I am a part of a group of people on another social network that have committed to reading through the Bible in a year. The group was formed to help encourage each other and to discuss what speaks to us from a given day’s reading.
Every year I try to read through the Bible from a different format or translation. Last year I used a woman’s devotional Bible, which had a daily reading and then a devotional at the end of each reading. This year I am reading through the Bible in chronological order along with the group I’ve joined.
A few days ago my reading was from Genesis 37:1 – 39:23. And goodness there was a lot going on! For some reason Holy Spirit is highlighting things that I simply ‘read’ in years past. I grabbed my journal to write down the insights from Holy Spirit, I felt like I couldn’t write fast enough!
In Genesis 37:2 we see Joseph tending his father’s flocks with his brothers and he brings a bad report back to his father. Was Joseph a tattletale?! We go on to read that Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age. I think it was more than that. I think Israel loved Joseph more than his other sons because he was the son of Rachel, the love of his life. My, is there any wonder Israel’s other son’s were rebellious? And, did this add fuel to the fire between Leah and Rachel, while Rachel was still alive? Leah, always trying to get Israel’s attention to love her and Rachel, most likely, bitter toward her father for giving her sister Leah to Israel (Jacob) in marriage first, when it should have been her and her alone.
I wonder too, was Joseph just a bit spoiled, maybe coddled? After all, Israel made Joseph an ornate robe and nothing for his other sons. The Bible tells us that when Israel’s other sons saw that their father loved Joseph more than them they hated Joseph and could not speak a kind word about him. (Genesis 37:4).
I am the youngest and only girl after four boys in my family. The youngest of my brothers is seven years older than me. Yes, I was spoiled with attention and my brother and I were close despite the difference in our ages. But, he was the baby of the family for seven years. Growing up he always thought that my mom loved me the most, ironically, I always thought my mom loved him the most. After all, he always got to do whatever he wanted. Silly, when I think back, of course he got to do things I couldn’t he was older than me! But what caused each of us to think the other was more loved? And, what did my other brothers think?
I love my children equally, but each of them have unique qualities that I love the most about them as individuals. As parents our responsibility is to show each of our children how much we love them unconditionally; regardless of their actions, talents, gifts, accomplishments or shortcomings.
Israel favoring Joseph is the same as Rebekah favoring Jacob (Israel) and Isaac favoring Esau over Jacob. Had Isaac, Rebekah and Israel shown unconditional love to all their children would there have been so much sibling strife? Is this generational? Was it a learned behavior for Isaac, Rebekah and Israel? Even Isaac was favored over his half brother Ishmael.
Was Joseph just a bit naive when it came to his brothers? And the brothers, they remind me of Cain. So much jealousy that they plotted to kill Joseph. As Providence would have it, they do not kill Joseph but instead sell him to some Ishmaelites who were on their way to Egypt to sell their goods. Well, doesn’t this just come full circle?! The Ishmaelites were descendants of Joseph’s great uncle Ishmael, the least favored son, that we know of, from Abraham. The division in this family spans generations!
Judah is Joseph’s brother who suggests they sell Joseph to the Israelites, saying, “Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him: after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” (Genesis 37:27). After all?!! Oh Judah, always looking out for your own gain, where did you learn such deceit?
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6.