Jacob’s sons made his name stink in the land, but Jacob didn’t cut them off. He loved them and sought their good even when they continued to rebel against him. We get three glimpses of the love of God the Father and God the Son here in Jacob and Joseph’s actions.
“Israel [Jacob] said to Joseph, ‘Are not your brothers pasturing the flock at Shechem? Come, I will send you to them’” (Gen. 37:13). Shechem was the very place where the brothers made their father’s name stink. There would have been other clans nearby who wanted to get revenge. So, the father sent his favored son on a dangerous journey because of his great love for the children who ruined his name in the land. Can you see the story of Jesus in this?
When Joseph arrived in Shechem, the brothers were not there. Instead of returning home to his father, Joseph walked up and down the fields, looking for them. When he finally found them, they were in Dothan, about 65 miles from Shechem. Joseph would not give up. In the same way, aren’t you glad that Jesus does not give up on us when we are not where we’re supposed to be?
“When Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the robe of many colors that he wore. And they took him and threw him into a pit” (37:23-24). Later in the story, the brothers said to one another, “We are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us and we did not listen” (42:21). When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane, He was overwhelmed with sorrow and asked if release were possible (Luke 22:42). Joseph was sent by the father, but now, in the pit, he was alone. No one heard his cry for help. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1).
Where do you see a glimpse of God’s love for you in this story?