Genesis 37:28 – Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.
Hello readers, we’re talking about selling Joseph out today. Today we will obviously be talking once again from the life of Joseph. It really begins in Genesis 37, but I will jump around a bit in his story today, so it’d be recommended to read the Bible for yourself and familiarize yourself with this man of faith of the Bible. What was Joseph’s fault? Why did his brothers hate him so much… and enough to want to kill him, but then “settle” for selling him. Today we want to apply this story to our lives, the Bible gives us so many examples from history so that we can learn from and our faith be built. I hope this blog is a blessing to you, it is wonderful seeing so many things from Joseph’s life which lead us to Christ and which are so applicable to our understanding, our thinking and our lives practically today. Jesus Christ positively shines forth from the pages of Joseph’s life.
Joseph is remembered for many things in the Bible, like having a coat of many colors, like being sold by his brothers because they hated him for his brethren, for resisting great sexual temptation, to being chucked into prison for a crime he didn’t commit, to telling dreams, to becoming lord of Egypt! But today we will focus on the theme of selling Joseph. And we will obviously be referring ultimately to Jesus Christ, the selling out of Joseph in many ways mirrors the hows and whys of people’s receptiveness to the gospel in this current day. Because many of us are more like the brothers than like Joseph, and many people sell Joseph out. Many people sold out Jesus Christ when he came the first time and even more have done it since. Remember back to the life of Christ, who they loved at the start, but when he began to preach and told them they were sinners, and commanded them to repent, and how he said he was the way, the truth, the life… they hated him for it. Jesus told many hard truths, but today we will see that the truth is only hard not because the truth itself is bad, but we are bad, so when the truth is told about us, it is hard to endure. Truth is necessary but not well received mostly.
Joseph told his brothers the truth. God gave him the dream, it wasn’t his own dream, but they hated him for it. People hear the gospel today and they hate Jesus for it, and consequentially they also hate people who believe in Jesus Christ who reiterate the word of God. Why do they hate the truth? Joseph told them the clear truth. What was going to happen did happen and was always going to happen. But that sparked a deep hatred for Joseph. Why? It is because of sin in their own lives, that’s why they can’t get to truth. John 3:19,20 – And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. You will go to hell because when truth came to you, you rejected it, just like the brothers utterly rejected Joseph for what he said. The truth certainly does sort out who’s who in this life. Look what it brought out in them, envy, jealousy, murder, lies.
Joseph was their brother. Did you know that Jesus Christ became flesh and blood? And because Jesus became as one of us, he knows what it’s like to live as a human being. He came from above but wasn’t above us, he was born of a woman, and made under the law… exactly like we are. But where we all have sinned and all fail, he did not. He did no sin. The wonderful truth also is that Jesus was tempted, Jesus hungered, Jesus wept, he actually knows what we are going through when we come to him. Many people make poor comforters because they really have no idea what someone else is going through. But Jesus really does. Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He can have compassion and does because of that fact. He was lied about, falsely accused, he was crucified when he did no wrong. He got no justice, he was hated by those he loved and told the truth, he was betrayed, he was beaten, he was mocked, he was shamed as he hung naked on the cross. How can we sell out someone like Christ? As bigger brothers they should’ve protected Joseph, not sell him out… that’s not what good big brothers should do.
One of the reasons his brothers hated him was because Joseph was a “dobber”, a “spoilsport” in their eyes. But Joseph wasn’t a telltale, but he did tell his father the truth. His brothers did a lot of wrong, and Joseph would tell his father, otherwise his father wouldn’t know. Was it a bad thing? No. He went and told their dad. That’s doing the right thing. He didn’t go and tell anyone else but the one who was in the position of responsibility, who should know, who should be told. How does this all parallel to Jesus Christ? Well the fact is he did no sin, and he is the truth. But we hate him because in him is truth. They hated him because he told the truth about them. He didn’t let them hide their sin. They also hated him telling them for what they were. You can always count on God for honesty, but that’s why people hate him. When you say Jesus Christ is the truth, people react. When God’s word declares truth, people react. If his brothers had been doing right, they wouldn’t have needed to be so angry. But his brothers were evil, and they didn’t like their sin being exposed. What leads to selling Christ out is the fact that God is the truth and tells us the truth about ourselves, and there is nowhere to hide. It really got them annoyed being exposed by Joseph. They were annoyed he didn’t go along with their rubbish. Jesus won’t go along with our sin. Jesus won’t hide our sin. He won’t look the other way. What we need is truth, but even though their future would depend upon Joseph, and our future depends on Jesus Christ, they didn’t yet see a need for truth. They were offended because they loved their sin. We sell out on Christ because the cross is offensive, it tells us we aren’t good enough, it exposes all that hypocrisy and sin.
