Joseph, The Boy at 17
This is one of my favorite characters to study. Joseph is said to be a picture of Christ. We will compare that in future studies, but through it all we will see Joseph has a beautiful spirit. I am reminded of his fleeing desperately from temptation. Joseph escaped the advances of Potiphar’s wife, leaving his shirt dangling in her hands. One translation says, “Joseph tore himself away.” What a picture of determination! To tear ourselves away from temptation, fleeing its clutches with all our might and making no provision for the flesh, reveals a Joseph spirit. The story of Joseph holds numerous applications to our lives today. What I love the most about Joseph is his dedication to the task at hand. Wherever he was placed, he rose to the occasion with excellence. Let’s look a some of the valuable lessons we can learn from studying the life of Joseph. First, a little background information on his family.
Read Genesis 37:1-4
1. Why was Joseph hated by his brothers? How did his father feel about him?
Jacob had two wives and two concubines. He worked seven years for Rachel but was tricked into marrying Leah, her older sister. So he worked seven more years for Rachel who was his true love. Leah bore Jacob seven children; Rachel had two sons, one of them being Joseph. And then Jacob was given his wives’ maids to help increase the family line. All in all, there were twelve sons and one daughter … with four different mothers. No wonder there was conflict among the children! Talk about sibling rivalry!
2. What actions proved the brothers’ feelings toward Joseph from verse 4?
Read Genesis 37:5-10
3. What happened to make the brothers hate him more?
4. What question did they ask Joseph in verse 8?
Read Genesis 37:11
5. How did his father and brothers react to Joseph’s revelation?
We read in Luke 2 that Mary pondered the things she heard about Jesus in her heart, treasuring things said of her child after his birth. As a mother, I can identify with encouraging words spoken to me about my children. “There’s an anointing on your boy…your son has a heart of compassion…your child has a gift.” I’ve never forgotten but treasured those words in my heart. Whenever we hear things about our children or grandchildren we should tuck them away to ponder and pray over, watching to see how the Lord will cause them to blossom. While Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him, his father “kept the matter in mind.” Jacob pondered those things, as Mary did, wondering what it all would mean some day. We will find out for ourselves as we continue our study of Joseph. I promise you will love it!