Joseph - week 1, day 1

Tomorrow we're beginning a new sermon series Broken Chains, based on the story of Joseph in Genesis. It's a fascinating story of a family that lived almost 4,000 years ago, but whose issues still resonate with us today! Each day of the series, we'll be posting here with a scripture link, an imaginary quote from one of the characters in the story, and some thoughts to ponder. I hope you'll be a part of this exploration! Many, many blessings to you and yours! In Christ, Pastor Hedy


Today's scripture: Genesis 37:1-8

Jacob settled in the land where his father had lived as an alien, the land of Canaan. This is the story of the family of Jacob.

Joseph, being seventeen years old, was shepherding the flock with his brothers; he was a helper to the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he had made him a long robe with sleeves. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him.

Once Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream that I dreamed. There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright; then your sheaves gathered around it, and bowed down to my sheaf.” His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Are you indeed to have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more because of his dreams and his words.

I didn’t ask for the dreams. And, no matter what my brothers think, I didn’t make them up either. Maybe I shouldn’t have told them about the dreams, but they were just burning in my mind. I had to share them, or burst! But as soon as I started talking about the dreams, I could see my brothers’ faces getting angry. But, you know, so what? They’re always angry with me about something! They call me a tattle-tale. They order me around, telling me what to do, calling me a spoiled brat and a daddy’s-boy. I’m so tired of it. Dad used to tell me about dreams he had that came from God, so I figured these dreams came to me from God, too! And I felt so good in the dreams, so strong and powerful. It felt really good! So I just HAD to tell my brothers about them. But then they started yelling at me, saying such mean things. I ran to tell Dad on them, and I told him the dreams, too. I thought Dad would like hearing about the dreams, but he wasn’t happy about them either. But at least he didn’t yell at me like my brothers did. Dad had a funny, far-away look on his face the rest of the night, like he was thinking about something important. Anyway, I’m going to sleep now. Maybe I’ll have another good dream.
— Joseph

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT...

  • What is your initial impression of Joseph? Of the brothers? Of Jacob?
  • How did Jacob contribute to the tension between Joseph and his older brothers?
  • If you were one of the brothers, how would you feel about the relationship between Jacob and Joseph?
  • What is the symbolism of the robe Jacob makes for Joseph?
  • Why do you think Joseph shared the two dreams with his brothers?
  • We read that Jacob "kept the matter in mind." Why do you think Jacob doesn't just dismiss the dreams as figments of a young boy's imagination?
  • How would you interpret the dreams?

FOLLOW-UPS

"Dreams in that world were usually understood to be externally and divinely generated, not the result of an interior psychological process. Yet the brothers interpret Joseph's dreams as if they are the product of Joseph's own arrogance rather than a divine word about destiny."
The New Interpreter's Bible, vol. I (Abingdon Press: Nashville, 1994, 600-601.)