Crossroads: The Danger of Jealousy


Genesis 37:1-28

Jealousyfeeling angry feelings or resentment toward another person because of his or her success or talents; wishing we had what someone else has

Stats About Joseph’s Brothers

• 10 of Joseph’s 11 brothers threw him into the well and sold him
• Reuben (the oldest and the leader), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun—their mothers were Leah, Bilhah, and Zilpah
• Reuben stopped the other brothers from killing Joseph and planned to calm them down and rescue Joseph from the well, but the others sold Joseph while Reuben was gone

My Story

For my tenth birthday, I received a wonderful present. It was a wind-up toy of a daredevil (Evel Knievel) who jumped over cars and buses on his motorcycle. I was so excited about this new toy—it was great! I invited my friend to spend the night at my house so he and I could play with it. My friend also loved this birthday gift. In fact, he enjoyed playing with it so much that the next morning when he was getting ready to leave, my new toy was in his sleepover bag. He was actually planning to take my motorcycle toy home with him! I asked him why my toy was in his bag, and he said, “I’m sorry. I was just jealous that you had this great toy and I didn’t, so I thought about taking it. I’m really sorry.”

Sometimes when we are jealous of another person or something they have, that jealousy can make us do things we normally would never do.

Sir Walter Scott wrote that when he was a boy in school, he did his best to be first in the class in everything. But one of his classmates always made better grades than Walter. The other boy had a great memory and recited his lessons with no mistakes. One day, Walter Scott noticed that as the boy recited, he nervously twisted a button on his jacket. The next day, the boy stood to speak, but this time he stuttered and made several mistakes. And sitting close by was young Walter Scott, smiling and holding in his hand the button he had cut from his classmate’s coat.

Your Story

Tell a story about a time in your life when you felt jealousy towards a friend, a sibling, or another person.
• What were you jealous about? Why were you jealous?
• How did the jealousy make you feel? Angry? Sad? Frustrated?
• How did you handle your jealous feelings? Did you make a good decision or bad decision because of the jealousy?
• As a parent/adult, do you still get jealous? What kinds of things make you feel jealousy as an adult?
• If possible, let each family member share stories about feeling jealous. What kinds of things make them jealous? What do they do with those jealous feelings?

The Bible Story

In the Bible story for this week, Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him for several reasons. Joseph seemed to be the favorite child in the family. He had a special, colorful coat that looked much better than the plain coats the brothers wore. Also, Joseph had vivid dreams that indicated to him that he would one day rule over his brothers, and they became angry when Joseph told them about his dreams. Sometimes when the brothers had to work, Joseph wasn’t out in the fields helping them. All of these things caused the brothers to become jealous of Joseph, and these jealous feelings eventually led the brothers to do something they never would have done if they weren’t jealous.

One day when his brothers were working in the field, Joseph went to them with a message from their father. The brothers saw him coming and decided to be very mean to Joseph. First, they threw him into a pit, a deep, dark hole in the ground. Then, when a group of strangers came by who were on their way to a different country, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the hole and sold him to the strangers. These strangers, called Midianites, then took Joseph away from his home to a foreign country.

Discussion Questions

• What caused the brothers to do something so mean to their brother? Do you think they would have done these things to him if they were not jealous?
• How do you think the brothers felt after they sold Joseph to the strangers?
• What did God think about the actions of the brothers?
• If the brothers felt so jealous of Joseph, what would have been a better way for them to deal with their jealous feelings?
• Who or what makes you feel jealous? What can you do when you feel jealous toward your sister or brother, your friend, or someone in your class at school or church?

Prayer and Action

• Thank God for helping us understand how dangerous feelings of jealousy can be
• Ask God to help you when you feel jealous
• Talk as a family about what each of you can do to help each other whenever someone has feelings of jealousy

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

Kevin Head began serving as Minister to Young Families at First Baptist Roswell, Georgia, in February 2012. He has pastored three churches in Kentucky and more recently served as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Lumberton, North Carolina. In 2007, Kevin and his wife, Amy, began a ministry-based counseling practice called New Perspectives for Life in East Cobb, Georgia. He is a graduate of Furman University (B.A.) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Ph.D., M.Div.) in Louisville, Kentucky. Kevin was ordained by the First Baptist Church of Belvedere, South Carolina. His model of ministry is based on John 8 and the amazing, continual grace of Jesus Christ. Kevin and Amy have two children, Jenna and Joshua.

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