Gen 37

Genesis 37


  1. Review
    1. We begin a new section in Genesis.
      1. Gen 25:19 – The account of Isaac
      2. Gen 36:1 – The account of Esau
      3. Gen 37:2 – our text – the account of Jacob
    2. In chapter 36 – Esau and Jacob are both living in the Promised Land until it can no longer support both of them and Esau moves to Edom.
    3. Gen 37:1 – And that leaves Jacob right where God had promised Abraham his descendants would be – in the land of Canaan.
      1. Gen 37:1 – we read that “Jacob lived in the land…of Canaan.”
      2. Abraham and Isaac were both sojourners – travelers through the land – Gen 12:6.
      3. Jacob now lives here.
    4. The shift in the story
      1. Up until now Moses had been writing to Israel (out in the wilderness) about having the faith to take the land that God had promised to give them.
      2. Now, with Jacob living in the land the purpose of the story shifts. As we read through the account of Jacob and his sons – (Gen 37-50) we will find Moses telling Israel how to live in the Promised Land – how to live in it so you don’t get removed from it.
        1. That is important to us – and the question for us is – how do we live the Christian life and maintain our joy, peace, fullness in life….

a)      illus: I have been a Christian for as long as I can remember – over 50 years. There have been times when I have had the joy and times when my faith is like a chore. Do I have to go to church today? How do I keep my joy in Christ and not lose it?

  1. For Israel – through her history she tried to hang onto the land in a couple of different ways.
    1. The first – through power, might, alliances, wealth, paying tribute, trying to blend in with the culture….
  2. Solomon – marriages, navy, wealth…
  3. The kings after him – battles, tribute
  4. In the end the Northern kingdom was booted from the land in 722 by the Assyrians; the Southern kingdom in 586 by the Babylonians.
  5. You don’t keep the land through the exertion of your own power, might, wisdom…
    1. The second way – they tried to be pure, holy, righteous, obedient to the commands of God.
  6. Neh 9:12 – Behold, we are slaves today, And as to the land which You gave to our fathers to eat of its fruit and its bounty, Behold, we are slaves in it. Its abundant produce is for the kings Whom You have set over us because of our sins; They also rule over our bodies And over our cattle as they please, So we are in great distress.…
  7. Their realization – they are slaves and they have sinned.
  8. Their solution – be holy. Vow to keep the commands of God.
  9. And how did that work out for them when Alexander the Great and the Romans came to town ?
  10. The problem – we are all sinners. As much as we might desire it – we can not keep the law. We are going to sin. No is righteous – no not one.
    1. So, how do you live in the land?
      1. Moses tells the story slowly. He does not jump to the end. Jumping to the end would cause us to miss the means necessary to get to the end. And it is that means that is so crucial to living in the land.
    2. It is that means that is so crucial to our living out our Christian life as God would have us.
      1. Look at the story in Gen 37
        1. Joseph is 17 years old and dreams a dream. Two dreams in fact.
      2. In both of the dreams the brothers (and father and mother) bow down before him. He rules over them.
      3. This so infuriates the brothers that they can not even say “speak a kind word to him” “greet him peacefully”.

1)      The word is “shalom” That is the way you greeted someone. They could not even essentially hello to him they were so put out with him. They hated him. They were jealous of him.

  1. There were some other factors at work too –
  1. Jacob loved Joseph more than his other sons (vs. 3).
  2. He made him a special robe – (vs 3)
  3. Joseph was the only son of his father’s favorite wife – (29:30 and 36:25) (Benjamin would not be born to Rachel until later and she would die at his birth) and he was the son born to Jacob when he was old.
  4. He also ratted the other brothers out – 37:2
  5. And probably being 17 – so much younger – did not help.
    1. The other sons could not tolerate all the favoritism shown to Joseph.
    2. One day the other brothers take the sheep from Hebron up to Shechem to graze them and Jacob decides to send Joseph up to bring back a report (vs.14)

a)      The boys don’t stay in Shechem too long. (The last time they were there they caused a bit of trouble – 33:18-chapter 34).

b)      They move on north toward the Jezreel valley to Dothan – which was on the main highway to Egypt if you were traveling from Gilead or Galilee.

c)      In short – the boys see him, decide to do away with him – are persuaded to toss him into a pit where he is later sold to some Ishmaelites who take him to Egypt (37:28)

d)      As they plan to do away with him they say in vs. 19 – “Here comes the dreamer….lets throw him into a cistern then we will see what comes of his dreams”

e)      And when they do and then deceive their father – Joseph is dead – it looks like once again the story is in peril – it is over – the dreamer who dreamed the dream appears is gone. The promise of God is going to fail.

1)      Like Abe when he did not have an heir or when he was called to sacrifice Isaac. The promise was in danger of failing.

  1. Here is how Moses wanted Israel to see how you live in the land.
    1. 37:36 – KJV – “And”
    2. 37:36 – other translations “Meanwhile”

a)      It is one small letter in Hebrew – a vav. But it says so much. “Meanwhile” implies the previous part of the story has ended. Jacob is grieving. He can not be comforted. And for him at this moment the story is over.

b)      But – “Meanwhile” – here is another story being told (like Ex 2:11 – “One day Moses” – same “vav”). The promise has not failed. God is at work. God is the one behind the “Meanwhile”. We are not told how yet – only given the new story’s introduction.

  1. And this is how is how Israel is to live in the land. They are to live trusting and believing in the promises of God. They are to have faith in God and his promises – and that is how they will stay in the land.

a)      It is not by their might.

b)      It is not be their purity and obedience to the law.

c)      It is by trusting in the promises of God – the “Meanwhile” that is happening even when we can not see it. It is having the assurance of the things hoped for and the conviction of the things not seen – because God is the one at work.

  1. And trusting the Father – believing in his Son – walking in the Spirit – is how we continue to have joy and fullness and hope and peace in our life. It is not by doing more. Exerting more effort. Being a better person. It is by trusting in the Lord.
  1. What led Israel to being removed from the land?
    1. Failure to believe the dream (which was from God)
    2. Hatred of the dreamer. (the one sent to them from God to speak the dream)
    3. For us: The gospel is the dream – forgiveness of sins; restored to God and to one another; eternal security, hope…
    4. The one who brings us the dream is the Holy Spirit.
    5. We begin our relationship with God by faith. We live our lives by faith. It is always faith from first to last. Trusting God. It is never our power. Never our purity that keeps us. God is our keeper and we trust in that.
  2. Things around us may (and will change).
  3. But there is always the “Meanwhile” – God at work keeping his promises and that is what our faith holds onto.







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Israel 2014

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