Genesis 37:31-35 (NKJV)
31So they took Joseph’s tunic, killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the tunic in the blood.
32Then they sent the tunic of many colors, and they brought it to their father and said, “We have found this. Do you know whether it is your son’s tunic or not?”
33And he recognized it and said, “It is my son’s tunic. A wild beast has devoured him. Without doubt Joseph is torn to pieces.”
34Then Jacob tore his clothes, put sackcloth on his waist, and mourned for his son many days.
35And all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, and he said, “For I shall go down into the grave to my son in mourning.” Thus his father wept for him.
Joseph`s story is one of my favorite stories in the Bible because this is one of the very powerful examples of God`s faithfulness and sovereignty over His word. This account only proves that God keeps watch over each word He says.
Today God showed me this story from a different angle, and that is the motivations in the hearts which led to the events in Joseph`s life the way they did. This is just another proof to me that only God knows our hearts, and He searches them out. He already knew that Joseph`s brothers had jealousy and hatred in their hearts, and their motivations were evil. They despised Joseph for all the love and special attention he was getting from their father, and it was building up over time in their hearts. Nobody knew what was really in their hearts except for the Lord. When He gave those dreams to Joseph, only God knew why He was planning to elevate Joseph over his brothers and his father because only God knew all the motivations in their hearts. God knew that Joseph had soft unyielding heart that He could use for His glory, and God knew that Joseph`s brothers had unyielding hardened hearts which could not be touched by even their father`s weeping.
God gave Joseph dreams showing that his brothers and his father bow down to him, and his brothers rebelled against Joseph even more after they heard his dreams since they knew that Joseph was Jacob`s favorite son.
Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors. 4 But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him.5Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more. (Genesis 37:3-5 NKJV)
It says here that Joseph`s brothers refused to speak peaceably to him indicating that they probably called him names, humiliated him, and made fun of him mocking his dreams. In all this, only God knew their hearts, and what we see in Joseph`s dreams is a subsequent result for each one of their hearts. We clearly see that Joseph was raised in the fear of the Lord because his faith in God is what kept him going after he was sold into slavery; he kept God`s commandments close to his heart and gave all the glory to God when he was asked to interpret the dreams while serving his time in prison and later to Pharaoh.
His brothers on the other hand, did the opposite, they were so cruel and unyielding that even when they sent the bloody robe to their father Jacob and knowing that he was weeping and mourning for Joseph for so many days, they didn`t tell him the truth that Joseph was alive. When you are that cruel and unempathetic, it`s a pretty good indication of how much sin in one`s heart that caused to harden their hearts.
Theseverses from 33-35 just blew me away when I was reading the chapter because it says that not only did Joseph`s brothers didn`t have the courage to tell their father the truth and feel repentance/remorse, but they went even further with that—they killed the goat and bloodied the tunic to make it look like Joseph`s blood, and they decided to cover up for their lies instead of owning to their sin. The part that made me see this story different though was Joseph`s brothers` attitude of cruel treatment of their father when they saw Jacob weeping and mourning for so many days.
It says that all the sons and daughters gathered and came to console their father, but Jacob didn`t want to be consoled and continued to mourn. When you get to the point of this kind of hardened heart that you don`t feel compassion anymore, it`s a good indication that only God could break that bond of sin.
God does exactly that, and this is what I never noticed before. When we read that God gave Joseph those promising dreams, we question first: why is it only Joseph gotten those dreams and not any other one of his brothers? From the start God knew their hearts, and only He knew that Joseph would suffer the injustice, but He would reward him for his tested faithfulness to the Lord and use him to not only save his family from starvation, but God used Joseph to break that bond of sin in his brothers` hearts to bring them to complete repentance.
This story not only points to the fact that only God knows and searches our hearts, but He tests them and uses circumstances to reveal and distinguish those who are humble, so He could reward them, and to humiliate those who are prideful. All that was done to break the bond of sin; the ultimate goal of Joseph`s dreams was to break the bond of sin in his brothers` hearts because God used their humiliation and humbling to bring them to their knees to repent.
I always saw this story as a way of God`s provision and salvation from the starvation to save Joseph`s family, but I never looked at this story as a way of God to use Joseph to save his household and to get his brothers to repent. The account of Joseph`s sacrifice resulted in humbling of his brothers.
Sometimes we think that God doesn`t see or know anything, and we question His motivations as to why some injustices happen, but if only we could be a little more patient to make it to the end of the story, so we could find God to be faithful and just as always. The Bible didn`t stop on Joseph`s story with him being sent out to slavery, but it ended with God proving to be faithful and just to the end when He rewarded Joseph with elevating him into the one of the most prestigious positions (he was named the second after the Pharaoh), and with his brothers traveling all the way to Egypt to meet Joseph face to face to discover that he was alive. That faithfulness of God prompted them to repent and to acknowledge God being in control of everything.
I have seen so much injustice and was growing weary on some days from exhaustive waiting for God`s deliverance, but my story doesn`t end here. Like Joseph, I`m waiting for the outcome of God`s faithfulness on my life, so He could bring out all the justice to pass and bring out my truth. God already had a plan as to why He took me out of my house and led me to where I am now because He knows better what`s coming. I can only surrender to His will and know that He is faithful always!
I think we have to think twice before we question God as to why things happen the way they happen, and why does He selects certain people over the others because like in case with Joseph, we see that God was judging according to each one of their hearts` motivations. As humans, we don`t have that luxury to see people through, although we have the Holy Spirit`s discernment, but it`s God`s privilege to test our hearts and to search them out, so He could use each one of us according to its true implication.
I am grateful that God is showing me every time how faithful He is, and He continues to uphold me whenever I feel doubts start creeping into my heart. I have no reasons to doubt God or to question His timeframes because only He knows when the right time for everything is.
If you feel like you were wronged, or you are tired of waiting for the Lord to show His justice, please stay patient and wait until the end because God is faithful and just every single time. The only thing that could delay His response is our hearts and their motivations, so I urge you to search out your heart and to test it against God`s word to assure that whatever you expect to happen will allow God room to bring it to pass by using your clean heart.
I personally make it a habit to pray the same prayer David prayed in Psalm 139:23-24 (NKJV):
23Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.