Daily Devotionals

January 23rd, 2023

Read Genesis: 37:13-14, 17b-19, 23-28, 36 and Israel said to Joseph, “As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them.” “Very well,” he replied. So he said to him, “Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me.” Then he sent him off from the Valley of Hebron. So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him. “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.” So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the ornate robe he was wearing— and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it. As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt. Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed. So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt. Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard.

Wow! My sister and I had our share of sibling rivalry over the years. We have not always gotten along nor do we agree on everything to this day. But neither of us has ever considered actually killing each other (well not seriously anyway) or sending the other off into captivity. Joseph sure did not have a very good relationship with some of his family. I’m guessing some of you reading this today can relate.

If you recall from our time yesterday, Joseph had received and clearly accepted promises made by God about a future where he’d be important and esteemed. He surely had life all figured out and could skate until God brought everything together for him. Imagine what his thoughts must have been as he was dragged by people closest to him and thrown into a deep pit to die. Only to then be pulled unceremoniously out of the pit, sold by those same people, chained, and dragged off by foreign men into slavery.

This isn’t how he planned his life. As a matter of fact, life was good for him and always would be. It’s supposed to be good, it was deserved, it was what he wanted and envisioned. But now the bottom has fallen out. Events outside of his control had occurred. People around him, some known, some unknown, had made decisions that impacted him. Suddenly life was hard, with no logical earthly hope.

I think we can all relate in some way or other to what Joseph was feeling. In the middle of a dark pit, or being dragged into some painful element in life, we too can find ourselves wondering what went wrong? How did I end up like this? I just know it’s not supposed to happen like this.

I assure you, however, even when things seem at their worst, when others fail us, when we fail ourselves, or circumstances in life chain us into experiencing something we do not want to experience, God is still there. God still loves you! God still has a plan, and whatever has happened in life will never stop that plan. In fact, God won’t even allow our pain to be wasted, He’s going to use it for something good even though we may not understand how. Joseph didn’t enjoy the process, but he did continue to look to God and to grow. Continue to look to God as well, He has made promises He intends to keep.