Joseph was favored by Jacob. That made his brothers hate him. You know why people hate Jesus Christ? Because he is the only one who pleased his Father. He is the only one whom God himself approves of. He is the only way to God. This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. That’s never been said from heaven of any other man. To show how far above us God is, the Bible says it pleased the Lord to bruise him. You see, for all of his goodness and faithfulness, he copped the raw end of the deal. The brothers were the wicked ones, and you and I are the wicked ones today, and a righteous man suffered for us, he went through all the rubbish for us. Joseph endured betrayal, he was falsely accused, he went to jail… yet was faithful in it all. Jesus never stopped being faithful to his Father, that’s what pleased him… but people don’t like the notion the they aren’t good enough, they don’t like the fact it’s only through Christ or you won’t be accepted. Look at Cain, he was wroth that his sacrifice was rejected. God won’t accept you but through Jesus Christ. And that favoritism of God to Jesus Christ makes people upset. The fact there is no other way to God but through the righteousness of Christ, and thus declaring our unrighteousness, it offends our flesh which doesn’t want to exalt God, but itself.
You know, we should be like a Joseph. Because Joseph was like Jesus Christ. Anyone who is a Christian is so called because their life shows “Christ likeness”. Hence being called a Christian. Through our lives should radiate the life and person of Christ. There will be similarities between a believer and Christ because the Spirit of Christ is in a believer. Hence they hate Jesus, they will hate you. Hence Jesus spoke truth, and you will have the truth to speak. Hence, Jesus truly loved people, and you will have a true love for others. Joseph’s life displayed massive amounts of Christ likeness, look at his ability to forgive his brothers, to overcome bitterness, to be faithful even through all the wrong he endured. The way he knew and told the truth. Yet so many Christians today have no Christ likeness at all. Where Jesus was holy, they live in sin. Where Jesus told the truth and is truth, we love lies. Where Jesus is light, we are darkness. Where Jesus fulfilled the law, we live lives devoted to breaking it. Where Jesus was meek and lowly, we are proud and puffed up. No wonder God says for us to consider our ways. We can be so deceived about ourselves. Time to wake up.
Joseph got dreams from God, he got insight and knowledge that his brothers didn’t get it. It’s a picture of Jesus Christ again. You see, Jesus said all power is given unto him in heaven and in earth. The Bible says in him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Jesus knows the future, and like Joseph told his brothers, so the Bible is Jesus relaying the mind and will and judgement of God to us. It’s not just what Joseph told his brothers, it was the mere fact he could tell his brothers. This little kid telling them things they didn’t know, and then furthermore things that insulted their pride and ego. They could just never get on with Joseph, in the same way an unbelieve just can’t get along with God, because there is no peace between man and God when we are in sin, when we are living in wickedness. Light and darkness have no fellowship, and no concord. His brothers only knew stuff through the mouth of Joseph. And you cannot know anything of God but through God’s word. We cannot know God outside of Jesus Christ, just like his brothers did not know God’s word or God’s plan for their lives outside of Joseph. Joseph had the truth, and Jesus is the truth today, you cannot know God outside of Christ. Joseph had God’s word and they didn’t. They hated him for it. Because a sinner hates Christ and hates someone who is walking with Christ. Why did Cain kill Abel? Jealousy. He could’ve been right with God himself, but he wasn’t right with God and it angered him to see someone else obeying God. That’s how human works, they don’t want to get saved themselves and they hate someone who does get saved. God’s word brought judgement to their lives through Joseph, and boy people hate that “judging” effect of God’s word… because it is God’s word that judges them, just like it does us all.
