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Our Father in heaven, we do not want to be our own interpreters, either of Your Word or of our own experiences, and so come to Your Word that You might teach us, that You might open Your most hallowed lips, and give us ears to hear, so that You would interpret our own lives, our own circumstances, our own experiences. We do not trust ourselves to know what is going on, even in our own lives. So we need Your unerring, infallible interpretation, so we pray You would speak to us from Your unerring and infallible Word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
We come this morning to Genesis, chapter 37. We’re making our way through the book of Genesis. We have been for the better part of two years. We come to this final section, lengthy section, but we’re going to move over the next two and a half months, I hope, sometimes a chapter, sometimes two chapters at a time, and try to finish this book before we break for the summer.
Genesis 37. Verse 2.
“These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives. And Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him.”
“Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more. He said to them, “Hear this dream that I have dreamed: Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.” His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.”
“Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?” And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.”
“Now his brothers went to pasture their father’s flock near Shechem. And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers pasturing the flock at Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.” And he said to him, “Here I am.” So he said to him, “Go now, see if it is well with your brothers and with the flock, and bring me word.” So he sent him from the Valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. And a man found him wandering in the fields. And the man asked him, “What are you seeking?” “I am seeking my brothers,” he said. “Tell me, please, where they are pasturing the flock.” And the man said, “They have gone away, for I heard them say, ‘Let us go to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.”
“They saw him from afar, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him. They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits. Then we will say that a fierce animal has devoured him, and we will see what will become of his dreams.” But when Reuben heard it, he rescued him out of their hands, saying, “Let us not take his life.” And Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but do not lay a hand on him”—that he might rescue him out of their hand to restore him to his father. So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the robe of many colors that he wore. And they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it.”
“Then they sat down to eat. And looking up they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing gum, balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry it down to Egypt. 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. Then Midianite traders passed by. And they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. They took Joseph to Egypt.”
“When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not in the pit, he tore his clothes and returned to his brothers and said, “The boy is gone, and I, where shall I go?” Then they took Joseph’s robe and slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. And they sent the robe of many colors and brought it to their father and said, “This we have found; please identify whether it is your son’s robe or not.” And he identified it and said, “It is my son’s robe. A fierce animal has devoured him. Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces.” Then Jacob tore his garments and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days. All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted and said, “No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” Thus his father wept for him. Meanwhile the Midianites had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard.”
I closed my eyes, drew back the curtain, to see for certain, what I thought I knew. It’s not in your hymnal. Far, far away, someone was weeping, but the world was sleeping, any dream will do.
You know the song. Don’t clap. I’m not doing the rest of it. [laughter] I said don’t. That’s from the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Rarely has such catchy music been used to get a Bible story so completely wrong. [laughter]
Here’s the narrator’s prologue, at the beginning of the show:
“Some folks dream of wonders they’ll do,
before their time on this planet is through.
Some just don’t have anything planned,
they hide their hopes and their heads in the sand.
Now I don’t say who is wrong, who is right,
but if by chance you are here for the night,
then all I need is an hour or two,
to tell the tale of a dreamer like you.
We all dream a lot, some are lucky, some are not.
But if you think it, want it, dream it, then it’s real,
you are what you feel.”
It’s as if someone said, “Get all the Bible experts in here and tell me what the story of joseph is about,” and then Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice said, “Let’s make it exactly the opposite of that.”
“We all dream a lot, some are lucky, some are not, but if you think it, want it, dream it, then it’s real, you are what you feel.”
Not even the Osmonds could rescue that theology.
The musical, if you’ve seen it, is about dreamers who follow their dreams, and of course it’s very clever and it has calypso music and Pharaoh is like Elvis and it’s all very silly.
The real story, however, is about a God who oversees and superintends all of history. If God thinks it, if God wants it, if God dreams it, then it’s real, and it does not take luck. It’s called providence.
