The Promise and the Process – Joseph: Dungeon of Darkness Part 1
Besides the account of Joseph’s birth, the first time we meet him is in Genesis Chapter 37:2 “Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them” (New International Version). However, the Bible doesn’t specify that this was the reason they hated him – in the very next verse, we are told that his brothers hated him because they saw that their father loved Joseph more than any of them and made him a very special garment to show his love. In fact, Joseph’s brothers hated him so much that they couldn’t speak a kind word to him! (Genesis 37:4 – NIV)
Joseph was young and special – chosen for great things, not by his father Jacob, but by God; and God showed him a glimpse of these things in a dream. Being young and immature, or just excited about his dream, he eagerly related it to his brothers. Contrary to his expectation, instead of being as excited as he was, they became even more incensed at him. If Jacob knew how much his brothers hated him, maybe he would have kept his own confidence…or it’s indeed possible that he did know, and wanted to make his brothers jealous. However, because the Bible doesn’t record Joseph’s knowledge of his brother’s hatred (and because of Genesis 37: 12), I tend to believe that he shared his dream out of excitement and naiveté. However, in the end, God used this situation to work out His glory. Sometimes, God can use our weaknesses/mistakes to work out His divine purpose in our lives.
In time, God gave Joseph another dream, this one implying that even his parents would be subject to him (Gen 37:10). Excited, he again shared this dream not just with his brothers, but also with his father who loved him….and his father rebuked him – sometimes, our dreams/vision for our lives are dismissed not only by those who do not desire our good, but by those who love us.
In spite of his brothers’ attitude towards him, Joseph liked spending time with them and went willingly to check on them at his father’s behest (Gen 37:12). Joseph went eagerly to meet his brothers and met an evil design instead…a design geared towards his destruction. His brothers carelessly threw him into a pit and didn’t care whether he lived or died. Sold as a slave, the journey to the destiny he had dreamed of had just begun, but not in the way he imagined it.
To be continued...