So Joseph dreamed a dream and he told his brothers. He wasn’t a dummy, he knew what he was saying would upset them. But he told the truth faithfully. God tells us the truth and doesn’t mince words. He is not a respecter of persons. And neither should we. Look at what John the Baptist told Herod… it is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife. He knew Herod wasn’t going to say Oh thank you John! Just what I wanted to hear! Joseph didn’t hide the truth from his family. It is important we are faithful in declaring truth irrespective of the audience or how we perceive it will be received. Whether good or bad. If someone isn’t saved they need to know that it’s not just all ok, that hell awaits a life that has rejected Jesus Christ. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be wise in what we do or don’t say, but the Bible is clear on many things, and you won’t be helpful to anyone if you hide the truth from them. God’s word is so faithful, because it tells us the truth about ourselves… not to bash us needlessly… but in truth coming to us, we can do something with the truth given to us. Jesus said he had said the things he said that they might be saved. That’s what the Bible is for!
Another thing that the gospel does is it separates.Consider these verses… Matthew 10:34-36… it is Jesus Christ speaking… Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. This is what happened in Joseph’s life and what will happen in your life if you stand for truth, if you remain faithful. Because other family members may be Christ rejecting, and the mere fact you believe the Bible will put you at odds with them. And it will determine whether you follow God first, or put others first. Believing the gospel and walking with God has a separating effect, it did with Joseph, it did with Abraham and it will with you. The gospel is what is going to divide you from people, but it also join you to people. It divides people when they are sin, as they were at this point in their life. But Joseph would be reunited with them years later when they acknowledged the truth. The gospel separates believers and unbelievers, light from darkness, truth from lie. It’s not you trying to separate yourself, but the truth separates. When you don’t live and do like the world they in fact will separate you from them. People get divided over the truth. But it’s important to stay with truth and not choose a lie just so you can keep a relationship. It is important not to compromise on truth. Joseph could’ve told his brothers nothing, he could’ve gone along with their sin, and they’d never have wanted to kill him. But Joseph kept doing right, even though it was alienating him from his sinful brothers. But if he had compromised, his brothers would’ve never got saved down the track. What this shows is how important faithfulness is, continued faithfulness, sticking to truth… even when we don’t see the result, or years down the track. God was planning to bless the whole family, but before the blessing would be many years of turmoil and heartbreak. But the Bible promises… Psalm 126:5,6 – They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. Funny that, there were sheaves in Joseph’s dream!
Another thing is that what Joseph told them was salvation. The dream was about their own salvation! When they bowed down to Joseph, it was when they and their families would be saved from the famine! It would be a time where they would acknowledge their sin, where they would get right with God and others. Salvation is what’s most important in this life. Just they didn’t know it or get it yet. When you tell the gospel to people odds are they don’t know it, can’t conceive it and don’t get it. The dream was utter foolishness to his brothers, even though it was the truth. They didn’t know that he was telling them about the time when they would be saved. You see, many years later they’d be coming to Egypt in a last ditch effort to get food. And they’d get food, and get taken care of because of Joseph. He was their salvation. People don’t see Jesus as their salvation, because they don’t see a need to be saved yet. They weren’t ready to hear the dream because they were in sin. They’d sell Joseph out for him telling them about their salvation. That just about sums humanity up right. They didn’t get what Joseph told them at all, and many people do not get salvation, they don’t get God’s word. And many things aren’t revealed to people before they believe. An unsaved person can read the Bible many times and it’s death to him. But Joseph faithfully told them about their salvation despite the cost to himself, despite their rejection of him and hatred to him. That’s the heart we should have for people. To see them saved. And it’d be nice to be able to be used by God as an instrument to tell them the truth.
