Saturday, March 3, 2012

Dreaming and losing: Genesis 37

Ever think your family doesn't like you?

Try being Joseph. Genesis 37 (link) recounts the first portions of his story, and those portions are just not pretty. You've got parental favoritism, sibling rivalry, snitches, attempted murder, and selling your brother into slavery.

Given the plethora of material in this chapter, it's been the source of many sermons. What should we focus on to make one blog post?

Let's consider this: the beginning of the chapter has Joseph recounting his dreams to his family. He has dreamed that his brothers will bow down to him, that his whole family will bow down to him. Perhaps not exactly: the first dream was that his brothers' sheaves of wheat bowed down and the second that the Sun, Moon, and eleven stars bowed down to him. It's a good guess, though, that these dreams meant what his family took them to stand for.

So, what do his brothers do? Throw him in a well and sell him into slavery. That will bring his dreams to nothing, right?


Yet the path to the fulfillment of those dreams takes a long time and a hard road. Dreams do not always come true easily. There's a good deal about that here, but it develops over the years and chapters. We'll get through more of that.

There is another point here that I think is worth noting, especially in these days.

Take a look at Genesis 37:22 and consider Reuben. Reuben has the best of intentions: he wants to save his brother from death. What he did not consider was Judah in Genesis 37:26 and the greed of his brothers. Reuben's efforts were stymied because he wanted to keep peace, save his brother, and not be noticed in his effort.

And he failed.

Do not underestimate the impact and power that greed holds for people. Waiting to do what is right until a more convenient time for you will put you at risk of failing to get anything done.

When we consider how we live our lives, how we pick our political candidates, and what we do within our churches, we need to remember this. The delays we take in the name of convenience or expediency will be the undoing of our good intentions.

Quit waiting for it to be an easy moment to do what's right and get to it.

Also not to be forgotten is the biblical mention of Alabama: Genesis 37:17. But that's another discussion.

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