Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him. – Genesis 37:3-4
Jacob was not perfect. He lied, he cheated, and he risked other people’s lives for his own sake. He also had a problem with picking favorites. In Genesis 29, he was tricked into marrying both Leah and Rachel and we are told he loved Rachel more. This led to strife in the family. Now, in Genesis 37 we are told that he’s playing favorites with his kids, too.
Jacob loved Joseph more than his other children and he had no problem showing it. He gave Joseph a special robe and, similar to Rachel and Leah, it caused strife in the family. In fact, Joseph’s brothers hated him. Playing favorites always leads to heartache and resentment and can even lead to hatred.
Now, Joseph didn’t make things any easier on himself. He had some dreams. One was some sheaves of grain his brothers and he were binding where his sheave rose up and his brothers’ sheaves all bowed down to his. His brothers didn’t care for his sharing that dream. Then he had a second dream where the sun and moon and eleven stars bowed down to him (he had eleven brothers). This time even his father took issue with the telling of the dream.
Between the robe and the dreams, Joseph’s brothers decided to kill him. His oldest brother, however, managed to spare his life and just sell him into slavery to some Egyptians who were passing by. I guess that better?
Working Good from Bad
The amazing thing in this story is that despite Jacob’s favoritism, Joseph’s pride, and his brother’s hatred, God worked through this. He caused Joseph to eventually become the 2nd most powerful person in Egypt who saved his family and all of Egypt from a severe famine and then moved his family into a lush area of Egypt where God blessed his family with great prosperity.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28
God has a knack for taking our broken, sinful situations and working good through them. Joseph’s eventual rise to power and the saving of the people from the famine doesn’t excuse the sin the preceded it. Rather, this is just a testimony to God’s great love and mercy.
God continues to do this today and it’s a good thing. After all, we sin a lot. If God couldn’t work in the lives of sinners or in the situations caused by our sin, we would hopeless. However, God’s love and mercy are greater than our sin. He not only works good in sin-caused situations, but works holiness and righteousness in the lives of the people who commit those sins.
Were You to count our sins against us we could not stand. Were You to only bless our own righteous works, we would be utterly hopeless. Thank you for Your mercy forgiving our sins. Thank you for Your grace blessing our lives.
In Christ’s Service,