5 Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more. 6 He said to them, “Hear this dream that I have dreamed: 7 Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.” 8 His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.” (Genesis 37:5–8 (ESV)
John Chrysostom (347-407) was an important Early Church Father who served as archbishop of Constantinople. He was known for his preaching and public speaking, He once commented, “Envy is a terrible passion, you see, and when it affects the soul, it does not leave it before bringing it to an extremely sorry state”
Envy is defined as jealousy, resentment, bitterness and ill-will towards another. We have thus far seen that Joseph’s brothers envied him because their father loved him more than he loved them (Gen. 37:1-4). Their envy soon turned to hatred.
Joseph’s brother’s hatred toward him intensified when Joseph had a dream and told it to them. It was not so much that Joseph had a dream, but rather it was the content of his dream that stirred their anger. As today’s text reveals, the dream clearly indicated Joseph’s future superiority before his brothers. They said to him, ““Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?”
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “Joseph’s story displays the Lord’s mysterious providence, which is first manifested in his life through his dreams. God’s providence “governs everything that comes to pass, from the greatest to the least.” Nothing can happen outside of His governance. Given our Father’s intent to bless His servants (Gen. 12:3; Ex. 23:25), we might expect His providence to make straight, easy paths for His people. But this is often not the case. In fact, the Almighty providentially stokes the fire of his brothers’ hatred with Joseph’s dreams. The Lord often used dreams during biblical times to reveal the future to His servants. Joseph’s brothers recognize that his dreams are predicting his rule over them, and they hate him for it.”
God is always in control, even when life’s circumstances seem to indicate otherwise. May we continue to trust Him even when other people envy His work in our lives.
Soli deo Gloria!