The Master's Joy

Blog post #6  

Prison. Let your imagination run wild for a moment. When you picture an egpytian prison what do you see? Do you see cold wet walls, dark and gloomy atmosphere with light coming through tiny windows in the thick brick walls? Criminals and degenerates of every kind lurking in the shadows? I found my mind going to some of these places. I think though it may have been a little different than that.

 

Genesis 39:22

English Standard Version (ESV)

22 And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it.

 

Well that is interesting isn't it? Being a person of integrity, of character, pays off even when you're in prison? Well sort of. God's plan for Joseph was an interesting one to say the least. This next phase of his life would be the start of plans God had the Joseph never could have imagined! This my friends is the way that God works. The Bible says that God's ways are mysterious, who can know them? The second we try and figure out where God has us going, or what he is going to do next, it will more than likely be the complete opposite of what we think. I always joke with my wife that if there is anything that I don't like to do, more than likely that is what God is calling me to do at that particular moment in my life. Isn't it true? God loves to grow us and stretch us. That is a good thing! I am glad that he does. The Christian life would be boring if he didn't. If there is one thing God never promised in Scripture it would be that the Christian life would be boring. We may think otherwise sometimes. I'm sure that Joseph wasn't happy everyday he was in this prison. But he didn't let that stop him. He let his character and integrity take control of his circumstances and he was blessed. The verse after this we read that all Joseph did succeeded. The keeper of the prison wouldn't have picked some guy that had no character at all. He looked around and saw Joseph was the most upstanding guy there. He saw his character and picked him. That is what I want for myself. It would be great to be picked for this appointment or for that role or position in the church. It makes you feel good when someone asks you to teach this class or to lead this group. But more than that I want to hear this from God. I want God to come to me like the keeper of the prison came to Joseph and said, "you are a man of good character I want you to be my go-to guy". Wow to hear this from God would be a dream come true. It reminds me of:

 

Matthew 25:21

English Standard Version (ESV)

21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[a] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

 

Enter into the joy of your master, yes please! God is so good to us. All he asks is that we act and represent him in our character. We are the image of God to this world. If we act no different, people will see no difference in us, and no difference in following God or themselves. Our reward is showing people who God is. More than that, so much more than that our reward is the joy of our master. Joseph was such a man of character. I see through this character, and integrity, that Joseph was doing it for one reason, the joy of the master. God is our master and his joy is ours. When we delight in him, his joy is everything. What else could we possibly want? I want to live a life of character, if only for one reason to experience the joy of God in my life and on my life. To have the joy of God, ultimately happy, joyful, loving, forgiving, merciful, gracious God, resting on my life. This is what we should have everyday. Seek this pray for this search for this, try for this and I think we will find it. If our goal is that master's joy, and his alone, he will give it to us. Make your life's goal God's joy not yours. That is the mark of character.

Character or Compromise?-Delight!

But is an interesting word. Usually it denotes something that isn't necessarily good, often it preceeds an excuse. In this case however the feeling is very different.

Genesis 39:21

English Standard Version (ESV)

21 But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.

 

Here it is but is almost calming. It is reassuring the reader that God has not forgotten Joseph. It is in fact the opposite. God in fact grants favor to our hero. This phrase also acknowledges that what has happened to Joseph is not anything that the author would consider good, and neither would any reader in their right mind. Despite all that has befallen Joseph so far the Lord grants him favor. Why? Character. Character is clearly something that is valued by God. How many times in Scripture do we read about God giving grace to the humble? Or how many times do we read that God upholds those who are righteous? Or how many times are we taught to seek after what is holy and fix our eyes and lives on who Christ is? The answer to all those questions are, many, many times. The Bible is a manual to teach us how to live a life of Godly character. The question I pose now is does having character bring about reward? It depends I think on how you look at it. What is reward? To most people it is getting what they want. It is recieving monetary compensation for putting yourself aside for the good of something or someone else. It is waiting your turn knowing that when your time does come that you will be repaid more than what you originally thought. Jesus speaks of this type of behavior;

Matthew 5:12

English Standard Version (ESV)

12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

 

