Summary: Joseph dealt with the harsh reality of rejection
Dealing with the Reality of Rejection
Essential 100 Series
January 20, 2008
The year was 1858 and the Illinois legislature used what might be called a dirty political trick. The legislature gave newly elected U.S. Senate seat not to the man who won the popular vote but to the man who had the most support from the Illinois legislature. The man sent to the US Senate was Stephen A Douglas and the man left behind was Abraham Lincoln. A concerned friend asked Lincoln how he felt and this is what he said: "Like the boy who stubbed his toe: I am too big to cry and too badly hurt to laugh."
What is rejection?
Webster defines rejection as to refuse to accept, consider, submit to, take for some purpose, or use to refuse to hear, receive, or admit
Rejection is a part of life and at some point we are all going to feel the cold sting of rejection. Rejection is something that we have all dealt with. Whether it’s on a personal level or a professional level, the sting is still there.
We have felt the familiar pain of rejection in a variety of ways. The job or promotion we were not given, the loan that your bank turned down, the position that you were not given, the family member that stopped speaking to you. Rejection happens to us all and rejection inflicts pain. It comes and drives its fangs into our heart and unleashes its poison.
You can take heart because if you have ever felt rejection, then you are in good company. There were many that felt the sting of rejection throughout the pages of the Bible.
Adam and Eve rejected the command of God
Jeremiah was rejected by the people of his day and was thrown into a well
Jonah rejected the people of Ninevah after they repented
Jesus was rejected by the society and religious leadership of His day
Peter rejected Jesus by denying Him three times
Stephen was rejected and executed by the Sanhedrin
This morning if you have your Bibles please open them to Genesis 37:3 as we begin to look at one of the most well know stories of rejection in the Bible. This morning we are going to look at the life of Joseph.
Rejection Started in Joseph’s home 37:3-
3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.
When we first meet Joseph he had a favored position in his household. He seems to play the role of the spoiled child. He is the one whom his father played favorites with. To further make the favoritism known, Joseph was given an expensive robe to wear. This would have been a symbol of status. We see the response of his brothers to this was not good.
The writer makes it clear that the brothers hated Joseph because of his favored treatment. The manner of their attitude toward Joseph is seen in their envy, animosity and their jealousy.
5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. 6 He said to them, "Listen to this dream I had: 7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it." 8 His brothers said to him, "Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?" And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.
Joseph is given a vision through a dream and makes the mistake of telling his brothers about it. The response is only more of the same. Look at the end of verse 8, they hated him all the more. The burning hatred of Joseph’s brother roared out of control and consumed them. The consuming fire of hate would soon burn Joseph.
Notice the downward spiral that Joseph’s brothers went down and each step brought them one step closer to their rejection.
The brothers were bitter over the special treatment that Joseph received and from the negative report that he gave about them.
The brothers became angry over the dreams that Joseph told them about. They felt that he would never have authority over them
The brothers were jealous of Joseph’s special place with their father and with his obvious special abilities.
The brothers allowed their negative feelings to linger and then they infected the way they saw Joseph. Notice that they hated Joseph. These are strong words for an even stronger emotion.