January 18, 2021

Genesis 37:1-38:30

The life of Joseph is a wonderful lesson on the providence and sovereignty of God. We’ll be able to track his journey from the pit to the palace and even the prison along the way.

It begins with the favoritism of his father. Sadly, Jacob had received this model from his parents, who also had favorites and loved one child over another (Genesis 25:28). God help us as parents never to have favorites, for we see the hatred it produced:

Genesis 37:4 (NKJV) “But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him.”

Got Questions had this to say about the coat (tunic) of many colors, “As to the coat of many colors itself, the most common outer garment of this type was nothing more than a long cloth with a hole in its middle. After draping the long cloth over the shoulders, a rope or a belt was fastened around the waist. Some expositors argue that this particular coat was especially valued because sleeves were sewn into the garment. Others believe the coat was ornamented by many colors. The real issue, of course, has nothing to do with colors or sleeves. Jacob presented the special coat to Joseph as a sign that Joseph was esteemed above his brothers. The coat signified Joseph as being Jacob’s choice as the future head of the clan—an honor normally bestowed upon the firstborn son.”

Joseph’s dreams probably should have been kept to himself, but hey, he’s only 17-years-old; maturity is necessary in order to keep a secret. God was showing him the future to encourage him through the hard times. We’ll see later that Joseph had the ability to interpret dreams, so he may have understood something special was on the horizon, maybe even the details about his destiny.

His brother hated and envied him for his dreams (Genesis 37:3, 5, 8, 11). His father rebuked him, but at the same time kept the matter in mind.

But then the day of “opportunity” came, their pure hatred led to a plan to murder their brother Joseph. God providentially intervened and Joseph was sold into slavery instead. His brothers deceived their father into thinking that Joseph had been mauled by wild beasts (in one sense he had been). O the terrible grief and guilt this would bring to the family for the next thirteen very long and hard years.

As we journey through the Old Testament it will be  impossible to mention all the types and shadows of the coming Christ, but we can mention a few.  Warren Wiersbe said this about Joseph, “As you read the life of Joseph, you see in him a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. Joseph was greatly loved by his father (Genesis 37:3; Matthew 3:17), hated and envied by his brothers (John 15:25; Mark 15:10), plotted against, sold as a slave, arrested unjustly, and made to suffer. But he went from suffering to glory and became the savior of the people who had rejected him.”

Genesis 38 seems a bit out of place from our perspective. The next twelve chapters will focus on Joseph, why do we have this horrible story about Judah and his family? 

Judah marries a non-believer. His wife dies. Two of his sons are struck dead by God for their wickedness. He rejects his responsibility to his daughter-in-law of the levirate marriage. He then goes in to a woman he thought was a prostitute (but it turned out to be his daughter-in-law Tamar). When he finds out she’s pregnant through prostitution he’s about to burn her, until he discover that he’s the father! Wow! And the Messiah would one day come through this lineage of Judah and Tamar (Matthew 1:3).

This is how it all went down, it’s just the truth, and another story of stunning grace.

Matthew 12:22-45

The religious leaders now sink to demonizing Jesus saying He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons. Jesus reveals the fallacy of their accusation by the simple fact that a house divided against itself cannot stand. If only they would have been honest in their assessment, they would have discovered that the finger of God had come upon them.  By casting out demons, God was plundering the goods of the strong man (Satan) because He was/is infinitely stronger!

When Jesus speaks of the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and describes it as the unforgivable sin, (Matthew 12:31) He’s referring to the way the religious leaders were resisting the witness of the Holy Spirit who was trying to show them and point them to Jesus. Keep in mind that the only unforgivable sin is the rejection of Jesus Christ (and hence resistance of the Holy Spirit). If anyone comes to Christ any sin can be forgiven.

These people who professed to be believers were producing no fruit. They weren’t saved, they were snakes, who couldn’t say anything good, because their hearts were so bad (Matthew 12:35) – but the day will come when they will given an account for every idle word (Matthew 12:36).

It’s rather ironic how they wanted a sign from heaven and there He was right in front of them, casting out demons, healing every disease with ease, even raising the dead. Why would anyone ask for a sign to see while their eyes are closed? We should never demand signs from God for He’s already given us the witness of creation and conscience, as well as the Living Word (Jesus) and the written Word (the Bible). 

But Jesus did leave us with the sign of all signs, the resurrection of the dead (which Jonah was a picture of). Who else has defeated death, gutted the grave, and conquered the coffin? No one else! The resurrection is the sign for us to see that Jesus is the Way.

Since a greater than Jonah is here and a wiser than Solomon, why don’t they repent? Why won’t they listen?

In Matthew 12:43-45 Jesus teaches us that if a demon is cast out of a person, that person then needs God to come into their lives, which is what happens when we become a Christian – the Holy Spirit lives within us (1 Corinthians 6:19). If a person doesn’t take that opportunity to ask the Lord into their hearts (Ephesians 3:17) the enemy will return with more intensity, and things will get even worse.

Psalm 16:-11

In this Psalm we see David’s devotion to the LORD and not other gods (Psalm 16:4). The LORD is his goodness (Psalm 16:2), the LORD is his portion (Psalm 16:5) and David determined to follow Him and live in His presence.

Psalm 16:11 (NKJV) “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Psalm 16:10 is an amazing prophecy quoted by Peter in his sermon on the resurrection of Jesus Christ because it did NOT apply to David (Acts 2:31-32).

Psalm 16:10 (NKJV) “For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”

Proverbs 3:27-32

In this section we have five prohibitions (”Do not…”) things not to do.

Aren’t you grateful for the clear commands as well as the secret counsel God gives to us so freely? (Proverbs 3:32).

Thank You Lord!

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

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