Tag Archives: brothers

Devotional on Genesis

2013 – Floating Mill Park – Silver Point, TN

Talk about sibling rivalry!
Genesis 37: The story continues with Joseph.
Things finally settle down for Jacob and his journeys come to an end. His many children grow up as he and his wives grow old. It’s time to focus on the next generation. Jacob’s multiple wives plus their maid servants have produced lots of kids, especially sons. The fundamental flaw of this polygamous system is apparent in Jacob’s having a favorite wife who, in turn produces favorite children. The women struggled with this approach and their children aren’t as docile about it as their mothers were. Their sibling rivalry is similar to what their father and his brother experienced decades earlier. When Jacob makes it clear that Joseph is his favorite the other brothers band together in their hatred of him. It’s only a matter of time before this pot boils over and the day comes when the brothers are given a golden opportunity to act against Joseph. At the last minute they modify their plan and rather than murder him they sell him into slavery instead. The thing that comes to mind as I consider this story is the amazing flexibility of God. He works through situations that are mishandled. Had the brothers gotten along I still think Joseph would have become a powerful man. I also think all of their lives would have been easier. Still, when they act as they do, the Lord’s purpose isn’t ruined and the Lord immediately goes to work to accomplish his purpose while honoring their free will. As I read this story, I’m reminded that it’s better cooperate with what God wants in the first place and enjoy his blessing along the way. Still, while the Lord holds me accountable for how I live my life; poor decisions on my part will never negate his ultimate purposes in the world.
Take away: God always honors free will, but he doesn’t let our failures stop him from accomplishing his purposes.

Devotional on Genesis

2013 – Shenandoah National Park, VA – Skyline Drive

That’s just the way I am
Genesis 25: The children tumbled and kicked inside her.
If there has ever been a set of fraternal twins it’s Jacob and Esau. These boys don’t look anything alike and their personalities are clearly different one from one another. It’s no surprise that their mother Rebekah knows something’s wrong. And no wonder: her body is a sort of war zone! Her babies don’t get along and they’re yet to see the light of day! Their story is, to say the least, a thought provoking one. Here are two babies being born to the same parents, sharing a womb, and sibling rivalry is already full blown. We’ve all said, at one time or another, “That’s just the way I am.” Most often that’s an excuse for failing to practice self-discipline in some area. However, I’m reminded in this passage that there’s truth to that statement. We aren’t born as blank slates ready to be shaped by the events of our lives. Some stuff about us is hard wired from the start. In this case, Jacob and his brother are hard wired for conflict. Their parents, who will play favorites with their sons, won’t help matters any. So what, if anything, can be done about the undesirable tendencies with which we’re born? To some extent, parents can teach their children self-discipline and thus help them learn to deal with their natural dispositions. I’m glad, though, to report that there’s a greater remedy. As we read this story we see God at work, especially in Jacob’s life. As God’s grace unfolds, we see a man who’s changed as only God can change him.
Take away: God can do for us that which we could never do for ourselves.