Daily D – Genesis 37:11
Genesis 37:11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Ge 37:11.
Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2015), Ge 37:11.
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s President Adam Greenway often finds a nugget of truth someone posts on social media and then re-posts the bit of gold under the heading, A Point Worth Pondering.
Take a look at Genesis 37:1-11. Seventeen-year-old Joseph had a couple of dreams. He starred in both of them and he did not mind saying so. What else do we know about Joey? Verse 2 tells us he was a shepherd who took care of his father’s flocks. It also says he worked for his older brothers, the brothers born to his mother’s and aunt’s servants.
Joseph, Jacob’s favorite son born to his favorite wife (verse 3), worked for those brothers who were way down the totem pole from himself. He was characteristically self-focused. Some things have not changed in the last few millennia. He was also a straight arrow and did not mind pointing out his older brothers’ shortcuts and outright bad behavior (verse 2).
Jacob displayed Joey’s favored-son stature by providing him with an ornate robe (verse 3). Apparently, Jacob and Joe were the only ones who loved Joe so demonstrably. Verses 4 and 5 give us insight into the feelings of his brothers.
5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more.
The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Ge 37:4–5.
Why did they hate him because of a dream? Because the dream involved all of the brothers bowing down to Joey. Check back on the birth order and chronology and such and see how most of these brothers were fully grown men. Now their little brother sees himself as their ruler?
Verse 8 gets right to the point. “And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.” Hate is a strong word. More hate can quickly lead to rather painful and unpleasant outcomes. Go back to Genesis 4 to Cain and Abel’s story for an example.
There is a term called compounding. When it comes to savings and investments, it refers to the growth of resources. When it comes to debt, it refers to digging the hole deeper. Joseph had another dream (verse 9). This time, not only did his brothers bow down to him, so did Dad. The hole just got deeper.
Even his father, of whom he was the favored son, rebuked him now (verse10). While his brothers grew jealous, Dad found a point worth pondering. What could these dreams mean?
Let’s not get ahead of the story. Let’s pause here with Jacob aka Israel. Could God be speaking through his precocious son? Could there be some special future for the son he so highly esteemed? Are leaders born or are they made?
Let’s shift our perspective. What is there deep in your heart that you have always known you would be good at if you had the chance? More clarity is helpful. What is there deep in your heart honoring to God and blessing to others but as yet unrealized? The answer to the first question may well be nothing more than fantasy. The answer to the second may well be what Ephesians 2:10 is all about.
The answer to the second question is what Joseph’s story is all about. If you know this story, you know the bottom line. Before we get to what is inevitable, let’s consider the obstacles and the growth opportunities along the way to living the life of God’s dreams for Joseph.
While we ponder Joseph’s story, let us ponder our own as well.
* What has God been doing in our high points and hard times to bring us to this place?
* Standing here, what are our best next steps?
* What will honor God and serve others?
* What will empower us to live God’s dream for our lives?
Jacob had a hunch, a nudge from on high. He paused to listen, to think, to dream along with his son. One last question before we pause for the day: Who believes in you to the degree they dream along with you? Everyone needs a dream coach and a dream partner who will help turn dreams into reality.
I will live the life of God’s dreams for me.
Our Father, I do not want to live the life of my dreams. I want to live the life of your dreams for me. Fill my mind with your thoughts. Direct my steps toward your goals. Keep my mouth shut as often as necessary to prevent me from unnecessarily offending others. Amen.
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1 Chronicles 22:9-13 But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign. He is the one who will build a house for my Name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’ “Now, my son, the Lord be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the Lord your God, as he said you would. May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.”