the backside of betrayal
Post on 13-May-2015
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DESCRIPTIONJoseph is sold to Egyptian bondage by his brothers. This episode teaches us much about how God can bring good even out of the most black of situations.
- 1. Joseph is one of the most intriguing sections of Scripture. Josephs brothers despise him and sell him into slavery. Yet, Joseph forgives his brothers. Joseph fully surrendered his life to God at an early age. Therefore, God was able to use Joseph in a major way to advance His kingdom. Had Joseph and his brothers died in famine, God would not have been able to fulfill His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The issues of faith that plagued Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob do not appear in Josephs life. Joseph arguably had a much harder life than Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob. Moses illustrates what a faith-full life would look like.
2. Josephs brothers hated him, because: He brings an evil report of his brothers Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher to his father (v 2). His father shows him partiality by giving him the infamous coat (vv 3-4). He has two dreams (of the eleven sheaves, and of the sun, moon, and eleven stars) which suggest that he is to be exalted above the rest of the family (vv 5-11). How might Joseph have handled his brothers differently? Do we ever seriously hurt relationships over perceived arrogance? How might we keep from doing so? 3. Joseph, the Beloved of His Father Genesis 37:1-7 4. Jacob dwelt in the land where his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan (v 1). Moses reminds us again that the patriarchs were aliens on the earth. Heb 11:8-16 and Phil 3:17-21 connect this to the Christian life. We, as the people of God, are strangers on this earth. How do we show we are aliens? Do we sometimes get too comfy with this world? How do we keep from getting too comfy? Not only were Jacob a stranger, but he was an alien in Canaan. The mention of Canaan reminds us of the promise of God. Jacobs descendants would inherit the land. How can we have confidence in Gods promises? 5. This is the history of Jacob. The rest of Genesis is the history of Jacob. Yes, the special emphasis throughout the text is on Joseph, but Jacobs burial doesnt occur until the end of the Book. Why do you think that Moses, through the Spirit, spent so much space on Jacob? My opinion: The Jacob/Joseph narrative demonstrates how God providentially saved the nation of Israel and His scheme of redemption. If God had allowed this family to die in the famine, He could not fulfill His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Instead, we see the lengths God goes through to fulfill His promise. The lesson is two-fold: God is faithful! God may work in our lives in ways we do not understand. 6. At the age of 17, Joseph is feeding the flock with his brothers, and he brought back a bad report of them [Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher] to Jacob. Throughout the Old Testament, this Hebrew term refers to a message that is at best derogatory, and at worst deceitfully slanderous. God has commanded that we not speak in such a manner. You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people (Lev 19:16). He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; Therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips (Prov 20:19). 7. Why might Joseph have wanted to gossip against these four brothers? What might he have gained? Why might people today gossip? What might be gained through gossip? What might be lost through gossip? 8. Rabban Simon ben Gamaliel once ordered his servant to bring from the market the best thing to be found there. To the good rabbi's surprise he brought a tongue. At another time the rabbi commanded him to bring the worst thing the market could offer. To his still greater surprise the servant again brought a tongue. How is this? the master asked. When I bad thee bring the best thing the marked provided, thou didst bring a tongue. And now that I have ordered the worst thing, thou dost still bring a tongue? 9. Good master, answered the wise servant, dost thou not know that a tongue may be either the best or the worst thing in the world accordingly as its owner uses it? 10. It seems that Josephs tongue gets him into a good bit of trouble. There is the bad report he brought against four of his brothers. There is also the telling of the dreams. Joseph couldnt help that He had these dreams. God gave Joseph the dreams. God, in His bountiful wisdom, gave Joseph these dreams. However, Joseph didnt have to tell everything he knew. The text doesnt say so, but I can imagine that Joseph flaunted his favored position. The wearing of the coat to go visit his brothers seems to indicate that. 11. Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph more than all his children. Of course, Israel had seen that favoritism in his own parents. I think this should stand as a warning to all of us parents about what were passing on to our children. 