Monday, August 30, 2010

Joseph’s Brothers Plot Against Him - Genesis 37:18-20


When they saw him from a distance and before he came close to them, they plotted against him to put him to death. They said to one another, "Here comes this dreamer! Now then, come and let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we will say, 'A wild beast devoured him.' Then let us see what will become of his dreams!"

It had been a while since his brothers had seen Joseph and they were ‘just fine, thank you’ without him around. After all, he was a dreamer, the favorite of their father, and they hated him. So when they saw him coming towards them from afar, they planned to do him in. Can you imagine how great this hatred for Joseph was? How do things get so out of hand in a family?

As we consider their plot, we need to keep at least two things in mind -- first the underlying cause and secondly the concern that they had. Clearly, their intentions were a direct result of their feelings about his dreams and the fact that they would some day, according to his dreams, bow down to him. They would serve and worship him. I believe we are safe in assuming that as the text mentions it twice. First, they say to one another, “Here comes this dreamer!” and later on they say, “…let us see what will become of his dreams!” once they’ve killed him. Was it just jealously, or did they have enough knowledge of how God had used dreams in the history of their family to fear the great potential of truth in Joseph’s dreams? We can only surmise, but my guess is the latter.

The second thing to note is that they feared how the killing of Joseph would be presented to their father, Jacob. So they contrived a lie to tell him that a wild beast ate Joseph. This is a classic case of how one sin leads to another. Many of us know from personal experience that when we start down a road of evil, more evil is required to keep the truth from being exposed.

I believe there is also a message here for those that are on a mission for God. You will be opposed. People will plot against you. They’ll be jealous. They’ll try to kill your dreams. Like Joseph, you may be unaware of their feelings or plans, or as is just as often the case these days, they make their intentions known clearly. You need to know that when you are pursuing what God has told you to do, the enemy will use people you thought were your friends, even your family, to keep you from accomplishing your assignment. The best advice anyone can give you is to keep on going and stay very close to God.

And as for Joseph, yes, let’s see indeed “what becomes of his dreams!”


Join others following Ken on Twitter
Check-out AccordConsulting, SCA International, and Human Resources for the Church.

Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Joseph Sent To Find His Brothers - Genesis 37:12-17

Then his brothers went to pasture their father's flock in Shechem. Israel said to Joseph, "Are not your brothers pasturing the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them." And he said to him, "I will go." Then he said to him, "Go now and see about the welfare of your brothers and the welfare of the flock, and bring word back to me." So he sent him from the valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. A man found him, and behold, he was wandering in the field; and the man asked him, "What are you looking for?" He said, "I am looking for my brothers; please tell me where they are pasturing the flock." Then the man said, "They have moved from here; for I heard them say, 'Let us go to Dothan.'" So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.

Joseph and his father Jacob (also known as Israel) are in Hebron. The older brothers have taken their sheep to Shechem and it is possible that Jacob has not heard from them or about them for some time. So, he decides to send Joseph to find them.

Joseph being both the adventurer and the obedient favored son that he is immediately says he will go. In addition, this was obedience at its best. It was this kind of obedience that served Joseph well later in life in obeying God as we will see soon enough.

The question may well be asked, "was Jacob concerned about his sons or his flocks, or was it both?" Well, I believe the answer is indeed both. We have to remember Jacob’s history as someone who could take a bad business situation and turn it around into a spectacular success. Yet, he also very much loved his family. The text also seems to be pointing towards the ‘both’ option as it clearly states he is concerned almost equally (although the order is important) for the ‘welfare’ of both his sons and his flock. Jacob was indeed a good manager, a person who delegates well, and he wanted word back.

So Joseph leaves Jacob in Hebron and heads to Shechem to find his brothers. Commentators estimate the distance to be about fifty miles. We can assume that this would take even young Joseph several days to accomplish. We do not know where he stayed overnight or how he traveled. Was it by foot or on an animal (horse or camel perhaps)? Jacob I am sure gave him sufficient food and drink for his journey, in the tradition of his father and grandfather. We also do not know if he sent him alone or with servants, although we have no reason to believe anyone else went with him.

When Joseph got to Shechem, instead of finding his brothers, an unnamed man who offered his help found him. Joseph told the man he was looking for his brothers and asked politely for further help in pinpointing their exact location. The man indicated that he had heard them talk about going to Dothan. We read next that Joseph went after his brothers and did indeed find them there.

