TODAY'S WORD FOR Monday, May 13, 2019:
To return evil for evil or a wrong; to inflict pain or harm to gain satisfaction.
So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the richly ornamental robe he was wearing, and they took him and threw him into the cistern. As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelite’s coming from Gilead. Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover his blood?” Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelite’s.
KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:
In Genesis 37 we learn quite a bit about Joseph and his brothers. There was no love lost between Joseph and his 10 brothers. Joseph had become a thorn in the flesh to his older brothers. They resented the fact that he was the favorite son of their father Jacob.
Joseph had two dreams that he shared with his brothers about his future. These dreams foretold to Joseph that his brothers one day would bow down to him. The possibility that Joseph might reign over them caused the brothers to hate Joseph even more. They no doubt had been wanting to retaliate for a long time. It was probably a good thing that they were away from home most of the time tending their father’s flocks.
One day Jacob sent his son Joseph to check on his brothers. The brothers saw Joseph coming from a far distance wearing his beautiful coat, the hated symbol of their father’s favoritism for Joseph. They began to plot how to kill Joseph and throw him into an empty cistern nearby. So when Joseph arrived to talk to his brothers they stripped him of his robe and threw him into the cistern.
While Joseph is no doubt pleading to his brothers for their mercy the hard-hearted brothers sat down to eat their meal and did all they could to ignore Joseph. Suddenly they saw a caravan in the distance coming their way. It was a caravan of Ishmaelites and the brothers change their mind and plan to sell Joseph rather than leaving him to die. Not only would they get rid of Joseph but they would gain some money for themselves.
We cannot help but believe that God sent this caravan of Ishmaelites to save Joseph’s life. You see God had something big for Joseph in the future if he kept his eyes on the Lord.
All the brothers could think about was satisfying their desire to retaliate against Joseph. Evil deeds always require a cover-up so the brothers, after selling Joseph, dipped his robe of many colors in the blood of a goat and took it to their father to mislead him to believe that a wild animal killed Joseph. Of course their father was deeply grieved. The brothers had not given any consideration as to how their act of retaliation would affect their father. Now they had to live with their guilt for the great sorrow they had caused their father.
There are a lot of lessons we can learn through this account of Joseph, his brothers and Jacob.
First, when one child is favored over the others by one or both parents the children notice it and it causes discord in a family. Discord leads to trouble.
Secondly, there is never any satisfaction in retaliation. It usually results in an endless cycle of trying to get even. There is always a cover-up involved and it becomes more harmful than the act of retaliation. The only way to stop the cycle resulting from retaliation is forgiveness. But most people excuse their desire to retaliate by telling themselves that the person they are retaliating against has it coming.
In Matthew 5:38-39, God has a whole different perspective on retaliation for us to consider. He says, “You have heard said, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
Jesus taught that we were not to try to even the score by returning evil for evil. We are to forgive and then do good. This is a very hard lesson for most people to learn and practice. When a situation comes your way that you might consider requires retaliation take a moment to stop and think before you act and ask yourself what would Jesus do? In Luke 6:31, Jesus tells us what He would do and what we should do. “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Our memory verse for this week is found in Ephesians 4:32.
Be kind and compassionate to one another forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Take away my desire to retaliate, dear Lord, against those who do evil things against me. Help me to forgive and then to shine as a bright light, representing You with my walk and my talk.
These Family Devotional thoughts are written by Dr. Ken Phillips, Executive Director of America's Hunger
Solution, and his wife Dottie. Ken has had ministry positions
with The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, World Vision, Youth For Christ, World Opportunities International,
and World Bible Society. He also has consulted for more than 30 Christian ministries in management and stewardship
development. They have published a book called No Problems Only Situations that discusses the journey of their family.
Ken and Dottie have been married for 60 years, and have 6 children, 20 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren. Their
second book, TODAY'S WORD, includes 365 daily
devotionals and is now available for only $10.
Ken & Dottie Phillips
May we encourage you to send a DONATION to help:Deliver a box of food to feed a poor family for one week in the inner cities of America --- the poorest of the poor and/or to children and their families in a third world country. (we deliver food boxes to 20 third world countries.)
SPONSOR ONE BOX FOR ONLY $7.00
CLICK HERE TO MAKE A DONATION.
(All gifts are income tax deductible)