Once when we had our grandson on a ‘sleeper-over’ as he called it, we took him to the supermarket. He was right beside me one moment, then totally out of sight the next. I couldn’t believe how quickly he had disappeared, and went methodically up and down every aisle, searching for him; all to no avail. I summoned help from an assistant, and thankfully, before many moments, he was located. It was probably all over in just a few minutes, but they stretched to an anguishing eternity as fear rushed in. Had he been snatched? What would I say to his mum and dad? How had I been so neglectful? In the light of all that, I find it hard to imagine how Joseph’s brothers could take home to their father Jacob such terrible news, knowing it was all their fault, and quite deliberate (Genesis 37:26-33).
I suppose they had learned such deceit from the hand of the master. Jacob himself had caused more than a little grief to his own parents. Ironic too, that he had deceived his father by killing a young goat – when he made the stew for him, prior to receiving his blessing. Now a goat died in Joseph’s place, for his blood to be smeared over that wonderful robe.
There are another group of people in the bible who have their robes dipped in blood. Revelation 7:14 – ‘These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore,
‘they are before the throne of God
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne
will shelter them with his presence.
16 “Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,”
nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb at the centre of the throne
will be their shepherd;
“he will lead them to springs of living water.”
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
For these, as well as Joseph, the way was hard, very hard; but for them all, it was well worth it in the end.
And think this is a great reminder that whatever the difficulties that we go through, God has his purposes, his promises and his rewards. The story of Joseph, the lost son had a happy ending for Jacob during his lifetime; for those in Revelation, they had to wait longer. But it was all worth it in the end.