Joseph Study | Day Two

By: Brittany Green | Joseph's Birth and Competition

Click here to type in your answers to today's study. 

I’m not a competitive person. Or at least not normally. I play for fun, not victory!  For instance, when I played basketball in middle school, my mom used to say I willingly handed the ball over to the other team to avoid opposition. (Though I’d like to think I almost fouled out several games. Who knows?!)

However, nothing brings out my competitive side more than playing games with my younger brothers. I’m much older than them, but they’re way cooler than I am. Growing up, I always figured their older sister should school them in everything. This led to me cheating at board games and becoming familiar with the feeling of rivalry. (I promise I only cheat at Spoons or Sorry with them!)

I didn’t like to lose to them. And I never liked the competitiveness. 

Do you have siblings?  I’m sure you know a little bit about sibling rivalry if you do! What brings out your competitive side? 

Today we’re going to look at some intense competition between sisters centered in who could have the most children. Talk about taking it to the extreme!

Before we get started on day two of this study, take a moment to ask God to lead you in His Word. Ask Him to speak to you and help us to learn about Joseph, competition and jealousy.


Let’s dive in! We’ve got to pick up with our boy Jacob (Joseph’s dad) and get some family history. We mentioned it yesterday, but just for a refresher, Jacob married Leah and Rachel. He loved Rachel, but Rachel’s dad, Laban, tricked him. He first gave Leah to Jacob as a wife because she was older, and then let Jacob marry Leah afterwards. Sounds like a mess, right? It sets us up for what should be a soap opera instead of our Christian heritage! 

Think about the competition sisters probably already feel from simply being sisters. Then, add sharing a husband into the mix! Let’s go to Genesis 29 to see what happens.

Read Genesis 29:31 – 30:24. What emotions did this passage invoke in you? Could you relate to any of them? 

Now flip to Genesis 35:23-26 and fill in the chart of Jacob’s children as you go. (I’ve listed them in order of how they’re listed, but the numbers are their birth-order.)

Leah’s Sons:

1.      ________               9.   ________

2.     ________                10. ________

3.     ________

4.     ________

Rachel’s Sons:

11.  _________


12.  _________

Bilhah’s Sons (Rachel’s maidservant):

5.     ________

6.     _________

Zilpah’s Sons (Leah’s maidservant):

7.     ________

8.     ________

We mentioned yesterday that Jacob was a deceiver. Now, we see his wives dealing with jealousy and competition. Joseph is born into this crazy family tree! And it's not exactly the ideal situation to grow up in.

What do you think is a result of being around a lot of competition?

 

List an example in your life where you had to deal with competition or jealousy.

 

How did you handle it?

 

Do you ever feel that you have to compete to be good enough?

 

After studying the Comparison Game last series, you should be able to pinpoint specific ways you measure up or fall short. I think all of us sometimes feel like we don’t add up. I would imagine that Joseph and his brothers felt this way from time to time after watching their moms fight for Jacob's attention. 

What do you do when you feel like you don’t measure up? How do you respond?

 

Take a look at these three verses that speak into measuring up: 

2 Corinthians 3:5 (NET Translation) - 

 

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV Translation) - 

 

1 Peter 2:9 (NIV Translation) - 

 

Take comfort that there are going to be times that we don’t feel like we measure up to those around us. We find ourselves dealing with jealousy or competition or favoritism. Joseph sure did. And whether you’re being favored, like Joseph was by his dad, or you’re on the other end, it never feels great. But the reality is that we’re not enough without God. We never will be.

The Lord comes in and takes our life and uses it for His glory if we let Him. Just as we’ll see with Jacob, He has big plans in store for your life and for mine. We can trust that God is enough and He says that we’re enough!

Ultimately, God calls us a holy nation, His royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). We get to be called that because Jesus made a way for us to be part of the family. That giant family, the royal nation, began with Joseph and his 11 brothers! The 12 sons you listed earlier each get some land later in their lives and become the 12 tribes that make up Israel. This is cool stuff because it frames the whole Bible and relates to our lives today. (Which we'll unpack later in this study.) How comforting to know surviving competition, struggle, and deception can still lead to an inheritance afforded to us through Jesus! 

Take time as you close to pray for any conflict, competition in your life, or seed of jealousy that might be in your heart. Give those things over to Jesus today!