Joseph and His Brothers
1Jacob lived in the land of Canaan, where his father Isaac had lived, 2and this is the story of his family.
When Jacob's son Joseph was 17 years old, he took care of the sheep with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah. But he was always telling his father all sorts of bad things about his brothers.
3Jacob loved Joseph more than he did any of his other sons, because Joseph was born when Jacob was very old. Jacob had even given Joseph a fancy coat 4which showed that Joseph was his favorite son, and so Joseph's brothers hated him and would not be friendly to him.
5One day, Joseph told his brothers what he had dreamed, and they hated him even more. 6Joseph said, “Let me tell you about my dream. 7We were out in the field, tying up bundles of wheat. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles gathered around and bowed down to it.”
8His brothers asked, “Do you really think you are going to be king and rule over us?” Now they hated Joseph more than ever because of what he had said about his dream.
9Joseph later had another dream, and he told his brothers, “Listen to what else I dreamed. The sun, the moon, and eleven stars bowed down to me.”
10When he told his father about this dream, his father became angry and said, “What's that supposed to mean? Are your mother and I and your brothers all going to come and bow down to you?” 11 Joseph's brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept wondering about the dream.
Imagine that one of your siblings received a trip to Europe with your parents, along with a new iPad, while the rest of you are left at home to work and look after the house. Such a demonstration of favoritism is a ticket for divisiveness and disaster.
Jacob had been his mother Rebekah’s darling son, and this preferential treatment fueled a family rift and years of pain. The saga continued as Jacob gave his son Joseph special privileges. The Bible puts it this way: “Jacob loved Joseph more than he did any of his other sons, because Joseph was born after Jacob was very old. Jacob had given Joseph a fancy coat to show that he was his favorite son, and so Joseph’s brothers hated him and would not be friendly to him” (Genesis 37:3-4).
Joseph’s brothers were already angry with their privileged brother by having to watch him flaunt the special ornamental coat, but now they also had to listen to his lofty dreams. Call it bragging or boldness, but Joseph felt compelled to tell his brothers that one day his brothers would bow down to him. Little did any of them know that these dreams were God’s prophetic gifts and would one day be the fulfillment of God’s promises to the patriarchs.
In all our relationships we need to find that special place of belonging where we feel loved, safe and secure. When that relationship is jeopardized we feel threatened and hurt. But no matter what life looks like today, we need to trust God and believe that he has a larger narrative at work, and that he has the power to heal, restore and bring reconciliation. Sometimes it just seems to take a very long time.
Dear Father God,
Thank you that you love each one of us equally and unconditionally. Help me remember that you are always involved in every aspect of my life to fulfill a greater purpose. Thank you that your love is safe and secure. Amen.