ODJ: gradual catastrophe

May 26, 2014 

READ: Genesis 37:1-20 

Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children (v.3).

Scott and Robin began to worry when cracks appeared in the walls of their home. Over the course of 2 weeks, the fractures widened until their garage dropped away from their house. The rest of their property shifted and eventually sank 10 feet below street level. Then eight of their neighbours endured the same gradual catastrophe, linked to underground leakage from a local water system.

When relationships collapse it’s often due to a slow progression of problems. For example, Joseph’s brothers didn’t sell him into slavery on a whim—they did so because of the bad history between them (Genesis 37:1-20).

The problems may have started with what Joseph’s tattling had done. As a teenager, he worked for his brothers and reported their misdemeanours to his father (v.2). Jacob also openly loved Joseph more than his other sons and gave him a multicoloured coat to prove it. This stoked his brothers’ hatred (vv.3-4).

Joseph put more dents in his relationship with his brothers when he blurted out dreams he’d had in which he was superior to his siblings (v.8). His brothers’ jealousy escalated even more. Finally, they conspired to kill him, but ended up selling him into slavery instead (vv.18,26-28). This final betrayal occurred at the end of a long line of offences.

When we see similar patterns in our own relationships, it’s important to patch the cracks that threaten our closest ties. God’s Word directs us to resolve problems as they occur. Ephesians 4:26 says, “Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry.” Saying “I’m sorry” or “I forgive you” today might save you from some major repair work in the years to come (Matthew 5:23-25). —Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Jeremiah 38:1-13 ‹365-day plan

Read Proverbs 17:9 to see how to keep relationships in good shape. 
What is one step you could take this week to help a relationship to flourish? How does our relationship with God benefit from regular confession of sin?