By S M Chen, posted 10-27-2016 by D Kovacs

S M Chen is, by now, a very familiar writer to readers of Adventist Today Web Edition. He has sent me a long essay that he divided into five sections, and I asked his permission to post it as a set of five devotions instead of one essay. He kindly agreed. Here is part one–keep your eyes on this space over the next four weeks! DLK

Based on the book of Genesis


From Pixabay; public domain

They call me Reuben. Most of us at that time went by only one name. It made life simpler.

Which is just as well, for our family was large and complicated. My father had four wives. The first two were sisters: my mother Leah, and my aunt Rachel, who was more comely. Then he took their servants as wives. Altogether, there were twelve of us brothers, plus my sister Dinah. (What happened when she went to visit the land of Shechem and the bloodbath that ensued is another story, for another time.)

One of the worst things a parent can do is show favoritism. But that’s exactly what my father did with Joseph, who, when he was young, was spoiled and not very nice. Joseph told father when my other brothers and I did things that were not particularly good. He told him things Father did not need to know, and may not have otherwise known.

Joseph also had the bad judgment to tell us his dreams.

We all dream from time to time. I never made much of them myself. Some were so inconsequential, by the time I awoke, the dream had, like the stars at daytime, vanished, leaving no trace it had ever been.

So it rankled my brothers and me when Joseph told one to us, wherein our sheaves in the field bowed down to his.

Then, as if that weren’t enough, he mentioned another dream, wherein the sun, moon and eleven stars all did obeisance to him. Even my father was displeased at that one. It was like rubbing salt into an open wound.

Little did Father know how those dreams would come to pass. Had he, he might have held his tongue. We all would have.

Father loved Joseph so much, he had a coat of many colors made for him. The rich blood red came from pomegranate juice, the deep blue from finely powdered lapis lazuli. Its other colors were also natural. They were vivid and wonderful to behold.

The coat, his other preferential treatment, and the dreams did nothing to endear Joseph to us. In fact, we hated him.

To be continued…

Sam Chen biopicS M Chen lives and writes in California.