Skip to main content

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.


Popular posts from this blog

Book: By the Waters of Babylon

Worship. It is what the church does as we strive to honor God with our lips and our lives. And then, many churches argue about worship. I have about a half-dozen books on my shelf about worship, but adding Scott Aniol’s By the Waters of Babylon to the shelf has been excellent.

First of all, Aniol’s work is not based on solving a musical debate. While that branch of worship is often the most troublesome in the local church, By the Waters of Babylon takes a broader view. The starting point is the place of the church. That place is a parallel of Psalm 137, where the people of God, Israel, found themselves in a strange land. The people of God, again, find themselves in a strange land.
Second, in summary, the book works logically to the text of Scripture, primarily Psalm 137 but well-filled with other passages. Then it works outward from how the text addresses the problems submitted in the first chapter into how worship, specifically corporate worship, should look in the 21st century Weste…

Put Down That Tablet! Exodus 35

Moses assembles the people of Israel at Sinai one last time before they set out into the wilderness, headed for the Promised Land. He gives them a reminder of some portions of the commands of God and emphasizes the construction of the Tabernacle (Exodus 35 link).He also gives the one Biblical mention of tablet-type mobile devices in Exodus 35:3, where the command is given not to use your Kindle Fire on the Sabbath Day. Some of you just groaned. Some of you skipped the one-liner, and others just missed it. I’ll address you all in turn, but first let us address the person who thought this might be the hidden meaning of that command. After all, we are so easily distracted from our worship and commitment by all of the digital noise around us, why would we not take this text in this manner?The quite simple answer is: because it is not about digital devices. In total, the command to focus the day on Yahweh, Covenant God of Israel and all of Creation, and if your device subtracts from your f…

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…