Reading for January 14, 2018: Genesis 37 – 38
And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying. Genesis 37:11 (KJV)
Are there any families who do not have some kind of trouble? When I speak of trouble I mean arguing over disagreements in religion, politics, moral issues, jobs, finances, financial hardship, and sometimes maybe even envy of another.
The story of Joseph is a beautiful story of God’s sovereignty in this world, and in the affairs of families, princes, kings, and nations of the world. Though Joseph’s brothers hated him because Jacob showed preferential treatment to him this was used to carry out the plan of God in the Egyptian bondage God had told Abraham of in Genesis 15:13-14.
They had asked the question, in verse 8; “Shall you reign over us? Will you reign over us?” Most likely these were asked in mockery. I mean think about it; he was next to the youngest brother in the family – and he was going to reign over them?
One thing we can learn from the Joseph narrative is that envy jealousy is not a good thing in the hearts of wicked people. Murderous thoughts progress from such a mindset.
Can we not say that we understand why the older brothers were envious of Joseph? I do. The father, Jacob, showed favoritism to this son, and made him a prince – possibly the meaning of the “Coat of many colors” – and that over his brothers.
One way to prevent envy within the family is for each family member to rejoice over the triumphs of the older and younger siblings. When one is doing better financially, all the family should rejoice. This works well for those who have little when they see others get wealth as well, whether they are family members or not. Any life accomplishment should be applauded by the family; not envied.
The hatred and envy that Joseph’s brothers had for him, nearly led to his death. Murder was what was in their hearts, but they decided to profit from selling him instead.
Love one another is the commandment Jesus gave us (John 13:34-35; 15:12, 17). When we have the love of God in Christ Jesus in our hearts, we will rejoice when our siblings in our birth family prosper, we will pray for them, and we will not envy them, but support, encourage and strengthen them. When they have a dream or have some ambition for doing a great thing we will build them up, and support them in their work.
It begins with loving Jesus Christ.
Reading for January 15, 2018: Genesis 39 – 41