Read: Genesis 37 (we recommend the Bible App for Kids by YouVersion)
Jacob gave his son Joseph a coat, with many colors. (What kind of colors do you think it had on it?) It was a beautiful coat, and Joseph was very happy. But Jacob had 11 other sons, and he didn’t give them a coat. Think about that. If you were one of Joseph’s brothers, how would that make you feel? Would you be a little sad? Would you be mad at Joseph? Joseph’s brothers were pretty mad at him. They got jealous.
Do you know what it means to be jealous? Imagine this. Your brother got a really cool bike for Christmas. You really want that bike. You wish you had that bike! In your heart, you start to feel mad at your brother, mad that you don’t have a bike, mad that no one got you a bike, and unthankful for all of the fun things you do have.
That’s what it means to be jealous.
The bad thing about being jealous is it creates a lot of other problems. We start to get mad in our own hearts. And when something enters our hearts, we make choices out of it. When we have a mad and unthankful heart, we aren’t very nice to our brother, thankful for the gifts we did get for Christmas, or happy for our brother when nice things happen to him.
These choices hurt our brother, our parents, and you! Even more importantly, God doesn’t like when we have a mad heart and unthankful heart. He loves us anyways, but it makes Him sad. Because He wants what’s best for us! Joseph’s brothers were jealous and out of their mad hearts they made bad choices.
They hurt their brother! They sold him away! Out of their jealous/mad/unthankful hearts came some really bad choices that hurt Joseph and their father. The brothers later began to feel really bad about what they had done, and wished they could take it back.
The story, as we will learn, turned out okay for Joseph and his brothers. They forgave each other, and their hearts changed! If you find yourself getting mad or jealous, ask Jesus in that moment to change your heart. We don’t want to hurt others out of our mad heart! Have Him remind you of all you have to be thankful for!
Questions: How did Joseph’s brothers feel about not getting a colorful coat (and attention from their father)? How would you feel if you were Joseph’s brothers? Why did Joseph’s brothers make a wrong choice? How can we change our hearts?
Parents: Jealousy can be very dangerous when it comes into our hearts. We know that a lot of choices that are made stem out from what is within our hearts, so let’s be proactive in praying for right hearts for our kids. Remember this Scripture from Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Ask your child(ren) if they have ever felt jealousy (use the devotion to help describe it if they are younger). Pray this prayer with them, “Dear Lord, sometimes we get jealous, and sometimes my heart isn’t right. Please change my heart. May we think about good things. Remind me to be thankful. Amen.”
For practical tips on guarding your heart look to Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy– think about such things.” So as a family, practice thinking (and filling your minds/hearts) about such things. Play worship music in the car and in your house (for kids we recommend Bethel Music’s Kids album!) Have a time to pray before bed (and meals) not out of duty or “religion,” but because we are building/modeling a relationship with God and are working on “thinking on such things.”