They hated what Joseph said though because in the dream they were bowing to Joseph. This one is quite easy to see the parallel. People don’t get saved, they won’t come to Jesus, and in fact will instead reject him, because they are proud. They don’t want to bow to Jesus… Just as the brothers scoffed at the idea of bowing to their younger dobber brother. You see, Joseph wasn’t sinning in telling on them, but they had him as the bad guy and them as the good guys. And they found comfort in each other, because sinners get along, they find commonality in rejecting Christ. And don’t think this blog just applies to nonbelievers somewhere out there… it applies to religious people, to church people… these guys were Joseph’s brothers, sons of Jacob. Just like Jesus when he came to Jerusalem, found a people welcoming him and blessing and praising him… but then went to the temple and it was a den of thieves. These brothers knew heaps about God, they knew about the promises, they’re like religious people today, yet they were a bunch of liars, murderers, thieves. Yet they made Joseph the bad guy. Really it was because of their own pride, as when people are proud it’s all about justifying themselves… not about bowing to God’s word. People accused Jesus of sin, but Jesus was sinless, meanwhile they had murder in their heart, they were full of lies. They made Jesus to be the bad guy, and still do today. How many people charge God with unrighteousness. How could a loving God send people to hell? How can a loving God allow babies to die? How evil is a God that would flood a creation and destroy everyone? And on and on. People are proud. They want to assert themselves over God, not bow before him. And you’ll never get saved until you see YOU SIR are the problem, not someone else. Stop making excuses and come to the cross of Christ.
Yet despite their terrible treatment of him, Joseph would go out and check on his brethren to see how they were going. He went to brothers that hated him to see if they needed help, and to check if they were ok. Jesus Christ cares for you, even while you hate him. He shows grace and mercy to you even while you live a life full of sin. He is ready to save you, he is longsuffering to you, who doesn’t deserve it. And he suffered for you so you didn’t have to. Joseph suffered quite a bit when his brothers grabbed him, stripped him, chucked him in a waterless pit and sold him and left him for dead. Meanwhile his brother’s got off scot free. Jesus went through a lot of bad so you could experience the good. But often we fail to attribute the goodness in our life to the sufferings of Christ. There is no blessing without the suffering of Christ. He took our sin. Joseph didn’t do wrong, but he sure paid for their wrong. Jesus willingly took our curse, so we could be forgiven, so he could atone for our sins. Imagine how the brothers felt after they recognized him in Egypt… realizing their actions and how good God had been to them in spite of their pure evil.
So his brothers eliminated Joseph from the picture. That’s how it is right. Get rid of the preacher. Get rid of truth. Get rid of the Bible. Once that troublesome Joseph is gone things will go so much more smoothly. But where his brothers thought they’d done away with him, they’d find him later in life highly exalted, they left him for dead and would find him later very much alive. People think they’ve killed off truth, they’ve done away with God, they’ve grown up from religion, they’ve successfully exempted themselves from accountability, from judgement, from conviction… but Jesus isn’t gone at all. He’s coming back as King of kings and Lord of lords. You see, in removing him they removed the reminder of their sin, they removed the voice of truth, and boy do people hate to be reminded of truth and they do everything they can to erase the law of God’s fingerprint on their life. But they can’t get rid of him, and can’t get rid of it. They thought they had, but although they’d physically distanced themselves temporarily, they’d not ridded Joseph. And they never had peace in their life because always somewhere deep buried in their heart was conviction of sin, guilt. Until sin is dealt with, it will never be right. You can push it far back, you can remove reminders, burn Bibles, stop going to church, curse God, justify yourself continually, successfully cover up your sin even, paper everything over… but be sure your sin will find you out the Bible says. It’s true. Jesus hasn’t gone anywhere. He rose from the dead, and he’s in heaven now, and there is no way you can avoid standing before him. And he came as a suffering servant first, and despite all man’s best efforts, he is coming back even greater, glorified again!
Reuben was a brother who sanitized his conscience by settling for “only” putting him in a pit and not killing him. That’s man’s best laid plans. You see people often try to self improve. You see, the gospel comes, truth comes, man rejects it. But then he will go it himself, he will clean up his act, and there are many religious people out there who put a feel good vail on their life. Wild childs that “grow up” and “settle down”… yet they’re not right with God. Yet that doesn’t make their evil any less of a stain on their soul and marked before God. And even the brothers, they settled for selling him instead of killing him like that makes it so much better. That was their version of goodness. It’s a picture of how our goodness is still bad. Your best version of yourself is rubbish, it’s junk in the sight of God. Never forget that. But as we often can do, as they spoke together, we can rationalize our sin to ourselves and each other, we consult each other… but we don’t get to God’s word or obey that. Your best day is filthy rags, your best efforts to lift yourself out your own mire, clean up your act, the sprouting of many new leaves in your life… it can never erase the fact you are a sinner before God, and NOT right with God, and not righteous in his sight. Our only righteousness comes from confession of sin and believing on Christ. Our only righteousness ever acceptable to God will be Christ’s righteousness. It was when the brothers confessed their sin, admitted their guilt and bowed to Joseph that their sin was dealt with and that heavy conscience lifted. Not one second before.
