reuben was secretly planning to rescue Joseph and return him to his father.” (Genesis 37:20-22)
So the brothers’ plan to kill Joseph is foiled. Immediately after, another brother, Judah, cannot bare the idea of Joseph dying in the cistern so he tells the others they should sell him to the traders that were coming up the road. Apparently there was not a great deal of communication between the brothers about their various plans to kill or get rid of Joseph, because we learn in verse 29 that Reuben returned to the cistern to save Joseph only to find him missing. He tells the other brothers and they decide to dip his robe in goat’s blood and tell his father that Joseph was killed by a wild animal.
“Although they plot against you, their evil schemes will never succeed.” (Psalm 21:11)
“He frustrates the plans of schemers so the work of their hands will not succeed.” (Job 5:12)
“The Lord approves of those who are good, but he condemns those who plan wickedness.” (Proverbs 12:2)
“The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” (Exodus 14:14)
So although Joseph’s brothers planned to kill him directly, indirectly, God foiled their plans. They resorted to sell him into slavery and then lie about his death. Next time we’ll see how God continues to be with Joseph, and we will keep Joseph’s perspective in the forefront of our minds as we continue through his life story. “So it was God who sent me here, not you!” (Genesis 45:8). God is in control—not the cancer, not the malfunctioning car, not the brothers who sold Joseph into slavery. Let us hold on to Joseph’s perspective throughout our day. God is in control. Always.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.