We continue our sermon series entitled ‘Family Issues’. Preaching from Nathan Gordon. Service led by Brian Dickson. This service includes Communion and believers’ baptisms.
There’s nothing better when families are singing from the same hymn sheet with everyone getting along. However, statistically, the figures indicate that a large proportion of relatives will experience tension and rivalry leading to breakdowns in communication and strained relationships.
The Challenge with Comparison and Conflict
According to Professor Shawn D Whitehead who is an expert in human development and family studies, humans have a natural inclination to compare themselves to other people. Within family units and amongst siblings there is a greater impact of comparison which can lead to arguments and conflict.
What does the Bible say about Jealousy?
A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones – Proverbs 14:30
For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work – James 3:16
Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit. – Eccl 4:4
The Jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves. – William Penn
This morning through the story of Joseph and his brothers, we are going to search within our hearts to see if we are struggling with jealous thoughts that may express themselves in actions. Through this story, we see the danger of leaving jealousy unchecked as Joseph’s brothers conspired together to eliminate their brother because of their disdain for him.
Are you still torn about how another sibling was treated with favouritism?
Do you find you are constantly comparing yourself with other friends or even your brothers and sisters in Christ?
Are we looking solely at our dislike for others rather than looking within ourselves to see if the Holy Spirit needs to work on our attitude, thoughts, and feelings?
Remember you are special in the heavenly father’s eyes – v3-4
- Jacob elevated Joseph to a higher rank of love because he was born in Jacob’s old age.
- This caused the other half brothers to become jealous of Joseph.
- In Joseph’s Day robes were not uncommon but Jacob gifted Joseph with a unique robe that stood out from the rest.
Challenge – Just like Joseph’s brother it’s difficult to see another person treated with favouritism and given special attention. However, in those moments allow your thoughts to turn to how God loves you and attends to your needs with favour and care. (Matthew 6:26)
Recognise the need to celebrate others. – v5-11
- Joseph’s dreams were a sign of things to come in his future.
- Despite a tumultuous journey of events, Joseph would become a ruler of Egypt
- Joseph’s brothers were not in the mood to celebrate his dream, it only angered them the more.
Challenge – Your brother or sister may seem to be doing tremendously well in life. God however looks at our hearts when others around us are seemingly blessed and elevated. Spiritual maturity abides when we can celebrate the blessings in others and rejoice with them without being jealous of their blessings.
- Imagine yourself as one of the other brothers of Joseph. Given what you know from these verses, how would you have felt toward Joseph? toward your father?
- What does this passage teach us about the character of Joseph at this point? – see verses 2, 5-11
- Read Genesis 37:1-4. Jacob’s favouritism towards Joseph resulted in a dysfunctional family unit. Share what you learned from your family and how you would like to create a better home for your immediate family and church family.
- A case might be made that Joseph should have kept his dreams to himself so as not to antagonize his brothers. On the other hand, he recognized it as a dream from God. Should Joseph have kept God’s revelation to himself for the sake of peace and humility, or did he do well to declare it to his family? Discuss your reasons why.
- During the sermon, the point was made that we should celebrate the blessings of others around us. Can you recall a moment where you struggled to be happy for someone else? How did you deal with this?
- There are at least 17 parallels between Joseph’s story and Jesus Christ. Think and discuss at least 5 of them.