“This people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.” Matthew 13:15
We are looking at the transformation of Joseph’s brothers. Their sins were many—sexual sins, sins of deception and betrayal. How can people like this enter into God’s blessings?
Grieving the father
When the brothers sold Joseph as a slave, they covered their tracks by lying to their father. Their lie plunged Jacob into unrelenting sorrow, and for more than twenty years they perpetuated this lie. Every day the brothers worked for their father, sustaining the lie that caused him unimaginable grief.
Never once did they say, “What if we were to tell the old man his son might still be alive?”
Confession would be too hard for them. They felt the truth would be too costly—better to leave the old man in his sorrow than risk telling the truth. This led to twenty years of pretense, and twenty years of grieving their father’s heart.
Hating the dearly loved son
Remember, the brothers hated Joseph because he was the favored son. “When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him” (Gen. 37:4). Even though ‘hate’ is a strong word, it is used repeatedly. After Joseph told his brothers his dream, the Bible tells us, “They hated him even more” (Gen. 37:8).
It isn’t hard to understand their motive: “Nobody places himself above us! Especially not our own brother.” That’s why they conspired to kill him, though they ended up selling him for twenty pieces of silver.
That’s the story of the brothers. What are they doing? Grieving the father and hating the son. What has to change in order to turn their lives around? These two things.
Do you ever wonder if your heart (or someone else’s) is too hard to change?