Wednesday, January 19, 2011

JEALOUSY and the PIT - part 1

If there was ever anyone in the Bible who knew what it was like when life was the pits, it was the Old Testament Patriarch, Joseph. After all his life ended up "in the pits" - literally. But what caused it? What motivated Joseph's brothers to throw their younger brother into a dry, horrible pit? As I study Gensis 37, I can give the answer in one word - "jealousy"! For the next several postings I am going to blog on this passage and Joseph's life in the pit.

So what was it that caused Joseph's brothers to become so jealous of him? There are three reasons. As I see it, they will all begin with the letter "D" (after all, my parents spent thousands of dollars to send me to Bible College so I could learn how to start all my points with the same letter). And the first reason was Joseph's DAD! Genesis 37:3 teaches,

"Now Israel (that's Jacob) loved Joseph more than all of his sons, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a varicolored tunic."

Now you can't half blame Joseph's brothers for being jealous here, can you? At very least, you can kind of understand their feelings. How difficult would it be to see your younger brother being so outwardly favored by your dad, even to the point of receiving an expensive gift when you got nothing.

Actually, this shows another principle and that is this - children may hate the faults of their parents but they often tend to repeat them. If you go back and study the story of Jacob you will discover that his dad did the same thing - so did his mom. Jacob had a twin brother whose name was Esau. The Bible teachers that Jacob's mom, Rachel, loved him more than she loved Esau but that his father, Isaac, loved Esau more than he loved Joacob. Talk about a dysfunctional family.

I'm sure that Jacob must have hated the fact that his dad loved his brother more than him, but yet, he went on to make the same mistake. That is often how it ends up to be. Children of alcoholics hate the fact that their parents are alcoholics but statistics tell us that they are more likely to become acoloholics themselves. The same is true with divorce. Children of divorced parents hate the fact that their parents split up but they tend to become more likely to lose their marriages as well.

And how did Joseph's brothers react to such favoritism shown him by their dad? Verse 4 tells us, "His brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers; and so they hated him and could not speak to him on friendly terms." That's what jealousy will do. Jealousy leads to hatred which leads to mistreatment of the person you are jealous toward. His brothers were jealous of Joseph bacuse of his DAD. Tomorrow we will see a second reason that fueled their jealousy.

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