by Christina Farris
13 And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I.
14 And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.
15 And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou?
16 And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks.
17 And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan.
18 And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.
19 And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.
20 Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.
21 And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him.
22 And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.
23 And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him;
24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.
25 And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.
26 And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?
27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.
28 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.
29 And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes.
30 And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go?
31 And they took Joseph's coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood;
32 And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son's coat or no.
33 And he knew it, and said, It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.
34 And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.
35 And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.
36 And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard. Everytime we here this story in Sunday school or from a pulpit the focus is on Joseph and his plight, but today I want to look at Reuben his eldest brother. One of the hardest things in life is to have to deal with issue of not being able to protect someone that needed our protection. It like having a life line ready to throw but the wind current blows it over the wrong way, and the person drowns, or worse continues down stream to another location far removed from the place you now stand. Can you change where the person is taken or where the person ends up, all you can do is pray. The ability to control to save, to protect is only half the battle. The second battle is hoping you can figure how save someone from demise of someone else.
Every rescue worker hopes they can save a life and deliver one baby at least. However they hope their training will deliver those they are trying to help to a safe location. Yet the tragedy of works is often the failing of not being able to save a life. If you ever seen a squad at a hospital and workers are teary eyed, no they did their best, but their efforts were most likely not enough.
Reuben seen his other brother's anger toward Joseph and encouraged them to put him in a pit near by instead of killing him. Reuben had hope to return and rescue his brother from the pit and to deliver to his father safely. Yet his brother Judah and his other brothers had a better idea to sell him to Ishmeelites. Joseph was sold. His brother Reuben came to the pit to rescue Joseph out and found him gone. Reuben inquired what became of his brother. Found that his other brothers had sold him. The horror of the event to realize you can not undo what your brother's had done, was clear. The brothers came together took Joseph coat of many colors and dipped in blood to deceive their Father of what had become of Joseph.
How many days had Reuben been unable to bear his father's heartbreak. We do not know these answers, but know doubt he felt responsible to the demise of his brother who been sold into slavery. Reuben and his brother continue in their work never searching for Joseph, if not with each caravan of traders that passed, but never knowing what became truly of their brother.
This story is about God's plan for Joseph life, his departure by hardship to a strange land. Yet Joseph would prosper in everything he did, including inside a prison. Our focus is on Reuben and how he probably could only see his failure to protect his brother. We can speculate all day every emotion he probably had, but he never confessed to his father choosing alliance with his brothers. No doubt they all grieved over the sin, but not one confessed to their father who grieved. Not one brother tried to find Joseph, letting their lifeline to aid and protect Joseph after the event.
Guilt is a bad place to be, but life goes on as we all know and the day Reuben sees his brother again what joy must of filled his soul as Joseph explained why these events had happened in his life, meant for destruction, but came out for the good of Egypt and surrounding areas because he chose to obey the Lord.
God healed Joseph's brothers on the day of removal of Joseph disguise. The whole picture, the prophesy and the work of God was being fulfilled. Are we willing to allow are failings to be rewarded by God and his master plan.
As a believer one accepts Christ as Lord and Savior, we can not undo the cross or the shame he bore for our sins. We can not change the affliction of our continual sin, or the punishment that Christ had to endure for our inability to save him from going to the cross of Calvary. When we fail we can not undo the sins we commit after salvation, or our inability to always be a rescue worker for Christ sake, but to know our failings is bring about the whole picture in another person's life as its own rewards. After all Joseph had made his brothers anger because of the vision he had of them bowing to him.
Can we allow our failings to glorify the work of God's master design in the life of the world. Something to think on. Something to consider where have we failed and can we change it? Reuben could not change what his brothers did to Joseph, but he would learn his failing to protect allowed his brother Joseph to protect many.
Dear Heavenly Father, in our failings teach us that your master plan is always greater then our comprehension, In Jesus precious name, Amen.
Continual Scripture Study:2 Peter 3:9 KJV
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.