One of my favorite stories in the Bible is about Joseph… a story about the effects of blatant parental favoritism, snitching sibling, jealousy, envy, and lots of other goodies. A story about years of hidden guilt and secrets…(Among other things) A story about redemption and hope, restoration and closure. There are so many life lessons to be gained by the story of Joseph. I like to imagine myself in the middle of it and really consider all the little details that were not mentioned within the writing of the Bible itself.
So Joseph, 17, and clearly his fathers favorite, is out with his brothers feeding the flock when he goes back and snitches out his brothers for something. And to boot, Josephs father made him a nice robe – I don’t see anywhere in the Bible where any of the other brothers ever got anything that nice – They must have been burning with jealousy. I imagine the grief Joseph was dished out when the parents weren’t around; and I imagine how many times he snitched them out for it. But think about it, its not Josephs fault that his father favors him, yet he is likely the butt of every snide remark from his brothers – I wonder if any of the brothers ever confronted the father about this favoritism.
Then, to add insult to injury, Joseph has a dream his other brothers and entire family will one day bow down to him! What? Oh boy!
Burning with envy the brothers likely kept him at bay as much as possible, the little snitch, thinks he is better than them; they likely made jokes as often as they had a chance. Probably mocking him, pretending to bow to him and then laughing about it. I would be willing to bet Joseph was picked on a whole lot by his brothers. All because his father favored him above the others – This is never good practice in any home.
The brothers were going to kill Joseph one day and tell their father a wild animal got him, they threw him in an empty well (Bet that left a mark or two) – But some Egyptians came along and instead they pulled him from the well and sold him as a slave then tore his fancy robe, dipped it in blood, and showed their father. Their father was overcome with grief and the same dirt-bag brothers that sold Joseph tried to console their father… Unbelievable!
The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered, he was placed in a position of authority. The Bible said he was a handsome man; his bosses wife noticed him and used to flirt with him – especially when her husband was away. One day she trapped him up in the house and she tried to get with him. She grabbed his coat and he fled because he wanted nothing to do with her. She instantly lied and told everyone he tried to rape her – He was thrown in prison.
Wow, even in the prison he rose to the top and was put in charge of everything. I can imagine how he pondered in his quiet time, his life from childhood, and all the odds being stacked against him so many times. And now, in prison… WOW! I am sure at some point or points he thought about returning home; he likely didn’t because he feared his brothers would surely kill him.
He then interpreted a couple guys dreams while in prison, and those interpretations came true EXACTLY as Joseph said. He asked one guy not to forget him when he was released. Eventually, the ruler of the land, who had thrown him in prison in the first place, had some troubling dreams and one of his helpers used to be in prison with Joseph – He told his boss about Joseph and how good he was at interpreting dreams. Joseph was in prison for about four years total (from what I can tell) when the king called upon him to interpret his dreams.
The dreams he interpreted were that there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. So the ruler believed him and gave him charge over everything in all the land. Joseph withheld enough grain and other food so as to have enough when the seven years of famine came. And, once the famine began it spread across the land, so much so that all that remained was what Joseph had saved. All the people of the land came to buy grain/food from Joseph.
Now, Josephs father and brothers got hungry, his father sent some of the brothers on to Egypt where he has heard there was plenty still. They were told to go and buy some food and bring back. They did what their father told them and ended up bowing down before the overseer of the grain – They did not recognize their brother Joseph. Eventually, the truth came out and they reunited the entire family. Over twenty two years had gone by since Joseph saw his family. He forgave his brothers, he loved them.
Why didn’t Joseph escape or send word to his family as some point in those twenty two years. After all, he knew his father loved him but he never went back, and didnt look like he planned to either – they had to come to him. Maybe his first seventeen years was so bad he was glad to be gone and it was likely best for him to stay gone and who knows that the brothers may have done to him next time.
So as you can see, there are lessons to be learned from this story. Sometimes life can really throw a curve ball and you might say ‘why me?” – I say “Why not me?” He has never said “in this life you may be a lucky one that has no trouble at all”, NOPE, he said “In this life you WILL have trouble” and so that means YOU and I will have some trouble – I say Exodus 14:14 when it comes… He does his best work when we stay out of his way… Easier said then done right?