Written by Dave Urbanski
As we shift in Genesis 37 to the life of Joseph, we see yet another family situation filled with conflict and sibling rivalry — in this case, it’s the teenager Joseph versus his 11 brothers who grow to hate him and eventually plot to kill him. (Which hopefully pales in comparison to squabbles you’ve seen over who gets the last ice cream cone and control over the TV remote!)
Pastor Scott shared a number of crucial truths on Sunday that — even with an ancient biblical account that may look far different than our 21st-century realities — is quite applicable to our lives. Whether or not we struggle in our relationships with our siblings, or even if we don’t have siblings at all, we all have to face conflict and other challenges in our relationships with others.
In this chapter, we find that Joseph — who was 17 at the time — gave a bad report to his father Jacob about his brothers. Naturally his brothers didn’t like that, and the bad blood began to boil over. Not that it’s ever a good thing to tattle — and there’s no evidence that Joseph did that with respect to his brothers — but the more important thing is that Joseph made a decision that day: He aligned himself with truth and with his father rather than protecting his brothers.
Is that something you can relate to? Being in the position of having to choose the truth over a lie — and maybe others getting angry at you for doing so? Joseph’s brothers hated him for telling the truth about them. Sometimes doing what’s right comes with an emotionally painful cost. But remember that it’s never as costly as turning a blind eye to the truth and not standing up for it.
What’s more, we see in this chapter that Joseph received a “robe of many colors” from his father, who “loved Joseph more than any other of his sons.” Ouch. In a family with more than one child, it most definitely hurts when a parent openly favors one child over the others — even if there’s good reason to do so. And that probably applies to Joseph’s brothers. But still, one wonders if Jacob tried harder to show more love to his other sons and demonstrated favor toward them in other ways, would they have reacted in such anger toward Joseph later on? It’s an important question to ask ourselves, whether we are a parent or a son or daughter.
But just as crucially, as Pastor Scott shared, Joseph receiving the robe from his father symbolizes important truths in our relationship with God. Since the Lord is a perfect father to each one of us, he literally has a “robe of many colors” he wants to give each of us. And these robes are all different, as they are made especially for each one of his children. But the question is, will we reach out and receive God’s gift? And even if we do receive God’s robe, do we check it at the door of culture, as Pastor Scott asked us?
Are you in a state of heaviness today? Are you angry or discouraged — even reluctant to put on the “garment of praise” the Lord has given you? Do you even wonder if you are worthy of such a gift? Stop right there and rest easy: None of us is worthy. God gives each of us his gifts because he loves each of us — not because we’ve done anything to earn his love.
And remember God’s safety net: the church. We gather with fellow believers at Calvary Chapel Living Hope because that’s where we can get support and prayer and learn how to manage difficulties in our lives and how to receive grace and forgiveness. And it’s also where learn how to throw off our selfishness by being servants to one another.
On this day, may we each put on the “robe of many colors” the Lord has given us, practice kindness and compassion, walk in humility, and exercise gentleness and patience as we serve each other — especially our fellow siblings in the house of God.