Genesis #33 – What 4 Flaws Do People Make When Architecting a Family?

Ever since Adam and Eve, we have each been born into a dysfunctional family. The families in the Bible are no different and probably make your family look pretty sane. This week, we begin our study of the life of Joseph who grew up in a family with 11 brothers, one sister, two sisters who were married to the same man, and his two girlfriends (called concubines in the ancient world). Not surprisingly, there is a lot of favoritism, jealousy, and fighting. In Genesis 37 we will study the four family flaws: poor architecting, rejecting God’s will, factions in the family, and a family secret.

Trusting God in Troubled Times 

Sermon #33 – What 4 Flaws Do People Make When Architecting a Family?

Genesis 37   

Introduction (Genesis 37:1-11)

  • Genesis is like a fast moving road trip
  • The first two chapters are about the creation of Heaven and Earth
  • The first 25 chapters cover 2000 years 
  • Everything transitions in Gen. 37 to examine the life of Joseph in detail
  • Messed up family, baby momma drama as theologians say


Big Idea: The story of Joseph is a testimony.

  • Not a biography but a testimony. How someone who knows God tells the story of their life where the hero of the story is God. God is the one who saves and redeems us. He overcomes the obstacles in our life for his glory. 


Flaw 1 – Poor Architecting 

  • Jacob, also called Israel, is Joseph’s dad
  • Joseph is 17, imagine he is a high school junior
  • Big family of shepherds, Jacob has four wives
  • Joseph is like a tattle tale to his 12 brothers
  • Jacob loved Joseph more than his other sons (favoritism). Joseph is given a robe of many colors

Poor family architecture sets up jealousy and sibling rivalry and doesn’t consider the failure of the father 

Big Idea: Your family is architected for safety.

Three ways family architecture has gone wrong:

  • Perversion (dad married two sisters, one he loves and one he hates. Marriage is supposed to be between one man and one woman. Polygamy is not God’s will or his best.)
  • Passivity (starts with our first father Adam. Sins of commission and omission, both are bad. Jacob is passive (Gen. 34) and does nothing when his daughter is raped. Passive dads can raise overly aggressive sons.)
  • Preference (favoriting one son over another. Division in the home is wrong. Don’t play favorites! You may need to put in extra effort to love equally.)
  • Your family needs an architectural plan. 
  • When you fail to plan you plan to fail. 
  • Sometimes the pain in your life started before you were even born

Flaw 2 – Rejecting God’s Will

  • Sometimes there are things God tells you that aren’t for everybody 
  • Joseph had dreams about ruling over his brothers and that they would bow down to him
  • Favoritism causes jealousy in the family 

Here we see 2 things 

  • God choosing/electing Joseph to lead
  • The brothers know God’s will, but they don’t like it


Flaw 3 – Factions in the Family (Genesis 37:12-25)

  • Joseph and his dad are on a team. The other 11 brothers are on another. Two separate visions. Two visions is division which means factions in the family.
  • Shechem (scene of massacre in Gen. 34)
  • 11 brothers are working while Joseph is at home; Jacob sends Joseph to check on his brothers. 
  • The brothers plot to kill Joseph; he is thrown into the bottom of a pit. 
  • As Joseph is weeping they are eating
  • Joseph is sold into slavery and taken to Egypt (Gen. 37:26-28)


Flaw 4 – A Family Secret (Gen. 37:29-36)

  • Brothers fake Joseph’s death; Joseph is assumed to be dead. Jacob is in deep mourning. 
  • Joseph is sold to the captain of the guard in Egypt 
  • There is a difference between coveting and vengeance
  • Coveting is I want what you have, I win you lose 
  • Vengeance is when we both lose. If I can’t have what I want, nobody can have it.
  • Joseph’s brothers decide vengeance, and if they can’t have their fathers love then Jacob will have nobody to love. 
  • Some people are overt, others are covert. Overt, you don’t have to guess what someone is thinking. Covert, you don’t know what they are thinking or feeling. 
  • Jacob tricked his father into giving him the blessing instead of his brother Easu. Jacob’s sons then trick him. You reap what you sow.
  • The Bible is the most honest story ever written. It is full of little stories all about a big story. The little story of Joseph is about the big story of Jesus.

***John 5 (Jesus is saying you don’t know the Bible if you don’t know me) 

  • We need to be adopted into the family of God. 

***Rev 21:12

  • Because of God’s forgiveness and grace there is an opportunity to enter into His family. 
  • We are all here because of Jesus. 


Correlation between Joseph and Jesus:

  • Both are sons loved by their earthly and heavenly fathers
  • Both are chosen to be the firstborn son
  • Both are sons chosen and sent by the Heavenly Father to save and rule
  • Both are shepherds; Jesus is the Good Shepherd 
  • Both had families that didn’t believe in destiny
  • Both are hated by jealous brothers
  • Both are sold for silver, the price of a slave
  • Both are stripped of clothing and wore a robe dipped in blood
  • Both are thrown in a hole, for Jesus it was a grave
  • Both forgave those who sinned against them 

And right now Joseph is worshiping Jesus which we do the same. 

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Mark Driscoll

It's all about Jesus! Read More