Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them. Genesis 37:1-2
Watchmen Have an Assigned Sphere of Influence
Joseph was an overseer of the flocks with his brothers. He was supposed to be “watching” the flock. It turned out he watched his brothers instead! Every watchman has a divine task, often working along with a team.
Identified Task/Assignment – Joseph’s initial watchman task was in tending to the flocks.
Assigned Team – Joseph was not working in isolation, but was to work with his brothers as a team.
We are not told that Joseph had been authorised as a watchman over his brothers. We may ask, Did he overstep his authority as a watchman in those early days? It is important that spiritual watchmen know their assigned spheres of influence and be careful to operate in humility with godly authority.
Role of the Watchman
The role of the watchman is to watch, guard, foretell, warn and worship; the watchman is an overseer; the watchman is in prayer and is strategic/territorial. Some watchmen are apostolic, some prophetic, some pastoral.
• Warns of coming danger/an approaching enemy – “Go, post a lookout and have him report what he sees” (Isaiah 21:6).
• Reports the approach of the king.
• Guards – the city wall; the tomb.
• Watches for Israel – “I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem” (Isaiah 62:6).
• Changing of the guard – The middle watch is a time with the potential for a changing of the guard. It is a transitory time. One such example is during Gideon’s attack on the Midianite camp. Gideon and his army swept through the enemy’s camp in the middle watch of the night, changing the tide for all Israel! God brought a mighty change of government over Israel in terms of spiritual lordship (see Judges 6). “While everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat” (Matthew 13:25).
• Is pastoral – watching the flock. Old Testament Ezekiel watched over Israel; New Testament Jesus watches over His sheep (see John 10:3; Acts 20:28-31).
• Discerns the times, heralds new/change of season – “Men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do – 200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command” (1 Chronicles 12:32).
As a 17-year-old, Joseph was a young watchman in training for reigning! He would one day be the Lord’s overseer for the flock of Israel. His training ground began as a humble shepherd overseeing a small flock of sheep. Just like Joseph, our past, our passions and the people in our lives are clues to our destiny.
• At 17 he was incisive and insightful, but perhaps lacked wisdom.
• To have revelation without understanding is to lack wisdom.
• He spoke truth, but not with much grace and mercy; yet he was earnest and enthusiastic. Mentors help bring balance to young, enthusiastic, inexperienced watchmen.
• Joseph sowed a “bad report” of his brothers; we reap what we sow. Later on, they (his brothers) could not say a kind word about him.
• Management and maturity take time and seasons to develop in us.
• Joseph at this stage was somewhat of an immature and impetuous manager and a relatively inexperienced overseer.
• People are not born with experience or given it as a free gift – we gain experience as we pass through life. Leaders learn by life experience and from others’ wisdom/experience.
The Father’s Covering
Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him. Genesis 37:3-4
• The brothers hated Joseph – they were insecure because their father loved them less.
• The brother’s source of hatred was not about Joseph’s gifting, but much more about their envy of the father’s love for him.
• Our Heavenly Father loves each one of us equally; there is no place for insecurity in our sonship. His love is unbiased, unconditional and He treats us as equals.
• The coat speaks to us of Joseph’s mantle.
• Our Father has a mantle for each of His children: A unique destiny that has been fashioned by His hand.
Revelation of Apostolic Destiny – Joseph had a Dream
Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said. Genesis 37:5-8
Joseph’s dream demonstrated the strong prophetic anointing upon his life and at the same time it pointed to his apostolic destiny.
• Insecurity breeds fear – Joseph’s brothers were deeply insecure. Unchecked, fear leads to theft, destruction and ultimately murder – either literal or spiritual.
• The brothers hated him because they were loved less by their father.
• They hated him because of his apostolic destiny.
• Their hatred and insecurity produced jealousy and they plotted his downfall.
• Perfect love casts out all fear. Joseph was being prepared and perfected to walk in perfect love.
Resource versus Ruling:
Context of the Dream:
Joseph’s dreams were much more about oversight and management of resource than they were about ruling. They were about “provision and flow,” i.e. wise stewardship of resource before they were about “position.“
The sheaves = context of destiny = harvest. Joseph was used by God to guard and oversee both a natural harvest (so that there would be provision during seven years of famine) and to guard spiritual harvest of souls (so that lives would be preserved during the famine).
Binding sheaves = context of time line = a time yet to come, a team working together, ingathering of harvest. Destiny dreams will always reveal our Father’s heart for the harvest.
Sheaves = posture = call. Joseph was called as an apostolic overseer in a nation. Eventually he would rule as prime minister of all Egypt. He was destined to be appointed to a national position of rulership. Our destiny dreams will always point to our call.
We have to be willing to take a low posture (be humble and servant-hearted) and give God all the glory when He raises someone up in ministry. We can be secure because of our covenant relationship with God in sonship. We each have a destiny prepared for God! We should rejoice in another’s calling.
Joseph’s Second Dream – “Then He Had Another Dream, and He Told it to His Brothers”
Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind. Genesis 37:9-11
Through the secure lens of sonship the second dream reveals the whole family lifted up in their destiny (symbolised in Joseph’s dream by the sun, moon and stars).
In grace we must learn to take our God-assigned, pre-ordained place, working together, rejoicing in each other’s callings. Security in our divine sonship will stop the enemy using children of God to destroy the destiny call on other brother’s/sister’s lives.
As I reflect on this portion of Joseph’s life, I am reminded that not all are called to be leaders, yet every single Believer is so important to the Lord and each must take their appointed place in His perfect plan.
Whilst it is true that not everyone can be a “Peter,” all have the potential to be like his brother “Andrew.” It was Andrew who brought Peter to the Lord so that multitudes could be saved through Peter’s ministry (see John 1:40-42). The first thing Andrew did was bring his brother to Christ. What a magnificent example to us all. Andrew was also the disciple who brought the little boy and his lunch to the Lord, and as a result Jesus used the child’s lunch to feed the multitudes (John 6:8-9). I’m sure the five thousand who were fed that day were grateful for Andrew’s anointed ministry!
Andrew’s ministry may not have been seen as up front like his brother Peter who preached and saw several thousand saved in one day (for that was Peter’s destiny); but Andrew’s destiny was every bit as important. Peter’s sermon of Acts, chapter 2, that saw three thousand conversions in one day could never have happened but for the faithfulness of Andrew in bringing his brother to Christ! Glory to God that He has an assigned task for us all and when we work together as brothers and sisters, miracles happen!
In His love,
Founder/Director, Gatekeepers Global Ministries (GGM) &
Co-Founder, Scottish Apostolic Networking Enterprise