Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28
Peace be with you!
Jealousy causes the most put-together person to do crazy things. Cain kills Abe (Genesis 4:8) out of jealously. Sarah forces Abraham to throw Hagar and her son, Ishmael, into the wilderness (Genesis 21:9-11) out of jealousy. Jacob cons Esau out of the birthright (Genesis 25:30-34) out of jealousy. From previous devotions, we know that as sons of four different mothers, Jacob’s sons were at odds with each other throughout their childhood. Not only that, but one of the mothers, Rachel, was Jacob’s favorite wife. Put together ten young men who are all jealous of the same brother, and you have problems.
Joseph is Rachel’s only son at this point and Jacob’s favorite son. Joseph is also Jacob’s youngest son. Only adding to the tensions in the family, Joseph begins to have crazy dreams, including one in which his older brothers bow to him (Genesis 37:9-10). These dreams caused his brothers to be resentful against Joseph. Then Jacob gives Joseph a long, extravagant robe (Genesis 37:3c) gift that leads to more sibling jealousy.
In the midst of these swirling emotions, Jacob sends Joseph out to check on his brothers in the field (Genesis 37:13).His older brothers see Joseph coming from afar and start plotting to kill him. Reuben suggests throwing Joseph in a pit in the wilderness, hoping he could rescue him later (Genesis 37:21-22). When Joseph arrives, his older brothers strip him of his coveted robe and throw him into an empty pit (Genesis 37:23-24). While eating lunch, his older brothers notice Ishmaelites traveling with camels when Judah suggests selling Joseph to them (Genesis 37:25-27). When the Ishmaelites come by, his older brothers sell Joseph for twenty pieces of silver (Genesis 37:28).
Joseph continues to fall and rise throughout his life. He rises out of the pit and is taken down to Egypt to be sold into slavery (Genesis 39:1). God blesses Joseph by providing him a position of authority in Potiphar’s house (Genesis 39:2-4), but his wife falsely accuses him of raping her (Genesis 39:17-18) and so Joseph is sent to prison (Genesis 37:20). God blesses Joseph again by having the chief jailer put him in charge of all the prisoners’ care (Genesis 39:21-23).
While in prison, Joseph interprets dreams of a cupbearer and a baker, and both interpretations come true (Genesis 40). Two years later, the cupbearer remembers Joseph’s gift of dream interpretation when the Pharaoh has a confusing dream (Genesis 41:12). The Pharaoh calls Joseph up from prison and has him interpret his dream (Genesis 41:14). Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dreams as a warning from God that following seven years of good crop there will be seven years of famine (Genesis 41:25-31). Joseph suggests the Pharaoh collects a fifth of the produce during the seven years of plenteous harvest to be handed out during the seven years of famine (Genesis 41:34-36). The Pharaoh agrees with Joseph’s proposal and puts him in charge of the production (Genesis 41:39-40).
Even when Joseph is down on his luck, God blesses him. How many times when you are down on your luck has God blessed you? Maybe that class in college you almost failed prepared you the most for the real world. Maybe you got divorced, and God blessed you with a better partner. Maybe you did not get your dream job, but God put you somewhere even more amazing. Maybe you just got diagnosed with stage four cancer and God blesses you with amazing supporters. Many people forget God continues to bless them, even if he feels far away.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for blessing Joseph, even when he was down on his luck. Help us to be mindful of how you bless our lives. Lead us to go where we need us to be, even when we want to go elsewhere. Thank you for sending Joseph to Egypt to help the Pharaoh prepare for the famine. Amen.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the behavior covenant by commenting on it.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
- How has God blessed you?
- In what ways has God prepared you for something in the future?