If we keep our eyes on this reward we will surely recieve it. I think that our eyes shift sometimes. People are expecting that if try to live good lives we are going to be rewarded for doing so. I think there is so much more to it than that. Being someone of Godly character isn't just doing good things as we have seen in the life of Joseph so far. It is being that person regardless of consquences, all the time. It is being so near the character of God that people have a hard time telling the difference. It sounds hard, and it sounds crazy but it can happen. I think if you live like this, the reward you seek will be different than the rewards I just described. I remember years ago I was sitting down to have my morning devotions. My dad being a pastor instilled in me the value of spending time in the word at a very young age. I sat down and started to read and came across this verse;

Psalm 37:4

English Standard Version (ESV)

4 Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

 

This verse delighted me, but for different reasons. I didn't jump up off me bed right away, but in my adolescent mind I thought and pondered what I thought this really meant. I thought ot myself, Josh what is the desire of your heart? I quickly and almost without hesitation said, it is to be rich and to have millions of dollars (so that I could use most of it for the Lord). What a noble desire I thought that I had. So I marched right into my father's office and informed him that we would soon be millionares. He asked me why of course so I told him. I remember thinking that it was strange that my dad was not yet a millionare, or that maybe he had just never happened to come across this verse in all of his studies. Either way I had the dynamite interpretation of this passage and it was going to pay off in big ways for me. The last part of the verse, at least to a young boy is very deceptive. I read "the desires of my heart" and immediately flew into all the things I wanted. I put together that all of those things could be purchased with money, so there you have it. How simple it all was. It is so obvious that I was missing the whole picture! I recently read this verse again and saw what I missed. Delight myself in the Lord. My dad and I talked about this in depth recently and we came to a new conclusion. If you do what the first thing says the second will happen. It is a promise that God made, so it has to be true. But what if the desire of my heart was still money? Let's put it this way, if you are delighting yourself in the Lord, I mean truly delighting yourself in him, finding your purpose and fulfillment and complete satisfaction in the Lord and him alone, he will give you the desires of your heart, but those desires won't be what they were. They will be something totally new and different, and good. Delighting in God will give your heart the desire to want more of him, to be more like him. To have more of his character as your own. That is what God is promising to give you. The desires of your heart will be the desires of God's heart. Just like the desires of Joseph's heart were the desires of God's heart. That is why God blessed him and found favor in him. We can recieve the same thing from God if we delight in him. That is not something that is commonly said. Christians in today's world have a hard time, sometimes, taking hold of things promised to us in Scripture. This is a clear promise from God, and it is shown by example to us in the life of Joseph. Most of us have never had to spurn a married womans advances, or have had to tell our siblings the dreams we have had of them bowing down to us, or have been thrown into prison for a crime we clearly didn't commit. Through these events Joseph's integrity and character remained more than in tact, they grew. God promises the same to us. We can grow in character if, when these events come into our lives, we don't compromise. Character and compromise have nothing to do with each other. They are not friends they are enemies. Joseph never compromised even when facing prison. As men, despite any trial that comes in our lives, let's not compromise. Let's hold our integrity and character as a paramount treasure in our lives. Fight for our character. Don't give an inch of our character away. Live without compromise.

Joseph-Faith equals character

Joseph we can agree is a man of astounding character. Surely God will now reward him for being a man of such caliber. Oh no! Now what? What else can go wrong in Joseph's life? Is having such character and having so many things go wrong what I have to look forward to in my life if I model this? Soon after Joseph fled from Potiphars wife and her enticing offers to lie with her, he gets thrown into prison because of his actions, and because of Potiphars wifes lie. Human beings tend to feel trapped in a corner when they are up against something that shows what kind of people they really are. Just look at the any of the conversations Jesus had with the Pharisees. Read the account of when Moses came down the mountain and found the Israelites building their golden calf, or read the account of Daniel before being thrown to the lions, the list goes on. If we get caught in a match against someone of much higher character, we as humans will usually do anything we can to get the upper hand, even if it's an outright lie. That is exactly what happened here:

Genesis 39:14-15

English Standard Version (ESV)

14 she called to the men of her household and said to them, “See, he has brought among us a Hebrew to laugh at us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice. 15 And as soon as he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried out, he left his garment beside me and fled and got out of the house.”

 

Wow that is low! This woman has repeatedly and without relent, tempted our hero everyday and when she gets caught against the wall she lies about Joseph and his character. She not only told the authorities of the day she also told the same story to her husband who came home later that day. It says that his anger was kindled, and rightly so, if the story were true. It is remarkable to note that through all of this Joseph is not recorded in saying anything. Maybe he ran so fast that he couldn't. Either way this is another mark of the character Joseph. It is very hard to not defend yourself when you know you are in the right, this might be one of the most overwhelming times that this would be true. Joseph doesn't raise his voice, he doesn't defend himself, or even his character, but we will see what his plan, and God's plan, actually was.

