July 9, 2012
Joseph was clearly the favorite of Jacob’s (Israel’s) 12 sons. The infamous coat of many colors is an example of his favoritism. His brothers disliked him already, and that’s before started having dreams. The first dream recorded in Genesis 37 involved harvested crops in the field; his stood upright while theirs bowed down to it. In the second dream the sun, moon, and 11 stars bowed down to him personally. And it’s this point in the story they decided to kill him.
One of his brothers, Reuben, cared enough for their father to understand what finding Joseph dead would do to him. They trapped him in a pit, from which Reuben had every intention of later freeing him from. In the meantime the other brothers took him from the pit and sold him to traders on their way to Egypt. They ripped his robe (of many colors), dipped it animal blood, and returned it to their father who reasoned Joseph must have died in some kind of wild animal attack. Although they did not murder Joseph, they sold him into slavery reasoning that killing him would not profit them anything.
Everything placed in Joseph’s hands prospered, and he eventually came to manage everything in Potiphar’s house. Genesis 39 details all of the events, here we will only summarize. The only thing withheld from Joseph was Potiphar’s wife, who desired Joseph. An honest man, Joseph refused her advances. She finally seizes him by his robes and demands that he sleep with her (“sleeping with” is our cultural reference, not theirs). Joseph runs out of her room naked at which time she calls out and declares he tried to rape her. Falsely imprisoned Joseph eventually become manager of all the very prison he is in and continues to interpret dreams. He should be remembered as much for his managerial ability as he is for having and interpret dreams.
It is Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams that gets him out of jail and into Pharaoh’s house. It is Joseph’s managerial skills that leads to his being second in command of all of Egypt. The only thing Pharaoh concerned himself with was his own meals, everything else was ruled by Joseph’s hand. Joseph dreams not only came true, but he could interpret the meaning of other’s dreams. This interpretation was not his own, and more than once he explained that interpretation came from God. He was merely a messenger.
All this was God’s plan. More next time – Israel in Egypt.
February 6, 2011
Have you ever looked up the meaning of your name? Names used to mean something, and although your parents might not have had a meaning in mind you can look up the origins of what your name once said about the person it was given to. In my case, Clark means “a learned man” or “clergy.” I like that. On the other hand my surname, Bunch, means “person with a humpback.” Oh well. At least my parents didn’t choose that one.
In the Old Testament it was not uncommon for God to change a person’s name when he called them. Read the rest of this entry »
November 16, 2010
The story of Jacob’s dream in which he sees a ladder to heaven takes place as he is on the run from his brother Esau. Jacob was the younger of the two, and in the previous chapter he had stolen his brother’s birthright. Inheritance in this culture was based on primogenitor, or firstborn. For Esau and Jacob, this also meant being personally blessed by their father Isaac. Jacob, with help from his mother Rebekah, had fooled Isaac into blessing him instead. Jacob had fled, also at his mother’s advice, when Esau vowed to killed him. And then… Read the rest of this entry »
October 19, 2010
Abraham was somewhat unique in the ancient world. Not only do we identify him as the first man of faith, he may have very well been the only monotheist as far as he knew. At some point he met Melchizadec, priest of God Most High, so he was not alone in the world. But we know that the inhabitants of Ur were polytheistic. The Mesopotamians lived in fear of the forces of nature, and prayed continuously to gods they thought would wipe them off the face of the earth on a whim. Abraham moved his family to Canaan, and if you have ever read Joshua you know what those people were like. Surely Abraham felt alone. Yet he was a man of faith, rewarded by God for his trust, and blest – eventually – with offspring. Read the rest of this entry »
August 29, 2010
The Sacrifice of Isaac is recorded in Genesis 22.
When God promised Abram that he would have a son, Abram was probably thinking in 9 to 12 months it would happen. The whole incident with Hagar and Ishmael (Gen 16, see also Gen 21) occurred because Abraham was not thinking in God’s time frame. We can’t know for sure what Abraham was thinking, but he doesn’t seem to have the kind of patience God has. I imagine he expected his offspring to take possession of the promised land during his lifetime, not 400 years later. Sometimes we remember Abraham for all the things he did wrong. He does of course do a couple of things really, really right. He was the first person of faith described in the Bible; he believed God and God counted it to him as righteousness. The sacrifice of Isaac reiterates the kind of faith he had in God’s promises. Read the rest of this entry »
April 11, 2010
Genesis 17 is a pretty significant chapter. We could summarize the story of the entire Bible by starting here. A general survey of Christianity could start here. God gives Abram the covenant of circumcision, and then foretells the birth of Issac. Let’s deal with circumcision in this setting.
In the ancient world names meant something. I’ve looked up Clark in the books, and my name means either scholar or clergy. I like my name. Well, I like my first name. My last name, Bunch, means person with a humpback. You can’t win ’em all. At any rate, Abram literally means father. Abram has already believed God’s promise that he will father an entire nation, or in fact many nations. Abram’s name gets changed by God to Abraham, which is father of many. His name, which already meant something, now means something even greater. Read the rest of this entry »
March 5, 2010
Why 3 posts on Abraham? Because I don’t want to post 10 times on Abraham. From Genesis chapter 12 all the way to chapter 25 there is a plethora of details and stories available. In this lesson, let’s look at Abraham the born loser.
Abraham was incredibly wealthy, having been blessed by God at basically every turn. I’m not making a financial statement by calling him a “poor guy.” You just have to feel sorry for him sometimes. Read the rest of this entry »