Joseph: From Hated Teen To Humbled Man Of God! (10/8/17)
Bkgd - Jacob had 12 sons from 4 mothers. 2 wives were Rachel + older sis Leah, and their 2 servants Bilhah and Zilpah. Jacob favored Rachel over Leah ("weak eyes" 29:17).
Jacob also favored Joseph over all his brothers (37:3), youngest, sons of Rachel.
I. Joseph was a spoiled arrogant teen hated by his brothers (Gen. 37:3-5).
- LL not dogmatic or absolute conc assessment that Joseph was a spoiled arrogant teen.
Other leaders seem convinced that Joseph was a godly spiritual person even as a teen. They say Jacob favoring him was simply due to recognizing God's special calling 4 him!
- Really?!? No indication of this in the biblical text. Instead, a simple reading of the text leads me to believe Joseph was more likely spoiled and arrogant. Result of Jacob favoritism! - need balance in how we view others and ourselves, none all good/evil. Mix!
Also, people can and do change!
Three reasons from Gen. 37 I believe Joseph was a spoiled, arrogant teen hated by his brothers. Not excusing his brothers for hating him. But these are understandable reasons.
1. Joseph appears to be a "tattle tale."
- Gen 37:2 - Joseph, 17 yrs old, is a tattle tale! As the younger brother, Joseph had no responsibility to "report" on his brothers. He was not asked to report by his dad, Jacob!
Tending sheep w/4 of his older bros, sons of the 2 maid servants of Rachel/Leah, sons of Bilhah and Zilpah ("his fathers wives" so Jacob had at least 4 wives, but B & Z were like 2nd tier wives, not on same level as R/L. Bilhah = "concubine" of Jacob in Gen. 35:22.
What is difference between being a tattle tale or snitch vs biblical responsibility to speak up and report wrong doing? 2 Thess 3 & 1 Tim 5 refer to the problem of some Christians becoming "busybodies" saying thngs they ought not to. Gossip, slander? But even the truthful reporting of wrongdoing by others may not be appropriate by us, depends on circumstances, relationship, responsibility, our motivation, attitude, etc.
illus - reporting someone doing something wrong we happen to overhear, ie neighbor jokes about how they "fudge" on their income tax returns. Report them to IRS? No!
What about co-worker lying on their company expense account? More complicated?
How about reckless driver who almost runs into you on highway?
- some of us may have tendency to get overly involved, while others under involved?
- culture, personality, family of origin, etc can affect us, but at some point, as Christians we all need to obey and trust our God and His leading, to say and do what Jesus would.
2. Joseph was clearly spoiled by his father who made it clear to all he was favorite child.
- 37:3 - Jacob made a special robe for Joseph, "ornate" possible multi colored?
Visible tangible reminder to all his brothers of his favored status. Fact he was younger made it more irritating, frustrating for his brothers! But did Joseph have to wear this special robe all the time, especially when he is sent by Jacob to check on his brothers tending the flocks?
- We must not show favoritism based on human, worldly factors, race, gender, age, socio economic differences, etc. James 2:1, 9.
3. Josephs's dreams from God, shared w/his brothers, then even his parents.
Dream #1 - 37:5-8. Image from agriculture, Joseph and brothers represented by
"sheaves of grain." Sheaf ~ bundle of grain that has been harvest tied into a bundle.
Joseph's sheaf suddenly rose upright while all the brothers' sheaves bowed down to his sheaf! 37:7. Brothers hated him all the more, their interpretation of dream (37:8) confirmed by similar response of dad to his 2nd dream!
Dream #2 - Gen 37:9-11. Images from astronomy. Sun and moon represent parents, 11 stars the other 11 brothers. They all bow down to Joseph! Remember this culture, family hierarchy very clear, vertical, dad - mom - oldest child to youngest child.
No indication from the biblical text that God told Joseph to share these dreams with his family.Why would Joseph share these dreams when he already knew his brothers hated him, were jealous of him?
There are other examples of people in the Bible receiving messages from God that could lead them to brag and boast.