A humbled and open heart is fertile soil for God’s seeds of wisdom to be planted. Establishing deeper roots requires analyzing God’s word to discover truths, values, and lessons for application to our lives. Periodically, a scripture or passage calls for further exploration, like Genesis 37:18-35.
Our Deeper Roots passage in Genesis shows that God can use the evil intentions and actions of others for good outcomes. Our scripture selection begins after Jacob has sent his son, Joseph, to report back on his older brothers. As his brothers saw him approaching, they plotted to kill him. Reuben, the oldest, thought of a plan to come back and rescue Joseph, so he convinced his brothers to throw him in an empty well. After they tossed him in the well, Judah devised a plan to sell him into slavery to the Midianite traders. It was at this point that Reuben discovers that Joseph was gone and is filled with grief. The brothers devise a plan to use the blood of a goat and Joseph’s coat in a lie. They presented the blood-stained coat to Jacob and immediately he went into mourning. Jacob refused to be comforted by others after the loss of his son, Joseph.
There are so many layers to the story of Joseph, but in the end, they all work together for the good of those who love the Lord. Joseph was the firstborn of Jacob’s favorite wife, Rachel. When Jacob bestowed the beautiful robe on Joseph it served as a sign that he was favored and would inherit a larger portion than his brothers. The blatant favoritism of Jacob filled his brothers with jealousy. They watched for years as their father didn’t love their mother, Leah, and now they were presented with an opportunity to get even. They came up with a plan to kill Joseph only a few miles away from where they had previously massacred the people that defiled their sister. Even in the midst of the scheme, we see two brothers stand out: Reuben and Judah. Reuben had intentions to return and help Joseph; perhaps out of wanting to get back in his father’s good graces. Judah came up with the idea to sell Joseph to the Midianites/Ishmaelites. They sold their sibling to the descendants of Abraham and Hagar/Keturah for three years’ wages. When Reuben returned and found Joseph missing, he was filled with emotion. The tearing of clothes was a sign of mourning. Now the siblings are faced with a dilemma, they have committed a sin and now they must come up with a lie to cover it up. The irony is that they use the blood of a goat to deceive their father, Jacob when he had used the skin of a goat to deceive his father Isaac. At the news of his beloved son, Joseph, Jacob begins to mourn inconsolably. Nothing that Jacob’s family did to comfort him helped.
Deception is a common thread in Genesis. Whenever sin is committed, it is common to find another sin to conceal it. We see it echoed multiple times throughout the stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The scene of Joseph being cast into the empty cistern by his brothers gives us insight into God’s power and sovereignty. The evil intentions of others do not outweigh the dreams given by God. This is a truth that we can carry forward with us. When God gives us a vision, our part is to trust the process because we know that God weaves all the evil misfortunes of life into good.