Summary: Genesis 37 reveals the "pit-stops" Joseph had to make in his journey from boyhood to manhood
Genesis Series # 6 CHCC: March 4, 2007
Pit Stops in Life
I’m glad we’re doing a series on the book of Genesis. It’s an incredible book. Genesis is God introducing Himself. It’s not just a book of philosophy or theology … it’s a book of true stories about real people. God introduces Himself by introducing the first people who got to know Him.
We’ve already talked about several of them: Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Hagar, Jacob and Esau (remember – you don’t want to be like Esau!) Their stories are not there just to entertain us. They were recorded so we can learn who God is and what it’s like to know Him.
For the next 4 weeks we’re going to learn about the life of a man named Joseph. Almost a 4th of the book of Genesis is about Joseph. Genesis chapter 35 tells about his birth --- and Genesis chapter 50 (the last chapter of Genesis) ends with his death.
Joseph was the favorite son in a large family of 12 brothers. At the beginning of Genesis chapter 37, it looks like Joseph is “on top of the world.” But by the end of Genesis 37, he’s is in a deep Pit.
Joseph’s jealous older brothers literally threw him in a Pit. We can think of this as the first “PIT STOP” in Joseph’s life. Like Joseph, most of us have been through a “Pit Stop” or two in our lives. When this happens, we can’t help but wonder, why would God let this happen to me? Why does God allow trouble in our lives? Why do innocent people suffer? Why are we hit by sickness or accidents when we least expect it? Why do we so easily fall into sin traps that threaten to ruin our lives?
To tell you the truth, it’s kind of a “downer” to think about the “Pit Stops” of life. So I thought we’d start out with a little humor. Thinking about “Pit Stops” reminded of me of a movie I saw recently (It’s a favorite of my grandson, David, by the way.) The movie is called CARS. (Introduce film clip)
Video Clip from CARS (3 minutes)
I’m sure Joseph would have avoided his first PIT STOP if he could. But the truth is, Joseph needed a PIT STOP. You see, one of the first things we learn about Joseph is that he was a DREAMER. He was a dreamer who needed to WAKE UP … and the PIT STOP was his Wake-Up Call.
1. Wake Up
Joseph was a confident but naïve 17 year old. He was the 11th of 12 brothers --- but he was the FIRST BORN of Jacob’s beloved wife, Rachel. Now, we all know how common sibling rivalry is. Older siblings often find their younger brothers and sisters to be somewhat annoying. It’s common for older brothers or sisters to look at a younger sibling and think, “Boy, mom and dad are spoiling that kid. They were so tough on me, but they let little “Jr.” get away with everything!”
You can take that natural rivalry and multiply it a thousand times to understand Joseph’s situation. The first thing we read about Joseph in verse 2 is that Joseph returned from the fields where his brothers were herding sheep. As soon as he got home, he gave his father a bad report on his brothers. In other words, Joseph told on his brothers. At least, that’s how his brothers saw it.
So just imagine how they felt when this annoying little tattletale came up to them and announced: “Hey guys! Guess what I dreamed last night? We were all binding up sheaves of wheat when all of a sudden MY sheaf stood upright. And then --- get this! --- all YOUR sheaves of wheat gathered around and bowed down to mine. Cool, huh?”
Then a few days later the little spoiled brat says, “Guess what? I had another dream where the sun, moon and 11 stars were bowing down to me!” Genesis 37:7, 9
Now, if you’ve read the story, you know those dreams were prophetic. The dreams came from God, and they showed what God planned to do in Joseph’s life. But the fact that Joseph thought his brothers would be excited about these dreams is our first clue that Joseph was clueless.
It’s kind of like Joseph was sleep waking through life. Joseph was such a dreamer that he didn’t even notice the real world around him. He had no clue that the hostility and jealously of his half-brothers was growing into outright, murderous hatred.
The next time Jacob sent Joseph out to check up on his brothers, they saw him approaching in the distance and they said, "Here comes that dreamer! … Let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams." Genesis 37:19-20