Today’s reading was Genesis 35-37.
Joseph is introduced in the last chapters of Genesis. Joseph’s story is intriguing. There’s so much to take out of it.
In Genesis 37, we may judge Joseph’s brothers harshly for selling him into captivity, and lying to Jacob that he had been taken by wild animals. Perhaps we may grant Reuben a reprieve for seeking to spare Joseph’s life, but whether we interpret his motivations as that of gaining favour from his father is another issue. We may grant Judah a partial pardon, for acknowledging that Joseph is his brother, and his refrain from killing him. But what about Joseph?
Joseph was proud. I think it’s obvious that Joseph understood his dreams. His brothers clearly did, and hated him for flaunting his position over them. It clearly wasn’t helped either by him being Jacob’s favourite child, a testament of his multi-coloured robe. (Benjamin had not been born and Rachel was still alive at this point I believe.)
But just because Joseph would be superior over the lives of his family did not mean that he had to flaunt it. It was true but it was disrespectful. The best evidence of this was Jacob’s reaction. He was clearly outraged at Joseph’s lack of respect, but he kept Joseph’s words in his mind.
We could speculate. Perhaps this whole story wouldn’t have taken place if Joseph had not been as proud. God would surely have had His ways of getting Joseph to Egypt. But of course, as is the pattern we’ve constantly observed, God uses human folly for His good purposes.
It’s the same today. Especially for young people. We think we’re better than others in some way, are more talented in some skill, and seek to flaunt it, to show off. It’s sheer pride. What’s worse is that sometimes we think we’re better just because God gives us a special gift, or we seem to have a special position in church, or something along those lines. It’s not the mark of a true Christian. And it clearly has its consequences. Joseph’s brothers’ reactions were not irrational or even unexpected. And if people were to react in the same way today, I would not be the least bit surprised.
So let’s be humble people, no matter how skilful, or talented, or smart, or privileged, or ‘high-up’ we are.