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Bible Pathways - Jan. 13, 2009


January 13

Genesis 37

Highlights In Today's Reading:

You may weep as you read about Joseph who foreshadows Christ. Both were especially loved by their fathers but hated by their brethren.

Joseph was deeply troubled about his older brothers' evil conduct while away from home, and he shared this concern with his father. As if to confirm the reports that Joseph brought to his father about the conduct of his brothers, the thirty-eighth chapter abruptly breaks into the history of Joseph by introducing the shameful behavior of Judah. Undoubtedly, Joseph's concern for his brothers' spiritual well-being, in addition to the fact that Joseph was the son of his old age (37:3), influenced Jacob to love Joseph more than all his children.

Now, as then, some people discourage the exposing of wrongdoing, while others say they do not want to become involved. But Joseph possessed spiritual integrity and was willing to face abuse from his brothers for exposing their evil ways (37:2-4). Their envy and hatred only increased when Joseph shared his prophetic dreams with them, revealing that God had a special position of leadership for him (37:4-8).

There can be little doubt Joseph's brothers perceived that his dreams were prophetic. Otherwise, they would have disregarded them as just nonsense — youthful visions. After his brothers sold him as a slave, in Egypt, Joseph was once again sold. Then he was cast into prison — not for breaking the law, but because of his high moral integrity. As a homesick prisoner, Joseph remained locked up for many years. During that time his feet were injured by the cruel treatment he received there (Ps. 105:17-18).

Without a doubt, his faith was tested. Although innocent, he suffered as one who was a guilty criminal, having to bear shame and physical cruelty. God tests our loyalty to Him by bringing circumstances into our lives that we may not understand — that may seem unfair and undeserved. But this is His means of testing our attitude — of perfecting our patience as well as our faith in Him.

Although we tend to seek the ways of comfort and ease, the Christian life as foreshadowed by Joseph's ordeal proves Peter's words to the Church: Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you (I Pet. 4:12).

God used Joseph's difficult experiences in Egypt to prepare him to be the preserver of God's people and, thus, the lineage of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. Joseph's experiences are a reminder that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28).

Thought for Today:

The Bible teaches us that we should not be ashamed if we suffer for doing the right thing (I Pet. 4:16). Shame comes when we suffer for our wrongs.

Christ Portrayed:

By Joseph,who was rejected by his own brothers, sold for 20 pieces of silver to Gentiles, and unjustly imprisoned, but who eventually became their savior and a world ruler (Gen. 37:28; 41:39-40). Jesus came unto His own (people), and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God (John 1:11-12). He will return victoriously to rule the world (Rev. 19:11-16; 22:3).

Word Studies:

37:2 evil report =of sinful things they were doing; 37:7 made obeisance =vowed in respect; 37:11 observed =pondered; 37:22 rid =rescue; 37:29 rent =tore his clothes as an act of grief; 37:34 sackcloth = coarse, loose cloth worn as a sign of mourning; 38:2 took =married; 38:18 signet =ring bearing seal with which official documents were stamped; 38:24 whoredom =prostitution; 39:14 mock =disgrace.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Radio Sri Lanka Broadcasts for the week sponsored by Lt. Col. & Mrs. Skip Swanson • Assistant to the Executive Director of the IBRA in our Washington DC Branch: Terry Hall • Country: Turkmenistan (4.8 million) southwestern central Asia • Major languages: Turkmen and Russian • Religious freedom • 89% Muslim (largely Sunni); 9% Eastern Orthodox; 2% Unknown/Other (Catholic, Protestant, Baha'i, Jehovah's Witness, Hare Krishna) • Prayer Suggestion: Pray and depend upon the Lord when in need for He will not forsake you (Is. 41:17).

Optional Reading: Matthew 13

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 4:4

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