The almighty and ever present power of God by which He upholds as with His hand heaven and earth and so rules over them, that leaf and blade, rain and drought, fruitful and lean years, health and sickness, prosperity and poverty, all things in fact come to us not by chance, but from his fatherly hand. That’s the doctrine of providence. Sometimes we refer to God’s sovereignty, and that’s a good theological term as well. But providence is really God’s sovereignty for His people.
God is sovereign over all things. Providence refers to all of God’s might and sovereign decree and unrivaled strength being exercised for you, if you belong to God. That’ the doctrine of His providence.
Here’s how Joseph will summarize to his brothers his experience of being sold into slavery, put into prison, rising to second in command in Egypt. Genesis 50:20 – “As for you,” he says to his brothers, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.”
Now that’s the end of the story, we’re not there yet. But it’s hard to read any part of this joseph story without having the end in mind. Notice, Joseph did not say, “You meant it for evil and God turned it for good.” That’s true in a way, but he says even more than that. Not just that God reacted and saw that you meant something and then God, who’s the brilliant cosmic chess player, was able to checkmate your evil plans and turn it for good, that’s what some of us think about God’s providence, but it’s much more all-encompassing than that.
Joseph says, “You meant that for evil, and at the same time that you were meaning it for evil, God was meaning, not just responding, He was meaning the very same activity for good. Namely, that He would save his people from famine and He would constitute them a nation in Egypt. At the same time that you were acting out your wicked schemes, God was acting through those wicked schemes for His own good purposes.
God is not merely a responder to pick up the broken pieces of life and put them together. Do not have too low a view of God’s providence in your life. They did evil. Yes, they were responsible, they sold him into slavery. They were morally culpable, but at the very same time, God was also working. God knew what He was doing. He did exactly what He had intended to do. That’s sovereignty, that’s providence, and that is the point of the Joseph story as we will see this morning and in the next weeks ahead.
Very simple, our outline this morning. I want us to first think about the predicament that the holy family is in, and then I want us to conclude by thinking very briefly about the lessons we should draw for our life for whatever predicament you find yourself in this morning.
So just think with me, consider how bad things are for the chosen family at the end of Genesis 37. Remember, this is the chosen family. It’s not as if this is the story of the also-rans and then we’re going to get all of the rainbows and unicorns for the chosen family. This is the chosen ones, and look at how bad things are.
Think about Jacob. He favors Joseph because he’s his son of his old age, also because he’s the son of his favored wife Rachel. Haven’t we seen so often in this story, you could trace through Genesis the problems that come from favoritism. So he’s got a favorite son. And he gives him a coat of many colors, that’s how it’s translated. It’s actually very difficult to know exactly what the Hebrew is saying. Some think it means a coat with long sleeves, but that’s sort of [sound effect]. You know, long sleeves. So there’s good reason that you can translate it the traditional way, a coat of many colors. It’s an exuberant, extravagant coat.
It was a lavish gift, but not only that, it was likely a sign of being invested with authority. You have to remember that to have bright, brilliant colors was very extravagant, it was hard to come by. This was regal attire. This was likely signifying to all the other brothers that Jacob intended to bless Joseph, not them.
So you can see Joseph’s brothers, Jacob’s sons, grow to despise their younger sibling, and the family is torn apart. Twenty-one times in this chapter we find the word “brother” or “brothers.” We’re meant to see this is a family, but it’s being torn apart. We have the word “hate” in verse 4, verse 5, verse 8. It’s not just, “Hate, not sure that we’re getting along anymore.” It’s a strong word. This happens in families. They’re at the point they cannot stand to be around the brother. They hate him, verse 4, they hate him even more, verse 5, they hate him even more, verse 8. They want him out of their life. Verse 11 – they’re jealous. This family is a disaster.
It’s discouraging. It’s in the Bible. Maybe a little encouraging because our families are messes.
