Our DECEPTION shall RETURN to us MULTIPLIED: So they took Joseph's tunic, killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the tunic in the blood. Then they sent the tunic of many colors, and they brought it to their father and said, "We have found this. Do you know whether it is your son's tunic or not?" And he recognized it and said, "It is my son's tunic. A wild beast has devoured him. Without doubt Joseph is torn to pieces." Then Jacob tore his clothes, put sackcloth on his waist, and mourned for his son many days. And all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, and he said, "For I shall go down into the grave to my son in mourning." Thus his father wept for him. (Gen. 37:31-35)
As we read the story of Joseph, we can see him greatly loved by his father Jacob (v. 3), but hated (v. 4, 8) and envied (v. 11) by his ten brothers. As a result, he was plotted against (v. 18), sold as a slave (vv. 27-28), arrested unjustly, and made to suffer in the prison. But he went from suffering to glory and eventually became the savior of his own people who had rejected him. Though often read as a tale of treachery, abuse, and profound sorrow, the story of Joseph is rather one of celebration of the sovereign, but mysterious purposes of God. Though he was sold into Egyptian slavery by his jealous brothers, Joseph eventually became their means of salvation and blessing in the later days!
The story of Joseph is also similar to the story of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was rejected and sold by His own, but eventually became the Savior of the whole world. However, both Joseph and Jesus had to suffer before they could enter into their glory (Luke 24:26; 1 Pet. 5:10). The goal was glorious, but the whole process was painful. The lesson for us through these two stories is that God desires that we become like His Son Jesus Christ, and we may need to go through certain painful process before we become more like Him. "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren." (Romans 8:29)
However, lurking behind this grand story of Joseph is a certain truth that we encounter about his father Jacob: his own deception had returned to him multiplied after a period of time. Over 20 years ago, Jacob had similarly deceived his own father Isaac, and now he was being deceived by his own sons in a grander scale. There are a few points for us to ponder concerning the similarities of these two deceptions:
- Earlier, Jacob had deceived his father Isaac with the full knowledge and active participation of his mother Rebekah (27:6-17); now, his own ten sons had conspired together and participated in deceiving him (37:29-35).
- Earlier, Jacob had killed two young goats and prepared their meat for his father for obtaining his blessings (27:9-14); now, his own sons had killed a young goat in order to deceive him (37:31).
- Earlier, Jacob had deceived his father Isaac using goat skins in order to impersonate his brother’s hairy arms (27:16-23) and with Esau’s clothing (27:15, 27); now, he was being cruelly deceived by the blood of a goat on his son Joseph’s coat (37:31-33).
Let us be careful that we do not deceive anyone knowingly, for if we do that, we will definitely reap the consequences of our doings one day in the future. "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." (Gal. 6:7-9)