18 But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.
19 “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. 20 “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.”
21 When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. 22 “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.
23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the ornate robe he was wearing— 24 and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.
25 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.
The other week at church I spoke about sin and the human condition to cover up our sin. We see this in today’s passage:
Firstly, the brothers see Joseph approaching and they devise a plan to kill him. Their resentment has grown so much that it’s escalated to murderous thoughts. That’s quite an overreaction in response to someone who has shared a dream with you!
The sin: Murder
The cover up: Say he was killed by a ferocious animal
Cover ups are never the way forward…
They never make sin better, they normally escalate. The only way out of sin is through the cross of Christ, through confession, repentance, restoration and redemption
But we also see a different cover up in today’s passage:
Covering up to save reputation
Reuben, as the older brother could have pulled rank. He could have said no! We shouldn’t do this, lets talk this through like adults.
But Reuben is in a tricky place:
He feels the hurt his brothers feel so doesn’t want to seem like he’s making excuses for Joseph. He doesn’t want to lose face
He also knows they shouldn’t kill Joseph and intends to return Joseph to Jacob
Reuben tries another cover up, this time with best intentions:
Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.
The reality is that Reuben’s cover up doesn’t work either, because the brothers change their mind and sell Joseph to the passing Midianites heading to Egypt. They, in turn, sell Joseph to Potiphar
What about you?
Are there areas of sin that you are covering up? The only way out of them is to bring them to the cross of Jesus Christ
Are you in a situation that you’re trying to get out of by covering up with the best intentions? The best option is to act with integrity and honesty.
Bring these areas to God today, ask for forgiveness and wisdom going forward.