The Story of Joseph: God Comforts Us

Part 3 of a 5-Part family devotional by Brent Lanigan 

As of this writing, it has been 12 weeks since our world went into the daily reality of quarantining and social distancing. Before March 12, very few of us had ever heard of COVID-19 or the terms related to it – such as flattening the curve and personal protective equipment. And now, almost 3 months later, living in a COVID-19 world has become our regular routine.

But getting used to living in a world with rules and protocols related to COVID-19 does not make things easier, does it? Our lives have been drastically interrupted by this virus and it has caused us a lot of heartache, frustration, fear and anxiety.

At times like this it is important to turn to the Bible and draw strength and hope from the stories of biblical characters who went through similar duress in their lives but saw God carry them through it. Specifically, I think of the story of Joseph in Genesis 37, 39-45. Over the next 5 devotionals, we will discover what we can learn about God from Joseph’s life. Are you ready? Let’s begin…

Part 3: God Comforts Us

Genesis 37:31-35 (ICB) The brothers killed a goat and dipped Joseph’s…robe in its blood. Then they brought the robe to their father. They said, “We found this robe. Look it over carefully. See if it is your son’s robe.” Jacob looked it over and said, “It is my son’s robe! Some savage animal has eaten him. My son Joseph has been torn to pieces!” Then Jacob tore his clothes and put on rough cloth to show that he was sad. He continued to be sad about his son for a long time. All of Jacob’s sons and daughters tried to comfort him. But he could not be comforted. Jacob said, “I will be sad about my son until the day I die.” So Jacob cried for his son Joseph.

Story Snippet: It was bad enough that Jacob’s sons sold their brother as a slave. But then they returned home and lied to their father by indicating that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal. When Jacob saw Joseph’s torn and bloody robe, he assumed that Joseph was dead and he began to weep in deep sadness. Cruelly, Jacob’s sons did not tell Jacob the truth: that Joseph was alive. Instead, they allowed their father to believe Joseph was dead, even after they saw him weeping in extreme sadness. Then when they tried to comfort Jacob, their attempt to do so did not work. Why? Because their attempt to comfort him was done not out of love for their father. You see, they were willing to let their father believe their lie that Joseph had died rather than compassionately tell their father the truth: that Joseph was sold as a slave alive. And so the brothers lacked true comfort and compassion for their father’s sadness.

Lesson For Us

Today’s story shows that Jacob’s family lacked what only God can give. Only God can provide true comfort and compassion when we are feeling sad or upset. Why? Because God made each of us and so knows exactly how we feel when we are sad or upset. God also understands what it is like to be deeply sad. He was deeply sad when his son Jesus died on the cross and so he knows how to give us perfect comfort when others can’t! Though Jacob’s family let him down, God will never let us down. Even during the COVID crisis! God knows how upset or sad we feel and he wants to keep us comforted during this time. So remember that God will never let us down. How can we be sure? The Bible tells us!

Verse To Remember

We give thanks to…God. He is our Father who shows us loving-kindness and our God who gives us comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3 (NLT)

Questions To Discuss

1) Why was Jacob so very sad?
2) Why were Joseph’s sons unable to comfort him?
3) Do you think God understands exactly how you feel when you are very sad or upset?
4) Why can God comfort us better than people can?


Thank you God for understanding how we feel when we are deeply sad. And thank you for giving us perfect comfort when others can’t. Amen.