Imogen Campbell

“Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall. With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility. But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed supple, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, because of your father’s God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you with blessings of the skies above, blessings of the deep springs below, blessings of the breast and womb.  Your father’s blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than the bounty of the age-old hills. Genesis 49:22-26, NIV
One of Jesus’ I AM statements is that he is the true vine (John 15:1). Like Joseph, the beloved son of Jacob, Jesus was sold for pieces of silver, like Joseph he had his robe removed and bloodied. In Jesus’ case, his own body was shred to ribbons, while his blood adhered to the robe. But back to Joseph.
Joseph was a dreamer destined to become a ruler in Egypt who managed to rankle his family by telling them some of his dreams. Even his father rebuked him on one occasion but kept it in mind. From the text, one could infer that Joseph could be a bit of tattletale and that his brothers hated him.
They decided to take matters into their hands – see the theme – and get rid of this little upstart. One day, they got their chance and sold him off into slavery. They told their father that Joseph had come to his demise, probably devoured by some ferocious animal. They had seized his colourful robe and dipped it in blood. Heartless of them and Jacob’s heart was broken.
After much time had elapsed, God confronted them with their sin. Famine forced them to Egypt; where unbeknownst to them they bowed down to the one they had sold into slavery. Genesis 42 vividly recounts the tale. They run into snags galore and attribute it to the following: "They said to one another, 'Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come on us.' Reuben replied, 'Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.' ” (Genesis 42:21-22)
It is funny how sin, like the truth, has a habit of coming out when you least expect it. Once again, a beloved younger brother’s fate would hang in the balance, an agonised father would be left feeling hopeless, and brothers would have a chance to make good.
I believe that it was necessary as God wanted to prosper this family, uphold Joseph and heal the wounds of the past.
Are there things you would prefer to leave in the past? God may have other plans. Give it to the Lord in prayer.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that we can draw comfort from the knowledge that you heal our broken hearts and provide balm for broken families. Graciously, there is always hope and healing in your wings. Amen