Wednesday, February 8 2023 - 12:12 PM
caravan of camels and people in the desert
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The Anatomy of Evil

The sons of Jacob (Israel) were varied in age and disposition, but their influence upon each other was evil and dark. When Joseph, their younger sibling, came to check on them for their father and bring them fresh food supplies, they showed their disdain for him, ripped off his coat, and threw him into a pit to die. Such a lovely group of “boys.”

A few of them worried about the optics of what they had done and how they would tell their dad. So, they made up a story about him being killed by a wild animal, then pulled him out of the pit and sold him as a slave to a caravan of foreign merchants.

Joseph and His Brothers

“As [Joseph] saw the merchants the dreadful truth flashed upon him. To become a slave was a fate more to be feared than death. In an agony of terror he appealed to one and another of his brothers, but in vain. Some were moved with pity, but fear of derision kept them silent; all felt that they had now gone too far to retreat. If Joseph were spared, he would doubtless report them to the father who would not overlook their cruelty toward his favorite son. Steeling their hearts against his entreaties, they delivered him into the hands of the heathen traders. The caravan moved on, and was soon lost to view” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 211).

Fear of intimidation by their siblings caused the more sensitive brothers to ignore their feelings of pity. This is the way the devil works. He hoodwinks us into going along with injustice and acts of hate because we don’t want to be made fun of or singled out by those who have no remorse.

After their initial evil act and hostility toward Joseph, the brothers reasoned they had “gone too far” to turn back. This is a favorite argument of the devil after we have taken one step in his direction.

God Can Flip It Around

What’s encouraging about this story is that no matter how sordid and convoluted one’s journey may be, God can flip it around and bring something good out of it. Joseph went on to become second in command over the nation of Egypt, and from this position, he was able to save his family from starvation and death! Nothing is impossible with God.

What an amazing God we serve!

You might be interested in reading: God is Good  | What the Story of Joseph Is Really About

Rich DuBose writes from Southern California.

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About Rich DuBose

Rich DuBose

is director of Church Support Services for the Pacific Union Conference.

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