Summary: This is a character study on Joseph with a practical study involving his life.
TEXT: Genesis 37: 1-36 W. Max Alderman
Chapter 37 introduces a long section of Bible study that has to do with Joseph. “Joseph, being seventeen years old”: Thus begins one of the most remarkable life stories of the Bible and all literature. “He was loved and hated, favored and abused, tempted and trusted, exalted and abased. Yet at no point in the one-hundred-and-ten-year life of Joseph did he ever seem to get his eyes off God or cease to trust him. Adversity did not harden his character. Prosperity did not ruin him. He was the same in private as in public. He was a truly great man.” (Boice) In this chapter Joseph is sold into slavery after offending his brothers with his dreams. His brothers were also jealous of Joseph being favored by their father Israel, yet he went on trusting the Lord.
Enoch shows the walk of faith, Noah shows the perseverance of faith, Abraham shows the obedience of faith, Isaac shows the power of faith, and Jacob shows the discipline of faith. Along these lines we could say that Joseph shows the triumph of faith. Joseph never complained and he never compromised (Guzik). As we study the life characteristics of this great man, may we be challenged to be like him…
I. THE DREAMING OF JOSEPH (Vv. 1-7)
Nearly everyone dreams. Today we usually do not take dreams seriously. Joseph’s dreams, however, were from the Lord for the purpose of revealing prophetic truth. His dreams were revealed to his brother. This caused jealously and other troubles to develop.
A. The dreamer was a Faithful son. (Vv. 1-2)
Joseph told Israel of his brother’s evil doings. He was faithful to reveal rather than conceal the matter. Certainly it took a great deal of courage to do what he did. The exercising of that courage showed forth faithfulness. He also was faithful to his job requirements. There is no indication that he was just a tale-bearer, but instead he is seen to have a sensitive spirit to that which is wrong and most likely told the evil report with the hopes that his father could deal with it to the son’s good. Yet, we will find that this was to be added to those things that would cost Joseph for doing right. Time will prove that God will honor him for doing right.
PRACTICAL APPLICATION: As it did with Joseph, it may cost you to do right. Yet, it may also be said, “That it pays to do right.” When doing right and facing criticism for having done so, you may be tempted to “back off” from doing right. Like the Book of Hebrews, we should heed what Hebrews 10:35 says: “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward”. The Lord will reward us when we do right.
When I was in the sixth grade, I reported a theft of fifty cents from the “snack box”. Ann and I had been given the responsibility of taking care of the store. I turned my back and then quickly turned back around and saw that the fifty cent piece had been stolen. I went home after I saw that she had taken the money and told my mother. My mother then told me that I needed to tell my sixth grade school teacher. I went the next day and told my teacher that I had something private to tell her. We stepped out into the hall and then I told her. She went and told the principle. Instead of the principle removing or disciplining the one who had taken the money, he removed us both. That nearly crushed me, because it made me look guilty, also. It bothered me for many years when I thought about it. Over twenty-five years later, I walked into a funeral home to preach a funeral and saw my sixth grade school teacher. The first thing that she said was, “Max, I won’t ever get over what that principle did to you. You were doing right in reporting the theft of that money and he treated you just as though you had taken it.” I had never mentioned this incident to my sixth grade teacher and had wondered if she thought that I had taken some money, but when she told me that, I felt a sense of relief in knowing that she knew that I had done right… That made my day. I think of how when we do right and feel that it is not being rewarded, that just as it was with my teacher, one day the truth will come forth.