Joseph is one of the greatest role models in the Bible. We see a man of integrity and spiritual sensitivity; a man who was a slave and rose in power to become the ruler of Egypt.
Rachel was the love of Jacob’s life, and when she finally gave birth to Joseph, Jacob was over 90 years old. Joseph became Jacob’s favourite son. This favouritism was clear to his older brothers and caused tension within the family. When Jacob gave Joseph a colourful long sleeved, ankle length robe that looked like a royal garment, it became the breaking point for the older brothers. They seethed with hatred and anger and could not even have a civil conversation with Joseph!
Two dreams given in our scripture text today add fuel to the fires of jealousy in the hearts of Joseph’s brothers. Both the dreams were easy to understand and involved having Joseph rule over the other family members. The second dream was told to Jacob, who at first rebuked Joseph, but then thought that perhaps it was a revelation from God, and so kept the interpretation in mind. Jacob suspected that this message had come from the Lord but he did not know how it would work out in the lives of everyone in the family, especially Joseph.
We have a chapter where God’s name is not mentioned once. But the theme of this chapter, as with all subsequent chapters, is about God accomplishing His sovereign purposes in the life of this man in the teeth of enormous hostility and opposition. When things looked their worst, God was there in control in Joseph’s life. Nothing was happening to Joseph by the whim of men or by mere chance.
We learn from Joseph that what matters is not so much the events or circumstances of life, but our response to them. We do not have to be a victim of our past. With God’s help, any situation can be used for good, even when others intend it for evil.