Many theologians compare the story of Joseph to the story of Jesus. Here are the comparisons:
However, God’s Son willingly laid down his life for everyone’s sins, not just the family. Jesus, the Perfect Sacrifice, as opposed to Joseph who was not perfect, was the One and Only who broke down all barriers to God for each one of us. Jesus had the choice to call down help from heaven to stop the agony but he thought of us and did not. This is the distinct difference. Jesus, the only Savior, rose again defeating death and lives forever. He is our only Hope of eternal life. Jesus, appointed and deemed so by God, our Father, now reigns as King of all kings and Lord of all lords. Once and for all. Jesus went to hell and back again with you and me on his mind.
Now, let’s read Joseph’s story while getting a glimpse of God as God works in and through Joseph. Watch as God changes Joseph from an arrogant teenager to a wise forgiving man. When God intervenes; transformation take place. When we accept, believe, repent and follow Jesus—our lives transform as well.
Genesis 37, The Message
Meanwhile Jacob had settled down where his father had lived, the land of Canaan.
Joseph and His Brothers
2 This is the story of Jacob. The story continues with Joseph, seventeen years old at the time, helping out his brothers in herding the flocks. These were his half brothers actually, the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah. And Joseph brought his father bad reports on them.
3-4 Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons because he was the child of his old age. And he made him an elaborately embroidered coat. When his brothers realized that their father loved him more than them, they grew to hate him—they wouldn’t even speak to him.
5-7 Joseph had a dream. When he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said, “Listen to this dream I had. We were all out in the field gathering bundles of wheat. All of a sudden my bundle stood straight up and your bundles circled around it and bowed down to mine.”
8 His brothers said, “So! You’re going to rule us? You’re going to boss us around?” And they hated him more than ever because of his dreams and the way he talked.
9 He had another dream and told this one also to his brothers: “I dreamed another dream—the sun and moon and eleven stars bowed down to me!”
10-11 When he told it to his father and brothers, his father reprimanded him: “What’s with all this dreaming? Am I and your mother and your brothers all supposed to bow down to you?” Now his brothers were really jealous; but his father brooded over the whole business.
12-13 His brothers had gone off to Shechem where they were pasturing their father’s flocks. Israel said to Joseph, “Your brothers are with flocks in Shechem. Come, I want to send you to them.”
Joseph said, “I’m ready.”
14 He said, “Go and see how your brothers and the flocks are doing and bring me back a report.” He sent him off from the valley of Hebron to Shechem.
15 A man met him as he was wandering through the fields and asked him, “What are you looking for?”
16 “I’m trying to find my brothers. Do you have any idea where they are grazing their flocks?”
17 The man said, “They’ve left here, but I overheard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’” So Joseph took off, tracked his brothers down, and found them in Dothan.
18-20 They spotted him off in the distance. By the time he got to them they had cooked up a plot to kill him. The brothers were saying, “Here comes that dreamer. Let’s kill him and throw him into one of these old cisterns; we can say that a vicious animal ate him up. We’ll see what his dreams amount to.”
21-22 Reuben heard the brothers talking and intervened to save him, “We’re not going to kill him. No murder. Go ahead and throw him in this cistern out here in the wild, but don’t hurt him.” Reuben planned to go back later and get him out and take him back to his father.
23-24 When Joseph reached his brothers, they ripped off the fancy coat he was wearing, grabbed him, and threw him into a cistern. The cistern was dry; there wasn’t any water in it.
25-27 Then they sat down to eat their supper. Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites on their way from Gilead, their camels loaded with spices, ointments, and perfumes to sell in Egypt. Judah said, “Brothers, what are we going to get out of killing our brother and concealing the evidence? Let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites, but let’s not kill him—he is, after all, our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.
28 By that time the Midianite traders were passing by. His brothers pulled Joseph out of the cistern and sold him for twenty pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites who took Joseph with them down to Egypt.
29-30 Later Reuben came back and went to the cistern—no Joseph! He ripped his clothes in despair. Beside himself, he went to his brothers. “The boy’s gone! What am I going to do!”
31-32 They took Joseph’s coat, butchered a goat, and dipped the coat in the blood. They took the fancy coat back to their father and said, “We found this. Look it over—do you think this is your son’s coat?”
33 He recognized it at once. “My son’s coat—a wild animal has eaten him. Joseph torn limb from limb!”
34-35 Jacob tore his clothes in grief, dressed in rough burlap, and mourned his son a long, long time. His sons and daughters tried to comfort him but he refused their comfort. “I’ll go to the grave mourning my son.” Oh, how his father wept for him.
36 In Egypt the Midianites sold Joseph to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, manager of his household affairs.
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
When people favor you, run from pride and arrogance! Life is better without it. God told us through Micah the Prophet; “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
Joseph did what his father told him to do. “Give me a report on your brothers.” When parents (or teachers) do that, we set the stage for resentment in the family and class. Joseph’s attitude and behavior was produced by a father who favored the son born to him by his favored wife. The sin of jealousy gives birth to thoughts of murder by the half-brothers. Remember that the older brothers already have a propensity to overreact in these situations. (The revenge of Dinah’s rape—Genesis 34)
Dreams are one of the ways God spoke to his people then and sometimes now. I’ve had dream that foretold what God wants to do in my life. Probably this is the best way God can get my attention—while I’m asleep! Dreams can prepare us for a work God has planned in us but sharing it arrogantly is not cool, especially when we don’t have all the details. Just trust and obey! We cherish, instead to what God says to our hearts until we see what HE wants with each action. Only God knows what God is planning in and through us. We just throw obstacles in His way when we get in way of His work in us. Life is harder that way! I speak from experience.
Jacob will suffer in mourning for years after hearing the supposed plight of Joseph. But that’s not all…there’s more to the story of how God saves Joseph and ultimately his “band of brothers” along with his father. Stay tuned…
We learn so much each time with sit with you and see you work in the lives of your created. Thank you for reminders of walking with you as Jesus did—in humbled obedience. Thank you, dear Jesus, of your perfect example—the standard for living. We are not perfect but we have goals because of you. You know we are not perfect and you provide a way to be perfectly forgiven! To you be all glory, honor and praise! Help me to stay out of the way of Your ways working in me.
In Jesus Name, Amen