Now at first they want to kill him. Reuben, the first born, intervenes. We’re not told, is this good that Reuben’s really having a change of heart and he wants to have mercy on his brother, or is it simply not a newfound maturity so much as Reuben knows that as the firstborn, he’s going to be responsible and he’s already in the doghouse with his dad because he slept with one of his concubines, and he doesn’t want to be even more held responsible, so we’re not sure of Reuben’s motivation, but he wants to try to rescue him.
He comes back. His intention was just throw him in the pit and then later Reuben would rescue him. But he comes back, wherever he was out in the field, and he finds that he’s been sold. Judah. We’ll hear more about Judah next week. Judah, the fourth-born. He comes on and again we’re not told if Judah secretly is trying to help his brother or if this is really just about making a buck, but he rescues him by saying, “Look, why should we just kill him? Why don’t we get 20 shekels?” That was the going rate for a male slave in the ancient world. 20 shekels.
So the Midianites, the Ishmaelites, don’t get hung up with the interchangeability, it just refers to the same group of caravanning Canaanites, Midianites, Ishmaelites, not Canaanites exactly, but from the earlier division of Ishmael.
So they fake his death with a coat and some goat’s blood and they go back to Jacob to tell him the bad news.
Now notice Jacob is once again, in a way, reaping what he has sown. Think about it. Just as Jacob deceived his father with goat skins, remember for his furry hands, and Esau’s clothes, now Jacob is deceived by goat’s blood and Joseph’s clothes. We’re meant to see a parallel. Jacob, you deceived your father doing the very same thing. The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Now your sons are deceiving you by the same way – goat’s blood and Joseph’s clothes.
He ends the chapter absolutely inconsolable. You see in verse 34 and verse 35. If any of you, and I know there are some of you here, you’ve lost a child, stillborn, a newborn you knew would not live many hours or days, or having to bury a grown adult child. If you’ve had anything like that sadness, you can relate to Jacob absolutely inconsolable, indescribable grief.
Verse 35: “His sons and his daughters,” we don’t know what other daughters he has, and what they know, but we know his sons know that this is all a farce. And they come with pretend comfort for the pretend crime.
Now as far as they know, they’re never going to see him again. He’s as good as dead, but they lie to him, they deceive him. They deceive him with their pretend comfort all the while they allow their dad to be absolutely inconsolably bereaved. And they let it go. Jacob, for all of the ups and downs in his life, he has not been more down than this.
Think about the brothers. Overcome by hatred and jealousy, they plot to kill their younger brother. They don’t like his dreams. They don’t like his words. You see that in verse 8. They hated him even more for his dreams and his words. Words probably refers back up to verse 2 and 3, when he gives a bad report to his father. We’re not sure exactly what the bad report was. Was Joseph exaggerating? Was Joseph indicating that they had said something bad about their father? Or they had something bad about him? But whatever it was, he reports to them this bad report.
So the brothers don’t like it – “This brother doesn’t say good things about us, he has these dreams. The gall to think that we’re going to bow down and worship him.”
They see him coming from a distance. Jacob sort of foolishly, not really reading the family drama, sends his son out into the fields. Now you have to understand the geography. This isn’t like, “Hey, just go out to the back 40 acres and go find them.” He said they’re in Shechem. That’s some 50 miles away. So heading out, dangerous journey. He goes to Shechem. He doesn’t see them there, so they have many pasturelands, far and wide. Fifty miles away he finds an anonymous person who says, “What are you doing here?” He says, “I’m looking for my brothers.” He says, “Well, I heard they’re going to Dothan.” That’s about another 15 miles away. So he’s some 60 or 65 miles away from home. This is many, many days’ journey. This isn’t like Joseph can see the trouble that’s coming from his brothers and just scream for help or “Dad, come rescue me.” They are days, week perhaps, away from the home.
And as they see him coming in the distance, they conspire to kill him. And at the end of the chapter you may think, “Well, they’ve gotten their way.” But they also have to live with the knowledge that they have sold their youngest brother, now there’s Benjamin, but he’s not really, he’s born but he’s not on the scene right here. They’ve sold they’re younger brother Joseph into slavery and they have wounded their father with the deepest pain imaginable.
