“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” (Genesis 37:22).

Three siblings played unsupervised in a local park next to their babysitter’s home in the small town of Sprague, Washington. Then a fifteen-year-old male approached and began talking with the children. He said he was their babysitter. After a few minutes, he reached out and took twenty-two-month-old Owen Wright and started running. With- out hesitating, ten-year-old Brenden and his eight-year-old sister, Delicia, immediately jumped up and chased the stranger, yelling for help.

A couple of other teens in town saw what was happening and joined in the pursuit. That’s when the kidnapper set the child down in an alley and ran away. Three days later the juvenile was arrested. Surveillance video from a nearby grocery store showed the suspect running with Owen in his arms. A moment later you can see his older brother running past to save his sibling.

Brothers are not always rescuers. When Joseph—the favoured son of Jacob—was sent to check on his older brothers who were out tending sheep, “they saw him afar off, even before he came near them, they conspired against him to kill him” (Genesis 37:18).

One brother objected to the deadly plan. “But Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands, and said, ‘Let us not kill him’ ” (verse 21). The eldest brother convinced his siblings to cast Joseph into a pit. He planned to later rescue him, but while he was gone, they sold their younger brother to slave traders.

Years later, when the brothers went to Egypt seeking grain, they unknowingly met Joseph, who tested them. Reuben quietly reminded his brothers, “Did I not speak to you, saying, ‘Do not sin against the boy’; and you would not listen? Therefore behold, his blood is now required of us” (Genesis 42:22). After all those years, Reuben still felt responsible for what happened.

What efforts have you made to save your brothers or sisters?

Dear Jesus, forgive me for ever uttering a word of contempt against my brother or sister. Fill my heart with genuine love for each member of my family.

For Further Study: Genesis 37; Proverbs 18:24; Galatians 6:10

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