“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.” (Proverbs 22:1, NKJV)
I used to wonder why a person’s name and reputation matter to God. Aren’t heart and character more important? Why does public image matter? Then it dawned on me – the snow job. A man’s name is his life. Exalted, it can lead him and his descendants to fame and fortune. Abused, it can lead him and his descendants to ruin. Often, a snow job is the difference between provision and destitution – between food on the table and a homeless shelter.
Joseph was the first victim of a snow job. He innocently told his dreams of personal exaltation to his father and brothers (Genesis 37:5-9). Jacob wisely “kept the matter in mind” (37:11). But the brothers planned a snow job. First they wanted to kill Joseph and tell their father a wild animal had done it (37:18-20). After Reuben changed their minds so he could spare the boy’s life, they cast Joseph into a pit and sold him to the Egyptians (37:21-28). Then the brothers dipped his coat in blood and brought it to their father (37:31-32). They knew he would recognize it as Joseph’s and say a wild animal had killed him – the lie his brothers had planned all along (37:33).
Once Joseph was in Egypt, he became overseer over the house of Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officers (Genesis 39:1-4). He was doing well and God was with him (39:5). Then Potiphar’s wife entered the scene. She wanted Joseph to commit adultery with her, but he said he could not sin against God and fled (39:7-12). So he became the victim of another snow job. Potiphar’s wife lied to the other workers and her husband, saying Joseph had tried to commit adultery with her (39:14-18). Unfortunately, Potiphar believed his wife and sent Joseph to prison (39:19-20).
Joseph knew he had done nothing wrong (Genesis 40:15). But thanks to snow jobs, he went from favored son to slave to prisoner. Why didn’t Joseph defend himself instead of letting his brothers take his coat, cast him into a pit, and sell him into slavery – and letting Potiphar’s wife lie? Maybe Joseph did speak or act in self-defense. If so, God didn’t record his words and deeds for posterity. If not, then Joseph was like Jesus Christ – like a lamb to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7).
God in his providence used these snow jobs to fulfill Joseph’s dreams. They must have seemed dead in prison. Iron entered his soul (Psalm 105:18). But once made second-in-command under Pharaoh, Joseph understood God’s greater purposes (Genesis 45:5-8). First, he planned Joseph’s trip to Egypt so the man could keep his family alive in famine (45:5-8, 50:20; Psalm 105:16-20). Second, God wanted Israel in Egypt while the sins of the Amorites filled up so the Promised Land would be ready for their return (Genesis 15:16). Third, God planned to judge Egypt for its sin (15:13-14). Joseph was just his instrument.
Like Joseph, Daniel was able to see and interpret prophetic dreams and was a governor under King Darius (Daniel 6:1-2). Because of his “excellent spirit” and wisdom, the king wanted to make Daniel second-in-command of the realm (6:3). Immediately he had enemies. But they couldn’t bring charges against Daniel. “He was faithful” and had no faults (6:4). So the other governors and satraps planned a snow job. Noting Daniel’s faith, they made a decree that no one could petition anyone except the king for the next thirty days (6:5-7). Those who disobeyed should be thrown into a den of lions (6:7). This law of the Medes and Persians was binding; it could not be changed (6:8). Darius, none the wiser, signed it (6:9).
When Daniel learned of the new decree, he refused to submit but continued to pray and thank God three times each day (Daniel 6:10). The governors then accused him before the king, forcing Darius to throw Daniel into the lions’ den (6:11-17). The king was angry with himself and tried to deliver Daniel, but nothing could be done (6:14). He then fasted and prayed (6:18). The next morning, Daniel told the king that God shut the lions’ mouths because he was innocent (6:22-23). Then Darius had his enemies and their families thrown into the lions’ den; they didn’t even reach the bottom (6:24). Unlike Joseph’s enemies, a snow job cost them their lives.
Why did Daniel endure a night with hungry lions? Did he defend himself before the king or call on God to save him before he was thrown in? The Bible doesn’t tell us, but Daniel trusted God to keep him alive once his fate was decided. God used this snow job to make Daniel his witness (Daniel 6:22-23). As a result, Darius decreed that no one could worship any god except Jehovah, the God of Daniel (6:25-27). Daniel then prospered under him and Cyrus (6:28).
Jesus was a victim of the greatest snow job in world history. The chief priests and elders tried him at night, which was illegal (Matthew 26:47-57). Then they sought false testimony against Jesus in order to kill him (26:59). The false witnesses’ charge of his ability to destroy and build the temple in three days was true, but they didn’t know it (26:60-61). Jesus was referring to the temple of his body (John 2:19-22). When he said they would see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of God and coming to earth in glory, the high priest charged Jesus with blasphemy and sentenced him to death (Matthew 26:64-66). Pilate said he found no fault in Jesus and should have released him (John 18:38, 19:4-6). Instead, he let the Jews ask him to free Barabbas and condemn Jesus to death on a cross (18:40, 19:6, 14-15).
Why did this happen? Why did the disciples watch helplessly as Jesus was arrested, tried, and condemned to death like a criminal? Divine scripture had to be fulfilled (Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, Matthew 26:56, Luke 24:25-27, 44-48). God chose the snow job to save mankind from sin.
William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925) was the victim of a snow job in the 1925 Scopes trial, thanks to ACLU lawyer Clarence Darrow (1857-1938) and atheistic journalist H. L. Mencken (1880-1956). Although Bryan won this trial, the scientific truth of creation was forever disgraced. Evolution is the liberal media’s pet. Bryan’s reputation cannot be restored, but if he entered heaven and his enemies hell then Bryan received the greatest vindication – one only God can give. Still, will the demonic lie of evolution die and the divine truth of creation resound? Not on this earth! We must wait for the millennial reign of Christ and his saints.
TV chef Paula Deen (1947-) was the victim of a snow job this summer, thanks to Lisa Jackson’s lawsuit. She lost her contracts with the Food Network and some store chains. Eventually Deen won the suit. However, this won’t bring her reputation or contracts back. Did Deen suffer for the truth of Jesus Christ and the Bible? No. Still, I pray she finds God in her storm.
All those who follow Christ can become victims of snow jobs. Many Christians today are losing their jobs, families, reputations, and lives. Why? The servant isn’t greater than his master; if they persecuted Jesus they’ll persecute us too (John 15:20). They’ll “defame [us] as evildoers” (1 Peter 3:16). We’re not immune from Satan’s attacks. But we shouldn’t defend ourselves or sue our enemies, only commit our souls to God (2:23). “Suffering wrongfully” for the gospel is “commendable before God” (2:19-20). Being “reproached for the name of Christ” makes us “blessed” (4:14). We were called to this life and Christ is our example (2:21).
Snow jobs are personal and they hurt deeply. We want a good name and public favor. We also want to provide for our families. But if we’re on God’s side, he will reward us. Either here or in heaven, God will turn our mourning into joy (Isaiah 61:3).