Every now and then you read a story in the Bible that makes you go, “What were they thinking?!”
The story of Joseph begins with one of these moments. Genesis 37 establishes that Joseph is the favorite of Jacob’s sons, having been his first born from Rachel, Jacob’s favorite wife. We’re meant to feel the tension between the brothers:
Now 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.
Joseph gets the best gifts and the most attention from daddy and mommy. He’s the favorite, the one the other brothers despised:
But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him.
One would think that Joseph would tread carefully, seeking to get on his brothers’ good side, offering to help with their chores and what not. After all, Joseph is the second youngest of the brothers and was probably prone to taking a beating anyway.
Joseph didn’t get the memo.
The first thing we read about him is that he’s a dreamer. Not a day dreamer with grand plans of playing in the majors’ one day, but a literal dreamer. Joseph has crazy vivd and prophetic dreams. Long story short, Joseph’s dreams involve his brothers all bowing down to him in worship and admiration.
So Joseph decides it would be a great idea to tell his brothers about his dreams. His brothers who already hate him. And they decide to kill him.
We all know this story and we all know where Joseph ends up. In a pit. If you can avoid ending up in the bottom of a pit, I’d say that’s a good day. He’s in the pit because his older brother Rueben convinces his other brothers not to kill him. And before you think that Rueben is the good one of the bunch, his plan is to rescue Joseph later in order to get in good with their dad.
Either way, while Rueben’s gone, the brothers decide to sell Joseph to a passing caravan and pocket the money. And Joseph is sent off into slavery by his own family.
So, what’s the point here?
The grand point doesn’t come until the end of the story and we get to see how God works all things together in His perfect will. But the smaller point, or at least A smaller point is that pride comes before the fall. For Joseph this literally meant that boasting to his brother’s about being the best led to him falling into a pit.
For us it means that living a life of pride, setting ourselves up as kings and queens of our own little kingdoms where everyone we know is a subject who bows down to us, will keep us from the true Kingdom of the only One worthy of worship.
God opposes the proud, and persisting in our pride will lead us to a slavery much worse than that of Joseph. But God gives grace to the humble, and when we honor Jesus as Lord of our lives and the only One able to lift us from the pit, we gain access to the entirety of God’s Kingdom.
The moral of the story is not: make sure that you do and say all the right “humble” things that other people value. This gains us nothing.
The moral is: Worship Jesus as King and Savior and follow his lead in submitting to the will of God. True joy is found in doing this. True exaltation comes from humbling yourself before God. True freedom from the pit and from slavery is worship the True Ruler and boasting in Him.