As we finish with the passage today, let’s consider the lessons that we ought to learn. First, favoritism in a family is destructive. Jacob’s favoring of Joseph lead to anger, resentment, and eventually to thoughts of murder. I wonder if Paul had in his mind this story when he wrote, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” As parents, we must be careful not to act in such a way that would disgrace God and the authority he has given to us as parents. We are not to drive our children to anger through our sin and disobedience. Now they may be driven to anger because of our obedience to God if they are unbelievers. We should expect that. We should actually welcome that. Over the years, I’ve seen parents give up their God-given authority as parents, compromise, or worse, they allow their unbelieving child to dictate what they do all in the name of keeping the peace. Didn’t Jesus say that children will rise against their parents and have them put to death? It is better to be put to death by your children than not endure to the end and be lost for all eternity. In Joseph, we can see a boy who is obedient to his father. Putting aside his motivations, his actions are true. He goes to his brothers, alone, knowing that they hated him. Maybe it was naivete or perhaps he chooses to obey rather than cave to fear, either way, he follows his father’s command. Children, you need to follow Joseph’s example. What your parents tell you to do may not be what you want to do. You might be afraid. You might not like what they want you to do. But God has told you to honor your father and mother and so that’s what you do. Remember that God is watching over you. He will care for you as you obey. He will work everything out for your good if you love God. Finally, we see here the beginning of another story of providence. All the events of Joseph’s life are planned by God and he is unfolding them before Joseph’s eyes. The favoritism, the dreams, the jealous hearts of his brothers, his obedient heart, are all tools in the hand of the master. Joseph will one day conclude that his brothers had a plan but God had a plan as well. And God’s plan will win. Know today that God’s plan includes your life as well. He does not make accidents or coincidences. He made a plan. The trials and the good things in your life are there for a purpose. The narrow escapes and those quick life changes are all a part of how God is bringing you to the end of the story. If you do not know Christ as your savior, the planned end is destruction. But he instructs you to come to him today. Surrender your life to him and he will take the life of hardship and pain that ends in eternal destruction and replace it with an end of eternal joy. He is calling to you today. Repent and believe in him today. For those of you that are following God, be encouraged. Like Joseph, obey what your Father in heaven has commanded. He has set a path before you. He has told you where to go. Now go with the knowledge that there is a plan and a purpose and God will make everything beautiful in its time.