September 15, 1999

"What will we gain if we kill our brother?"
bluebullGenesis 37:26

___The context of this passage is the key to understanding the question and the answer. God had revealed to Joseph through dreams that he would rule over his brothers and family. Jacob, his father, did not understand this, but Joseph still was his favorite. His brothers looked on Joseph with contempt, envy, jealousy and hatred. Joseph's brothers were out taking care of the sheep, and Jacob sent Joseph to find them. When they saw
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Boerne

Joseph coming, they conspired to kill him.
questions___Murder begins in the heart with contempt, envy, jealousy and hatred. This evil quadruplet, when nursed in the heart, is ready to be expressed with any opportunity. All it needs is an opportunity.
___Lust is a first cousin to it. That is why Jesus said that to have hatred and lust in the heart is the same as committing murder or adultery. Once the commitment is made in the heart, the action will follow at the first opportunity in some form or another. It is the heart that is sinful. The eyes, hands, mouth and feet simply wait for an opportunity and are directed by the heart.
___The opposite also is true.
___So, Joseph's brothers took him and threw him into a pit ready to kill him, but Reuben delayed them. The Bible says that as they were eating, a caravan of Ishmaelites came by on their way to Egypt. Judah speaks up with this question, "What will we gain if we kill our brother ... ?" The answer to the question is, "We will gain nothing by killing our brother and so let us get rid of him by selling him to these Ishmaelites."
___The strange twist to this question and its answer is that Judah gives his brothers another option to the opportunity that they needed to express the sin that was in their hearts. The Bible also says that his brothers "listened to him." They could still get rid of Joseph by selling him rather than killing him and could gain from it as well. The action they took may seem to be "good" in comparison to murder, and yet it still was simply an expression of the sin in their hearts.
___This question and its answer direct us to examine our own hearts and actions. What are the options that we have today for expressing the sin in our hearts that are "acceptable" and even profitable? What is the "acceptable" way today for getting rid of someone with whom we disagree, are envious of or feel animosity toward?
___Rather than reconcile with others, it seems that it is "better" to start something new where we can be in control whether it be a new marriage, a new church or a new denomination. These actions are simply a new answer to an old question, "What will we gain if we kill our brother ... ?" and it still simply expresses the sin that is in the heart, waiting for an expression, even an "acceptable" one.
___And make no mistake about it; the others brothers are "listening to him."

Previous Columns: 7/14, 7/21, 7/28, 8/4, 8/11, 8/18, 8/25, 9/1, 9/8.


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