Activate - August 23

Passage:  Genesis 37:3-7
Now Israel [Jacob] loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him [Joseph] 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.”
Jacob, also called Israel, had many sons, but he didn’t love them equally. Do you think it helped family unity when he expressed it? This is the story of how a dad’s preferences led to some very unhealthy family dynamics. There is some humor in this story as you think about sibling rivalries. Can you imagine the youngest brother going up to his older brothers and telling them that they are going to be bowing down to him? Are they going to think that this is a fantastic idea? God’s favor was on Jacob in his old age and Joseph from an early age in life, but neither of them knew how to handle blessings and success. Abundant grace is so desirable, but it can also lead to a new set of decisions. Success can bring unexpected challenges that fly under your radar, and God’s favor and grace can be mishandled. It can be difficult to receive from the Lord and stay humble. Ironically, your success can potentially become a stumbling block in your faith. Has success been easy for you to handle? Recognizing that God is the giver of every good thing in your life will help protect your humility. Your health, motivation, ability, and opportunities are truly from His hand.
There are four ways to mishandle a blessing that we read about in Genesis chapter 37:
1) Unfaithfulness: Jacob’s children were so blessed to have a father who was a godly man. They probably took their blessings for granted and felt a sense of entitlement. They learned that they were not above accountability, though, when their father received a bad report about their behavior (Genesis 37:1-2).
2) Favoritism: God gave Jacob a son in his old age, and Jacob was so appreciative of this gift. But Jacob didn’t realize how much he showed favoritism to Joseph which made his other kids feel like second- class children. We can get caught up in our preferences and desires resulting in foolish decisions (Genesis 37: 3-4).
3) Careless Words: Just because you are excited about something or have an idea, it may not be wise to talk about it. This is difficult for extroverts. Joseph is giddy about his dream, but he loses all discretion and tact. He blurts out what he wants to say instead of considering how God wants him to react (Genesis 37:5-8).
4) Pride: Have you ever made a mistake and then repeated it again a short time later? Joseph apparently didn’t learn from his interaction with his brothers because he acted the same way with his parents too. His blessings had gone to his head (Genesis 37:9-11).
Here is God’s wisdom for when blessings come into your life. These principles are found in Genesis 37:12-36:
1) Protect blessings from jealous rivals.
2) Look for the subtle blessings during barren times.
3) Remember that God can use unlikely connections to deliver blessings.
4) Don’t be discouraged—crooked people don’t stay ahead.
5) God is often working on your promotion behind the scenes.
1) Have you stopped and thanked God recently for His blessings and provision?
2) Have you ever mishandled a blessing?
3) Have you ever realized God was working behind the scenes?
4) How can you stay humble when you are given blessings?
Deeper Study:
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24. God’s will for you is to give thanks in all circumstances.
Luke 17:11-19. Be someone who doesn’t take Jesus and His gifts for granted.
1 Peter 5:5-11. If you are humble, God will exalt you.
James 1:16-18. God is the source of every blessing in your life.
Father God, thank You for the new blessings You bring everyday. Please help me to walk humbly with You. I realize that Jesus’ death and resurrection are the only reasons I can be forgiven and go to heaven. Let me never forget all that You have done for me. I want to be a grateful person and notice Your hand even in the difficult times. Thank You for blessing me with Your presence even more than your presents. And I pray this all in Jesus’ name. Amen.

For more from Pastor Jesse Bradley and Activate Media Ministries, visit

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