We’re hearing in the news that kids are not getting the exercise they need because parents don’t feel it’s safe to let them go out and play. I can remember a few scary moments when my kids disappeared from the spot they’d been playing in, and I’m sure my parents had similar anguish with me from time to time; but there comes a time you have to teach them how to keep safe, and let them out into the big wide world.
Jacob got worried about his sons (Genesis 37:12) and sent young Joseph out to check on them. It turned out they had wandered further afield without sending word back home. Of course these were adult men, but it wouldn’t have harmed them to send word and let Jacob know they were OK.
This story reminds me of one Jesus told. Luke 20:9-16, the parable of the vineyard tenants. The man who planted the vineyard sent his servants to collect the fruit, but the tenants refused them. In the end the man sent dearly beloved son to get some sense out of them; but instead they killed him.
Both of these stories remind us that God cares about his people so much that he sent his dearly beloved son to seek and save those who are lost. But instead of appreciating it, the people killed the son, or in Joseph’s case, threatened him with death and then sold him into slavery.
Jacob’s love for Joseph did not stop him loving the other sons, however inadequately; and he was prepared to risk Joseph’s safety to demonstrate his care for them. God’s love for Jesus did not prevent him from sending him to that horrific death on the cross to rescue us. If that doesn’t demonstrate his love for us, I don’t know what would.
Unbeknown to his brothers, God’s purpose was fulfilled in Joseph through his slavery – and because of his suffering, the whole family, as well as a significant number of nations, was saved from starvation. It always amazes me how God takes bad things and transforms them into blessings, if we release them into his keeping. What difficult situations do you need to release into his care, and ask him to transform?