Genesis 37 – March 27
In our text this morning, we see the negative results of bad parenting. Much of the division that existed between Joseph and his brothers directly resulted from the favoritism that Jacob showed to the offspring of his favorite wife. (For those who are tabulating, this is just one more reason why polygamy is always bad.)
This may come as a surprise to you, but I am really not a big fan of high fashion. I don’t like dressing up. But, even I know when I am looking at an expensive outfit. A multi-colored garment would be incredibly expensive, and would typically only be worn by royalty. As the favorite, Joseph was the only recipient of such a coat. But there is much more to it than just being a nice piece of clothing. This was Jacob’s way of declaring that Joseph was the official heir of the household. Jacob also did not give Joseph a normal shepherding role. Instead, his job was to oversee his older brothers. When you add to this the dreams that Joseph had regarding his own superiority, it was a recipe for extreme jealousy. Their hatred grew so hot that they thought nothing of selling their own brother into slavery and lying to their father by acting as though he was dead.
The brothers thought that they had won. They believed that they had caused these dreams sent by God to be overthrown. “Let’s see what becomes of those dreams now.” They said. Little did they know that they were playing right into the very hand of God. Their treachery was the means by which God was going to fulfill His promise. You cannot stop God, nor can you frustrate His plans. Did you notice how everything just “happened” to come together for this event to take place? Jacob sent Joseph to find his brothers at Shechem, which for obvious reasons was not a very safe place for the children of Jacob to be. But after traveling for roughly 50 miles and arriving at Shechem, Joseph cannot find them. And there are six verses in this story dedicated to showing how Joseph just “happened” to encounter a random man who just “happened” to know that the brothers had gone to Dothan twelve miles north.
The brothers just “happened” to be right next to the largest trade route to Egypt. Then, there just “happened” to be a cistern with no water and then there just “happened” to be a caravan traveling down that trade route who were willing to buy Joseph. Make no mistake, God was working in every last detail of Joseph’s life. And God is working in every detail of yours as well. There are no accidents. There are no coincidences. God is orchestrating events in your life far beyond your scope of understanding
Joseph serves as one of the clearest ways that the OT foreshadows Jesus. The 13 of the 14 final chapters of Genesis focus on Joseph as their main character, but Jesus is always the main point. And Joseph’s life is intentionally designed to point forward to the greater Joseph. Allow me to point out a few similarities, but make no mistake, Jesus is always the superior in these examples.
- Both were stripped of their cloaks.
- Both were falsely accused and arrested.
- Both were humiliated for a time, then highly exalted.
- Both were betrayed for a handful of silver coins.
- (You may notice that the number is different. But that is only because of inflation. In Joseph’s day, 20 shekels was the price of a slave. In Jesus’ day the cost of a slave had risen to 30. The point is that they were both sold for a slave’s wage.)
- More than Joseph, Jesus came to his own and they received him not.
- More than Joseph, Jesus was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
- Joseph was sold into slavery, but Jesus volunteered to be the servant of all.
- Joseph was forced to serve in Potiphar’s house, but Jesus willingly acted like a slave as he washed his disciple’s feet.
- Joseph was sentenced to prison but God ultimately brought him back out. Jesus was sent into the hands of death itself, but they could not hold him.
- Jesus and Joseph were both put into a hole in the ground, and thank God, both of them came out alive!