Now don't get me wrong here. I would not be happy, and I'm not sure Joseph was either. Throughout his whole life, and all the stories we have read so far, Joseph hasn't really done anything to deserve what has happened to him. I often feel the same way until I really look and examine myself, and my decisions. I think Joseph's case is a litte different. His entire life he has been trying to do the right thing. Each time it seems when things are going well something catastrophic is waiting for him. I thought about how this is a recurring theme in the Scriptures, and how many characters from the Bible seem to have gone through similar types of times in their lives. I thought that this must just be how life is. I think after really studying this there is a different answer. Maybe this isn't how life is, maybe this is how God is. Maybe God allows these things to happen, not to hurt us but to teach us how to live. Maybe he uses these circumstances to build our character, from the ground up, like Joseph. Joseph was being taught by God what integrity was from the beginning of his life. Take for example the two dreams that he had. It would have been easier and much more peaceful in his life if he didn't share with his brothers the dream he had. But he didn't take the easy way out. He chose character, he chose who God wanted him to be, and accepted everything that went along with it. This situation with Potiphar's wife was no different. He fell back on his character that was given by God, and rested in the fact that God knew what he was doing. Faith equals character. Faith may be the essential attribute of a christians character. That is our problem too often. We try so hard to do what is right and to be a good person and make good decisions but we don't believe after things are out of our control that God is in control. We don't believe that God is going to mold us and shape us into the people we are called to be.

 

Ephesians 2:10

English Standard Version (ESV)

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

 

If God created us why would he not mold us and shape us into what we are to be? More importantly if we are God's workmanship why would he not sustain us through the most difficult times in our lives, so that we don't break under the pressure? We may bend a little, or bend a lot. But the answer is God will not let us break. No matter how much we want to believe that he will. Joseph knew that God wouldn't let him break, he remembered the dreams that he dreamed and the visions he saw and the promises made to him and about him. We have promises made to us in Scripture, specifically to us. In fact more than I could even list on this post. The point is that faith is essential to our character, if we want character we must have faith. I'm not talking about wishy washy faith in our fellow man, they will let you down. I'm talking about faith in the person and mighty working of our Savior Jesus Christ. Faith is the foundation of character. And the only character worth having is Godly character. We should emulate Joseph, but try to be like, exactly like, Christ. Perfect.

Joseph's Tactic - Run or Fall

Wait...what happened to Joseph? Where did he go? What about the Egyptians? If you were reading along in Genesis your questions probably sounded pretty similar to mine. The author of Genesis takes a sharp turn here from the events that were happening in Josephs life. Towards the end of chapter 37 we see huge events happening to Joseph at an alarming pace. Then all of a sudden, nothing. Last we hear Joseph is being sold to a group of Midianites and then they sell him to the Egyptians! Joseph is changing hands like money. Instead of killing their brother, Josephs brothers see a better opportunity. They heeded their brother Reubens advice and did not kill him but rather threw him into a pit, maybe to decide what to do next. The brothers see the Midianites as a way to get rid of Joseph but not kill him, the best of both worlds for them, and they get to make a profit. After this whole ordeal, we await eagerly to see what is happening to Joseph. Rather than tell us the author makes us wait through a whole chapter before resuming this tale. Joseph makes his re-entrance into the story a slave sold into the house of an Epytian official named Potiphar. Immediately we are told that the Lord had his hand on Joseph and he was successful. This made me feel a little better for Josephs rough treatment so far. All that would change again soon. Because of Josephs favor he found himself in charge of Potiphars house.

I thought about this. If I were in Josephs position, I would not be as eager to serve as he was. Let me explain myself. Up to this point Joseph has had some pretty horrible things happen to him. He had been completely betrayed, abandoned and sold by his own brothers, he was removed from his family and home, and even his own country, into a land probably pretty foreign to him. If these tragedies would have befallen me I would not be in the same frame of mind Joseph obviously was, eager to serve both the Lord and his master. This attitude like most of Josephs attitudes is one of extreme integrity. Maybe not of the same kind as we are used to hearing about. Men of integrity usually has the idea attached to it that these types of men stand up to temptation and never relent to outside pressures in their lives. Joseph was living a sort of preventitive integrity. Act with integrity even when pressures aren't staring you in the face. Because they are sure to come, and they did. Despite the things that happened to him leading up to this point in his life Joseph never complains, never blames God, and never seeks vengeance for these travesties. Integrity to the utmost. I see here that humility and integrity compliment each other perfectly. This is overwhelmingly evident in the character of Joseph.

