June 19: Daddy’s Fav. & Joseph’s Bad-boy Bro’s

Posted on : Jun 16th, 2011 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

If you’ve ever had one of those moments where you thought your family was the most dysfunctional in the world, relax – there are worse!  Jacob’s family outshines us all!  Jacob’s family makes the Kardashians, “Brothers and Sisters” and even “Desperate Housewives” seem mild.  Jacob’s family has more deceit, envy, jealousy, sex and out-of-control craziness than even our current Reality-TV shows.  However, there is one difference here.  Jacob’s family isn’t your every day, ordinary, common family.  They’re “God’s chosen family!”  As in, yes, God chose them!  (See, there is hope for your family and mine!).

From the time of his birth, Jacob was a bit of a shmuck.  He and his brother are twins, but he was born #2, the second son.  In the patriarchal world, that means he was a “nobody.”  So, he and his mother arrange this deceitful trick and Jacob ends up stealing his father’s blessing and his brother’s birth right.  However, Jacob gets a taste of his own deceitfulness when he tries to marry Rachel, the love of his life.  Rachel, like Jacob, was the second born, and in the patriarchal world, you couldn’t “marry off” your second daughter until your eldest daughter was first married.  So Jacob’s father-in-law “tricks” him and he ends up marrying Leah, Rachel’s older sister.  Leah by the way, is not the most beautiful woman in the world, at least in Jacob’s eyes, so he ends up working for his father-in-law for an additional seven years (what a dowry!)  and finally gets to marry Rachel. Yes, that is his second wife.  Oh, and if two isn’t enough, Jacob also marries two of his wives’ “maidservants” Bilah and Zilpah.  Yes, you got it right.  We are now up to four wives.  Those “Traditional Family Values” people don’t know their Bible very well!  The four wives give birth to twelve sons and at least one daughter.  And those twelve wild boys go on to become the Twelve Tribes of Israel!  Dear God!!!

Of all his sons, Jacob is “supposed” to honor his eldest the most.  Remember, it’s the eldest son that is the most important in the patriarchal world.  But then again, don’t forget that Jacob was his father’s second son, and he, being the fine upstanding young man that we was, stole his father’s blessing and his own brother’s birth right (i.e. the right of inheritance and the #1 position of honor in the family).

Now Rachel, Jacob’s heart-throb wife wasn’t able to conceive for many years and finally she conceived and gave birth to Joseph.  Jacob was convinced Joseph was “a special child” because he was “a miracle baby.”  And since he was the first born of the wife he loved the most, Jacob “loved Joseph more than any of the other kids.”

Now as often happens in such families, the only thing that could match Jacob’s love for his son (Joseph) was Jacob’s other sons’ hate for “Daddy’s favorite.”  Strange how that same scenario still plays out today!  So, Joseph’s brothers set out in a deceitful plot to kill Daddy’s favorite.  BTW, Isn’t this a lovely story for Father’s Day?

Through twists and turns, Jacob is sold into slavery, thrown in prison, and written off as “dead” by his brothers.  They concoct a story of lies to cover their deadly actions, and everybody lives in misery for the rest of their lives.  Well, almost.

Joseph actually saves the entire nation of Egypt during a great period of famine.  In an act of desperation, his brothers go to Egypt begging for food as they and their parents are literally starving to death.  Unknown to them, they approach their own brother and beg for mercy.

What does Joseph do?????????

What would you do?  Come and find out this Sunday!

Blessings!

Dan

This Sunday’s Scripture

The Story of Joseph

Genesis 37 – (edited & updated by Dan)

When Joseph was seventeen years old, he used to accompany his brothers, the children of Jacob’s wives, as they herded the flocks.  Joseph would tattle to his father, Jacob, about his brothers who were prone to excessive drinking and wild sexual escapades, while they were away in other cities, tending their father’s herds.

Now Jacob, Joseph’s father, loved Joseph more than any of this other children and gave Joseph a richly ornamented (or multi-colored) robe.  When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father loved Joseph best, they were jealous and had nothing but words of contempt for him.

Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his bothers, they hated Joseph all the more.  Joseph had said to them, “Listen to my dream.  We were all out in the field binding sheaves (of wheat) when all at once my sheaf straightened itself and remained standing upright, and your sheaves circled around my sheaf, bowing down as if paying homage to my sheaf.”

The brothers came back with a sharp response, “So you want to play Sovereign over us?  Do you really intend to rule over us?” – and they hated Joseph all the more because of the dream and how he interpreted it.

Then Joseph had another dream, which he told to his father and brothers: “Listen to me,” he said.  “I had a second dream.  In this dream the sun, the moon, and eleven stars bowed down to me.”

When he told them the dream, his father scolded him.  His father said, “What is all the dream stuff?  Are you saying that I, and your mother, and the rest of the family will bow down and pay homage to you?”  Joseph’s brothers went away angry, but Joseph’s father did not forget the incident.

Sometime later, Jacob said to Joseph, “Your brothers are out tending the sheep.  I am going to send you to them so you can check and see if things are going well and report back to me.”  So Joseph went off.

When Joseph’s brothers saw him approaching in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to murder him.  They said to one another, “Here comes that dreamer.  Now’s our chance! Let’s kill Joseph and throw his body in one of these pits.  We’ll say a wild animal devoured him.  Then we’ll see what becomes of Joseph’s dreams!”

Reuben, Joseph’s oldest brother, intervened and save the boy from their hands, saying, “No bloodshed!”  Throwing him into a pit in the wilderness is one thing, but let’s not kill him.”  Reuben’s intention was to rescue Joseph and return him to his father.

So when Joseph came upon his bothers, they stripped him of his robe, the ornate robe his father gave him and picked him up and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty, and there was no water in it.

Then they sat down to eat.  As they were eating, they noticed an Ishmaelite caravan coming from Gilead, with loads of gum, balm, and resin, on its way down to Egypt.  Judah, another of Joseph’s brothers, said, “Why not sell Joseph to these traders?  That way his blood with not be on our hands.”  The others agreed.  Meanwhile some Midianite traders passed by, and pulled Joseph out of the pit.  They sold him for eight ounces of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took Joseph with them into Egypt.

When Reuben came back to the pit to recuse Joseph, he found Joseph gone, and he tore his clothes in grief.  Returning to the others, Reuben said, “The boy is gone!  Now what will I do?  What will become of me?”

So they took Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat, and dipped the robe in the blood.  Then they took the ornate robe and brought it back to their father, saying, “Look what we found!  Isn’t this Joseph’s robe?”

Jacob recognized the robe and cried in anguish, “It is Joseph’s!  A wild animal has devoured him.  Joseph was surely ripped to pieces!  Jacob tore his clothes, dressed in sackcloth, and mourned Joseph’s death for a long time.  His daughters and sons tried to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted saying, “I will go to my grave mourning for Joseph!”