Betrayed by Family

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Betrayal. We have all experienced it in some form.

Maybe it was in your junior high class when your friend shares your secret crush that you had begged them not to share. Maybe you were in a relationship and they lied to you.  Maybe it’s a memory of a parent tearing you down that haunts you. Or maybe your spouse said something incredibly hurtful in an argument and you are thinking "how could they say that to me and yet they stood at the alter expressing their undying love?" Family relationship betrayal often hurts the worst because we have the expectation of love.

Betrayal is not far from us and it also wasn't far from those that we read about in scripture. Of course when I think about the ultimate betrayal, I think about Jesus. However, I am reading through the Old Testament with a group this year, and a few days ago I read some of Joseph's story in Genesis 37-41. This morning some things hit me.

In chapter 37, Joseph is betrayed... by his family- his own brothers. They took his prized coat, threw him in a pit, sat to eat a meal, then sold him!

Wounded by family. Whether it’s from a parent, a sibling, our entire family, our spouse or a child, we feel betrayed by our own flesh and blood and it hurts us deeply.

And yet...

I continue to read what happens to Joseph after this and I am astounded at his strength that comes from his desire to honor God.

"The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man." Genesis 39:2

"Now his master saw that the Lord was with him and how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight..." Genesis 39:3

the story goes on to tell us that Joseph was “handsome in appearance and form” and his masters wife took notice of this. In her own sin, she looked at Joseph with desire and asked him to lie with her.

Joseph's response?

..."Behold with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and has put all that he owns in my charge. There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?" Genesis 39:8-10

And it says she CONTINUED, day after day, to pursue him. And day after day he did not listen to her or give in to her.

Joseph had an inner strength. Even after being betrayed by his family, he did not look for his heart to be fixed by the world. Betrayal often causes us to look for love. We look for love in the arms, presence, or emotions of another human being because we have lacked it in our lives. This is the pattern of the world and I have even experienced aspects of the pattern myself. And yet, Joseph refuses to do that.

Joseph is then betrayed by his master’s wife. She lies and says that he pursued her instead, and Joseph is imprisoned. That doesn't seem fair, does it?

Even while in jail it says, "But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him and gave him favor in the sign of the chief jailer." Genesis 39:21

If we fast forward a bit, we see in Genesis 41:38, Joseph ends up being made a ruler in Egypt. There is much more to the story, but I camp out in the former part of the story because it’s something the world faces daily. A betrayal at some point falls upon us all and we lose sight.

We lose sight of the bigger picture.

Joseph didn't. Betrayed by his brothers. Betrayed by this women. Thrown in a pit. Thrown in jail. He continued to remain steadfast and the Lord blessed him for it.

There are few things that hurt more than being betrayed by family or a loved one. Yet, God calls us to run to Him, not to the things on this earth to satisfy the ache. He is the only one that satisfies and heals the broken hearted. He is the only one that can fill us up and turn the ashes of a situation into something beautiful.

Through all our betrayals, may we run to the one who never will betray us.

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