Things for Joseph seemed, for the moment to be looking up. God was blessing him and the work he was doing. He was in a position of favor in the house he was serving in, and he seems for the most part to be happy where he is. Take this type of attitude and atmosphere in Josephs life and his love for God and then read this verse:

 

Genesis 39:10

English Standard Version (ESV)

10 And as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her or to be with her.

 

This is talking about Potiphars wife! Not only was she asking him to lie with her, she was asking him to do this day after day after day. A little background research here and we see that Joseph was not an unattractive man. According to verse 6 he had money, food, looks, and a great job. Joseph was a very eligible bachaelor. It would seem that if he was getting so much attention from a married woman that he was probably getting attention from many other women too. This would not be an easy thing to handle. He is being tempted from all sides and then it starts to happen while he is at work. What a discouragement. Joseph doesn't seem to be too phased by this though. Through all of her advances on Joseph, every time he denies her even a hint of possible sexual promiscuity. Integrity strikes again! Joseph does not even want a hint of unwholesome thoughts or actions to be associated with his character this reminded me of a verse:

Ephesians 5:3

New International Version (NIV)

 3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.

This verse written hundreds of years later is the perfect verse to describe the character of Joseph. He took this type of action in perfecting the character in his own life. But why? I think the answer is at the end of the verse. It says this type of behavior is improper for the holy people of God. We are God's people, and because we are people associate us with him. I think Joseph knew that. It is not only our reputation and character that we represent in ourselves it is God's that is on the line as well.

Philippians 3:17

English Standard Version (ESV)

 17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.

We have people watching our every move, believers and unbelievers. We should act accordingly. This is the beauty of the situation Joseph found himself in. No one was there with him and Potiphars wife. No one would have known, she probably would have kept it a secret in order to not be found out herself or to be able to do it again. Joseph had a tempting situation set before him with no outside help, no one encouraging him to not cave in. Joseph fell back onto the relationship he had with God, knowing that he represented God to the Egpytians and did something very hard. He ran. This is beautiful. As I was re-reading this passage I already knew what Joseph was going to do. I found myself thinking it would be so great if Joseph stood his ground and told this lady off. I thought he should get up on his soap box and preach to this lady until he is blue in the face. Command her to repent of her ways and show her what a righteous person you are! That is pretty pharisaical in my thinking. I kept reading and was reminded that almost immediately Joseph ran! He didn't really wait around to figure out the best plan. He just took off. This time however it was different she grabbed his garment and started to pull him in, literally. This was the last straw for Joseph and he knew I either run or I fall. This is the mentality men need to have in this day and age.

We as men tend to think that if temptation comes knocking, we knock back. We put our gloves on and prepare to duke it out with sin and temptation. Beat ourselves into submission and prepare for a long hard fight. Josephs tactic is rather cowardly looking at first. But after closer inspection I saw that this tactic works. It is repeated throughout scripture, we are reminded in Proverbs multiple times to avoid temptation when we know it could be coming. It doesn't say when it comes prepare yourselves to fight. Jesus himself said:

 

Luke 17:1

English Standard Version (ESV)

 1 And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin[a] are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come!

 

Jesus warns us throughout the epistles as well, use a shield, use armor, use defense! Run if you have to. I am learning that what prevents us men from doing this is nothing short of pride. I think that if we, as men, were to let go of our pride and learn how to run there would be a lot less broken lives and broken homes in our churches today. If we knew how to run things like pornography and adultery wouldn't be as much of an issue as it is today, even in the church. Like the verse says temptations will come, and I'm not saying they won't be there, but if we run, we won't be around when they finally decide to show up. The old phrase the best defense is a good offense isn't really accurate in this case, instead let's remember the best offense is a good defense.

