Joseph and the Pit

The lad Joseph, so dear to Bible readers, was, as we know, a lad of visions and dreams and noble ideals,—ideals and spiritual talents which in his manhood were to play a vital part in the affairs of his country, to bless in times of famine and need. Yet how these dreams were misunderstood and reviled! How they enraged human thought; and what havoc was wrought by the jealousy and hatred they aroused! Because of the vision of the sheaves, in which the sheaves of his brethren made obeisance to his sheaves, Joseph's brethren felt that he was claiming superiority over them, and hated him yet the more. Their materiality was made uncomfortable in his presence, their pride and ambition being uncovered. Indeed, Joseph's spiritual nature brought to the surface, in those less spiritual, animal instincts which betray, plot, and murder, and which finally cast Joseph into the pit and then sold him into a strange land.

Now, Joseph's nature was to bless; he was claiming nothing for himself. Was it just or fair, then, we involuntarily ask, that this lad should be thus treated? If God were kind and all-powerful, would He permit such injustice? Why did He not punish the false brethren and set Joseph free? Looking deeper, however, we ask ourselves, Did evil really triumph in the pit? Though sold into the hand of strangers, no evil befell Joseph; instead, he became prosperous and greatly beloved. Nor did evil triumph later, when through feminine treachery he was cast into prison; for he came forth as a prince. At length his brethren did yield obeisance to him; hatred, jealousy, envy, as in the dream, yielded to the supremacy of Spirit, and Joseph was kind to his brethren; he nourished and comforted them, and said, "It was not you that sent me hither, but God,"—not evil, but good had triumphed in his experience. Although evil seemed in some degree to accomplish its end, nevertheless its purposes were overcome by the purposes of good; for Joseph, leaning upon spiritual sense, had reflected Love in the midst of all injustice.

In beholding the innocent suffering for the guilty, the blameless receiving the blame, let us look beyond the "green bay tree," higher even than human justice; then we shall understand that every wrong in human experience will finally be reversed; and as divine justice is obeyed, God will be glorified. But is it just, we cry out, that innocent countries be ravished, and their homes and cities demolished, and women and children killed? Nay, the hand of God, divine justice, is in none of these wrongs. Nevertheless, despite the atrocities, murders, and wars of these latter days, the entire world is being blessed. Amid the gigantic struggle between good and evil, true democracy is being born into the world; self-sacrifice and brotherhood, manifested as never before; pride, selfishness, and false traditions, torn down; and pure Christianity, demonstrated. Thus, though there have been countless wrongs that can never be humanly righted, yet, in casting out the spirit of revenge and overcoming hatred, divine justice brings about blessings—peace, dominion, and joy—to the righteous, and finally recompenses by the utter destruction of the evil.

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"Many inventions"
January 13, 1923

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