Changing Shoes

“Joseph, being seventeen years old,.. was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives. [He] brought a bad report of them to their father… But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him...

“[His brothers] saw him from afar, and… conspired against him… Let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits. Then we will say that a fierce animal has devoured him, and we will see what will become of his dreams…’ Reuben said, ‘Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness…’—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 of many colors.., took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty…

“Then they sat down to eat. And looking up they saw a caravan coming from Gilead… on their way to Egypt. Judah said, ‘What profit is it if we kill our brother? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites…’ His brothers listened to him. Then Midianite traders passed by. And they drew Joseph up out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. They took Joseph to Egypt…” Genesis 37:1-2,4,18,20,22-28

“Joseph said to them,.. ‘If you are honest men, let one of your brothers remain confined where you are in custody, and let the rest go and carry grain for the famine of your households, and bring your youngest brother to me…’ Then they said to one another, ‘In truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us and we did not listen. That is why this distress has come upon us.’” Genesis 42:18-21

The initial account of Joseph’s mistreatment is factual, and we catch the contagious hatred and bitterness, and the frenzy of cruelty and greed involved in his capture and ‘sale’ by his siblings. But years later in the story those brothers fess up. So taken with their wicked opportunity at the time, every impulse went to fleshing out their evil inclination, to revenge against this favorite of their father. We sense not a thought triggered as to how Joseph suffered, what he endured. But time brings back memories, and mental images emblazoned on their hearts unveiled Joseph’s “distress of soul” they’d fiendishly and selfishly ignored. His pleading still echoed, and stung, in their ears, and time only turned up the volume.

In our day to day, do we get caught up in emotion, quick decisions, crowd-think and mob-do that prevent us from recognizing the gravity of our actions? Do we let a sense of urgency, a need to be accepted, or an impulse to be busy, push us ahead of or beyond thoughtfulness? Doing so leaves us with mismatched socks, feet that run into selfish muddles and ruin. (Proverbs 6:16-18; Isaiah 59:7)

Would we early and carefully order our mind in God’s word, set right our heart, and be saturated with the Spirit before setting out? Would we untie our tendency to haste, discard thoughtlessness, and put on the readiness of the gospel? (Ephesians 5:18; 6:15)

Father, teach me to take time to consider my ways and connect Your truth as my filter. May I never run swiftly after anything, or anyone, but Thee.

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