Serving Christ and sharing the Gospel

Joseph and Jacob (Gen 37:1-11)

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Do you have peace in your life? Do you want to live a life of peace - peace with ourselves, and with God?

Today’s reading tells us that Joseph was just a boy - a boy who no doubt thought he was an adult, as I am sure most of us did when we were 17. Well I certainly thought I was a grown man, to the extent that at time my nan would call me a big head in a loving way and I must say as I have grown and matured into what I now am, I must agree I was a big head.

But in our reading Joseph is called a boy and that is how his brothers would have seen him and Joseph sounds in this case very much like me, he brought a bad report back to his father. Was he trying to beef up that love from his father, perhaps not realising that he was already his father’s favourite son?

Was Joseph doing the right thing or the wrong thing? And is it just me our does anybody else think that, whether Joseph was right or wrong, his father Jacob was not helping matters when he gave Joseph a robe of many colours, so that the bitterness increased between the brothers and Joseph?

So was it wrong of Joseph to tell on his brothers if they were doing something wrong - no it was not. But maybe the way his father dealt with it could have been better handled - maybe given the heads-up by Joseph he could have gone looking himself and then found out the truth without implicating Joseph.

When I researched this passage I found some who write in a negative way about Joseph telling his father what he saw - they suggest Joseph was ‘sucking’ up to his father.

The fact is that Joseph was doing what was right and brave - we read in  in John 8:32 that Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ And in Ephesians 4:25 this from the Message version of the Bible: “What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretence. Tell your neighbour the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.”

Joseph did the right thing when he went to Jacob his father and told him about what his brothers were doing or not doing. And doing the right thing is not always easy, if it were more people would do the right thing more often.

How do we know what the right thing is you may ask? My answer for myself and for you if you are asking that question is simple: What would Jesus do?

If we call ourselves a Christian, which is a follower of Christ, then our lives should be marked by how we stand out against what the Bible calls sin. We should try to be a spotless people, like a friend of mine says: “I am not sinless I just try to sin less!”. People should be able to see the difference in us. Our God is a holy God and He wants as to be a holy people (Eg. 1 Pet. 1:16 “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”) And the apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:17: “For we are the temple of the living God; […] go out from their midst, and be separate from them, […] and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

Jesus wants us to stand separate from this world and its ways that we know are not right. He wants us to be different. We should be different in the way we act, talk, think, live, Jesus should be the hallmark of our lives!David Platt an American theologian said this: “People who claim to be Christians while there live are no different from the rest are clearly not Christians.” If there is no difference in living the Christian life what is the point of all of Jesus teaching in the Gospels.

Come that day when we must all stand before our Lord, When we meet Jesus he will say to as who did not follow him what he said in Matthew 7:21-23 (this is also from the Message) Jesus said “Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.”

So doing right is not always easy but we should always try to achieve that goal of doing the right thing in every situation. Our lives should be marked by honesty and true fullness. There are plenty of people who are willing to do the wrong thing, especially if it makes life easier for them, but we should always do right in spite of the personal cost. It would have been easier for Joseph to just cover up what his brothers were doing.

It would have been easier still to have joined them in their sin. But, he was determined to do the right thing, even if it cost him the love of his brothers.

What is more important to us - following Jesus or our reputation in the world? Speaking from personal experience when I came to faith and changed the way the company was run I changed a lot of our practices. My brother who was my business partner was not happy, I cannot repeat the words he said or even relay the fury on his face - but I came to the understand a lot of what I was doing was wrong. It was always wrong but I justified it by saying everyone does it, but wrong is wrong.  It’s easy to tell a “little white lie” to keep the heat off our lives. Don’t do it! Tell the truth! One lie will lead to another.

One last thing. If there is something you just must tell, be sure that you tell the right person. Jacob had a right to know what his sons were doing or not doing, so Joseph told him and him alone! He told his father in an effort to stop what was not right. A gossip always tells the wrong person. They are not trying to stop what it may be wrong, they just want everyone to know!

If you must tell someone about something, always tell the truth. That is just what Joseph did. He did not embellish the facts; he simply told things as they were. Gossips love to add or subtract from the details as it suits their agenda. Be honest and be true to our Lord Jesus, whose Holy Spirit lives within each believer. He is the guide the one who has shown the way by his Word in the Bible.

And if we follow the teachings of Jesus and form a relationship with Him through the Holy Spirit we will live a life in peace, and we will have his peace within ourselves.