In my prior post about Joseph, we saw that Joseph’s audacious sharing of his dreams was likely the catalyst for his brothers’ selling him as a slave and then staging his death.
Joseph would have been better off to have kept his mouth shut.
However, had Joseph kept quiet, his brothers may not have sold him as a slave. Joseph would not have ended up in Egypt. He would not have interpreted the Pharaoh’s dream and been promoted to second in command. He would not have been in a position to stockpile foodstuffs during the good years in preparation for the lean years to follow. He would not have been distributing food when his hungry brothers came calling — and it would not have been him that they bowed down to.
This is an example of how God can work bad things out for good — which is something that he does for those who love him and are aligned with him.
In the story of Jacob’s son Joseph, we read that Joseph had a couple of dreams.
The implicit meaning of his dreams was that his older brothers would become subservient to him, as would his father and mother. To his family this no doubt seemed to be mere wishful thinking of a young boy who was tired of being last and wanted some attention.
The dream, however, was correct and its predictions did eventually happen. In these two dreams, it was later confirmed that Joseph had heard from God and that he heard correctly.
It may not, however, have been a good idea to share the dreams with this family. His father was insulted and chastised him for his impudent remarks. His ill-advised revelation also fueled his brothers’ jealousy towards him, no doubt hastening their selling him off as a slave.
The lesson to be learned from Joseph is that just because God has revealed something to us, does not mean that it is prudent to share it.
While it is often helpful to tell others what God is doing in our lives or teaching us, sometimes his words to us are for our ears only.
So, we know that Jacob’s twelve sons had four mothers: Leah was the spurned wife; Rachel was the favorite wife; Bilhah was Rachel’s maid and Zilpah was Leah’s maid. Here is their birth order and how it all breaks down:
1) Reuben, his mom was Leah
2) Simeon, his mom was Leah
3) Levi, his mom was Leah
4) Judah, his mom was Leah
5) Dan, his mom was Bilhah, Rachel’s maid
6) Naphtali, his mom was Bilhah, Rachel’s maid
7) Gad, his mom was Zilpah, Leah’s maid
8) Asher, his mom was Zilpah, Leah’s maid
9) Issachar, his mom was Leah
10) Zebulun, his mom was Leah
(Then Leah also had a daughter, Dinah.)
11) Joseph, his mom was Rachel
12) Benjamin, his mom was Rachel
It was a tough way to have twelve sons. Just because that’s how it happened, does not mean that God approves of such an arrangement!
[Genesis 29:1-35, Genesis 30:1-24, and Genesis 35:16-19]