Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tuesday, January 12th: Genesis 35-37 ~ Danae

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 35-37

In our reading today, we reach the beginning of Joseph's story.

Joseph was the favourite of Jacob & unfortunately it wasn't a secret either.  He is even given an extravagant coat to display his status!  Wow, every time I read this I just can't get past the fact that Jacob didn't consider what this would do within the family dynamics.  If there weren't problems before...

This affection is quite possibly what led to Joseph’s arrogance.

To start with, in vs 2, we see him being quick to bring his father a bad report on his brothers. What a way to ensure his status as the favourite son; by being a tattle-tale & making sure his father knows what the others are up to.

Then we read about Joseph’s dreams:
5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. 6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: 7 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.”
8 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.
9 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.”

Joseph proudly relays these dreams to his brothers &, not surprisingly, they don't go over well.

Did Joseph tell these dreams with the right heart or with a bit too much pride?  We can definitely take this to heart & consider our motives & attitudes when we approach anyone. Perhaps we have something good to say but the time isn't right or maybe we aren't the right person to bring that message to them.

Getting back to the coat...we see him going out to the fields, (in vs 12-23) to find his brothers, wearing it. I don't know, but that doesn't seem to me to be the right time or place for it. At this point, you'd think that his brother's hatred for him would be quite recognizable & that he would rather let things cool a little than fan those flames.

I feel, as we read through Genesis, that we can pick apart so many of the stories of the patriarchs as we see them failing time & time again - and yet, God chose them, used them & then left them as an example for us in the Bible.

Thankfully Joseph's story doesn't end here & we get to see how God shapes him & uses him for many great things. Unfortunately, Joseph has to bear his consequences (being sold into slavery by the brothers who hated him so), but God used that all for his plan. God could take his young, prideful attitudes & shape him into a mature, confident, godly leader.  God knew his plans for him but also knew all the ways he would fall short along the way.

Our God can & will use us in the same way.  While we fall short so often, he is ready to pick us up, teach us from our mistakes & use us for his glory.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Genesis 38-40


Conrad said...

It does appear as though Joseph is egging his brothers on to do harm to him. This story also reminds me to not show favouritism to our children.

Nathan Reimer said...

Good point when you mentioned how Joseph should have known better when showing off his new coat, or the way he told his brothers about the dreams he had. I think Joseph had the right intentions, but was foolish in how he presented himself at times. This lead to his brothers hating him even more and sining by how they "got rid" of Joseph, they even considered murdering him. I pray for wisdom in how I present my thoughts to others, I don't want to give the wrong impression or show a had example.

Miriam said...

I wondered too why Joseph would tell his brothers his dreams, when clearly that would not improve their view of him, but then, I also see the rivalry at times between my own children, in spite of the fact that I don't favour one over another (at least not intentionally), and I wonder if to a certain extent that is just part of human nature that we recognize and make an effort to change as we mature (hopefully).

I love the story of Joseph in particular. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of it again.

Pamela said...

The story of Joseph was the musical for our Spring Concert last year and seeing it acted out really showed how damaging the favouritism to Joseph in relation to the other brothers. How that coat must have irked them as a tangible symbol of their father loving Joseph more.

This stood out for me:

26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.

It was Judah that sought to gain financially from selling their brother and it was Reuben that tried to save Joseph. One might assume that because Jesus was a descendent from the line of Judah that Judah would have had a more stellar reputation but as Danae mentioned, we see how God used these fallen patriarchs even though they were far from perfect.

TammyIsBlessed said...

One thing I noticed for the first time this time around was Genesis 35:8 Soon after this, Rebekah's old nurse, Deborah, died. She was buried beneath the oak tree in the valley below Bethel. Ever since, the tree has been called Allon-bacuth (which means "oak of weeping").

I looked up Matthew Henry's commentary and he indicated that it is likely that when Jacob returned to Canaan, his mother Rebekah was probably dead. And so Jacob took his mother's old nurse into his family to be a companion for his wives and instructor to his children. Clearly she was much loved, as indicated by the name of the oak beneath which they buried her.

Back to the Joseph story - it is encouraging that God can use us, flawed as we are, in His plan.

TammyIsBlessed said...

I read a sermon that contended that there was a bit more to it than just sibling rivalry over favouritism.

It seems that Jacob had already taken the firstborn rights away from Reuben and given them to Joseph when it came to authority over the brothers. Joseph's coat may have been, not only a statement of favouritism, but also a symbol of that authority he was granted over his brothers. The greatest antagonism towards Joseph was from the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, while the ones who attempted to release him from sons of Leah. Joseph's report was not one of a tattle tale (he was already 17), but more likely a logical and necessary part of his role and authority as a supervisor. After all, it was 50 miles to Shechem (which had been the scene of the slaughter of the men of that city years before) and 70 miles to Dothan - Jacob would not have taken this assignment lightly and that responsibility would only be given to someone who had proven his capabilities as a leader. The intensity of the brothers' reaction to Joseph's dreams likely indicates their own fears of Joseph assuming great power and prominence over them. Fanciful dreams are scoffed at, but it seems the brothers were actually concerned about Joseph's power over them. Also, as a type of Christ, it makes sense that it was a rejection of his authority, just as Jesus was rejected by the religious leaders of His day for His audacity to teach as one having authority. Joseph's brothers rejected his authority over them, and combined with the foreshadowing of his dreams, concluded that they had to do away with him to protect their own position.