Redemption Story: Joseph the Slave


Genesis 37:12-36

Questions for Reflection

  • Have you been resented by people in your family? How did you handle it?
  • Has God ever felt "hidden" at a time you needed Him?
  • Has part of your story ever been later revealed to impact more than just yourself?


Have you been treated badly by people who are supposed to love you? Even if you didn’t necessarily do anything to wrong them? It hurts. Rejection is one of the worst things a person can experience, especially when it comes from family.


I don’t know what you’ve had to endure or how badly you’ve been hurt. But I’m guessing your family members probably did not plot faking your death and sell you into slavery. Maybe, but not likely. Joseph had a set of problems that are hard to wrap our heads around. We can, however, all relate on some level to the betrayal and emotional harm. Joseph the dreamer had become Joseph the rejected by his brothers, and that lead to him becoming Joseph the slave.


Imagine someone hating you so much that they would throw you in a pit and then profit off of your fake death. Imagine how it felt to be down in that pit, wondering what was going to happen to you. How scared Joseph must have been. How he must have been wondering where God was in all of this. Why He wouldn’t just save him from it.


This begins a theme that occurs throughout Joseph’s story, the apparent hiddenness of God. Notice that God was not uncaringly absent, He was hidden. The difference between the two could not be more important. In the times when it seems God isn’t there, He is often working behind the scenes, doing works that will only be revealed later. That’s comforting to know, but hard to accept in the moment. It still feels like He isn’t there.


Joseph’s journey from beloved son to hated brother and slave is about to take another turn, one that is part of the process of getting him to where God showed him he would be. Joseph didn’t just get sold by his brothers, he was sold to a very powerful man in Egypt. We know, looking back, that this is setting the stage for God’s chosen people to be in Egypt, and subsequently lead out of Egypt my Moses. But Joseph didn’t know that. While he was living this, God seemed hidden, His purpose unknown. This all had to happen so that the larger story could go on, and Joseph had to go through the process. His redemption was coming, as so was the redemption of God’s people.