The story of Joseph is often told to children for one reason: Joseph has an awesome coat. You see, Joseph’s father gives him a special coat that is likely very colorful. In the time of the Bible, colors meant dye and dye was expensive, which meant it was special. On the surface, this isn’t that big of a deal, other than the fact that Joseph has eleven brothers who don’t receive anything from Jacob! You can already feel the family tension building as Jacob, their father, signals to the rest of the family that he has a favorite child.
The family drama doesn’t end there, because Joseph has dreams, and his dreams are almost always about how Joseph will be greater than his brothers and, sometimes, his parents. This eventually leads his brothers to SELL JOSEPH INTO SLAVERY. But the wildness of this story doesn’t end there. Joseph will make stops in Potiphar’s household and in prison before landing in Pharoah’s house as the individual in charge of all the food in Egypt.
At this point, this is where this story really starts to make sense to adults. A story that we believed was about a coat turns out to be a lot about restoration. A famine has come over the land and Joseph’s family has to travel to Egypt to try and buy grain. Unbeknownst to them, Joseph is who they must ask for food. After some pain and frustration, Joseph eventually forgives them and eventually Joseph and his father are reunited.
There are a lot of elements within this story that are powerful and entertaining, but one detail that is often overlooked is that God doesn’t speak to anyone throughout the story. Look at the text. No one audibly hears the voice of God and no one is visited by the angel of the Lord. Rather, this story is a powerful reminder that often God works behind the scenes. God is always working to heal broken relationships regardless of if we realize it or not.