Read Genesis 37:1-18
1Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan.
2This is the account of Jacob. Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.
3Now 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. 4When 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.
5Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. 6He said to them, "Listen to this dream I had: 7We 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."
8His brothers said to him, "Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?" And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.
9Then 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."
10When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, "What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?" 11His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
12Now his brothers had gone to graze their father's flocks near Shechem, 13and Israel said to Joseph, "As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them." "Very well," he replied.
14So he said to him, "Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me." Then he sent him off from the Valley of Hebron.
When Joseph arrived at Shechem, 15a man found him wandering around in the fields and asked him, "What are you looking for?"
16He replied, "I'm looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are grazing their flocks?"
17"They have moved on from here," the man answered. "I heard them say, 'Let's go to Dothan.'" So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. (NIV)
Joseph is a wonderful person of the Bible to look at. We are given a great amount of detail about is life as compared to even some of the disciples. We see in Joseph things that foreshadow who Jesus is and how he would be an instrument of grace.
Joseph is the 11th son of 12 sons of Jacob. He is the 12th child as there is one daughter mentioned being born to Jacob. But Joseph is the first born of Rachel, Jacob’s first love. And so Joseph was special to Jacob as seen in the text. Benjamin was also born in Jacob’s old age, but one gets the feeling that since Rachel died during childbirth, that her death is part of the reason that Jacob gravitated to showing Joseph the most attention which is seen in the coat he was given by his father.
Joseph has two powerful dreams as a teenager. Both show his family bowing down before him. His brothers hate him all the more this dream and even his father, who loves him, rebukes him for even thinking this. But we see a familiar phrase in the shepherds story at the birth of Christ. Matthew tells us that when the shepherds visited Mary and Joseph and told of all that they had seen and heard that night, that Mary pondered these things in her heart. In verse 11, we read: “but his father kept the matter in mind.” There was a wonder in Jacob about what this could mean.
One of the ways God speaks to us is in dreams and visions. And we see that there are times when God is calling us to something, either to do or to say, that others will not always understand or even see the calling at that moment. When Jacob heard the promise, I am sure he is thinking about his own family’s reaction to promises and calling of God. Jacob probably knew that the calling cannot be forces as was the calling on his grandfather Abraham who was promised a son, but then forced this issue with a servant of his wife, Sarah’s.
When God calls us, we must simply walk in that call. There will be times when people will not see it the way we see it. But we must also remember that God will walk with us in that call and confirm it over time.
This was true of my calling to the ministry. I embraced it at first, but then rejected it later thinking there is no way this could be. But over time, I came to see that God had called me to move in this direction for my life. God calls all of us to a purpose. Some callings are more out of the box than others. Some are simply called to be good people in the communities and businesses they find themselves in. Others are called to organize events or movements. But all are called for something.
When we feel God calling, we cannot always listen to those close to us. We do need to test the call and there is nothing wrong with that. But often those close to us will not understand the call. I remember when I attended the Imani Mele Children’s choir concert and they started talking about the beginning of the ministry to reach out to children. The man who started felt called to God to start this and he started with 3 children and everyone just about thought he was crazy because he had no way of knowing how he would finance this. Today, they care for thousands of children because he did not listen to his friend and family, but listened to God. This is difficult, but when we do follow God’s call, he will use us in wonderful ways.
How have you felt God’s call on your life? Have you shared that calling with anyone? And what was there reaction?
Questions and Comments
Blessings and Peace