Saturday, November 07, 2020

2020.11.07 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 37:1–11

Read Genesis 37:1–11

Questions from the Scripture text: What two things is Jacob’s dwelling land called in Genesis 37:1? How does Genesis 37:2 introduce the next section of Genesis? Whom does the text, then, immediately mention? How old is he? What is he doing? Which brothers, specifically, does he tell on? To whom? What does Genesis 37:3 call Jacob? How did he relate to Joseph? Why? What else did he do for him? Who saw this favoritism (Genesis 37:4)? How did they feel about Joseph for this? What couldn’t they even do? What did Joseph have in Genesis 37:5? Whom did he tell about it? How did they feel about Joseph for telling? What did he ask them to do in Genesis 37:6? What were they doing in the dream (Genesis 37:7)? What did Joseph’s sheaf do? What do their sheaves do? What do his brothers ask in response (Genesis 37:8)? And how do they feel about him for his dream? What happens in Genesis 37:9? Whom does he tell? What was the content of this dream? Whom else does he tell, along with them, in Genesis 37:10? How does his father respond? What does he ask? How does Genesis 37:11 summarize the family relationships? 

Sometimes, we get distracted by questions of application in passages like this. Joseph’s folly in singling out the sons of the maidservant-wives for a bad report (Genesis 37:2). Jacob’s folly in dividing Israel with favoritism (Genesis 37:3). And the folly of Joseph sharing such dreams with brothers who already hated him (Genesis 37:5-7Genesis 37:9-10). 

But the passage itself gives us a repeated vocabulary clue about what the main point of the passage is. “They hated him and could not speak peaceably to him” (Genesis 37:4). “They hated him even more” (Genesis 37:5). “So they hated him even more” (Genesis 37:8).  “And his brothers envied him” (Genesis 37:11). In the Hebrew, it’s even more stark, as the word for “even more” is the same root as the name “Joseph,” and the word for “envied” in verse 11 is only one consonant different than “hated.” 

There is much to be learned from the other aspects of the text, but the main point is clear. THEY. HATED. HIM.

This is how Stephen understands this passage in his wonderful sermon on Christ, the hated-One who delivers God’s people. In that sermon in Acts 7, Stephen presents Abraham, Moses, and the prophets as those who anticipated “the Just One” of whom the Jews had become murderers at the cross (cf. Acts 7:51–52). He summarizes the entire Joseph narrative as, “And the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him and delivered him out of all his troubles” (cf. Acts 7:9–10) and used him to deliver Israel from famine, along with all of Egypt and Canaan (cf. Acts 7:11–16). And, of course, the Jews promptly hated and murdered Stephen himself for being the one through whom the saving gospel was announced to them!

The Spirit by whom Stephen spoke interprets for us His own words here in Genesis 37, and keeps us from missing the obvious cues that the passage gives us. Our Savior is a hated Savior. Just as Joseph was hated, hated even more, and hated even more, so also our Lord Jesus is the Light who “was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him” (John 1:9–10). 

So, let us guard our own hearts, that we would not be hostile to those whom the Lord sends us with His saving Word. And let us not be surprised if the fiery trial comes upon us as well. Our Lord Jesus will be despised, but He is the glorious Savior, and we must be willing to suffer with Him (cf. Hebrews 13:12–14), ashamed neither of Him nor His words (cf. Luke 9:22–26).

What did Christ endure from the Jews for you? What might you have the privilege to endure for Him? How will you prepare your mind and heart for when that time comes?

Suggested songs: ARP22A “My God, My God” or TPH352 “Man of Sorrows, What a Name!”

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