Read 18.) Genesis 37:1 thru 38:30. Chapter 37 starts off with Jacob demonstrating one of the worst traits of his father, Isaac. He had a favorite. As Isaac favored Esau, so, now, Jacob favors Joseph. It was a prescription for heartbreak! But, again, just as God supernaturally and sovereign implemented His own plan through the foibles of His people, Abraham and Isaac, and with Jacob and Esau, so, too, He now does the same with this fourth generation of Joseph and his brothers. While men would work their dastardly will, God works His own wonderful will through these very same circumstances. And, if chapter 37 doesn’t afford enough illustration of this principle. Wait until the next chapter!
With chapter 37, Joseph is only 17, and rather indiscreet. God gives him glorious dreams concerning his own future, and Joseph just can’t keep them to himself, but has to share them with his older brothers, and with his father. Nothing good could come from it, and the end result is that his 10 older brothers absolutely hate him and sell him into slavery, and then deceive their father into thinking Joseph has been killed and eaten by a wild animal. As 2 examples of their utter heartlessness, after they threw Joseph into an empty cistern to die of thirst and hunger, they were able to immediately sit down to eat a meal and later ‘comfort’ their grieving father. What hypocrisy! But, while Joseph’s brothers obviously meant all of this for evil, we will soon learn that God used it all for His own glory! He was advancing His own plan through their own unbelieving, corrupted and sinful natures. Chapter 38, is even more amazing!
Judah then leaves home and is gone for almost 20 years. He marries a Canaanite woman. He wasn’t to do that! He begets 3 sons by her. The first 2 are considered so wicked of the Lord, that He slays them! Was this due to their pagan mother’s influence, and, perhaps, no doubt, Judah’s lack of any godly influence? Probably, as we’ll soon see. When Tamar was required to wait a long time for Judah’s 3rd son to become her husband, she realized that it was never going to happen. What unfolds next is so bizarre, but see how it all reflects upon this man, Judah. How did she know he would approach her, if she put herself forward as a pagan shrine prostitute? How did she know to require so much collateral from Judah as evidence, for her own protection? As a result, Tamar conceived twin boys. One of which, Perez, would be in the very line of Messiah! Messiah would come through a forbidden union! All this drama and intrigue! Every bit of it, from both chapters 37 and 38 served the very same purposes. They were both all about God working through the people of His own making and choosing in order to fulfill the promises and prophecies He had given unto Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God was going to bring forth Messiah to be the blessing of the entire world, and He was doing it all through some of the most wretched souls we’ve ever seen! It truly is what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell