He went from brat to broken. By the end of the story, Joseph’s arrogance gave way to humility via suffering and pain and God’s amazing plan of redemption.
Joseph was his father’s favorite. Everyone knew it. Any doubts about it would have been silenced by the specially embroidered coat Jacob gave him, and only him, just because he loved him so.
There’s not a thing wrong with a gift given in love, but when it excluded the other brothers, you can imagine the jealous hate it incited in them. The Bible says, in fact, Joseph’s brothers hated him so much they could not bring themselves to speak peaceably to him (37:4, Holman).
We learn a lot about Joseph’s heart by the way he chose to deal with what God gave him in that dream. Arrogance and pride characterized him well and led his brothers to do the unthinkable. Still, their act of hatred and Joseph’s acts of arrogance eventually led to the salvation of God’s people, the deliverance of a land, and reconciliation for this incredibly dysfunctional family.
If we look, we can see God’s transformative work woven throughout the story. Today, though, we will focus on the change He did in Joseph himself. The bratty, tattling little brother turned powerful, humble, generous, God-honoring lord of Egypt displayed God’s hand of transformation even as he dealt with the pain of his past.
We see it in the naming of his firstborn son, Manasseh, whose name means God has made me forget all my hardship in my father’s house (Gen. 41:51). God had given Joseph favor among all the men he served and encountered after the disdain he’d gathered from his brothers those many years before, and Joseph figured it was all behind him. Then God brought the story full-circle and forced Joseph to face the reality of the dream that had started this whole fiasco. His brothers showed up and forced him to see God’s hand at work even in the tragedy of all that lay behind him.
This time, though, Joseph approached His God-given authority with humility rather than pride. God had been working since that day in the pit when he lost his coat along with everything he knew, and Joseph had to admit it, even to the ones who’d caused him such pain.
What might God be working in you right now? Is there pain He wants you to deal with rather than forget so that He can show His mighty hand and bring Himself glory through you?