Genesis 37: 3-4
3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.
I want to start off by looking at Joseph as a young man. We start to get a look into Joseph’s life at the age of 17. I say Joseph was a prideful, young man, some call it spoiled. Without a doubt he was loved, and special concessions were made for him. As a matter of fact we read in verse 3 : 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age. SO Joseph was the baby of the family, a position that seems to have changed very little of the last 1500 or so years.
His father made him a robe. Many call it the coat of many colors. However this is not to be thought of as the coat of many colors that the country song was about. In fact it was quiet the opposite. This robe was made to show off. It was flashy, and showed the family wealth. It was a way to say look at me. While most robes were plain and one color, this robe was adorned with trinkets, and colorful.
It was more than just the robe that set Joseph apart. We see in chapter 37 verse 12 that Joseph has been allowed to stay behind while his brothers are out tending the flock. So there was also exceptions made when it came to passing out the work assignments, and that was a pretty big deal back then. There is little wonder that his brothers had quite a bit of animosity towards him.
Then to top it off, the Lord gives Joseph a couple of dreams. In verse 6-7 we read 6 He said to them, "Listen to this dream I had: 7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it."
Then another dream in verse 9 we read: 9 Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. "Listen," he said, "I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me."
Have you ever heard it said that some things are best kept to yourself? Of course right at the beginning of verse 6 we see that Joseph did not feel that way, because it starts off with him telling his brothers, listen to this dream I had…… I can see it now, here is Joseph the one who gets out of work all of the time, standing there with his flashy robe on telling his brothers hey listen, I had these dreams, and….well hey, I am going to be a pretty big deal, even the sun and moon shall bow to me! I can only imagine how that went over with the other brothers!
I have heard it said that for God to do impossible things he starts by humbling an impossible person, and we all know what is in store for Joseph, a truly humbling time is heading his way. The point I would like to make about this prideful behavior is are we guilty of the same? Do we flaunt what we have? Do we strive to take the easy way out? Do you find yourself wanting that pretty coat, and the special attention?
It is very human to want to be the best, but let us not confuse being the best at something with being admired, and held out as something special. We should all strive to be the best Christian we can be, yet accomplishing that goal is exactly what will typically keep us from becoming the favored one. We know that Joseph’s brothers wanted that attention. We know that apostles bickered over who was the favorite to Christ. Some apostles even had their mother show up and request special treatment. Yet as Jesus reminded them (Mark 10:43-45), and it still rings true today. If you want to be great among your peers you must first become a servant to them, and whoever wants to be first must be a slave to all. Most telling is what Christ says next “for even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.
So while it is Joseph’s pride that will start the chain of events in his life; it is that very same pride, that feeling of being better than, or more privileged than the next guy, that we must be on guard for. It is a very easy snare to step into, and once there it is hard to get out.