The Pit Test

The last study was about pride. We all have to take character tests in order to step into the destiny God has for us. By looking at Joseph’s life, we too can see what we need to do to accomplish what God has for us. Joseph didn’t do very well on the first test and neither do we sometimes. Now he is ready for the pit test.

Genesis 37:13 – And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers feeding the flock in Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.” So he said to him, “Here I am.” (Verse 14) Then he said to him, “Please go and see if it is well with your brothers and well with the flocks, and bring back word to me.” So he sent him out of the Valley of Hebron, and he went to Shechem.

(Verse 15) Now a certain man found him, and there he was, wandering in the field. And the man asked him, saying, “What are you seeking?” (Verse 16) So he said, “I am seeking my brothers. Please tell me where they are feeding their flocks.” (Verse 17) And the man said, “They have departed from here, for I heard them say, ‘Let us go to Dothan.’ ” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan.

(Verse 18) Now when they saw him afar off, even before he came near them, they conspired against him to kill him. (Verse 19) Then they said to one another, “Look, this dreamer is coming! (Verse 20) “Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit; and we shall say, ‘Some wild beast has devoured him; We shall see what will become of his dreams!”

(Verse 21) But Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands, and said, “Let us not kill him.” (Verse 22) And Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit which is in the wilderness, and do not lay a hand on him” – that he might deliver him out of their hands, and bring him back to his father.

(Verse 23) So it came to pass when Joseph had come to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him. (Verse 24) Then they took him and cast him into a pit. And the pit was empty; there was no water in it.

The Position of the Pit

What brings a person to the position they are in? How did they get in that position? When we get in a pit, we need to see if we did something to contribute to our circumstances and don’t start off with blaming others.

Joseph could have easily said, “It’s not my fault. I didn’t do anything wrong. It was not because of the pride that was in me, it was the envy in them.” Many times when we go through a difficult time, we blame someone else. Do you realize that we now live in a “Blame” society? It’s not others’ fault for our difficulties, it’s how we respond that causes our troubles. Don’t go back to the past to find fault for what is happening today. It’s our “reaction” to the “action” that puts us in the pit! (This makes me think of politicians when they lose an election. They blame everyone else for their loss.)

I wonder if Joseph ever thought about why his brothers hated him? Why was Joseph not with his brothers tending the flock in the first place? Why did Jacob send his seventeen-year-old son to check on these older brothers? I believe Jacob was trying to get them to have a relationship with their younger brother. Jacob knew there was animosity between them. He was trying to mend that.

The brothers knew that the person coming toward them afar off was Joseph because Joseph had that coat of many colors on and no one they knew wore one like that. All those bright colors could be seen from a mile away and they knew it was him.

When we read this, we should ask God, “What is this passage saying to me?” Joseph had his father’s favor on him. And Joseph’s father gave him a gift and he was proud of his gift and showed it off in front of his brothers every chance he got.

How many believers are prideful of a gift our heavenly Father has given them? I’m amazed that prideful people will always try and slip the gift they have into any conversation. They have their identity in their gift, not in being a child of the Most High. Why do people want to show off? Why can’t they just be their Father’s child? This pride is what got Joseph in trouble in the first place. We get gifts from our Father too, but if we let pride slip in we can lose our gift.

Have we not seen a lot of high profile ministries lose their gift because of a lack of integrity and humility? Joseph’s father didn’t take back his gift. The coat Joseph lost was taken away by his brothers – he lost it! Whatever we lose through foolishness, we can get it back a hundredfold. Joseph did. The key to getting back what we lose is to repent!

The Perspective of the Pit

Any time we are in a pit the accuser of the brethren shows up first. Satan will show up and begin to condemn and accuse us. There is a huge difference between “conviction” and “condemnation.” Conviction is specific, condemnation is general. Conviction says, “You did this and that’s why you’re in this pit.” Condemnation says, “You’re a bad person, you’re worse than anyone else and you’ll never do anything right for God and you’ll never accomplish anything! Just give up!” Condemnation is always from the enemy!

John 3:17 – For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him, might be saved.

We cannot let the enemy fill our minds with condemnation, he is the author of lies and he’s lying to us. Look at the most famous lie in this story about Joseph: Genesis 37:31 – So they took Joseph’s tunic, killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the tunic in the blood. (Verse 32) Then they sent the tunic of many colors, and they brought it to their father and said, “We have found this. Do you know whether it is your son’s tunic or not?”

That was a lie! Satan is such a good liar that he will fabricate evidence to back up his lies! The brothers never told Jacob a wild beast had torn Joseph apart. Jacob came to his own conclusion that this must have happened. Jacob believed this lie for twenty-two years. Jacob didn’t know that Joseph wasn’t killed by a wild beast until Joseph was thirty-nine years old. The really sad part is that in all this time the brothers let their father grieve without telling him the truth! When a person holds back the truth, it’s still a lie!

The Purpose of the Pit

What is the purpose of being in a pit? The purpose of every pit is to get us to cry out to God! We have to recognize that we aren’t getting out without God. Do you remember Jonah? He was also in a pit he couldn’t get out of on his own: Jonah 2:1 – Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish’s belly. (Verse 2) And he said, “I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction, and He answered me. Out of the belly of Sheol, I cried, and You heard my voice.” (Verse 6) You have brought up my life from the pit.”

When we are first in a pit, we immediately want to put the blame on others. After a while of being there and seeing nothing change, we think, “Well maybe I did cause some of this.” And when the situation lingers on and on, that is when we cry out and take either all the blame or the biggest part of it. And yes, sometimes others do cause our problems, but we still need to look to God to get out.

Genesis 37:22 – And Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood, but cast him into the pit which is in the wilderness, and do not lay a hand on him” – that he might deliver him out of their hands, and bring him back to his father.

Reuben is the firstborn, so he should have been the favorite son but he wasn’t. Colossians tells us that Jesus is the firstborn of God. So the firstborn, Reuben, wants to deliver Joseph out of this pit for two reasons: to deliver and bring him back to the father. The purpose of every pit is to deliver us and bring us back to the Father.

Psalm 16:10 – For You will not leave my soul in Sheol.


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