TUESDAY 29th NOVEMBER 1983
LOOKING AT LIFE FROM INSIDE A WELL
Reading: Genesis 37: 12-25 English - Elizabeth
Reading: Genesis 37: 12-25 Chinese - Vera
Joseph Sold by His Brothers
12 Now his brothers went to pasture their father's flock near Shechem.
13 And Israel said to Joseph, "Are not your brothers pasturing the flock at Shechem? Come, I will send you to them." And he said to him, "Here I am."
14 So he said to him, "Go now, see if it is well with your brothers, and with the flock; and bring me word again." So he sent him from the valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.
15 And a man found him wandering in the fields; and the man asked him, "What are you seeking?"
16 "I am seeking my brothers," he said, "tell me, I pray you, where they are pasturing the flock."
17 And the man said, "They have gone away, for I heard them say, 'Let us go to Dothan.'" So Joseph went after his brothers, and found them at Dothan.
18 They saw him afar off, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him.
19 They said to one another, "Here comes this dreamer.
20 Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; then we shall say that a wild beast has devoured him, and we shall see what will become of his dreams."
21 But when Reuben heard it, he delivered him out of their hands, saying, "Let us not take his life."
22 And Reuben said to them, "Shed no blood; cast him into this pit here in the wilderness, but lay no hand upon him" -- that he might rescue him out of their hand, to restore him to his father.
23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the long robe with sleeves that he wore;
24 and they took him and cast him into a pit. The pit was empty, there was no water in it.
25 Then they sat down to eat; and looking up they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing gum, balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry it down to Egypt.
Reading: Genesis 37: 26-36 English - Larry
Reading: Genesis 37: 26-36 Chinese - Wilson
26 Then Judah said to his brothers, "What profit is it if we slay our brother and conceal his blood?
27 Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our own flesh." And his brothers heeded him.
28 Then Midianite traders passed by; and they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver; and they took Joseph to Egypt.
29 When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not in the pit, he rent his clothes
30 and returned to his brothers, and said, "The lad is gone; and I, where shall I go?"
31 Then they took Joseph's robe, and killed a goat, and dipped the robe in the blood;
32 and they sent the long robe with sleeves and brought it to their father, and said, "This we have found; see now whether it is your son's robe or not."
33 And he recognized it, and said, "It is my son's robe; a wild beast has devoured him; Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces."
34 Then Jacob rent his garments, and put sackcloth upon 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.
Commentary - Barbara
This is a well-known story that many of us will have heard when we were very young at school or church. But it is not a story just for children.
The future must have looked very hopeless for Joseph. He was thrown down a well, then sold to slave traders, then taken to a foreign country and sold as a slave.
From inside the well, Joseph may have been able to hear the conversation between his brothers and the slave traders, but he could see nothing of what was happening, and he would have had no idea about his future. In this respect,at least, we are like Joseph. Our knowledge of the future is limited to our view of the world. Our future may not seem hopeless like Joseph's, but it is just as unknown.
You probably remember something of the rest of the story of Joseph. He rose to a high position in the King's household in Egypt and was able to do great things for Egypt and surrounding nations in a time of great famine.
Joseph could have no idea that God planned such a special task for him, but he trusted God, and his faith was rewarded.
The meeting of the Support Office Directors starts today. Please keep these meetings in your thoughts and prayers.
PRAYERS (say together)
Heavenly Father, we thank you that you have shown your faithfulness in the past. Help us to continue to trust you every day.
In Jesus' Name we pray. A-men