Sibling Rivalry

Today’s Bible reading for Blogging Through The Bible in 2020 will come from Genesis 37. Genesis 37:3-4 says, “Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors. 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.”

Anyone who has a sibling knows that sibling rivalries can get out of hand. I think that would be an understatement in Joseph’s situation. Genesis 37 is the beginning of Joseph’s story. If you were to study the life of Joseph here in the Old Testament, and then study the life of Jesus in the New Testament, you would be able to see several similarities in their lives. However, Joseph wasn’t sinless. In fact, you can see his sin nature shine through if you read all of Genesis 37. He becomes prideful of the dreams he had, and he couldn’t wait to share them with his brothers. They were dreams of how his family would one day bow down to him. Later in Genesis, we will see the fulfillment of the dream, but Joseph had no way of knowing exactly how it would all play out. Nor, did he know what he would have to go through before his dreams came to pass. One thing that jumps out in this story is the role the boys’ father plays. After his wrestling match with God, God changed Jacob’s name to Israel. Therefore, the reference in this verse to Israel is a reference to Jacob. Therefore, Jacob not only started the sibling rivalry between his boys, he stoked it by giving special presents to Joseph.

There are several lessons we can take from this story. The first lesson is God’s power to use anyone and anything to accomplish His purpose. The sins of pride and favoritism are not of God, but we are going to see how God uses every aspect of this story to accomplish His purpose. Maybe you are going through something right now, and it is incredibly painful. Maybe you don’t see how God is working. Maybe you are struggling to believe that God even cares about you and your situation. Let this story comfort you and encourage you. God sees you, He knows what you are going through, and although it may not be ok right now, God is all-powerful and one day He can make it all right. The second lesson goes along with this first one and it is that we need to trust God. Just because you don’t know where the wind comes from doesn’t mean it isn’t blowing. In the same way, just because you can’t see God working right now, doesn’t mean that He isn’t. When you can’t see the hand of God in your situation, we must learn to trust the character of God. He is loving, gracious, merciful, kind, and more. Just be patient and trust that He is there, He loves you, and He has a plan and a purpose for it all. The final lesson is this, don’t play favorites! This applies to all of us, but especially parents. Any hint of favoritism will be picked up on by people, especially kids, and it will only stoke more problems. Scripture teaches us that we are to treat our least favorite person the same way that we treat our most favorite person. Let’s just be honest, Lord, we are going to need your help in doing that! But praise God, as we call out to Him and trust Him, He will do it and more.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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