Summary: Our natural tendency when we get into a problem is to blame other people. Joseph could’ve blamed others for his problems, but he chose not to.

Genesis 37 October 24, 1999

Family troubles: How did I get in this pit?


Have you ever asked yourself this question: “How in the world did I get in this mess?” Maybe the mess that you find yourself in is your marriage. You fight constantly, you never seem to see things from one another’s point of view, the honeymoon ended a long time ago, you’re beginning to wonder if the other person really loves you or even if you still love the other person. Maybe the mess is your family. You feel like you’ve done everything that could be required of a parent for your kids, and still they rebel against you. They won’t listen, they go their own way, you try to give them wisdom, but nothing seems to impact their actions or attitudes. Maybe the mess is your relationship with someone – a neighbor, a co-worker, a relative, someone in the church. You want to do what is right, but they just rub you the wrong way. You know that there has got to be a better way, but you can’t seem to find it. So since you don’t know how to solve the problem, you avoid the problem and just stay away from the person. These kinds of messes create great pain for us. And when that pain and the pressure it brings get too heavy, we find a corner to hide in, the tears start to come, and we cry out, “How in the world did I get in this mess? How did I get into this deep, dark pit?” It’s a good question to ask, because once you figure out how you got to where you are, it helps you to figure out how to get out of where you are. That’s what we want to do this morning. We want to see what creates the messes that invade our lives, and how we can find healing for those messes.

Beginning today and continuing for the next 4 weeks or so, we’re going to take a look at the life of Joseph. Joseph’s story is told in Genesis chapters 37 – 50. In Genesis 37, we are introduced to Joseph and the things that happened in his life to get him into a real doozy of a mess. Open your Bibles to Genesis 37, and let’s start reading at verse 12. {read verses 12-14 – give synopsis of events} Now, let’s start reading again at verse 18. {read verses 18-25a – give synopsis of events} Now, get the picture in your head of what is going on here. Joseph is at the base of a dry well. He’s bruised and maybe got some broken bones from the fall. He can hear his brothers laughing up above him, and he knows that their laughter is about the fact that they have finally gotten rid of him. It’s dark & cold, and he really doesn’t know what is going to happen to him. It wouldn’t do any good to yell. That would just give his brothers more to laugh about and possibly more reason to kill him. He’s got nothing to do but think. “Here I am; I’m in a real mess now here at the bottom of this pit. How in the world did I get here?” The Bible doesn’t say that he did this, but if Joseph reacted to his troubles like most of us react to ours, he began to blame other people and circumstances for the mess that he faced. There were a lot of people and circumstances that Joseph could have blamed too. Look back at the beginning of Genesis 37, and let’s see some of those factors that he could have pinpointed as to why he was where he was.

Joseph could have blamed . . .

1. his dysfunctional family ancestry (vs. 1) “the land of his fathers”

- Abraham (great-grandfather) – left home because he heard the voice of God

- Isaac (grandfather) – he lied in order to protect himself. When he was in unfamiliar territory, he told everyone that his wife was his sister so that they would not kill him in order to get her.

- Jacob/Israel (father) – he and my uncle, Esau, were always fighting when they were growing up. Dad even made uncle so mad one time that dad had to run away so that uncle wouldn’t kill him. Dad was always tricking people. That made him a lot of enemies. Then when it came time for dad to get married, that’s when things got really messed up. See, Dad loved this one girl, but he got tricked into marrying this other girl, who he really didn’t think too much of. Well, then he married both of them! So he’s got one wife that he loves and one that he doesn’t love! What a mess. But oh, it gets worse. You can read about it in Gen. 29:31-30:24. See, since God knew that Leah, that’s Dad’s first wife, was not loved, God started blessing her with sons. She had four of them in a row. She was trying to earn dad’s love by giving him sons. But then, she stopped having kids, so she told dad to go have sex with her servant girl so that her servant could produce more sons for Jacob. So that’s how my next 2 brothers came along. Then, when Rachel, that’s dad’s second wife, the one that he loved – when she saw that no matter how hard she and Jacob tried, she just couldn’t seem to get pregnant, she latched onto Leah’s idea, and told Jacob to have sex with her servant girl, Bilhah in order that Jacob could have more sons through her. That’s where the next 2 brothers came from. Then, dad and Leah – back to the first wife – spent some more time together, and brothers #9 and #10 came along. Finally, after years of trying, Rachel had a son. That’s where I came into the picture.

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