12. Israel gave Joseph a tunic of many colors. That translation has been flatly rejected by most scholars. The LXX translated the Hebrew this way, and many English translations have followed suit. We see the multicolored coat in Sunday school curriculum (I even searched for an image of a multicolored coat for the PowerPoint). The Hebrew almost certainly does not mean this, but the Hebrew is not precisely clear. The Hebrew might mean an ornamental robe. The idea would be that it was a special robe that separated Joseph from his brothers. However, most scholars today believe the Hebrew really means a long robe with sleeves. 13. Long robe with sleeves. The robe with long sleeves could refer to a royal robe. The only other occurrence of this expression is in the narrative of Amnons rape of Tamar (2 Sam 13:18-19). Tamar had a robe of many colors, for the kings virgin daughters wore such apparel (2 Sam 13:18). The sleeves might indicate that Joseph was not expected to work in the fields like his brothers. Workers wore short garments with short sleeves so that their arms could be free to work. Joseph worked with his brothers (v 2) at one point, but when the brothers went to Shechem Joseph stayed behind (vv 12ff). 14. Josephs brothers hated him and could not speak peaceably to him. We sometimes talk very casually about hating things (e.g., certain teams or foods). Hate in Hebrew refers to a deed or the inception of a deed. Just like we might talk about love as action, hate, in this manner, is also action. Thus, when we find that Josephs brothers hated him, we should expect to find a corresponding action. 15. Is there a great deal of hatred in the world today? What are some examples of hate that we find? How can we get rid of hate in this world? Obviously, following Jesus is absolutely the only way that we can get rid of hate. What are some things that He taught us that are the antidote to hate? 16. Joseph had a dream, told it to his brothers, and they hated him even more. The dreams indicate that God is directing Josephs life. There can be little doubt but that these dreams are a divine message. I further believe that Joseph understood the dreams to be a divine message. Even Josephs brothers understood the meaning of the dreams: Shall you indeed reign over us? (v 8). However, what did Joseph gain by telling his brothers these dreams? Are there ever times that the wise thing is to keep our mouths shut? 17. The dreams indicated a unique position for Joseph. Your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf. The sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me. In other words, this was not a case where the meaning of the dreams could be in anyway ambiguous. Notice that twice the narrative tells us that the brothers hated Joseph even more (v 5, 8) because of the dreams. Thats very interesting, because: 18. The dreams, the telling of them, and the hatred of the brothers all work for the unfolding purpose of God. This serves as a reminder that the will of God cannot be thwarted even by sin. In the case of Joseph (as with Jesus), sin helps move Gods purpose along. The brothers hatred was clearly wrong. Their selling Joseph into Egyptian bondage was wrong. The advances of Potiphars wife were wrong. The lying of Potiphars wife that led to Josephs being wrongly imprisoned was wrong. 19. However, through all that sin, the purpose of a God who cannot be touched with sin was fulfilled. I cannot even begin to fathom how God could do that. Yet, I believe He can do that because He is a BIG God. He has all power, He has infinite wisdom, He has a perfect will, etc. This should leave us with an unshakeable calmness as we rest in the will of God. The world is very chaotic as we meet tonight (07.23.14). There is a war in Ukraine & a plane that has been shot down. There is war in the Middle East. There is a sluggish economy here in the United States. Yet through all of that, God is moving everything to be subdued in Christ (1 Cor 15:25-28; Eph 1:10; Phil 2:9-11). 20. Joseph Hated and Rejected by His Brothers Genesis 37:8-19 21. The mention of eleven stars in verse 9 indicates that Benjamin had been born when Joseph was sold into slavery. Joseph also asked a leading question about Benjamin (Gen 43:7). Some scholars have suggested that Benjamin was not born until after Joseph was sold into slavery. Jacobs mention of your mother at v 10 is difficult to understand. Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin (35:16-21). Because of the traveling sequence given, it seems very unlikely that this is out of chronological order. Some have suggested that Leah or Rachels maid Bilhah was regarded as Josephs mother after the death of Rachel. 22. Jacob rebuked Joseph for the dreams (v 10). It could be that Jacob rebuked Joseph for the telling of the dreams. However, the wording of verse 10--What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?--really makes me think that Jacob was rebuking him for the dreams themselves. Why would Jacob rebuke Joseph for something over which Joseph had no control? Are there ever times that we rebuke whe