One thing to lose your wife and here to lose your beloved son, and all the while, every day, you wonder if it gnawed at them: “Should we say something? Can you believe what we did? He’s inconsolably grieved and we did this to him and he doesn’t know it.” They have to live with that.
And of course, most famously, there’s Joseph. He’s an obedient son. He travels these 50, 60 miles to find his brothers. Obedient, but we might wonder if he’s also something of a braggart, or at least, if not boastful, naïve to the effect he has on other people. 17-year-old boy with his much older brothers. He gives a bad report and then he makes a point to tell his brothers the dream. You wonder if he was putting two and two together. He’s either boastful or he’s naïve. “Hey, bros, come here. Craziest dream last night. Ohhhh. So I got these sheaves and I’m here and all the other sheaves are like this. Wild. What do you think it means?” Not gonna go over well.
Second time. “Brothers, come here. I had a second dream, same kind of dream.” And they hate him even more. Even this time his father rebukes him – “Enough with your dreams.”
But sort of like we read in the New Testament, “and Mary treasured, pondered these things,” Jacob at least tucked it away and thought, “Hmm, I wonder if there’s something more than I can see?”
He’s thrown into a pit. This was common in that part of the world. You’d have these large pits. They might be 10 feet in diameter, 15 feet deep. You couldn’t get out of them without somebody to help you, to throw down a rope, a ladder. They were used for all sorts of purposes. It might hold grain, as you’re out in the field. It might hold prisoners. It might be a latrine, a garbage dump. It might be a place to hold water.
This appears to be one that was a cistern for water because verse 24 says the pit was empty, there was no water in it. The narrator wants us to know he wasn’t drowning in it.
But he’s thrown into this empty cistern, in the wilderness, with no way to escape. He’s shipped off with a caravan of Ishmaelites and he ends the chapter a slave in Egypt to an officer named Pharaoh [sic]. Surely joseph is thinking, “None of my dreams are coming true.” Quite the opposite.
At the end of chapter 37, it seems that he has lost everything – his coat of many colors, such a blessing, such a sign of favor. Well, that’s been torn to pieces. He’s lost his home, his father, his family, his favored privileged position. It must have seemed to joseph absolutely certain there would be no happy ending for him.
And I know it seems that for some of you this morning. Maybe you feel like Jacob. Yeah, you’re alive, but if you’re honest, life hardly feels worth living. Your joy is gone. You refuse to be comforted. You’ve lost the love of your life, a husband, a wife, a child, a friend.
Or you feel like Joseph. Nothing in your life is going the way you thought it would. You feel betrayed by those closest to you. Hated by those who should love you. An object of derision and jealousy.
Or your hurt may not be relational. It may be simply your body hurts all the time and you don’t know why. Or your heart hurts all the time. Or you’re missing someone you love or the love that was once there is no longer. Or you’re scared about being alone or scared of being childless, or you’re afraid of what is going to happen to your family or to your country.
The point of Joseph’s story is not that any dream will do. It’s certainly not that you are what you feel, and it’s absolutely not that some are lucky and some are not. It’s not the point of the story. The point, Ephesians 1:11, is that God works all things after the counsel of His will.
Harder to sing about Calvinism, I guess, in a musical, but that’s what the story is really about. It’s about providence.
So you think of how rotten things are for the family, for the brothers, for Jacob, for Joseph. And as you think about your pain, your predicament, what I want you to do is consider simply three things to be learned, three things to be learned from Genesis 37 specifically, and from the rest of the Joseph story more broadly.
If you’re a Christian, you’ve been a Christian for your whole life, you know these things. If you’re not a Christian, we’re very glad you’re here and we hope that you consider these things, because this is the sort of confidence God means for us to have as His children.
Number one – God’s sovereign plan is absolutely inviolable.
