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Martin Luther pointed out that everything bad in the Old Testament was there to point out our sin, everything good in the Old Testament was there to point us to our savior.
It is quite easy to simply get rid of those we hate. Like Joseph's brothers, we might feel compelled to just get rid of those that are different, or disagree, or who we find jealous of, those with whom we really can't stand, those on the other aisle of political persuasion, those of different color, different gender, age, religion etc....or even my own sibling.
This story points out our own sin that we find in the actions of Joseph's brothers but it also points us to God working beyond the capacity of our sin for the work of salvation. through this act, God will use Joseph to bring about God's justice for God's people, including Joseph's brothers and father.
There are times in my life I wish I could return and do differently. When I left the church, I left hurt and felt betrayed. I was angry with God! Yet, in that time, God was able to shape and form me for the ministry I am doing today and have done in the past. In NYC, I was able to connect with those who felt far from God because I was not (still not) too far removed from my own feeling of being far from God. Equipped with my own story of connecting with them, yet on the other side of that relationship. In my current call, I feel like I am equipping the 'over churched' with language of finding people in their own journey rather than dismissing others. Helping them meet people where they are, rather than expecting 'them' to be like 'us.'
When I tell people I left the church, I often find them surprised, asking the question - what was that like? I respond with something like, messy, painful, or difficult. But that is only part of the story, much like this is only part of the story. I know how this story ends. But to skip out on the pain and agony caused by the evil actions and intentions of Joseph's brothers we would miss the glory about to be revealed. If you can't have Easter without good friday, you can't have the justice Joseph reveals to his brothers without hearing how they sold him into slavery.
Lord heal the brokenness of your people, be with those who feel far from you, use difficult times like these for Joseph and us, to bring about what you intend for