Thursday, September 8, 2011

Genesis 37:12-14

Now his brothers had gone to graze their father’s flocks near Shechem, and Israel said to Joseph, “As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them.”

“Very well,” he replied.

So he said to him, “Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me.” Then he sent him off from the Valley of Hebron. (Gen 37:12-14)

As with the entire story of Joseph, there seems to be two parts to what is happening here: the literal and the spiritual. I always just like to read exactly what is said and start there to get my gut reaction. And I think that is why I like Beth Moore’s take on this scene. We see that Joseph, a strong young man, is at home with Dad while the brothers are out doing the work of tending the sheep. So, right away, I’m upset with Jacob for continuing to set Joseph and his brothers against each other through his partiality. What he means to benefit Joseph actually works against him - as all demonstrated favoritism does! For it certainly must have rankled the brothers that Joseph remained at home while they were sweating with the sheep.

Jacob, called Israel here, asks Joseph to check up on his brothers to see “if all is well” with them down in Shechem. The word for “well” here is shalom, so Jacob is wanting to know if the brothers are experiencing peace in Shechem. And he surely should worry about that, since Shechem is the site of Dinah’s rape and the vengeful mass murder that followed. Beth points out that shalom is also the word used in verse 4, when we are told that Joseph’s brothers “hated him and could not speak a kind word [shalom] to him.” Because of their hatred towards him, they could not speak peace to Joseph. Certainly there is no peace in this family! And now Jacob is asking Joseph to report on the brothers. I’m sure it was out of true concern, but it feels like Joseph is always in the position of ratting on his brothers! That is my gut reaction!

I think back to my childhood when my mother was always making my older sister watch us three younger ones. Bless my mother, she surely could have, and should have worked it that it wasn’t seen as a punishment to my teenage sister, who yearned to be with her friends. But my sister hated having to do it, and we therefore hated having her watch us. Not a good thing! She had to go away to college for me to appreciate her!! :)

Now, Jon Courson, bless his heart, looks at this same scene and sees the parallel to the story of Christ being sent to his brothers by the Father to bring peace. Just as Joseph immediately responded in obedience and willingly left home to go to the dangerous and sin-filled Shechem, Jesus obeyed the Father in all things and agreed to leave the glory and peace of Heaven to come to our sin-filled world that we might be saved! To his father’s request, Joseph answers, “Very well,” or as the King James version says it, “Here am I.” And Jesus IS the I Am who is ALWAYS here. He willingly became a man that He might bring us to the Father! Hallelujah and amen!

What are some of our take-aways here? First, as a parent, don’t set your children against each other!!! Your job is to foster love between them, not competition! :) Then, we must look at the need for obedience in all things to our Father. When He asks us to do something or go somewhere that we know is going to be risky, do we respond with “Here am I,” or do we whine, “You want me to go WHERE???” The place of obedience is always the place of blessing and peace. What will obedience cost you? What might you have to give up? A relationship that you know is not godly? A house? A job? Even though Joseph is being sent into a very dangerous place here, it is all part of God’s wonderful plan of salvation for his family. What if we don’t obey what God is asking us to do? What might be the ramifications, not only to ourselves, but to those we love. To obey is ALWAYS the best choice!!

Tomorrow we’ll see what happens when Joseph goes to check on his brothers!!!


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