Saturday, November 14, 2020

2020.11.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 37:12–36

Read Genesis 37:12–36

Questions from the Scripture text: Where did who go in Genesis 37:12? Who sends whom to them (Genesis 37:13)? What did Israel want (Genesis 37:14)? What difficulty/delay does Joseph have to navigate (Genesis 37:15-17)? Who sees whom first (Genesis 37:18)? What do they decide to do (Genesis 37:18-20)? Who hears it (Genesis 37:21)? What does he do? What does he say? What alternative plan does he propose in Genesis 37:22? What do they add to the plan in Genesis 37:23-24? What do they do with Joseph in the pit ? What do they see (Genesis 37:25)? Who proposes a change now (Genesis 37:26)? What problem does he propose with the original plan? What does he suggest to do instead (Genesis 37:27)? What do they end up doing (Genesis 37:28)? Who returns in Genesis 37:29? What does he see? What does he do? Whom does he ask what in Genesis 37:30? What do they do now (Genesis 37:31, cf. Genesis 37:20)? Whom do they ask what in Genesis 37:32)? What does he determine has happened (Genesis 37:33)? How does he respond (Genesis 37:34)? Who rise to do what in Genesis 37:35? How does he respond? What details does Genesis 37:36 give against the backdrop of the mourning in verse 35?

This passage gives us several clues to point us to the limitations of man.

First, man cannot stop the purpose of God. By their calling Joseph “dreamer” in Genesis 37:19 and laying down the challenge in Genesis 37:20, “We shall see what will become of his dreams!” the brothers establish the challenge. Little do they know that they are actually being used by God to fulfill the very dreams they are trying to thwart! You cannot stop God’s plans for you or anyone else. No one else can stop God’s plans for you. 

Second, man cannot save in the place of God. Genesis 37:21 tells us “Reuben delivered him out of their hands.” And Genesis 37:22 explains what he said by saying “that he might deliver him out of their hands.” But, Reuben cannot save in the place of God, as testified by his torn garments in Genesis 37:29 and despairing question in Genesis 37:30. There are so many good things that we want to accomplish in this world, but they are beyond us. Like Reuben, we may do that which is commendable—and may God keep us faithful—but only God can accomplish the desired results.

Finally, man cannot see the plans of God. Jacob was inconsolable. After all that the Lord has brought him through. After all that the Lord had guaranteed him by promise. After all that the Lord has surrounded him with. It wasn’t just that he couldn’t be comforted, but that he refused to be comforted. He was determined to do nothing but grieve until he died (Genesis 37:35). 

Jacob was so certain of his interpretation of the circumstances “without doubt Joseph is torn to pieces.” Really? Without doubt? The Holy Spirit hits us with the subtle data report from down south: “Now the Midianites had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard” (Genesis 37:36). Things are not as they seem to Jacob. Things are often not as they seem to us. But they are always as the Lord has planned for His glory and the good of those whom He is saving in Christ.

What will God certainly accomplish for you? What has He given you to do, that only He can make successful?

Suggested songs: ARP131 “My Heart Is Not Exalted, Lord” or TPH256 “God Moves in a Mysterious”

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