Joseph: How Faith and Character are formed
Favoured and despised – Week 1
Sermon Date: June 3rd
Sermon Reading: Genesis 37:1-11
Do you remember any of the dreams you had when you were a child? What is your dream today?
Can you remember anything from last Sunday's sermon that struck you?
We are starting a new sermon series based on Genesis 37 to 48. We are looking into the life of Joseph, how his faith and character were formed. Genesis mainly follows the story of a family, through whom the nation of Israel, God’s people, was formed. This is the story of Abraham (Genesis 12-25), Isaac his son (Genesis 25-35) and his grandson Jacob (Genesis 35-50). As part of each patriarch’s story, we find the details of their son’s lives. It all happened a long time ago, we are talking about 1900 or 1800 B.C. We have to remember that these were real people, who moved around and had to adapt to the different contexts in their lives, life was much less stable and predictable than what it is today.
This is their family tree:
We find in Genesis 35 Jacob’s story and his children. In that same chapter we hear about his father Isaac’s death. Genesis 36 is all about his brother Esau. So in chapter 37, we start finding out about Jacob and his sons, especially Joseph. As you read, please remember that God’s name for Jacob is Israel, so if you read Israel this is Jacob!
This story is much more than the story of a broken family being restored. It is about how God can work regardless of people’s bad deeds to save the world. Joseph said “you intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20)
Please read Genesis 37:1-11
Q1 - In verses 1-3 we already find some tension between Joseph and his brothers. What was it?
Q2 - Why do you think that there was this tension between them? (* hint)
Q3 - In verses 3-4 we find the famous “ornate robe” also known as the “amazing technicolour dreamcoat”. Do you think what Jacob did was correct? Do you think his sons’ reaction was understandable?
We must understand that they lived in a very different social construction. Having slaves was normal and the slave’s sons and daughters had less privileges than the wives children. It is part of the context in which this happened.
Q4 - Joseph had a dream from God. Do you think God still speaks through dreams? In what other ways does God speak to us today?
Q5 - What are your dreams? Do you think that they might be God given dreams?
Q6 – Are you trying to follow those dreams? Do you think you are living what God planned for your life? If not, what is stopping you from doing so?
Q7 - In hindsight, do you think Joseph should have shared the dreams with his brothers?
Q8 - Why were the brothers so angry at him? (hint *)
Q9 - In what ways do you feel despised, not understood, for following God’s dreams for your life?
Remember that we are loved by God, God is not Jacob, He doesn’t have favourites in the Church. He loves us all for who we are and is willing to leave the 99 sheep just for us. He has plans and dreams for our lives, regardless of our age or place in which we are at the moment.
Q10 - What do you think that plan or dream for your life might be?
“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
Spend some time praying for each other and giving space to listen to God. He might want to reveal to us part of his plans and dreams as he did with Joseph.
Q2 - Jacob wanted to marry Rachel, but it took him a long time to be able to do so. As it was a custom in that time, he had children with his two wives and their slaves. But out of them, he favoured the woman he loved Rachel’s sons Joseph and Benjamin. We can imagine that he had a closer relationship to them, so the others were jealous. They also felt they should look after their father’s business, that is why Joseph is reporting on Zilpah’s sons behaviour.
Q7 – We find three good reasons in this passage. First he is giving his father bad reports on them, secondly he is given a special coat as his father’s favoured son and thirdly he shares the dream of him ruling over them in the future.
Nico Ohlsson, 29/05/2018