My father [Jacob] said to us, “You know that my wife bore me two sons. One left me, and I said, ‘Surely he has been torn to pieces,’ and I have never seen him since.” Genesis 44:27-28
When these brothers sold Joseph, they covered their tracks by lying to their father. They dipped Joseph’s coat in the blood of an animal, and when they showed it to their father, he said, “A fierce animal has devoured him. Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces” (37:33).
Joseph was the son of Rachel, the great love of Jacob’s life. So the brothers’ lie plunged Jacob into an unrelenting sorrow. “All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted and said, ‘No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning’” (37:35).
Every day, for 20 years, the brothers were working for their father, and every day they were perpetuating a lie that caused him unimaginable grief and sorrow. Picture the old man sitting outside his house, staring out over the fields with a deep sadness in his eyes. His heart is broken. Joseph, who was his great joy, is no more. The light has gone out in his life.
The brothers come back and see the old man in his sorrow. But never once did any of them say, “What if we were to tell the old man that his son might still be alive? Why don’t we put him out of the agony of imagining his son being torn to pieces and tell him that it never happened, and that we know because we sold him as a slave bound for Egypt?”
The Apostle John wrote to a community of Christians, “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6). This is what the brothers were doing—professing to love the father but walking in darkness. So they were living a lie, maintaining a pretense.
Are you grieving your heavenly Father by living a lie, a deception?