It cannot be violated. God’s sovereign plan is absolutely inviolable. Almost all Christians believe in a general sense God is in charge. Almost everyone acknowledges that. Or, all things work together for good. And those are true. But I don’t want you to settle for truisms. God’s sovereign plan, from the big pictures to the smallest details, is absolutely and utterly inviolable. To the smallest speck, to the tiniest part of that plan.
Do you think that Vladimir Putin is derailing God’s plan? He’s not.
Do you think woke school boards are derailing God’s plan? Or QAnon conspiracy theorists? Or trans activists? Or racists or Marxists or socialists or fascists? Are any of those people derailing God’s sovereign plan? Not a speck.
Think of these brothers in this story, these hating, jealous brothers. At the very point where they thought most certainly to be undermining Joseph’s silly dreams, they were at that very moment actually setting in motion God’s plan to fulfill everything that Joseph had foretold. At that very moment.
“Okay, you have a dream that we’re going to bow down to you? Hahaha, not a chance. We’ll kill you, or better yet, we’ll beat you, we’ll sell you off.”
At that moment it must have seemed to them, “We have just taken the definitive step to ensure that these silly dreams never come true.”
But in God’s plan, that was the very first step to fulfilling everything that Joseph had dreamed, everything that God had revealed to him. Joseph receives the same dream twice to make sure it’s absolutely fixed and certain, and after he shares the dream, everything that transpires after these two dreams would seem to be making the fulfillment of these dreams impossible.
If you were writing a story with the two dreams, and you were thinking in your life, “What would be the next things to happen to make these dreams least likely to take place?” Well, you might devise something like this. Get thrown in a cistern, sold off to slavery, God-forgotten, God-forsaken down in Egypt. End of dreams. But actually it was the very plan God had.
Do you really believe, not just in a general sense, “Yes, God’s in charge of everything,” but that’s God sovereign plan is absolutely inviolable?
Now disease may have one set of plans. Dictators have their plans. The demons have their plans. Evil people of this world have their plans. But all along the way, at the same time, God has His plans, and those plans don’t change God’s plans. Those plans must, and always do, work according to God’s plans.
So that’s the first lesson.
Here’s the second – God wants you to remember this morning you are not at the end of the story.
Again, if we’ve been around the Church for a while, grew up with these stories, we love Genesis 37. You know, it’s like watching the recording of some sporting event where your team gets behind by three touchdowns but you know the fourth quarter they come back and Tom Brady’s going to beat the Falcons. Sorry about that. You know it’s going to happen.
Yeah! Joseph, pit. Joseph, slavery. Joseph, betrayed. Joseph, prison. Because you know what happens. But Joseph didn’t know the end of the story.
And you need to remember this morning you don’t know the end, in one sense. We’ll get to the sense you do, but you need to remember you’re not at the end of the story. It’s a lot harder, isn’t it? To enjoy the story when you’re right in the middle of it?
The pain was very real for Jacob. He lived 17 years with Joseph and now he’s going to live, we’ll do the math at the end of the book, 17 years without Joseph. All the while thinking that his son had been devoured by wild beasts. That’s a pain, that’s a deep pain.
The circumstances were very real for Joseph. He wasn’t singing musical numbers about any dream will do. At no point in the bottom of the pit, or on the back of a camel on his way to Egypt, did he likely think to himself, “Well, this is all going according to plan.”
Some of you are in a pit this morning. You feel bereaved of your dearest loved one. You feel every bit a kind of slave in your job, or to a disease, or to a broken relationship. Nothing in you says, “Well, this is exactly what I had planned.” I don’t know what will happen next, I don’t know if things in your life are about to get better or worse, and you don’t the future either. But you need to be firmly convinced that this isn’t the end of the story. There’s another chapter. The plan is still unfolding. You can’t see how it all fits together, but you can know the One who fits it all together.
