Monday, January 7, 2019

Daily Bread for Jan 12, Gen 35-37

Today's readings are Gen 35-37.

In Gen 35, we see another altar built, this one in Bethel. The promise made to Abraham, then Isaac is passed on to Jacob (Gen 35:11-12). Rachel dies giving birth to Benjamin. The twelve sons, from four different mothers, none of whom are from Canaan, are now in living there. Jacob (reminded of being Israel) has been faithful not to intermarry.

Meanwhile, Esau, who married descendants of Ishmael, has a lot of children as well (Gen 36) and lives in the land of Edom which will prove to be trouble for Israel in the future. Like Jacob, God has promised him that he will produce twelve "princes" and be the father of nations. Looking closely at the names of Esau's sons reveals the beginning of several tribes that will be a source of tension for Jacob's twelve for many years.

In Gen 37:2-11, we hear about Joseph, one of Jacob's sons.  Perhaps naively, he relates some dreams he has had to his brothers. The dreams, which are genuinely prophetic, set in motion a series of events that only God could turn into blessings. The brothers turn on Joseph and plot to kill him. Reuben tries to help. He convinces them not to have their brother's blood on their hands. The brothers relent of murdering Joseph but reveal the extent of their hatred by selling him to a group Ishmaelites!

Consider Joseph's many-colored coat for a moment (Gen 37:3). Here is the favored son robed in beauty and splendor. He's an innocent one who is betrayed by those closest to him. He is tortured and handed over to godless people. His blood-stained robe becomes a symbol of his violent death (Gen 37:29-35). But, he's not dead. Indeed, he will become the salvation of those who betrayed him! In Joseph, God gives us a shadow of the perfect redemption to come.
Once again, we see that Jacob's (Israel's) family is composed of flawed human beings, rife with pride, jealousy, pettiness and fully capable of terrible and evil behavior.

Watch God's amazing grace through all this. See how He transforms and redeems even the worst of people, like Jacob and his sons. See the hope you and I have in knowing God has a plan for our children and us, just like He had for Jacob and his.

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