Scripture: Genesis 37:12-36 (NRSVue)
We’re introduced here to a new character—Joseph’s older brother Reuben. As Rabbi Jonathan Sacks notes, Reuben had conscience, but not courage or resolve. He wanted to deliver his brother, but things didn’t go according to plan. Tragedy ensues. Reuben is not alone. There’s a little bit of Reuben in all of us. People-pleasing and self-doubt can keep us from truly standing for justice. We stay silent when we should speak. Or we make half-hearted plans that aren’t carried through. But we don’t have to stick to this story—our story is still being written. Our future doesn’t have to be a repetition of our past mistakes. All of us here have time—it may be a lot or a little, but we have time to learn and to change course, by God’s grace. Jesus gives us a new script to live by. With Christ, we can throw away our tired and predictable scripts and patterns of relating and being. So, know who you are. You are God’s beloved son or daughter. You were created by the Creator of the Universe, made in God’s image. Your elder brother, the crucified and risen Christ, lives in you and forgives you. You are no longer a slave to fear. You are empowered by the Spirit of God to discern and do God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will. God has more faith in you than you do in yourself. And your faith is in the living God, who keeps our dreams alive.
August 20, 2023 — Worship Service Bulletin (click)
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BIBLE STUDY QUESTIONS for Genesis 37:12-36 (NRSVue)
- Why do you think Jacob sent his seventeen year-old son Joseph on a nearly 100 mile journey by himself to report on his brothers who hated him?
- Why do you think Joseph wore his ornamented robe on this long journey to report on his brothers?
- When the brothers fought against the dream and the dreamer, they actually helped fulfill the dream. How do you see that happening in the Joseph stories?
- Where was Reuben strong in this story? Where did he fall short?
- In what ways was Judah positive in this story? How did he fall short in his plans?
- Jacob the deceiver was deceived by his uncle/father-in-law Laban. How is Jacob’s sons’ deceit similar to Jacob’s deceit of his father Isaac and brother Esau?
- Jacob is the patriarch that feels and loves the most. How do you see that played out in his life so far?
- What are ways we might find help to overcome feelings of envy towards others in our heart? See Psalm 73 for a clue.
- How do you see God’s unseen hand at work in this portion of the story?
Other Sermons In This Series
August 27, 2023
September 17, 2023
September 24, 2023