“Now he had still another dream, and related it to his brothers, and said, “Lo, I have had still another dream; and behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”” ⸺ “His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.” Genesis 37:9, 11 (NASB)
Exactly what would a seventeen-year-old who is nearly the last of all the sons of their father thinking when he boasts of this dream before them. It is not the first but the second time Joseph had a dream which predicted his whole family being subservient to him some time in the future. Of course his 10 older brothers were put out and became more than a bit envious of Joseph who was obviously their father’s favored son. Envy is a feeling common to humanity. It is also a monster—a giant that can eat anyone alive. “The odious passion of envy,” writes George Lawson, “torments and destroys one’s self while it seeks the ruin of its object. Envy tends to destroy the envier.” The brothers immediately rejected any meaning to Joseph’s words yet still allowed the dream to infuriate them into dangerous and greater hatred of their brother. Jacob, admonished his son Joseph yet pondered the meaning of the dreams. Without knowing it, their envy of Joseph set the brothers on the road to the evils of deceit, malice, and slave-trading their own flesh and blood—to the most despicable forms of cruelty.
- George Lawson, Lectures on the History of Joseph (Banner of Truth, 1972), p 5.
“The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. Now his master saw that the Lord was with him and how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hand.” – Genesis 39:2-3 (NASB)
Within the story of Joseph, the son of Israel we find many promises from God. A favored son of Jacob, Joseph was treated badly and sold into slavery by his 10 older brothers. If all that Joseph had was his famous brightly colored coat, he would have been ruined when his brothers took it from him and sold him into slavery. But even then Joseph had character and when Joseph lost his coat, he didn’t lose his character. When finding himself a slave to an Egyptian, we would understand a measure of despondency. We’d not be surprised if Joseph refused to become involved in the world around him, protesting Egypt’s paganism, and resenting Potiphar’s authority. This approach, though, would not have provided him an opportunity show God’s mercy and grace. When God’s blessing is on a life, it will be apparent—and sometimes, as we see with Potiphar, even pagans can’t help but notice. Let’s learn to live with like awareness that every matter in our lives, every moment we’re given, and every move we make, and every word we speak is an opportunity to bring glory and praise to God.
“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” – Genesis 28:15 (NASB)
After his trickery and snatching the blessing Isaac intended for Esau, Jacob had to flee for his life. It is Jacob who woke up from a dream of seeing angels ascending and descending a ladder to heaven named the spot El-Bethel because it was where he met God. God affirmed for him the promises and covenant already given to Abraham and Isaac. It was through Ezekiel who described the gates of the New Jerusalem and the city spoke these last words of his prophecy, “And the name of the city from that time on shall be, Yahweh shammah “The LORD Is There.”” (Ezekiel 48:30-35) This name of the LORD expresses a blessed promise and truth about Him: the LORD delights to be wherever His people are. God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. When they sinned, God instituted sacrifices so that relationships could be partly restored. Ezekiel prophesied a lot about God’s glorious presence with His people. Jesus promises that we would experience His presence wherever we go as His disciples (Matthew 28:20). The heavenly Jerusalem will be marked by the presence of God dwelling with His people as He has always promised.
“After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2 But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” ” – Genesis 15:1-2 (ESV)
Have you ever been promised something that seemed impossible that you would see come true? Abram (not yet Abraham) was in that fix. God had promised descendants, children, and so many that they would be impossible to count. To Abram, God’s promise had stalled and he believed he had an answer. Abram suggested adoption of a servant as the male heir—a well-known contemporary custom of the time and culture. Abram considered it a done deal as it was the best official arrangement to make it come to pass⸺humanly speaking. God said No! It will not be ‘this man’ for it will be your very own son who will be your heir. Now eighty-six years old, time was running out for Abram and Sarai (not yet Sarah). In this exchange Abram address God by the name ‘Adonai’ which was a common name meaning lord, master and God. Abram also addressed God by the name YHWH. This is the name God revealed to Moses when He said “I AM WHO I AM.” While many titles are given for God, the name Yahweh is the true name for God. Most translations render the name as LORD – using all capitals.
“The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate. Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Genesis 3:13 (ESV)
When it happened, everything on earth changed from a state of perfection to a state of deterioration. What would have lasted and lived forever because there was no death now had a terminal point. It is very difficult for us to comprehend the extent of this change. Yet, it affected all since that very moment. In a world where all was provided, everything became a need to finding a way to sustain life. No sickness became sickness. Long life became a shorter and shorter. God confronted their actions. “What have you done?” He asked them. But He knew. Some read their replies as excuses. Perhaps they simply stated the facts of what had happened. They were experiencing guilt and shame for the first time. Both quickly acknowledged what they did. They had been deceived but didn’t know yet how to deceive. Going after what they thought was more or better, they got much worse. God knows all the time. And when we stumble, he wants us to own it and confess it, and seek forgiveness through Christ Jesus the Redeemer who was promised by God on that same day. Before they were evicted from the perfect place God promised redemption.