The Old Testament story of Joseph and his brothers holds a potent message for New Testament Christians. Joseph is a type of Christ and his brothers are a type of God's chosen people on earth. (Remember, God promised Jacob in Genesis 35:11: "Kings shall come out of thy loins.") Joseph's method of dealing with his brothers is a clear type of God's way of dealing with us today. This story of one man's forgiving love for his sinful brothers is a beautiful picture of God's love and grace for sinful man.
The story of Joseph and his brothers is one of the saddest tragedies in all of God's Word. This generation of chosen men never could believe they were loved. The devastating flood of sin and sorrow caused by their skepticism should serve as a solemn warning to us all.
Jacob felt exceptional love for Joseph, the child of his old age, and made special provisions to care for him. His older sons construed this extra attention to mean that their father loved Joseph more than he loved them: "And when his brethren saw that their father loved him [Joseph] more than all his brethren, they hated him" (Genesis 37:4).
Now the fact that Jacob loved Joseph so dearly did not mean that he loved his other sons any less. He had faithfully cared for and blessed all his children. They had received the same loving guidance and discipline, yet the older sons became jealous over what appeared to be one brother's favored position. Joseph seemed to get everything his heart desired, including a fancy coat of many colors. He was more blessed, more favored, more coddled—and it made them angry and jealous.
Have you ever been guilty of envying a brother in the Lord who seems to get everything he wants? His prayers always seem to be answered quickly. He never appears lonely, unloved or unneeded while you feel forsaken and alone. The roots of bitterness and jealousy begin to grow.
Beloved, this is dangerous ground. The moment we believe our heavenly Father loves us less than He loves someone else, we open ourselves to all kinds of evil. Whenever we complain about our circumstances, whether aloud or silently in our hearts, we accuse God of neglect.
Beware! This is the very attitude that brought so much trouble to Joseph's brothers.