IS THERE A BOMB UNDER YOUR BED?JBut they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.(vs 18)
Zinaida Bragantsova lived with a Second World War bomb under her bed for 43 years. The unexploded bomb was detonated only when Ukrainian authorities were laying a telephone cable in the area.
Hatred is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. Three times we are told of Joseph’s brothers: ‘they hated him’. The first time we are told ‘they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him’. The third time there is an intensification of hatred: ‘they hated him all the more’, not just for his dreams but ‘for his words’ as well. There was a bomb ticking under the family bed. How does one move from sibling rivalry to sibling shalom? Was this story meant to be a lesson to the Israelite tribes when they were tempted to quarrel and fragment the unity of God’s people?
Did Joseph need to share his dream with his brothers? How did he narrate his dreams? Humbly? Pompously? Did Jacob need to display favouritism for his youngest son by parading him in an ornate robe and then sending him to oversee them shepherding? Didn’t that make it worse by stoking the hatred and jealousy?
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus equates anger against a brother to murder. Cain was angry with his brother and murdered him. The sons of Jacob were angry with their brother and murdered him. Almost. If not for Reuben, Joseph would have been dead. No doubt, God had something to do with it, too!
Prayer † Almighty God, you have made us ambassadors of your reconciling work in Christ Jesus. Forgive us when we exalt ourselves, when we let the sun set on our anger, when we provoke anger in others. Amen.
The World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) is a fellowship of 75 million Reformed Christians in 214 churches in 107 countries. Its member churches are Congregational, Presbyterian, Reformed and United churches with roots in the 16th-century Reformation led by John Calvin, John Knox and others. WARC has a small secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland.