“That We Might Have Hope” (Rom. 15:4)
Genesis Chapters Thirty-nine And Forty
Joseph Sold Into Slavery
“Bang” goes the gavel. “Sold!” cries the auctioneer. Then comes the rush of thoughts and feelings: accomplishment, elation, relief, satisfaction. Yet these are only the thoughts and feelings of the buyer and seller; what of the thing sold? What? Do things sold have thoughts and feelings too? We know that in our nation’s history, as well as that of the world, people wre bought and sold like so many things.
Put yourself in the position of one sold. Joseph is an example — sold for only a handful of coins to traveling merchants. Place yourself deeper into his position. Sold, for that handful of coins, by your own brothers! Our families are to be a place of earthly refuge from the dangers of this world, and these “brothers” sell one of their own as if he were common livestock! Thoughts and feelings! We can easily supply them for our poor brother Joseph: shock, unbelief, fear, anger, bitterness, and yes, even hatred.
Before we become too smug in our evaluation of Joseph’s brothers we shall ask the blessings of the Holy Spirit on our continued study of Joseph and his brethren.
How Many People Have We Sold?
It is relatively easy for us to identify with the underdogs in the Scriptures. We readily see ourselves in the positions of those put upon by this sinful world — the traveler set upon by thieves, poor Lazarus, and Joseph. But, we often have difficulty casting ourselves in the role of villains — the priest and Levite passing by, the rich man, or Joseph’s brothers.
We know we sin. We know that sometimes we might even be the “bad guy” in a given situation. But Joseph’s brothers sold a human being! Long before they had bartered their brother’s life, the elder sons of Jacob had already sold themselves. They were not leading lives that God or Jacob would have them lead. Some of their acts of deceit and sin are recorded to remind us that children of God often sell themselves short.
Do we sell ourselves short? When duty calls, do we gladly step forward to serve the Lord and our fellow servants? Often we’re caught in some alleyway dealing for some of Moses’ excuses — I’m no good; it’s not my forte; let someone else do it. When the Lord asks for workers in the Vineyard and helpers to gather the Harvest, are we selling ourselves short by buying into even more excuses — let the pastor handle it; I need more family time; I need more me time.
Our Lord Jesus died on Calvary’s cross to purchase our souls and lives so we are no longer in slavery to Satan, the world, or our sinful flesh. Let us take care against forfeiting this great gift by selling ourselves short.
Jesus “Sold Himself” For Us
Joseph’s being sold by his brothers was merely an outgrowth of their having sold themselves. They had to get rid of him — he was a conscience pricker. He told on them and pointed out their errors. What can you do with a person like that? When Cain was confronted by the Lord about his weak offering, what did he do? He turned on the one that made him look bad. Rather than seeing a righteous example in his brother Abel, Cain mistakenly saw the source of his sin problem. Joseph’s brothers reached the same conclusion. Kill him! Throw him in a pit! Say! Let’s at least make a profit and sell the boy!
When a fellow believer comes to us with Christian criticism, how do we take it? Do we write them off as a flake, nit-picker, or holier-than-thou type? Do we complain because his nose is in our business? In short, do we sell out our fellow Christian by turning on him rather than turning to our Savior?
Let us rather remember the One who sold Himself by leaving His eternal throne for a humble stall so that we might have heavenly mansions! Remember — He sold Himself for thirty pieces of silver so that He might purchase us with His holy precious blood. Remember — He sold Himself into separation from His heavenly Father so that we might be with Him forever.
Let us take comfort in the knowledge that all our sins have been forgiven through our Savior. And may the Holy Spirit keep Christ’s purchase of us in our hearts and minds that we may avoid either selling ourselves short or “selling out” our fellow Christians.
–Teacher David Bernthal