Scripture: Genesis 35-37. Click here to view full scripture.
Observation: What was going on in the Bible at this time?
God told Jacob to go to Bethel and settle there and to also cleanse himself of any foreign gods he and his people had with them. God reminded Jacob of his new name, Israel, which was a tribute to his desire to stay close with God no matter how difficult life was. One of Israel’s sons, Reuben, slept with Bilhah, and Israel learned of it. Rachel and Isaac both pass away during this time. The Bible shows the lineage of Esau and his family line (Genesis 36).
Joseph, one of Jacob’s (Israel’s) twelve sons, seemed to be favored over the others. His brothers were jealous, hated him, and wanted to kill him over a robe and Joseph’s reported dreams where he dreamed of ruling over his brothers. Instead of killing him, Reuben, one of the brothers, suggested they throw Joseph into a cistern (so that Reuben could then take Joseph back to his father). Judah, another brother, suggested they sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites, which they did. The brothers then tore Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat, and dipped his robe in blood. They had Jacob (Israel) convinced that his favored son Joseph was dead.
Application: How can we apply this to our lives?
We all need to prevail with God through all of life’s storms. Life can be very disappointing, but we can look at the storms of life as opportunities for growth. Sin’s consequences can follow us long after we commit the sin, such as in Reuben’s case. Jacob took away Reuben’s double portion of the family inheritance and gave it to someone else because he had sinned and slept with Bilbah. When we do something wrong, we may have the idea that we can escape from it without it being noticed, only to find out later that the sin has been silently breeding serious consequences. As in Joseph’s case, our talents and knowledge come from God alone. It is more important to thank God for them than to brag to others about them. Jealousy is a deep feeling, and, if it is left unchecked, it can grow quickly and lead to more serious sins.
Prayer: What can we pray for in regards to these passages?
Heavenly Father, help us to prevail with You through all of life’s storms, for we know that You are in control. Help us to look at the struggles in life as opportunities for growth. We are all sinners, and we pray for Your forgiveness. Help us to turn to You when tempted to fail and to consider all of the serious consequences before we are quick to act. We thank You for our talents and our knowledge; please humble us. Help us to steer away from jealousy and to be thankful for what You have given us. We love You and thank You. – in Jesus’ name we pray, amen.