Genesis 37


Spend time in prayer and silence with God asking him to meet you and speak to you.

Bible Reading

Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.

Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”

His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.

Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”

(Genesis 37:3-9)

But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.

“Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.”

When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.

So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe - the ornate robe he was wearing - and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.

As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.

Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.

So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.

(Genesis 37:18-28)


Mark Twain once said, “There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why.”

One is much easier to discover than the other.

We can think of many ways to answer the question, why were you born?

  • She was born to be a mother.

  • He was born to play baseball.

  • She was born to be a senator.

  • He was born to be a soldier.

  • She was born to help the homeless.

  • He was born to lead a nation.

At the beginning of Genesis 37, Joseph is tending the flocks with his brothers who already hate him. At the end of Genesis 37, he is a slave in Egypt.

Whether you think he is better or worse off depends on how big you think God is.

At every point along the way, God was preparing Joseph for his purpose.

It took a long time, but Joseph eventually discovered why he was born.

The whole story of Joseph illustrates how God accomplishes his purposes for us even when we are clueless about the big picture.

That comforts me because I rarely feel like I see the “big picture” of what my life is supposed to mean.

What little I do understand happens when I look back and see how the pieces fit together.

The Big Question

We need a big God.

We have one.

The God of Joseph is our God too.

What is it that you believe you were born for?

How has God been preparing you for that?

Conclude in prayer and silence reflecting on what you’ve learned.