Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers listened to him. Genesis 37:26-27
Older brothers sell their younger brother into slavery for money. The thought is repelling. I would be naïve if I believed that only ancient cultures are this brutal.
Several years ago, when a poor family in Cambodia accepted money from loan sharks, they believed they had only one way to pay what was demanded. They took their 12-year-old daughter to a local hospital. Doctors issued a certificate of virginity. Her parents then delivered her to a hotel, where a man raped her over a period of two days. This girl fled her home a few years later to find a safe house.
“That’s in Cambodia!” many say. Consider Atlanta. Atlanta’s illegal sex trade has grown to 290 million dollars. Some were sold to sex traffickers by family members.
How cold does a heart have to be a sell a child? This kind of hardheartedness is not the momentary kind. The conscience of a family member who does such a thing died a slow death years ago. Child victims like Joseph all say the same thing. The worst pain is not the pain inflicted by strangers. It is the searing agony they experience because their family betrayed them.
For over two decades, Joseph tried to process his brothers’ cruelty. They turned him over to strangers who carted him away as a slave. Never could he have conceived such a plot as he played on the plains of Hebron by day and slept under his father’s favor by night. Many will live and die and never experience such betrayal. But for those who do, pursuing God will have rewards the likes most in the church will never experience. To the degree any of us have been hurt, God gives the same capacity to know Him and experience Him. This is redemption. He is the Redeemer.
Man does the unthinkable and I shudder. You did the unthinkable by sending Your Son to die. I tremble in awe. You are my treasure of the darkness. Amen