Joseph-Character despite circumstances

Character in spite of circumstance, that is what I saw in this next phase of Joseph's life. I don't really think Joseph had a clue what was about to happen to him. Everything he knew and everyone he thought he knew were about to be pulled out from right underneath him. My mind immediately went to Joseph being stuck in the bottom of a well in the desert somewhere, but this portion of Joseph's life started a little before his brothers sought to kill their brother. This gave me yet more insight into the minds of Joseph's brothers. As a side note I find it fascinating that God chose to reveal so much about the family of Joseph, especially his brothers. Seeing inside the minds of his brothers gives us a different perspective on the whole story, but I can't be too sympathetic with them, for what they are about to do. Shortly after Israel or Jacob, declares that Joseph is his "favorite" son, Joseph has a dream. Actaully two dreams. There is a reason for this. Dreams in Genesis typically refer to divine revelations (see Gen. 20:3, 28:12, 31:10-11, 40:5-8 and 41:1). It is also significant to note that there are two dreams here, both with very similiar if not identical interpretations. Joseph tells his brothers of the first dream that he had, keep in mind that they already spurned him for being the favorite son. When they heard this dream, scripture says they hated their brother. After being constantly reminded by their father that Joseph is the favorite son then Joseph comes to them and tells them this:  

Genesis 37:6-7

English Standard Version (ESV)

6He said to them, "Hear this dream that I have dreamed: 7Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf."

 

I think that I might have been outraged myself! Not only is Joseph the favorite son of the family now he is having divine revelations about me, as a brother, bowing down to him! Enough is enough! Before I let myself become too outraged I reminded myself that Joseph wasn't necessarily doing anything wrong. To have a dream like that, which is obviously being given to you by God, wouldn't I tell someone? Wouldn't I tell my family? My answer is yes. Then soon after he has another dream, notice the similarities:

 

Genesis 37:9

English Standard Version (ESV)

 9Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, "Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me."

Now that is too much of a coincidence. And that is exactly what God meant to do. Repetition is a common method used throughout Scripture. Authors use it to drive into the readers certain points they don't want the reader to forget. Here the same principle is used but in order to show us that these dreams are not some crazy dreams of a hormonal teenager. These are in fact, God given revelations and prophetic dreams that Joseph does not even know the extent of! Even after he tells his family of the dreams he had, he offers no interpretation of his own. It is almost comical to see the brothers reaction to what Joseph says. Jospeh doesn't even seem to have all the words out of his mouth yet and his brothers start right in:

Genesis 37:8

English Standard Version (ESV)

8His brothers said to him, "Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?" So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.

 

This is not Joseph's interpretation. As I already saw, it's as if Joseph isn't even finished speaking and his brothers interrupt and say, well you think you're so great, we are not bowing down to you! Joseph never told them to! Though we will see this happen eventually. Joseph is never the instigator in any of his conflicts. That is significant to note, and a significant mark of character. Joseph here is not out of line, nor is he "in the faces" of his brothers. These dreams however do add fuel to the fire of the brothers hatred of Joseph. This will be the tipping point of perhaps the brothers most outrageous act so far.

Joseph is asked by his father, perhaps being the favorite son to do him a favor. He is asked to go and check on the flocks that his brothers are tending. This made me think. Joseph is sitting at home doing none of the hard work, and then his father does give him a job to do and it is to go check up on his brothers. This must have rubbed them the wrong way, so to speak. Poor Joseph here proceeds to get lost on the way to finding his brothers (37:15) and finds out that his brothers have moved their flocks. Through a little investigation Joseph finds where his brothers are. While he is still a way off from them his brothers spot Joseph. This was their reaction:

 

Genesis 37:18-19

English Standard Version (ESV)

 18 They saw him from afar, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him. 19 They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer.

Immediately the brothers sought to kill Joseph. This is not something the brothers had not been thinking about previous to this event. They saw this as their "golden opportunity" and even devised a story to tell their father in order to never be caught. God knows the plan of the brothers and never lets Joseph out of his hand. He upholds him and saves his life, and as I saw next blessed him beyond measure.

