We’re going to be in Genesis 37 tonight as we start to really focus in on the story of Joseph. This is where God shows us how He began shaping Joseph into the great man and leader that he eventually became. If you took these principles and wrote them in a book it could be titled “how to make a leader” by God. But it would be very different from most of the “how to” leadership books that are on the market today, and we will se why.
You know, there’s “how to” books on everything out there today. These are actual books:
How to boost your metabolism How to tie a tie
How to find a coin’s worth How to read palms
How to flirt How to stop driving yourself crazy
How to toilet train your cat How to read
How to start a country How to be happy even though you’re married
Well lets look at just the beginning of God’s “how to” book on making a leader out of Joseph. Because there’s a few more “how to” books that are in this chapter as well. Little “how to” books written by Jacob, his sons, and even Joseph himself.
I. “How to be Hated”, by Jacob and Joseph
1. Be a snitch
[Read Genesis 37:1-2.]
Nobody likes a tattle-tale. Joseph is the youngest of all the kids, he’s out working with his brothers, and he comes home and tells on them for probably not working very hard. “Daddy, Dan and Naphtali and Gad and Asher wouldn’t help me with the sheep today. As soon as we got out there they went fishing while I did all the work!” That’s a good way to get hated – be a snitch. But Jacob didn’t make it an better, because principle #2 is:
2. Show favoritism
[Read Genesis 37:3-4.]
When a father would give his son a fancy coat like this it often signified that the son was the chosen future leader of the family. Of course, this was usually given to the first born son. But since Jacob’s first born son Reuben had an affair with one of Jacob’s wives, he could forget about receiving that honor.
So every time the brothers saw Joseph in that fancy coat it infuriated them and they couldn’t even speak in a civil manner towards him.
Joseph was the most loved by his father and everyone knew it, including Joseph. Now remember, Joseph’s only 17 years old and he realizes that he’s daddy’s favorite. I think it started to affect his judgment here because he lays down another principle on how to be hated.
[Read Genesis 37:5-8.]
Now in the coming weeks we will see how these dreams are prophetic and come true in amazing ways. From typology to practicality, the dreams play out in their lifetime. But was it really a wise thing for Joseph to tell this dream to his brothers? He knew what it represented. Why pour gasoline on the fire? Of course they reject him and gain even more hatred for him.
So what does Joseph do? He tells them after he has another similar dream.
[Read Genesis 37:9-11.]
Now God was giving Joseph these dreams, but did he really have to tell his brothers and his father as well? It does seem that he’s gloating a little bit here. He knows they already hate him because he’s daddy’s favorite. So why give them more reasons to hate him? But Jacob and Joseph weren’t done yet.
4. Show more favoritism
Jacob now seems to put his son Joseph in charge of his brothers. We’ll see that Joseph isn’t out in the fields working any more. He’s now sent to check up on the brothers.
[Read Genesis 37:12-17.]
Joseph doesn’t have to do any of the real work any more. He’s now upper management even though he’s the youngest. I’m sure that as the brothers left every morning for work they’d look over at Joseph wearing that fancy coat and sipping coffee with dad and think about just how much they hated Joseph. So they got started writing their own “how to” book.
II. “How to Hate”, by the ten
1. Justify your hate
2. Plan your revenge
[Read Genesis 37:18-22.]
You can see though these verses that the brothers justified within themselves their hate for Joseph by mocking his dreams and aspirations. Instead of pondering them like their father did, they rejected them as arrogant wishes by their kid brother.
Once they had in their hearts that Joseph deserved their wrath, they plotted against him to get him out of their way no matter what it took. They wouldn’t allow their kid brother to be in charge of them any more.
But there was one brother out of the eleven that showed some care and concern for Joseph. Reuben, the oldest, actually sought to protect his younger brother.