- Gen. 37:1-38:30
Jacob had twelve sons, but he loved Joseph more than the others. The other sons saw that their father loved Joseph more than them and they hated Joseph. It was so bad that they couldn’t even speak peaceably with Joseph. The Bible doesn’t say whether Joseph knew that his brothers hated him so, but being seventeen years old at the time I have to believe he knew how they felt towards him.
Joseph had a dream in which he and his brothers were in the field binding sheaves. (Binding sheaves refers to the process of tying up bundles of freshly cut wheat or other grain.) Suddenly, Joseph’s sheaf stood tall and his brothers’ sheaves stood around Joseph’s sheaf and bowed down to it. Joseph told his brothers what he dreamed and they hated him even more. Then Joseph dreamed a second dream in which the sun, moon and eleven stars bowed down to him. He told this dream to his father and his brothers. This made his brothers envious of him.
Soon after these things Joseph’s brothers threw him in a pit and sold him as a slave to a band of traders that passed by. Of course we know that GOD took this evil deed and used Joseph’s being in Egypt to preserve Jacob and his family during a severe famine in the land of Canaan. But what if Joseph had been more sensitive to how his brothers felt about their father showing favoritism to him? What if he had decided not to share those dreams with his brothers? Would this have saved him a lot of pain and suffering? Perhaps.
Words matter. What we say to people matters. We have the opportunity to use our speech for good or for evil, to build up or to tear down. People are influenced by other people, and what we say to others—and how we say what we say—makes a difference. Determine to be careful when, how and to whom you speak. Consider these two scriptures:
There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health.
(Prov. 12:18 NKJV)
So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.
(Jam. 1:19 NKJV)
What excellent advice! So many problems could have been avoided if one person had thought longer before they spoke.