Genesis 37:2-11

What is your favourite TV show or movie featuring family dynamics? What makes that family interesting?

The Goldbergs follows a slightly dysfunctional family during the 1980s in all their big-haired glory. Beverly, the mom, is particularly memorable. She smothers her children, believing they can do absolutely anything and seeks to fulfill their every need, much to the three kids’ chagrin.

While the Goldberg family can bring a hearty chortle, the dysfunctional family described in our text today is no laughing matter. In these few verses, we are given a picture of a family that struggles to be just that.

Jacob’s favouritism of his son Joseph (Gen. 37:3-4) led to Joseph’s brothers resenting him and eventually selling him into slavery (vv. 12-36). Joseph didn’t help matters by telling his brothers about his dreams, in which Joseph rules over his brothers (vv. 5-11).

Yet, God is at work in this family, supplying provision during a time of famine and providing opportunities for reconciliation between the brothers (see the rest of Genesis). Jacob and his sons move to Egypt, which sets the scene for God to redeem His people (as told in the book of Exodus) and settle them in the Promised Land.

During the Christmas season, we often gather with our families. For some, this is a celebration, and for others, this is a source of deep pain—either in the family’s presence or absence. And regardless of our familial relationships, we can all agree that our larger human family (all of us—the entire human race) is in a state of profound brokenness.

Family out for a walk in the winter.

Photo by Kiwihug on Unsplash

Yet, God is at work in this family.

Jesus enters our broken human family. Jesus, as a human like us and as our God, comes to redeem what is lost, ragged, and seemingly irreparable. He puts our broken human family back together. We join Him in this work and wait in hope for that day when all will be put right, in our families and in our world.

What brokenness in your family or in our larger human family do you long for Jesus to heal? Ask Him!

Stephanie Christianson

Stephanie serves as Adjunct Faculty Advisor/Instructor at Horizon College and Seminary in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and serves as an advisor to the SKMB Faith and Life Team.

This devotion appears in MB Seminary’s 2022 Advent Devotions resource called As We Wait. You can receive devotions like this one during the seasons of Easter and Advent.

Learn more and sign up here on

Mennonite Biblical Seminary

Sign up for more great devotionals like this one from our partners at MB Seminary.

More Devotionals from MB Seminary

Want more?

Sign up with your email address to receive the latest news and updates, event reminders, or encouraging articles. Simply check the boxes below to let us know what you are interested in.

* indicates required
Send me: