Brotherly Shove 

Joseph & Brothers • Devotion #3: Brotherly Shove
Gareth Volz | Senior (55+) Director

Today as we look at the story of Joseph and his brothers in Genesis chapter 37, we see how jealousy can lead to hatred, disobedience, and a breakdown of the relationship in the family. Joseph came from a dysfunctional family. His father, Jacob, had two full-fledged wives – Leah and Rachel, and two concubines – Bilhah and Zilpah. Leah was the mother of Reuben and Judah, while Rachel was the mother of Joseph and Benjamin. The other brothers were the children of the concubines. Additionally, we read in verse 3 that Jacob (Israel) loved Joseph more than any of his other sons because he was the son of his old age. Verse 4 tells us that because of this, Joseph’s brothers hated him so much that they could not speak peacefully to him. 

Verse 2 tells us that at the age of 17, Joseph was shepherding his father’s flocks along with his brothers, and he brought a bad report to Jacob about them. Joseph was not a tattletale, but apparently, the head shepherd, as evidenced by his coat of many colors. You might say Joseph was a white collar (supervisory) worker, while his brothers were blue collar workers – and they did not have a good working relationship. Here was disobedience to the working relationship the father wanted. 

Beginning at verse 12, we read that the brothers were tending the flocks near Shechem, and Jacob asked Joseph to go and check on the job they were doing. Joseph willingly accepted the task, and when he got to Shechem, he could not find his brothers nor the flocks. Joseph asked around and found out that his brothers had gone to Dothan, about 20 miles away. This was disobedience to where their father had sent them. 

As you read further in the chapter, you will find that the brothers plotted to kill Joseph. Reuben, however, convinced them just to throw Joseph into a pit, sell him to some passing slave traders, and tell their father he was killed by a wild animal. This was disobedience in the form of treachery, lying, and cover-up.

We find that Joseph was a picture of Jesus in the Old Testament. He was sent by his father to his other children. He was not accepted, and he was rejected by his own. The same was true of Jesus (John 1:9-11). 

Shechem in the Bible is a picture of the world. Joseph’s brothers were shepherding the flock near Shechem (the world) and then moved farther away from the father to Dothan.

The questions we need to ask ourselves as God’s children are:

  1. Do we truly love our Heavenly Father with all our heart?
  2. Do we truly love our brothers and sisters in the Lord?
  3. Are we happy with the assignment that our Heavenly Father has given us, or are we jealous of the assignment He has given to others we know?
  4. Are we spending our time flirting with the things of the world? 

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:1-2

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