Joseph’s dream was prophetic, and salvation is prophetic. You see the Bible is personally powerful, it’s not just information and facts, it’s personally true, it can change your life… why do people hate it so much? Because it’s alive. Jesus said his words are spirit and life. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. God has a 100% strike rate with prophecy, that’s why obeying his word is eternally successful. Nobody has ever believed and gone to hell. Nobody has ever cried out to God in truth and been rejected. He is not willing that any should perish, and he doesn’t want you to perish today. The future is already declared and certain in Christ. You can read Revelation and know the ending before it happens. You can know what judgement is going to be like and how you are going to be judged before it happens. Why? So you can PREPARE yourself now. Noah was told by God what to do so he could be prepared for when the flood came. A true Christian is someone who is preparing to meet God, preparing for eternity, and helping others prepare in the process. You see, Noah’s preparing didn’t just save himself, but his whole family. And the whole family of the earth that believes in Christ will be saved. Doesn’t matter your skin color, your language, anything, Jesus is ready and willing to save you. As sure as Joseph’s dream, though how impossible it looked, so your salvation is certain, so obeying God’s word has a certain, inevitable outcome.
The brothers after Jacob died thought now surely Joseph will get us back. What does this teach us? That once forgiven, always forgiven. Jesus is never going to reneg on the eternal life he’s given you. Once saved, you will always be saved. He is faithful and true, even when we are unfaithful. Did they deserve it? No. Did they ever merit it? No. And we never will deserve and merit the grace and mercy and love that has been shown to us. They were already forgiven when they rocked up, as Jesus has already paid for our sins, but the part we have struggle with is believing it and accepting it. Forgiveness and eternal life are free gifts from God to us, received simply by repentance and faith. Why do we make it so hard? Because we are flesh, and our fleshly nature is against God, and ultimately against us. Your fleshly nature is your soul’s worst enemy.
I have attempted to share some truths from Joseph’s life with you today. Joseph was sold out because his brothers were consumed by envy and jealousy. They didn’t like the truth. They didn’t even know they needed salvation. There are many things that make us sell out on Joseph, on Jesus Christ. Is it truth? Is it offensive? Does it insult your pride? Does it just bring out the envy and jealousy inside you? Just as Joseph was a faithful witness to their deeds to their father, so God today watches and he knows our sin… it’s all recorded. It was the conviction that the truth of Joseph, that his excellent spirit in the midst of corrupt, perverse and crooked brethren that really made them upset and sell him out. God’s word cuts to the heart of man. And Joseph’s upright life brought out the truth about his brothers, and it separated him from them ultimately. You are separated from God if you are unsaved, make no mistake. If you are walking in darkness, you are separated from Jesus Christ. It is only when we are saved and walking in the light, forgiven and cleansed by the blood of Christ that we have fellowship with God and with fellow believers.
There are so many truths from Joseph’s life applicable to us today. But please don’t sell out on Jesus Christ, don’t sell out because of his word… because his word insults you, offends you, is too truthful to you, because you don’t get it, because you don’t value salvation, because you don’t see the future like God already knows it. It was Joseph’s word that started all of this, and God’s word today separates truth from lie, light from dark, sheep from goats. Jesus took your sin for you, he died for you, and he’s been exalted by God, and there is salvation by none other. Joseph’s brothers valued his life at twenty pieces of silver, what value do you truly place on the Son of God today? Is he so bad, is truth that unwelcome, is your appetite for sin and self that great that you throw away your own salvation? Yet even for all their sin, God was able to use it for good, and they repented of their sin and were saved… and you may have burnt a lot of your life today, but God can turn it to good. The only way there can be redemption in a burnt out life is through Jesus Christ. There is no happy ending to the story of your life, to that myriad of bad decisions you’ve made outside of Jesus Christ. Only through Christ is victory had. Joseph’s life is yet another life in the Bible pointing us to Jesus Christ, pointing us to truth, so that we can get saved and be right with God. Don’t sell Joseph out.
Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 30 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)