Humans are resilient. There’s a lot of suffering in life. What makes suffering at its worst is suffering without any hope, without any thought that there’s a purpose, without any thought that there’s a plan, without any thought that maybe somehow, someday, something about this has a purpose and maybe this isn’t the end and something, somewhere, somehow will be a little bit better.
Now we don’t know tomorrow. Can’t stand up here and say your life is going to be just like Joseph. We don’t know. But you do know, and must remember, that you are not at the end of the story.
Which leads to the final lesson you must remember. You, if you are a Christian, know the end of the story and it is a happy ending.
No one can promise a happy ending in the short run; I wish I could. I wish I could just say, just believe it and dream it and do it and your dreams will come true and you’ll get the great job and you’ll get the girl, or you’ll have the baby, everything will be healed, relationships will get better…. We don’t know. No one can promise a happy ending in the short run. So we pray, we hope, we work, we labor, we ___. The cancer may not go away. Your child may not turn back to sanity. Your marriage may not be restored. You keep praying, you keep believing, but we can’t take the story of joseph and assume that the earthly story is all going to work for each one of us, that we end up second in command in Egypt.
We don’t know what happens in the next chapter, but Christian, you do know what happens in the last chapter. You know what happens in the last chapter, and you may feel stuck this morning. Your whole life may feel to be on Holy Saturday, the day between Good Friday and Easter, Holy Saturday where all you know is the silence of God. For all the world it looks to you as if good [sic] guys won, evil victorious, good guys defeated, Christ absent, God silent. You may be living your life this morning feeling like you’re on that Holy Saturday.
But, if you’re a Christian, you know and you believe and our confident, that Easter’s coming. No eye has seen nor ear has heard nor the heart of man imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him. 1 Corinthians 2:9.
And it’s not a vacuous hope. It’s not just a moral pep talk, “Hey, everything’s gonna go well. There’s a better place beyond the great horizon.” It is a firm hope, rooted in history, the history of God’s dealings with His people from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, all the way, most importantly, to Christ on the cross.
Because you know Jesus. Jesus was God’s precious Son. He has many sons and daughters, but He has only one natural Son, only one only begotten Son. Christ was the beloved Son of His Father, and his cloak was stripped from Him. He was sprayed with His own blood, beaten.
But we know Him to be the scapegoat. We know Him to be even better than this Joseph, the favored son of his father who’s betrayed by his own family, and thrown and sold into slavery, so we know Jesus, betrayed by His own people, killed, crucified, handed over to the devil, and yet He lives.
And it’s not the end of His story, and so it’s not the end of your story. Though He was hated, though the chief priests were jealous of Him, though they crucified Him, yet He sits now better than second in command to Pharaoh, He sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
Listen, beloved, however your life looks bleak this morning, you can preview the end of the DVR. Jesus comes back. The saints overcome. Every tear is wiped away. The dead in Christ are raised and the gates of hell do not prevail against the Church.
So if you feel stuck in a pit, or stuck as a slave in Potiphar’s house, you can know God has you maybe not where you want to be, but right where He wants you.
If you don’t know Jesus, then the news is not good for you when you stand before God on that judgment day, having been strangers and aliens.
But if you do belong to Him this morning, you can be assured of a happy ending, a better ending, than Joseph is going to get in Egypt, and you can know and rest secure, no matter what deep pain, deep wound, deep uncertainty in your life, that there is a happy ending for God’s people.
Not every dream will do. But God’s plans always come true, and that is the hope for all of God’s people.
Let’s pray. Our gracious heavenly Father, would You minister as a healing balm to your sons and daughters, some of whom have this morning pain as exquisite as Jacob’s or Joseph. All of us know suffering, all of us go through times of trial and difficulty. All of those you care about, but some in particular, are in a deep, deep well. We pray, O Lord, that You would throw down the rope, lift them out, give them the hope that only can be found in Christ and His death for our sins, His resurrection for our justification, and the sure hope that He is coming again to judge the living and the dead. We pray all these things in His name. Amen.