Side note: A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards. (Proverbs 29:11)
And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content. (Genesis 37:25-27)
Joseph was long gone when Ruben returned. He was distressed at the news, but instead of going on a search and rescue mission, he helped to craft a story to sell to their father...
And they took Joseph's coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood; And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son's coat or no. And he knew it, and said, It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces. And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days. (Genesis 37:31-34)
Wow! Talk about a soap opera. “Like sands through the hourglass, so are the Days of Our Lives.”
Here's what struck me about this unbelievable family event:
- The amount of anger and hatred these brothers had toward Joseph.
- The fact that all ten brothers involved kept their mouth shut for decades. No one said a peep even when they saw the ongoing anguish and grief of their father.
- How far God will allow things to go to bring about his will – and still be in control.
- And the key point: Nothing stays hidden. Nothing just goes away.
God had great purpose for Joseph going to Egypt, but eventually the ten brothers would have to come clean for their cruel actions toward Joseph and their equally cruel deception toward their father. Imagine having to tell a frail, aging parent that the whole bloody coat story of years ago was a complete lie and the truth is you sold your brother, his favorite son, like a piece of property to some travelers. What a warm and cozy family chat that must have been. More wine, please!
I'll bet Lance Armstrong would agree that nothing stays hidden. Bill Clinton might nod his head at that too. Cain, Achan, King David, me, all of us, regardless of position, social status, financial reserves, good looks or connections, if we haven't realized it yet, we will eventually; Nothing stays hidden forever. Cover ups today are headlines tomorrow.
For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad. (Mark 4:22)
Our God is a righteous God and won't allow wrongdoing to just get sweep under the rug. The rug will never be big enough. The best way to live is to first love God, then to love our neighbor as ourselves. If we do, we won't do anything to hurt our neighbor. However, if we fall short of that, then we need to make things right; first to God, then to any and all wronged parties. That's the right thing to do.
Hidden sin will make its way to the surface of our lives eventually. Sometimes in the weirdest, most unexpected, most uncomfortable, most ill-timed ways imaginable. It's a absolute guarantee...
But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out. (Numbers 32:23)
The heaven shall reveal his iniquity; and the earth shall rise up against him. (Job 20:27)
May I make a suggestion? Let's make things right with those we've wronged as quickly as possible. Don't argue, don't scheme, don't put it off. Just do it. In my experience, God offers brief windows of opportunity for us to take advantage of His mercy and find peaceful and often times private resolve. If we humble ourselves and obey, we'll be right with both God and man – to the extent that we can be. If we don't, that window of mercy may close and the exposure later may be far more painful and much more public.
He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. (Proverbs 28:13)
God had big plans for Joseph and could have brought about those plans in a hundred different ways. His brothers didn't have to sell him like a slave of deceive Jacob. The fact that God can bring good out of any situation is a tribute to his greatness – not a justification for sin or a cover up. Remember, nothing stays hidden. Nothing.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)