Just as Jacob deserved a lot worse from his brother Esau after the way he treated him, we see something similar in the story of Joseph and his brothers.
Here, again, we see brother hating brother because of one being shown favor over the other (Gen. 37:3-4). The tunic of many colors was not just made from a striped bed sheet. The original word implies that it was an expensive robe worn by royalty and would have been covered with rich embroidery and colorful needlework, taking up to a year to make.
Then, when Joseph told his brothers about his dreams (Gen. 37:5-11,) he produced even more hatred and envy against himself. So, at the first opportunity, they plotted to get rid of him (Gen. 37:19-20.)
The brothers must have congratulated themselves on how easy it was to remove him from their lives. None, though, had any idea how God would use this situation to save them years later.
Read Genesis 45:4-11. What was the bigger picture that Joseph saw? What was his main focus?
Think of what might have gone through Joseph’s mind as a boy in chains, walking behind a camel and looking toward the hills of his boyhood home as they disappeared into the distance. Then being put on the auction block, and inquisitive buyers prodding him and humiliating him in their close inspection before bidding for him. Many have given up their faith for less humiliation and suffering than this.
Joseph could have chosen to become bitter and anti-God, but he chose instead to maintain his faith amid this harrowing struggle, the great controversy being played out in his own life in a dramatic way. He soon adjusted to the household of one of the most important military men in the country, and under the blessing of God he soon gained his trust (Gen. 39:1-4.) Eventually, the slave became a leader in Egypt.
Despite the incredible family dysfunction revealed in this story, despite the treachery and evil, it had a happy ending. How, though, do you keep your faith intact and have a gracious attitude when things don’t seem to be turning out as well as they did for Joseph?