When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him. (37:4)
As we grow up, our first relationships in which we strive towards equality are with brothers and sisters, if we have them. While we prefer to look in the Bible for stories of people who had perfect relationships we can imitate, when we look at Joseph and his brothers in the early years, we see just the opposite.
Joseph was born in a society with loose marriage laws. Jacob, his father, had four wives but was only in love with the one named Rachel. Joseph was the first of two sons born to her. Jacob favored Joseph, even giving him a coat befitting a tribal chieftain. The other boys were so upset, they wouldn’t even say hello to him. When they finally got him alone, they manhandled him and then sold him into slavery to foreign merchants headed to Egypt, where he was sexually harassed and falsely imprisoned.
But years later, there was a reunion with his father and a grace-filled reconciliation between all those brothers. Joseph set their hearts at ease finally when he said: “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good . . . Do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones” (Gen. 50:20-21). Joseph forgave their unconscionable actions because he saw how God had used it all for good. That’s amazing grace!
Lord, if there is any need of forgiveness in my family, help me get it started.