There’s no easy way to put it: Joseph’s family is a mess. His father plays favorites and remains indifferent to the jealousy created by his favoritism. His brothers’ hatred of him escalates into a plot to murder him. Joseph himself comes off as a brat as he struts about in his ornate robe, tattles on his brothers, and indiscriminately describes his dreams of ascending to prominence.
As I admitted in my message yesterday morning (available here), it makes me wonder what Joseph’s story is doing in the Bible – at least the part about him and his father and brothers. Why is so much space devoted to this dysfunctional family?
If nothing else, it shows me how our gracious God is able to work in my life and home regardless of how messy they are. God is not afraid of my brokenness and His plans are not thwarted by it. If God is able to work through Joseph and his family, then there’s hope for my family and every family!
Perhaps another reason the Bible describes Joseph’s home life is to shine some light on what’s going on in my own home. These are hard questions to ponder, but I think it’s important for me to ask them now and again…
What do I wish had been different in my family while I was growing up?
What do I wish were different in my home now?
How is love and acceptance flowing through my home instead of favoritism? How can I nurture love and acceptance more?
How am I being active in my spouse and kids’ lives, investing quantity time with them? And/Or: What are some practical ways I can honor my parents and encourage my siblings?
Those are the questions I posed in my message yesterday. Here are a few more I find myself thinking about…
Why hadn’t Jacob learned the dangers of favoritism from his own experiences with his father and brother?
Why doesn’t Jacob see the foolishness of sending Joseph to his brothers?
How could Joseph’s brothers sit down and enjoy a meal while listening to their brother cry out for help from the cistern?
By the end of Genesis 37, what word(s) accurately describe Joseph? Troublemaker? Arrogant? Lonely? Victim? How am I at least sometimes like Joseph?
Amid the fun and/or dysfunction in my home, how is God at work?