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Genesis 37




SCRIPTURE: Genesis 37

As has been the case throughout the book of Genesis, the Biblical narrative is about to take another turn.  We saw that when the story changed from Adam to Noah to Abraham to Isaac.  And now, according to verse 2, we are about to read about the generations of Jacob.

We have obviously been reading a lot about Jacob already but with the death of Isaac at the end of chapter 35, the story now belongs to Jacob.  Interestingly enough, however, the story for the next several chapters is actually going to be more about a man named Joseph who was one of Jacob’s sons.  Jacob will in no way disappear from the narrative but Joseph will become basically the central figure.

There are at least a couple of ways we can read the next several chapters.  One is the story of Joseph is the story of profound theological implications.  We see God operating throughout this part of the story.  We find Him behind the scenes directing the narrative.  We also find Him front and center overruling human decisions and ensuring His plans will be carried out.  Through all of that, we find God working in a man who would be put in a place to save not only his family but would also begin the process of creating a nation (Israel).  But never doubt that God is covenant making God and God never breaks the covenants He makes.  
The other way to look at Joseph and his story is the way he resembles Jesus Christ.  Joseph, like Jesus, was loved by his father and obedient to his will.  Like Jesus, Joseph was hated and despised by his brothers.  Like Jesus, Joseph was falsely accused and unjustly punished.  Like Jesus, Joseph was raised from a place of suffering to a place of power and influence.  Joseph was even reported to be dead and then proven to be alive.

There are a variety of other important things in this chapter.  For example, parents should be reminded again not to play favorites with their children.  That is a very divisive thing to do in any family and never ends well.

Another thing is be careful about communicating your dreams.  There is nothing wrong with dreaming big dreams.  I am still convinced that God can communicate with us through dreams (as long as those dreams line up with God’s Word).  But sometimes the best thing we can do with those things is keep them to ourselves until we are sure what they mean and what we are to do.  Although it wasn’t a dream, the Bible says Mary treasured up the things that were happening and pondered them in her heart.  In other words, she wasn’t quick to share things.  She, instead, was content to keep them to herself and think through them.

This doesn’t mean there isn’t a time that we should talk about what the Lord has revealed to us.  It just means wisdom is always in order.

By the time we get to the end of the chapter, Joseph had been sold into slavery which is better than being killed.  At least we see it that way because we have some idea of how this will all end up.  But I can’t help wondering what was going on in the 17 year old mind of Joseph who had no way of knowing how all of this would end.

God is the only One who knows the end from the beginning.  The rest of us are to live by faith.  In fact, we are to live from faith to faith believing that God’s plan is for our good and the best thing to do is allow Him to do the best thing for us.  Easy to say.  Hard to do.  

Posted by Joe Ligon with

Genesis 36




SCRIPTURE: Genesis 36

As chapter 35 ended, we read where Jacob and Esau buried their dad.  This is a simple but important statement. Even though the boys had made up when Jacob returned, there were still a lot of years of “bad blood” between them.  So, it is telling when these brothers worked together in this situation.

Over the years, I have seen death have a lot of different impacts on families.  Sometimes it makes strong, close families even stronger and closer.  Sometimes it makes not so strong and close families strong and close.  And sometimes it tears families apart in ways that are much worse than physical separation.  I am glad that the death of Isaac didn’t drive another wedge between his sons.  

As we get into this chapter, we find ourselves neck deep in another one of the Bible’s famous or infamous (you decide) begat chapters.  I know we often wonder why these lists are included in the Bible.  Part of the answer is that ancestry was really important for those who lived in Old Testament times.  Now that I think about it, I guess ancestry is becoming more important in our time.  There sure seems to be a lot of websites that promise to help us find our heritage.  I have always been more than a bit afraid to do that kind of research because I am not sure what kind of critter may be sitting in my family tree.

But back to the story.  It is interesting to me that immediately after the death and burial of Isaac, the Bible gives us part of Esau’s lineage.  After all the redemptive story of the Bible is going to flow through Jacob not Esau.  Along with that Jacob is the one who inherited all that belonged to Isaac.  And Jacob would be the one who would inherit all that came through the Abrahamic covenant.  God would be known as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Esau.

As the Biblical narrative continues, the animosity between Jacob and Esau would be replayed in multiply in numerous ways through the descendents of Esau, the Edomites, and the descendents of Jacob, the Hebrews.  It is also interesting to note that Esau and Edom are mentioned in some form more than 200 times in the Old Testament.  But the names Jacob and Israel are mentioned more than 2,000 times in the Old Testament.  

It may be very well be that the reason this chapter is included in the Bible is that Esau and Edom are part of the story of Israel.  It is through Israel that our King and Redeemer will come.  And when he comes the Second time, He will put down all opposition to those who make up true Israel.  

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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