Friday, July 16, 2010

Bible Study: As It Was In The Beginning - Genesis - Chapter 37

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Genesis. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses you through this material.


Take a few minutes to savor Genesis Chapter 37. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

37 – Why would others hate you? What provokes hatred in people? (Jealousy, covetousness, idolatry) Do you speak the truth or shut up when others hate the truth? Do you remember Joseph? (See 30:23-24. Ch. 29 reveals rivalry between Rachel and Leah) Who is he and why would his brothers hate him?

37:2 – Joseph is 17 years old.

Go back and read 35:23-26. Who were the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah that Joseph gave a bad report to Jacob about?

Notice that scripture calls them brothers – not half-brothers. How can this tiny word in scripture affect how you view and treat a blended family that you know?

These two servant women are referred to as Jacob’s wives, elevating them in status.

brought their father a bad report about them – was Joseph a tattler? Looking out for his brothers? Looking out for his father’s interests? Was he trying to do the right thing? Have you ever tried to do the right thing and had it blow up in your face? Why? (inexperience, pride, ego, seeking recognition)

37:3-4 – What “red flags” are showing themselves?

37:3 – the Bible says Jacob loved Joseph more than his other sons “because he had been born to him in his old age,” not because he was born of Rachel! Maybe Jacob, in his maturity, appreciated Joseph’s birth more. Or, perhaps it was that he had to wait so long to have a child with Rachel.

How does favoritism affect the attitude of the favorite? (pride) Of the unfavored? (jealousy, hatred)

Their generational sin began with Isaac’s favoritism of Esau, then Jacob’s favoritism of Rachel and Joseph.

37:4 – which brothers? All of them? Or initially only the ones Jacob tattled on? A family can fall apart because of the bad feelings of one person who poisons every conversation with gossip and old dealings that have not been resolved. We must resolve to be peacemakers, not poisoners. Let go of those feelings, forgive your brother and make peace.

the brothers hated Joseph because Jacob loved him best. Matthew 10:22 tells us that men will hate us because of Jesus and our relationship with Him. Does this encourage or discourage you?

Read 37:5-11

37:5-11 – How many of us – in Joseph’s place- would tell their brother’s the dream? How many of us would clam up? Why? Joseph’s dreams: what negative effects came about because he told his brothers and father? (increase in jealousy, led his brothers to hate him more deeply – to the point of contemplating murder!, sold into slavery, rebuked by Israel) What positive effects? (laid the foundation for recognition of prophecy when the dreams came true. Notice v. 11 says, “His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.” This means that Jacob “pondered these things in his heart.”) Do you think Joseph mentioned them to rub it into his brothers how he was favored (even by God)? Was he just na├»ve and sharing his dream? Was he perhaps trying to show that Israel was right to favor him? Did Joseph communicate wisely? Should he have kept the whole thing to himself?

Are you sometimes tempted to share what God shares with you? Beware of this. Usually, what He gives to you is only for you.

37:5-8 – Joseph’s dream of the bowing sheaves and his brothers’ reaction.

37:9-11 – Joseph’s dream of the bowing sun, moon and 11 stars and his brothers’ and father’s reactions. Sun & moon = parents. 11 stars = brothers.

37:11 – his brothers were jealous, but Israel pondered these things. This verse is key! Jealousy is a powerful emotion. My own father, in a jealous rage that a friend of my mother’s would drive her to the hospital to see her own injured Dad, drove his car recklessly on a slick road and wound up crashing into a house. He was killed instantly.

37:12 – Shechem is over 50 miles from Hebron.

37:13 – Life doesn’t stop in the face of adversity. Joseph still obeyed his father. We should, too.

37:17 – Dothan is 25 miles or so from Shechem. ESB Leader guide says they’re 13 miles apart.

37:18 – sometimes the people who hate you will be your own brothers!!!

37:19 – that dreamer – those dreams that Joseph told his brothers about really had an affect on their feelings toward him. They turned hatred into thoughts of murder!

37:21-29 – Where did Reuben go? As oldest son (and head shepherd?) was he searching for lost sheep?

37:22 – Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father – As firstborn in the Jewish culture, Reuben was really the only brother who had a “legitimate” reason to hate how Jacob loved Joseph.

37:24 – Joseph was distressed and pleaded for his life – see Genesis 42:21.

37:28 – Does this remind you of anyone else in scripture?

37:35 – Who did the brothers intend to hurt? (Joseph, Israel) Who did they actually hurt? (Joseph, Israel, themselves) Have you ever done something with one motive but had it backfire on you?

How ironic is it that Joseph’s brothers’ actions actually caused Joseph’s dreams to become reality? Does this tell you that God allows tragedy to befall us so that His purposes for us may be fulfilled? Why or whynot?

What attributes of God have you observed in your study today? How will this change your relationship with Him?

No comments: