Summary: Even through bad situations God is in control, and will turn them for His glory
Vitor Belfort is a Brazilian mixed martial artist and UFC fighter. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Vitor is currently ranked #5 in the Middleweight class, and is the only fighter to beat current champion Luke Rockhold in 2015. Vitor is, by many accounts, a very successful man. Vitor was in a little video -- about five minutes long -- that I’d like to share with you guys tonight.
God wanted to use Vitor and his talents to expand his Kingdom. He tried sending a man with no legs, and Vitor ignored Him. Finally, it took an incredibly traumatic event -- the kidnapping of his sister -- for him to realize that God is there and wants to have a relationship with him. Vitor was that arrogant and stubborn.
There are a lot of people in the Bible who could match this description -- arrogance and stubbornness only improving after a majorly traumatic event changes their lives. Paul is a good example; so is Zaccheus the wee little man, and Moses, and Zechariah the father of John the Baptist. But tonight I want to talk about another man who started life out pretty arrogant -- Joseph.
Turn with me to Genesis 37. Remember, Joseph’s father Jacob had been renamed to “Israel” after he wrestled with an angel. Israel’s 12 sons formed the basis of the 12 tribes of the nation of Israel. Let’s start with verse 2:
“2This is the account of Jacob. Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpha, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them. 2Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he bad been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. 4When 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. 5Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. 6He said to them, ‘Listen to this dream I had: 7We 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.’ 8His 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. 9Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. ‘Listen,’ he said, ‘I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.’ 10When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, ;What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?’ 11His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.”
Wow, there are some monumentally bad decisions in these few verses, right? First, right from the get-go, Joseph literally tattles on his brothers. “...he brought their father a bad report about them.” I think it’s interesting that the Bible doesn’t go into detail on what specifically these brothers did -- which likely means it was something so minor it really didn’t matter to anybody or anything in the long run. It would be the same as having your younger brother or sister tell your parents that you didn’t put the cap back on the toothpaste tube when you finished brushing your teeth. Yeah, you probably shouldn’t have done that; but it doesn’t really need your parents’ involvement to fix, right?
So, not only did he tattle on his older brothers, he was an obvious favorite of his father’s. This isn’t Joseph’s fault, really -- Israel should have known better than to show obvious favoritism to one child over another. This made Joseph’s brothers hate him even more than they did already -- to the point where they “could not speak a kind word to him.” Yikes.
So Joseph isn’t stupid -- he must be able to see all this happening. But what does he do about it? Does he try to make nice with his brothers, apologize for tattling on them, and do his best to live with his brothers in an uncomfortable situation?
Nope! He rubs it in. He tells them about a dream he had where the rest of his family were bowing down to him like he was in charge. Not only does he share this dream, but he does it twice! You want to talk about arrogance, there it is. Joseph got a sign from God but completely misused it. God didn’t send the dreams to Joseph so he could feel superior to his brothers, or brag about how much better he is than they are. No! God doesn’t work like that.