My kids love the movie Joseph: The King of Dreams. For a while, it was on repeat in our house. As I was folding laundry one day, I decided that we ought to study the story of Joseph. The kids were familiar with the details, so I figured why not spend our morning devotions reading a little each day about it. Coincidentally, Nathaniel’s Bible stories for school were about Joseph last week as well.
We just can’t seem to get away from Joseph.
There’s so much to that story. Jealousy, betrayal, resisting sin, honoring God, pain, heartbreak, and success. If you had ever thought that life in Bible times were boring, think again. They had their own fair share of drama and action happening in their lives.
I’m sure most of you are familiar with Joseph. He was born with the special gift of dreams and was doted on by his loving parents. His father gave him a coat of many colors, which immediately caused jealousy to rise up in his brothers. In fact, his brothers plotted to kill him.
They decided not to go that far. Perhaps a twinge of guilt as they saw the genuine fear in Joseph’s eyes convinced them not to be so heartless. Indeed, they spared his life, but they betrayed him by selling him into slavery. I like to think that they had appeased their desire to be rid of their brother while still easing their conscience. Half sins, right?
We know there’s no such thing, but they thought so. Killing him was just too much, so they just sold him into slavery. It’s bad, but not too bad.
Don’t we view sin that way sometimes?
There was still a price to pay for everyone involved. Joseph was removed from everything he had ever known and thrown into slavery. The brothers had to cover up their sin, so they dipped Joseph’s beautiful new coat in blood to make it look like he had been destroyed. They couldn’t return home and tell their father what really happened, so they made it look like a tragic accident. Jacob promised that he would go into the grave with grief over the loss of his son.
So, maybe selling Joseph wasn’t “so bad” in comparison to actually killing him, but the selfish decision of his brothers cost everyone. They willingly put their father through the worst pain a parent can know – the loss of a child.
Only Joseph wasn’t dead. His brothers had lied.
It was just as hideous as if they had killed him by their own hands.
When I was younger, I looked at sin in two categories: big sin and little sin. One great big sin would be murdering someone or stealing something from the store. A little sin would be telling a white lie to my mom. Little bitty sins didn’t ever hurt anyone, did they?
The Bible says that by one man, sin entered into the world. You know who I’m talking about. Adam and Eve. They ate that stinkin’ fruit and cursed all of mankind. A piece of fruit. It wasn’t too bad, but it cost our eternity.
As Christians, let us be careful not to look at sin as though it’s not the worst thing we could do. Let’s not put each sin on a scale and think it’s okay to commit because it’s not as bad as something really bad as killing a guy or something else.
Because at the end of the day, there is always a price to pay for sin. It will bite us in the tush. Thankfully, God is merciful and gracious with the promise to forgive us, but that doesn’t mean we may not have to endure the bitter consequences.
Joseph’s story has a happy ending with forgiveness and reuniting with his family. God was able to use Joseph and bless him in spite of affliction and trouble. It’s truly one of the most amazing stories of God’s provision even in the most impossible and frustrating of circumstances.
But even still, I can’t help but wonder if they mourned the time that was lost. The late nights young Joseph cried with homesickness for his family. Or how the brothers would sweat with guilt as they carried their secret about what really happened to their brother. Or the mornings where Jacob felt crushed by grief over the loss of his precious son.
All of that pain simply because of Joseph’s brothers’ selfishness and jealousy. God did amazing things through every bit of the trouble. He redeemed a horrible situation. It’s just sad that it ever had to go there.
Be careful with the decisions you make. Be vigilant of how you view sin or how you deal with others. Do not believe the lie that it’s okay to commit one just because no one will know or it doesn’t compare to the severity of another. It’ll still do it’s damage in one way or another.
Even if only one “tiny” sin was all that had ever been committed, it was enough sin to put Jesus on the cross. The Bible says the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus. You notice it didn’t say bad sins, but SIN in of itself.
Jesus paid the ultimate price at Calvary, taking our punishment and our cross. Let’s not forget that as we go through each day.