Rejection is one of the most difficult human emotions to deal with for all of us. When we are rejected, we experience a whole range of powerful reactions such as anger, resentment, confusion, and self-doubt. Some people never seem to get over rejection, and they never find healing causing them to be victims who carry huge burdens all their lives.
Joseph’s brothers rejected him because he was favored over them by his father. Joseph’s father, Jacob, should have known that favoritism does no good since his father favored his older brother. Not surprising like a broken record, Jacob favored Joseph because he was the son of Rachel, his late but beloved wife. The lifelong hurt that Jacob carried by his own father’s favoritism should have made him unwilling to show partiality, but it didn’t. Amazing how we pick up dysfunction and carry it with us to the next generation even though we loathe it in others.
The brothers also despised Joseph because he shared his dreams of grandeur. They grew to hate Joseph until they ultimately rejected him. Joseph was only seventeen, but he would have felt the pains of rejection. No doubt, he questioned his self-worth and whether or not God had abandoned him. God did not, however, abandon Joseph, and Joseph did not abandon God. God used this rejection of Joseph to build his dependence on him. He used the rejection to cause Joseph to be persistent—preparing him for future rejection. Learn this, if God is in your life—rejection is not the end of the line—it is only the material God uses to forge his plan.
If you experience rejection on the job, put it in God’s hands. If you experience rejection in a relationship, put it in God’s hands. Joseph’s story is about overcoming rejection through trust in God’s omniscience. God took the sin of the brothers and the mistakes of Jacob and Joseph and used it to fulfill his plans. The story of Joseph’s life tells us that God knows how to untangle the knots in our lives and weave a beautiful tapestry. It reveals that any of us who follow God will live a life that will sometimes become very complicated from our sin, but God will sort it out if we remain faithful. Many years later, Joseph would say to his brothers that God had his hand on his life even in the way he came to Egypt:
But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt” (Genesis 45:7-8)
God will help us in the everyday grind of life. God’s omniscience takes both the good and evil actions of everyone, Joseph’s family, of Pharaoh and his servants, and uses it all to fulfill his plan. After his father died and the brothers worried that Joseph would take revenge, but he assured them:
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20).