Chapter 37.1-2 of Genesis we read as follows: Jacob stayed in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan. This is the account of Jacob and then immediately the focus switches to Joseph who then occupies the rest of the book 14 chapters all but one of which have him centre stage. He is thus clearly a key player in the unfolding plans and purposes of God. So over the next few days we will explore the lessons we can learn from him.
The account has a messy beginning, in some senses an even messier middle but the grand denouement is a glorious high point as we see the hand of God in all that happened.
The theme of favouritism raises its head again as we are reminded that Joseph is the son of his old age and only the second of his thirteen children by his favourite wife – Rachel.
Then we read that Joseph was a snitch v.2b and singled out by Jacob with the gift of ‘the coat of many colours’ causing his brothers to ‘hate’ him and then to top it all having two dreams which appeared to exalt him, the baby of the family, above all the rest.
It was an inauspicious beginning with the first dream bringing this response from his brothers v.8
Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us? And they hated him all the more…
The second dream he recounted to his father as well as his brothers and his father ‘rebuked’ him with the question ‘Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?’ v.11
His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind. V.11
What follows reminds us once again and in a graphic way what a dysfunctional family God is using for his purposes!
Joseph is sent on a mission to bring back to his father a report on the well-being of his brothers but he doesn’t return, leaving Jacob totally distraught v.35
The brothers in the interim have plotted to kill Joseph with Ruben showing some measure of human kindness. Joseph was thus thrown into an empty water cistern and then Judah also has second thoughts about killing and they choose to sell him instead and taking the robe, which was partially the catalyst for the whole sorry affair, they killed a goat and dipping the robe in its blood fooled their father as to what they had done.
It is a gripping account but sadly familiarity with it has a tendency to blunt its impact for us. So as we hear it again over the next few chapters lest pray that the Holy Spirit will enable us to see it afresh.
Consider today then, although Joseph is clearly not a perfect match, another who was despised and rejected by his own.