Today’s devotional is about Genesis 37.
We know that Joseph becomes the hero that saves Israel–the man and the nation–from starvation.
But, that’s still in the future. Here we see Joseph as a teenager (v. 2b) and he doesn’t look very heroic at all. Although he had many sons, Jacob (aka Israel) showed favoritism to Joseph. We see that stated directly in verse 3 which says, “Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons….” The benefits Joseph received as the favorite son were:
- The ability to tattle on his half-brothers (v. 2). This suggests that Joseph had some kind of supervisory role over the other sons of Israel. See also verse 14.
- The “ornate robe” Israel made for Joseph (v.3).
But there was a price for this favoritism, too. Joseph may have had a great relationship with his dad, but, because of his father’s love, his brothers “hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.”
There is no favoritism with God, but that does not mean that God’s blessings are equally distributed. Joseph’s dreams (vv. 5-11) were revelations from God that would later be fulfilled. They caused Joseph further relationship problems (v. 8, vv. 10-11) but they prepared him for what would happen to him later in his life.
Before Joseph received the honors God had prophesied for him in his dreams, he was mistreated and nearly killed by his brothers (vv. 17-36). They mocked him (v. 19), robbed him of his robe (v. 23), imprisoned him in a well (v. 24), then sold him into slavery (v. 28).
Instead of feeling God’s love, Jacob may have felt abandoned by God. The honors God promised him in his dreams must have now seemed impossible. Joseph had no family, no love in his life anymore. He now had nothing to look forward to but a lifetime of slavery.
But God never fails to keep his promises and his plans for Joseph were not done. The trials he was now enduring were putting him into place and preparing him for what God was going to do with Joseph later.
Are you discouraged about your life? Do you feel abandoned and unloved–by God or by other people? Let this passage encourage you. Suffering and trials are part of God’s will for us. They teach us to depend on the Lord, not on the favor of men. They also put us in places and situations where we can serve God. So, whatever you’re suffering today, ask God for the grace to endure it faithfully and trust him and his plan to rescue and use you in his will someday in the future.