Title: Joseph: God is in Control
Text: Genesis 37.1-11
CIT: The author’s aim was to demonstrate that God already knew the outcome of Joseph’s life.
CIS: God is at work in Joseph’s life, showing him that He is working his plan in his life. It’s really no different for you and me!
Introduction: these are the generations of Jacob (1-2a); an interesting beginning;
Genesis 2.4; 5.1; 6.9; 10.1; 11.10; 11.27; 15.16; 25.12; 25.19; 36.1,9; 37.1-2a (the last one!) So this is important. It’s the last section of Genesis. Basically, it is the story of Israel and how he will become a nation. This is in answer to the promises of God – we’ll see that in a moment.
The next chapter is a section that doesn’t seem to fit in; however, I think it really does.
Transition: This new section will take us from pasturing sheep in the holy land to palaces of Egypt. It will clarify for us just how Gen 15.13-16; For now, we begin with meeting this kid, Joseph. In this passage we’ll get to know a little bit about:
- Joseph’s Family
- Joseph’s Father
- Joseph’s Brothers
- Joseph’s Dreams
Let’s begin w/…
1. Joseph’s Family, (2)
- 17 years old (2b)
- Pasturing his father’s flock (2b)
- His mothers and brothers (#1 position): (2c) he was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah; He’s hanging with Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher – Oldest Rueben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun; rd 2d;
- His behavior (#2 practice): He brought a bad report of his brothers to his father; So, he’s isolated – he sticks out, not really fitting in with his siblings – I’m guessing Benjamin is way too young. Then, he adds to his troubles by spying on his siblings! But there’s more: rd 3a;
2. Joseph’s Father: Jacob (3)
- Loved him above the others (#3 parent) – he was the son of his old age;
Ill.: personal testimony…
- Made him a ‘coat of many colors’; Dolly Parton
3. Joseph’s Brothers
- Hated Joseph (4); rd v 4;
- Because he was favored; Favoritism would come easy; the older sons had embarrassed Jacob and behaved badly – remember? I wonder if Joseph had some features that he got from his mom; maybe he looked just like his dad; something about him, reminded him of the love of his life; Do you think he’s being like his dad – who favored Jacob? Generational sins;
- They could not speak peacefully to him; 4b; Nahum Sarna translates the phrase, “could not speak peacefully to him” lit.: “they could not abide his friendly speech” meaning that they rebuffed his every attempt to be friendly. Why not? He’s told on them, He acted arrogant, he’s worn that stupid coat showing off his father’s love for him. and there’s more; rd v 5
- Joseph told of his dream and they ‘hated him even more’;
Transition: I wonder if we are confused at times like this. I wonder if our alienation and isolation from others is a part of God’s plan. We feel like we’re being picked on; however, God is up to something. And he’s about to make matters worse! This is the 4th section: Joseph’s Dreams; Rd v 6-7;
4. Joseph’s Dreams (#4) (5-11)
- The Sheaves: A Harvest Dream
- Binding sheaves in the field (7)
- My Sheaf arose
- Your Sheaves gathered around and bowed down to mine
- Q.: Are you to rule or reign over us? (8) I wonder about his mother, how she fits into this dream; Did Bilhah become a surrogate mother?
- They hated him all the more!
Application: I wonder how this applies to the Wheat and the famine that will bring these brothers to his doorstep in Egypt?
- The Sun, the moon, and eleven stars bowed down to him. A Celestial Dream; rd v 9
- His Father’s rebuke (v 10);
- His brothers were Jealous of him (11a)
- His Father kept this in mind (11b)
Application: Likewise, I wonder how this applies to Royalty – that his brothers would be saved by Joseph and move their family to be with him?
Rd Gen 41.32; the pairing of these dreams means the certainty that God will bring this about; this would be important over the next 13 years;
Here is a valuable lesson: God is at work, even in our struggles. He’s working to glorify himself and accomplish his plans.
All of these situations worked against Joseph, from a worldly standpoint; however, they were the workings of God, to bring about his plan.
Note: Position #1 – His Position in the family (Rachel’s son).
Position #2 – His Practice of informing on his brothers; spying, nark, a little brother!
Position #3 – His Parent then dotes on him, adding to this struggle.
Position #4 – His Pattern of Arrogance as expressed through dreams.