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Summary: Discover the source of jealousy and bitterness and how to overcome them.

Faith in the Fire: The Fire of Jealousy and Bitterness

Genesis 37

Intro: (ILL) Getting to the bottom of things: The Mysterious Cricket

Three parts to the story:

- Joseph and his dad (vs. 1-3)

- Joseph and his dreams (vs.4-11)

- Joseph and his disappearance (vs. 12-36)

Objects of Jealousy

- People:

o Jacob showed favoritism towards Joseph which made his brothers jealous of their relationship.

 Joseph has a special relationship with his dad

• He was the first born of Israel’s first love

 (ILL) Favoritism

James 2:1 Don’t show favoritism

• Limits your choices

• Somebody gets hurt, in this case, Joseph’s brothers

o (APP) Jealous of others’ relationships, wish you could be someone’s friend, (boyfriend, girlfriend),

- Position

o Coat of many colors

 Given as a symbol of birthright: Reuben had lost his, Jacob skipped over the other sons and chose the firstborn of Rachel

 Coat or robe: Full-length sleeves, all the way to the ankles. Signified his position as supervisor or overseer, exempt from work and responsible to report on them.

o (APP) Jealous of those in a higher position

- Prospects

o Joseph’s prophetic dreams indicated his position would increase

o Joseph seemed to be receiving Divine understanding

 Jealous of those who seem to be used of God more than you?

o Brothers focused on Joseph’s dreams

 (APP) Are you jealous of the dreams or plans of others.

Origins of Jealousy

- Jealousy is the fear that someone will take from us something precious or frustration when someone has something we do not.

- Its source is covetousness

o We want what is not ours…

o “Do not covet your neighbor’s house. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female slave, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Exo 20:17)

o A widespread cultural poison resulting in epidemic discontentment. So accustomed to it we probably don’t even realize it’s happening.

 (EXP) Commercials are designed to make you dissatisfied with what you have and covet what you see on the screen. Do you think Scope puts those commercials on because they are worried about your breath? Or ATT because they realize the importance of staying in touch as a family?

Birth of bitterness

- In a sense, bitterness is the child of jealousy.

- We want what is not ours…then get mad that someone else has it.

o Joseph’s brothers were angry to the point of hatred. Over father, foreman, future

o Our anger is really anger with God

 God provides everything; “For He [God] causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Mat 5:45)

 We have a tendency to think as the world thinks: “I have what I have because I acquired it.”

 People have what they have because God has either provided it or permitted it.

 So when our jealousy stirs us to anger, the truth is we are really angry at God.

 (QUOTE)[1] Erwin Lutzer: described it as being “rebellion against God’s leading in the lives of his children. It’s saying that God has no right to bless someone else more than you.”

 Denial of the goodness of God

- Its result is bitterness

o Describe bitterness

 (ILL) Frustration that has festered. If jealousy is a simple cut, bitterness is the infection that sets in if not treated.

o The effects of bitterness

 Bitterness poisons others

• Heb. 12:15 READ

 Bitterness is unpredictable

 Bitterness can erupt

• Joseph sold into slavery

 Bitterness will cause you to do what was once unthinkable.

• Murder

Battle against bitterness

- Be honest: James 3:14

o “But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t brag and lie in defiance of the truth.” James 3:14

o Previous questions: Jealous of someone’s relationship; Jealous of someone’s position; Jealous of someone’s plans or other jealousy or source

- Be content

o Stop coveting: Do not covet but rather be content.

o God is with you, be content in Him

- Be in prayer

o (ILL)[2] Meyer and Morgan

Invitation: (ILL)[3] Charlotte “Just As I Am”

- That poem is our invitational song this morning. As we sing it, you come, just as you are and lay down your jealousy and bitterness and embrace Christ as Savior.

Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations and Quotes: [1] pg. 270 [2] 272 [3] 71

Much appreciation for Lloyd Stilley’s sermon "When Your Dreams Get High-Jacked.

Key to shorthand: (ILL) Illustration; (EXP) Example; (APP) Application

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