Back to Genesis, finally! I am reading about Jacob/Israel’s favorite son, Joseph. All ten of his older brothers knew that their father liked Joseph best. What pain that must have caused them! It is hard when you feel your sibling is more favored than you by your parents. And then God caused it to be written so that the whole world reads about it! There must be a lesson here…
“Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a varicolored tunic. And his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers; and so they hated him and could not speak to him on friendly terms.” ~ Genesis 37:3-4
Three problems. Israel did indeed love one son more than the others. And his other sons saw this and knew. And they hated Joseph for it, so much so that they couldn’t even speak with him.
As the little brother, spoiled by his daddy, I would imagine Joseph wanted to be a part of the “in crowd” with his big brothers. So, why not share his interesting dreams with them? Big mistake.
“Then Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more.” ~ Genesis 37:5
“‘…we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf rose up and also stood erect; and behold, your sheaves gathered around and bowed down to my sheaf… Lo, I have had still another dream; and behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.'” ~ Genesis 37:7, 9b
“And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.” ~ Genesis 37:11
Were the dreams Joseph’s fault? No, God was foretelling the future in them. Even sharing them with his brothers wasn’t necessarily a sin, unless perhaps there was some bragging involved, hmm. He certainly didn’t use good common sense!
The problems began with Israel favoring Rachel, and then Joseph, openly and lavishly. This was wrong and caused pain to his family. Hurt feelings, resentment, then eventually jealousy and hatred grew in the hearts of those ten older brothers. And if we allow those feelings to take root and stay in our hearts, Satan is only too happy to lead us even deeper into sin.
In this circumstance, murderous thoughts were birthed from their jealous, hateful hearts. Nine of the ten brothers allowed the hatred and jealousy of Joseph to be even greater than love for their father. And even the tenth brother, Reuben, went along with the others far more than he should have, although he did talk them out of killing their little brother outright. (More on Joseph’s fate later.)
While murder certainly may not leap to our minds when we are jealous, or even hateful, of another person, perhaps assassination of character might? Or just horrible attitudes and ugly words and bitterness and poor me moments?
We need to guard our hearts from these feelings and not allow anything like that to grow and fester in our lives. Even if we have been unfairly treated. Even if there truly is a wrong being committed against us. God says He will take care of it. We are to let it go and put it all into His capable hands. Confess the hurt feelings, resentment, jealousy and hatred. Let God wash your life and restore your heart.
“But let all who take refuge in Thee be glad, let them ever sing for joy; and mayest Thou shelter them, that those who love Thy name may exult in Thee. For it is Thou who dost bless the righteous man, O LORD, Thou dost surround him with favor as with a shield.” ~ Psalm 5:11-12