Sin Disappoints

Even when our "schemes" work.

Genesis 37:25-36 (ESV)

Then they sat down to eat. And looking up they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing gum, balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry it down to Egypt. Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers listened to him. Then Midianite traders passed by. And they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. They took Joseph to Egypt.

When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not in the pit, he tore his clothes and returned to his brothers and said, “The boy is gone, and I, where shall I go?” Then they took Joseph's robe and slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. And they sent the robe of many colors and brought it to their father and said, “This we have found; please identify whether it is your son's robe or not.” And he identified it and said, “It is my son's robe. A fierce animal has devoured him. Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces.” Then Jacob tore his garments and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days. All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted and said, “No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” Thus his father wept for him. Meanwhile the Midianites had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard.

Reuben is stuck. He’s responsible for Joseph but has failed to keep him safe. What’s he going to do now? “The boy is gone, and I, where shall I go?”

One obvious possibility is to do nothing – to just go home and say, “I don’t know where Joseph is.” Technically, that’s not a lie; he doesn’t know where Joseph is. But Reuben and his brothers would spend the rest of their lives on a manhunt. The last thing they want is a lifelong Amber Alert for Joseph. They need a plan that brings closure.

So they don’t say anything about what happened to Joseph. They just bring his robe and ask Jacob to identify it. This works, sort of. Jacob concludes on his own that Joseph has been killed by a wild beast (which wasn’t all that far-fetched back then).

But the plan still backfires; Jacob becomes inconsolably grief stricken. They don’t get the closure they want and they can’t fix it.

Sin disappoints again.

Put the words “sin” and “disappoint” together in a sentence and politics comes to mind. We should pray more often for our nation and its leaders. Yes, they are laughably sinful at times.

And we’re not? Who can count the blessings we enjoy because we live in the USA? Pray that God would heal our nation. Please pray specifically for those leaders you don’t agree with.

Humble yourself.

The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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