The character of Joseph: Introduction

Character is a funny thing. I think that the character of a man does not mean what it used to mean. Less that one hundred years ago, people fought and died to save the character of themselves and the character they had built for their families. In our day manipulation and scheming runs rampant. Anything a man can do to get ahead, more than likely he will do it. The same thing applies to the opposite side. A man will do anything he can to stay out of trouble. Being a student and also working full-time has taken it's toll on me phyically and mentally. The thought has crossed my mind to cut corners here and there, to not put this much time or that much time into a particluar assignment, to make things easier for myself. I came to the conculsion after wrestling with these thoughts for some time that I would be sacrificing my own character if I were to do such things. The thoughts I was having were not of the Lord. Things like this have been a struggle for me especially as a student. If I did the bare minumum and kept my head down, that would keep me out of trouble and I can just keep moving. Again that is a huge sacrifice of character. People I work with have had this mentality their entire lives. Thinking in the back of their minds anything I can do to get ahead of my fellow employees, anything I can do to make myself look better in front of my superiors, I will do it, even if it costs me relationships and having to sacrifice my own character. Some people strive and struggle to grow their character and develop it into something to be respected. They do this to better themselves, to achieve perhaps a fleeting sense of self-worth or importance. It is good to strive to be a good person of good character, it is even a noble thing. Godly character is much different. In this series of posts I would like to look at the life of Joseph. As I started thinking about character I was immediately drawn to the story of Joseph and Potiphar's wife. This is a great example of holding fast to Godly character in the hardest of circumstances. Upon further reflection I found that there is much more than just this ine story in Joseph's life where he exemplified extreme amounts of Godliness and integrity. Joseph's life was not an easy one. I tend to look at only the good things that happened to Joseph when I think about his story as a whole. I must admit that when I look at his life as a whole, there is a completely different side of the story and a completely different model to follow. It is easy to follow someone when things are going well for them. This includes our savior, Jesus Christ. It is easy to follow Christ sometimes, but when things get tought and the rubber meets the road so to speak, that is when our character and integrity must stand. And that is why this example is so important to study.

When the Bible introduces Joseph this heroic example of integrity and character I expected it to be a rather elaborate and beautiful introduction of a hero of the Bible. In fact it is just the opposite, as the Bible tends to do. The great and glorious introduction says:

 

Genesis 30:23-24

English Standard Version (ESV)

23She conceived and bore a son and said, "God has taken away my reproach." 24And she called his name Joseph,[a] saying, "May the LORD add to me another son!"

 

Joseph doesn't really burst onto the scene as I would have expected, but rather enters in with humilty. Joseph remains rather hidden away from the main story of Genesis for another five chapters. In the next few chapters we even see Joseph and a kind of "momma's boy", especially in chapter 33:2, 7. Joseph is comfortable in the midst of his parents and siblings. I assume that Joseph had a certain level of trust with his family as a whole, this foreshadows an ominous event that would change his life forever. Up until this point however Joseph's life is going rather well. There is a hint of favoritism seen here with the meaning of Joseph's name. I have seen many "only childs" in my day. These kids tend to be on the spoiled side of things, and I guess that isn't such a bad thing in moderation. However when you have twelve other brothers and you are still treated with this kind of exclusivism and preferential treatment, things might get "old" for the other siblings, really fast. I assume this treatment of Joseph was pretty common as explained in the following verse:

Genesis 37:3

English Standard Version (ESV)

"3Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors."

 

This must have been hard for the other brothers to see. I have two brothers and two sisters of my own. If I ever heard either of my parents say this about any of them, I would be deeply hurt. I found myself a little sympathetic with Joseph's brothers, but I was reminded after studying this verse and re-reading the account of Joseph's early life, he never asked for any of this. Joseph was born to Israel or Jacob, toward the end of his life, the reasons for his feeling could have been many, but nonetheless Joseph never asked to be treated any differently, but he was. However through intergrity and great character I never saw Joseph holding this above the heads of his brothers. This is also another great example of character. Many of us are in the position of being "better off" than someone else. I endeavor to follow Joseph in this character trait as well. As I studied verse 2 of Genesis 37, I found that when Joseph brought a "bad report" to his father of his brothers this showed his father the contrast of a man with good character opposed to men with questionable character. This did however alienate Joseph from his brothers in a way. As I said before I tended to sympathize with his brothers and this little story was no different. As I thought about it though, I came to a different conclusion. When I am exhibiting poor behavior and integrity I tend to alienate the people who are showing better traits than myself. I think if many of us were honest we all tend to have this type of attitude. We see someone who is acting better than us, and being frutiful in their work, and relationships, and we get jealous and angry. This type of behavior is way off base. We instead should be looking at these people and saying to ourselves, what is this person doing right? And how can I do the same. I understand that this is easier to say because Joseph isn't my brother or friend but I hope and pray that I have this attitude from now on. Let's endeavor to emulate Joseph's humility in his character, as I close this introduction to Joseph.