Stuck in a Pit

Background Story: Joseph was a 17 years old teen who lived in a large family group. He had eleven brothers and one sister but he was the favorite son of a man named Israel.

Read Genesis 37:2-28

Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons because he was the child of his old age. And he made him an elaborately embroidered coat. When his brothers realized that their father loved him more than them, they grew to hate him—they wouldn’t even speak to him.

5-7 Joseph had a dream. When he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said, “Listen to this dream I had. We were all out in the field gathering bundles of wheat. All of a sudden my bundle stood straight up and your bundles circled around it and bowed down to mine.”

His brothers said, “So! You’re going to rule us? You’re going to boss us around?” And they hated him more than ever because of his dreams and the way he talked.

He had another dream and told this one also to his brothers: “I dreamed another dream—the sun and moon and eleven stars bowed down to me!”

10-11 When he told it to his father and brothers, his father reprimanded him: “What’s with all this dreaming? Am I and your mother and your brothers all supposed to bow down to you?” Now his brothers were really jealous; but his father brooded over the whole business.

12-13 His brothers had gone off to Shechem where they were pasturing their father’s flocks. Israel said to Joseph, “Your brothers are with flocks in Shechem. Come, I want to send you to them.”

Joseph said, “I’m ready.”

14 He said, “Go and see how your brothers and the flocks are doing and bring me back a report.” He sent him off from the valley of Hebron to Shechem.

15 A man met him as he was wandering through the fields and asked him, “What are you looking for?”

16 “I’m trying to find my brothers. Do you have any idea where they are grazing their flocks?”

17 The man said, “They’ve left here, but I overheard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’” So Joseph took off, tracked his brothers down, and found them in Dothan.

18-20 They spotted him off in the distance. By the time he got to them they had cooked up a plot to kill him. The brothers were saying, “Here comes that dreamer. Let’s kill him and throw him into one of these old cisterns; we can say that a vicious animal ate him up. We’ll see what his dreams amount to.”

21-22 Reuben heard the brothers talking and intervened to save him, “We’re not going to kill him. No murder. Go ahead and throw him in this cistern out here in the wild, but don’t hurt him.” Reuben planned to go back later and get him out and take him back to his father.

23-24 When Joseph reached his brothers, they ripped off the fancy coat he was wearing, grabbed him, and threw him into a cistern. The cistern was dry; there wasn’t any water in it.

25-27 Then they sat down to eat their supper. Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites on their way from Gilead, their camels loaded with spices, ointments, and perfumes to sell in Egypt. Judah said, “Brothers, what are we going to get out of killing our brother and concealing the evidence? Let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites, but let’s not kill him—he is, after all, our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.

28 By that time the Midianite traders were passing by. His brothers pulled Joseph out of the cistern and sold him for twenty pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites who took Joseph with them down to Egypt.

Big Idea: When discouragement comes, it helps to flip the script.

The golden boy of the family who received the special coat from dad and the dreams of grandeur now finds himself at the bottom of a big pit. A few moments ago, he was living the high life and now he has no idea what the future holds.

I can relate a bit. Discouragement and depression can feel like a pit that can be impossible to escape. When I have found myself at the bottom of that pit, my mind will flood with lies to keep me trapped there. Pits of discouragement are meant to keep us looking at the circumstances so we never climb out and see the light again. Next time you find yourself there…try flipping the script. Speaking words of truth from God’s word have this amazing way of lifting our eyes away from our circumstances and back on God’s truth.

Flip the script:

Lie: I am alone. / Truth: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalms 46:1)

Lie: I can’t handle this. / Truth: “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” (Psalms 55:22)

Lie: I have no future. / Truth: “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalms 37:4)

Lie: My heart will never heal. / Truth: “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalms 147:3)

Lie: No one loves me. / Truth: “Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his ; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” (Psalms 100:3)

Lie: Things will never get better. / Truth:  “I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalms 121:1-2)

Lie: Anxiety will overtake me. / Truth: “The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalms 27:1)

Lie: I can’t trust anyone. / Truth: “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalms 91:1-2)

Lie: I messed up too bad. / Truth: “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” (Psalms 34:4-5)

When you find yourself at the bottom of a pit, seek help from God and from others as you need. Speaking to a counselor, therapist or pastor can help. Just don’t stay there…we were never meant to live in a pit.

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