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365 Challenge

Filtering by Tag: Jacob

The life and death of Joseph(Genesis 38-51)

Wesley Skinner

Joseph is one of the most interesting characters in all of Genesis. He is the poster child for a rags to riches story and demonstrates more character than the rest of the patriarchs, yet it is not through his line that Messiah will come. 

To recap: Joseph's father, Jacob(Israel), had one true love, Rachel. Rachel had trouble conceiving and Israel had children born from his other wife(Rachel's sister) and the two maid servants. When Joseph was born of Rachel, he was Israel's favorite. His brothers knew it and grew jealous. It didn't help that Joseph didn't know when to keep his mouth shut. Joseph has two visions from God showing his family bowing down to him, so of course, he immediately discloses all. When his brothers see the opportunity, they decide to sell him into slavery. 

Joseph is bought by an Egyptian official and we see a trend begin, everything Joseph does, God blesses and Joseph quickly ascends to positions of influence. 

Joseph's character is on display as he ignores sexual advances from his master's wife and ultimately runs out when he finds himself in a sticky situation(see last blog). Potiphar's wife lies about the incident and has Joseph thrown in prison. In prison we find the same narrative, God blesses Joseph, he ascends to a position of influence and interprets a dream for the cup bearer to pharaoh. 

Fast forward a few years, pharaoh has a dream, Joseph is brought to interpret and pharaoh makes him second in command. This is huge because famine is coming to all the land and by the position of influence Joseph is able to relocate and provide for his family. Preserving God's chosen people and setting the stage for God's next big event. "The Exodus"

One of my favorite verses occurs at the end of Genesis. Genesis 50:20 "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today." Joseph's brothers finally come to apologize and Joseph realizes something profound, it's a truth found, not just throughout Genesis or the rest of scripture, but an insight into the character and purposes of God that transcends time. Joseph realizes that all the crap he went through served a greater purpose. And that if we look at life as a series of separate events, we miss the bigger picture of what God is doing. Life is not compartmentalized. Everything that we do, everything that happens, God is using to write a story much bigger than ourselves. A story that started at creation and includes us, but transcends only us. The story of God's glory written throughout history. The purpose of man. The glory of God. 

 

Forgiveness(Gen 32-36)

Wesley Skinner

Forgiveness seems like the hardest thing. It's hard to give forgiveness. It's hard to receive forgiveness. This section shows us a very overlooked part of one verse, that is very powerful. 

Let's face it, up to this point, Jacob has been anything but up-standing. From birth, there was the whole, race out of the womb thing with his brother. He made Esau sell him his birth right for some soup(wierd story). Then he tricked his father into blessing him instead of Esau. This is a sibling rivalry! Even when Jacob goes to Laban, he is still dishonest. Not really the guy I would choose as a father of the faith. But God does. 

Fast forward now to Jacob's return from Laban, he is faced with the sudden reality that when he last saw Esau, he was ready to kill him. You begin to see Jacob start to panic. He schemes and tries to figure out how to satiate esau's wrath. And at the end of his rope, he does what all people do, he prays. Scripture says he wrestled with God all night long. He would not stop until God did something. Have you ever had that kind of burden? The kind where you lose sleep? Utterly dependent on God to move? 

Finally, the brothers are face to face. Jacob, humbled. Esau, forgiving. And here comes my favorite line, Gen 33:10b "For I have seen your face, which is like seeing the face of God, and you have accepted me." Jacob just saw the face of God. But he says seeing the forgiveness of his brother is like seeing the face of God. And he's right, forgiveness is beautiful. This looks like a story we see Jesus tell later on. A younger brother runs away and comes back to the father humbly and in need of forgiveness.

We Never see Jacob ask for forgiveness or apologize. We never see Esau bring up the offense. It's forgiveness with no strings attached. No holding anything over his head. That type of unconditional forgiveness is like seeing the face of God. Forgiving others even if they never ask for it is a demonstration of grace. The type of reconciliation only God can bring. 

Anyone you need you demonstrate God's forgiveness to? Anyone wronged you that you need to show grace? Jacob tells us that forgiveness and acceptance after wronging someone is like seeing the face of God. And that guy would know!