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January 27 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Genesis 37, 38, 39

Animosity, Providence, and Purity

What causes animosity in a home or business? Usually animosity is caused by favoritism and unfair treatment, whether real or imagined. Sometimes we are the perpetrators of hatred, and other times we are innocent victims of it. Does God care? What should we do?

The Biblical patriarch Jacob caused jealousy and hatred in his family. According to 1Chronicles 5:1-2 and Genesis 37:3, he forfeited the rights of his first born son, Reuben, to the family inheritance. Reuben had slept with one of Jacob's wives, Bilhah. The rights were then given, not to the second born son by Leah, but to Joseph, the first born son of Jacob's wife, Rachel. This caused animosity towards Joseph because Jacob favored Joseph over the rest of his older brothers. Moreover, Joseph was given a special robe to wear that distinguished him above them. From his own life Jacob should have known the danger favoritism brings to a family, but Jacob still chose Joseph over his other sons. Are you doing anything that may cause jealousy in your home, business or church?

The jealousy in Jacob’s household went from bad to worse. At age seventeen Joseph gave a bad report about his brothers. Perhaps Joseph’s brothers were lazy or irresponsible, but no one wants to look bad in the eyes of his family or his employer.

Next, Joseph received two dreams from the LORD about his destiny. Dreams in those days had special significance and meaning. The meaning of his dreams was clear to his family: Joseph would be lifted up above his brothers, and even his mother and father would bow down to him. God’s hand of blessing would certainly be upon Joseph, but unfortunately his brothers did not see it that way. They thought Joseph was just being cocky, seeking to elevate himself above his family, and this caused more animosity.

After this, Joseph was given the task of checking up on his brothers. Perhaps Jacob perceived his other sons could not be trusted, but he trusted Joseph. Joseph was alone, away from the eyes of his father. Seeing him from a far, they plotted to kill him, but Reuben persuaded his brothers to throw him into a dry cistern, instead. Reuben wished to deliver him later, but when a traveling caravan of Ishmaelite merchants came by, his brothers sold Joseph to them. In God's providence Joseph was not killed but re-sold in Egypt (Genesis 50:20). The brothers took Joseph’s cloak, dipped it into goat’s blood, and deceived their father Jacob into believing Joseph had been killed by a wild animal.

What lessons can we learn about the dangers of favoritism? First, favoritism causes competition, jealousy, hatred, and a lack of peace in the home, business, or other organization. We need to appreciate all members for who they are and how God has made them. Second, from Joseph's life we can learn that God exercises his providential care over those who are faithful.

In Genesis 38 the account of Judah's life seems an interruption to the story; yet, it proves to show the wisdom of God’s choice of Joseph over Judah. It is not position or leadership abilities that are important to God; it is obedience.

Why did Judah leave his brothers and go to Adullam, some fifteen miles away? Judah may have been trying to escape the guilt of his actions towards Joseph and the deception of his father; for it was “at that time” (38:1) that Judah left his brothers and went to live in the Canaanite city of Adullam.

Judah was an example of a life caught in sin. First, he lied and deceived. Second, he ran away from his problems. Third, he compromised with the world by marrying a Canaanite woman. Her influence and/or the wickedness of the culture may have influenced his sons to be wicked, so that God put two of them to death. Fourth, Judah deceived his daughter- in- law, Tamar, to protect his youngest son but was later deceived himself.

After Judah’s wife died, Tamar, who was not given Judah's youngest son Shulah to marry as agreed upon, disguised herself and pretended to be a prostitute so she could have children. Judah was caught by lust and deceived. Genesis 38 and 39 record a strong moral contrast between Judah and Joseph. Have you been caught in your sin? Don’t run and hide and seek to make a new life for yourself. Repent and God will be gracious to forgive you and help you bear the consequences. (more...)

In Genesis 39 we find that Joseph was sold into Egypt and served the household of Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials. He gained the attention and favor of his master because he could be completely trusted with everything. Unfortunately, Joseph also gained the attention of Potiphar’s wife. She wanted to sleep with this handsome, strong young man, but he refused. Joseph told her,

“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?”

And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.

One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house. When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, she screamed (Genesis 39:9-13, NIV).

She accused Joseph of attempted rape. For that lie Joseph was imprisoned. What was God doing? What can we learn from being the victim of false accusations and injustice? Life is sometimes unjust. When bad things happen to us, even when we are being good and trying to please God, we do not understand. However, God is working all things for his glory and is molding us to be better Christians (Romans 8:28-29). He does deliver us, though deliverance may not come right away. However, if we persevere through trials and are faithful when unjustly treated, God will reward us
(Revelation 2:10). What happens to Joseph? Stay tuned for tomorrow’s lesson.

Lessons to live by:

  • Do not do things that will cause animosity in your home, business, or church.
  • Favoritism causes competition, jealousy, hatred, and a lack of peace in the home, business or other organization. We need to appreciate all members for who they are and how God has made them.
  • God exercises his providential care over those who are faithful.
  • It is not position or leadership abilities that are important to God; it is obedience.
  • Have you been caught in your sin? Don’t run and hide and seek to make a new life for yourself. Repent and God will be gracious to forgive you and help you bear the consequences. (more...)
  • Life is sometimes unjust. When bad things happen to us, God is working for his glory on our behalf, though deliverance may not come right away. However, if we persevere through trials and are faithful when unjustly treated, God will reward us.

Today’s Bible Memory Verses:

Proverbs 28:13-14

He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

Blessed is the man who always fears the LORD, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble. (NIV).

praying girl Write a private prayer response to today’s Bible study:

Please send your comments to mtbiblestudies@gmail.com

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