Genesis 37:1-38:30; 1 Chronicles 2:3-6; 1 Chronicles 2:8; Genesis 39:1-23
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Today in Genesis chapter 37 we begin the incredible last portion of the book of Genesis where we read about Joseph! This portion of the story that starts in today's readings will carry us through the rest of the book of Genesis and will set the stage for the exodus from Egypt. Below is an image of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" from a modern day play of the same name (which I've heard is good - but I've never seen it - can anyone offer any reviews in the Comments below?):
In chapter 37 today we read about Joseph's dreams and how these dreams make his brothers jealous. A couple of things came to mind to me today as reading through this. First is that it is clear that God does some communicating through dreams in the Old Testament. We've already seen this in our previous readings - via a dream Abimelech had or a dream Laban had. And here we see some powerful prophetic dreams that Joseph has. My first question I had was whether Joseph should have shared these dreams with his family? And I asked this question because I wonder if sometimes we also maybe get an insight or what we believe to be a word from God - and if we should share these things with others? Or keep them between God and ourselves? I don't have an easy answer on this one... If you have some thoughts on this, please post up in the "Comments" section below. The other thing that came to mind for me here is what role do dreams play for us today? Does God still communicate to people via dreams today? I know this might be going out on some fringe thoughts or theology here... but, if anyone has some Christian perspective on dreams, I'd appreciate it. I'm just curious. I honestly have had some dreams in the past that have scared me in big ways... and honestly helped me set my life on a better course back when I had them. Below is a painting from the year 1853 by French painter Emile-Jean-Horace Vernet of Joseph's brothers in today's readings putting goat's blood on his coat:
Actually, while I am on this topic of dreams, let me share this. I did used to have nightmares periodically. However, when I started reading the One Year Bible each night before going to bed a few years ago the nightmares basically went away. Seriously. I honestly believe because of the Light & life-giving power of the Word of God that the nightmares went away. Just a little testimony here for you on the power of reading the Bible each day. It is spiritual food and nourishment and protection for you in ways that you may not consciously realize. For me, there has been maybe a time or two in recent years where a nightmare has still come to fruition - and I don't remember the details of the nightmares, but somehow I know that in the midst of my dream I called out the name of Jesus and the nightmare stopped immediately! I am not kidding. I don't know how I got myself to call out Jesus' name in the nightmare, but I am so thankful that I did! Maybe this is something that prayer brings - or maybe this is something that happens when we really understand and believe in the all-powerful name of Jesus? If you suffer from nightmares, my two prescriptions are to 1. read the Bible before going to bed, 2. somehow someway say the name of Jesus in your nightmare. Pray about this before you go to bed. Maybe this will help you do this in your dream. I hope so! Below is a painting from 1630 by Spanish painter Velasquez Diego of Joseph's brothers presenting his bloody coat to their father Jacob from today's readings:
Genesis chapter 38 brings us the story of Judah and Tamar. Keep in mind that Judah, Tamar, and Perez from this chapter are all part of the genealogy of King David and Jesus from Matthew chapter 1 verse 3: "Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron." Verse 24 stood out to me in this chapter as sad irony: "About three months later, word reached Judah that Tamar, his daughter-in-law, was pregnant as a result of prostitution. "Bring her out and burn her!" Judah shouted." This verse reminded me quite a bit of the teaching from Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 7 verse 3: "“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" Is it possible that we too are sometimes like Judah? Condemning others for sins that we ourselves commit too? Even if we don't commit the same sin as someone else, should we instead leave the judging and condemning to God? Below is a painting from 1650 from the school of Rembrandt of Judah and Tamar from today's readings:
Today in Genesis chapter 39 we read about Joseph in Potiphar's house! Verse 5 stood out to me in this chapter: "From the day Joseph was put in charge, the LORD began to bless Potiphar for Joseph's sake. All his household affairs began to run smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished." I found it fascinating that God was blessing Potiphar for Joseph's sake. It reminded me of God blessing Laban for Jacob's sake earlier in Genesis. And I wonder - does God today continue to bless others around those who love God? For the sake of those who love God? I will admit that there are definitely times in my work life, where I feel like some very positive things are happening that are beyond me. Things I am not "controlling" on my own - it's something more. I do try to pray about my work life and pray that God will bless my business dealings - mostly to keep me honest & moral in my business dealings. And that God will allow me to love and serve others during the day. And big crazy good things continue happen - something happened just today that was unbelievable to me. It did not happen because of my own wits or power. Below is an image from a modern day production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" of Joseph in Potiphar's house:
Verses 8 & 9 also stood out to me in today's readings, demonstrating Joseph's strong moral integrity when being approached by Potiphar's wife: "But Joseph refused. "Look," he told her, "my master trusts me with everything in his entire household. No one here has more authority than I do! He has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I ever do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God."" I admire this so much. Joseph was gaining more and more favor with Potiphar and more and more "power" so to speak. And here we see a situation where Joseph could have abused his favor and power. But he did not. He stood strong with his moral convictions. And I wonder about this in our lives. As we maybe gain more and more favor in our work or personal or ministry lives, do we also gain more and more "power" so to speak? And when this happens, do the temptations maybe even somehow seem to get bigger and bigger and our opportunity to abuse our favor or power get easier and easier? And in light of all this, will we stand strong by our moral convictions? Will we realize, like Joseph, that our favor or power only comes from God - and it can be taken away in an instant if we sin against God? If we give in to the temptation that pursues us... Below is an oil on canvas painting by Rembrandt from 1655 titled "Joseph Accused by Potiphar's wife":
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Genesis chapter 37 titled "Jacob, Joseph, Jealousy, and a Journey to Egypt" is at this link, commentary on chapter 38 titled "The Skeleton in Judah's Closet" is at this link and commentary on Genesis chapter 39 titled "From the Penthouse to the Prison" is at this link.
Worship Video: Today's readings reminded me of Lincoln Brewster's song, "Everlasting God:"
Do you know our Everlasting God? Click here to know Him forevermore!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" Genesis 39:9 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that when you find favor with men, you will never sin against God.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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