Now there are a number of things we should note here. First of all, when God sends His people on a mission He does not always tell them exactly where they will end up. He may send you to your “Shechem” but when you get there, you'd better be prepared to go to the “Dothan” He has chosen for you. I started this year by agreeing to go on an educational trip to Israel, but God also had plans for me to go to Africa – all in the same year with just a ten-day break in between. Now that trip has resulted in a whole new ministry that may very well take me to even more places I never planned to go. We must always be ready to respond to God’s true calls. But here’s the important part. I won’t share with you all the details here, but I truly believe I could not have accomplished in Kenya what God wanted me to do without having been to Israel just prior. Kenya without Israel would have been possible but not optimum for the Kingdom. Israel without Kenya would have meant more training and less implementing, also not optimum for the Kingdom.

Secondly, we notice that when we get to a point where we’re supposed to be and the answer we’re looking for isn’t there and we don’t know where to turn, God always sends someone. or something to show us the next move. And often, it is someone that we do not know or ever will get to know. We need to be sensitive to who God is sending our way for guidance and direction on the journey with Him. The man, woman, or child you ‘bump’ into today may have been put there by God just for you.

Thirdly, did you notice how Joseph did not hesitate at all in getting help from others? He sought the man’s assistance with any information he could offer with respect to where his brothers might be. God does not want us to take this journey alone. So many Christians want to walk the long journey of life by themselves, when they can do it so much better and easier with the help and love of other brothers and sisters.

Finally, we have no word that indicates Joseph was discouraged at all at the news that his brothers had moved on to Dothan. He was on a mission for his father and he was determined to accomplish it. How much further from Shechem was Dothan? Some commentators estimate an additional thirteen miles, perhaps another day’s journey. But Joseph goes after them and this portion of scripture ends by telling us he found them there. Joseph accomplished the first part of his task – to find his brothers. What was left was to report back to his father. But God . . . . well, we’ll soon see what His plans for Joseph were.

Join others following Ken on Twitter
Check-out AccordConsulting, SCA International, and Human Resources for the Church.

Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Marketing of Evil -- Synopsis, Part I - Intro. & Gay Rights


The Marketing of Evil by David Kupelian, Cumberland House Publishing Inc., Nashville, Tennessee, 2005.

A good friend of mine recommended I read this book and provide a synopsis of it for all our readers both here and through FB. "This wasn't going to be an interesting task at all," I thought to myself, "but I'll give it a try." Once I started the book, I was amazed at what I was learning and definitely agreed with Bob that we needed to make sure others were getting the message. What I share below are some of the highlights, key findings, and observations author David Kupelian has made. I think you'll find the book a fascinating read and well worth looking into. Here we go with just some of the goodies therein:

* In his introduction, Kupelian asks, "How does child molesting become 'man-boy love'? How does crushing a baby's skull and sucking out his brains become a 'constitutional right'? How doe quoting the Bible become 'hate speech'?" Well, we certainly get to find out.

Kupelian's first chapter addresses how "Gay Rights" were literally "sold" to America.

* Did you know that AIDS was "originally named GRID (gay-related immunodeficiency disease) until activist homosexuals pressured the medical establishment to switch to the generic acronym AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome)"?

* The emerging sexual revolution political force was involved in "persuading -- many say, intimidating -- the American Psychiatric Association in 1973 into removing homosexuality from its official list of mental disorders."

* According to his references, Kupelian exposes that "In February 1988 some 175 leading activists representing homosexual groups...held a war conference...to map out their movement's future." Soon afterwards, activists M. Kirk and H. Madsen wrote "After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the '90's." Their bottom line in their own words was "The campaign...though complex, depends centrally upon a program of unabashed propaganda, firmly grounded in long-established principles of psychology and advertising." And so it did, changing 'homosexual' to "gay" (after all that had a nice happy meaning earlier); and making the homosexual into a victim who now needed the love and care of the world, especially due to AIDS. Calling it Gay 'Rights' helped cement that thinking.

* Kupelian writes on the GLBT agenda: "In other words, sadomasochists, leather fetishists, cross-dressers, transgenders, and other 'peculiar' members of the homosexual community need to keep away from the tent and out of sight while the sales job is under way. Later, once the camel is safely inside, there will be room for all." It's coming folks or shall I say it is here.

* "Manipulating the emotions and thereby restructuring the thoughts and beliefs of large numbers of people is what modern marketing is all about" Kupelian writes. If straights can be taught to think homosexuality is just another thing, then legal and social rights will soon follow -- that's the thinking and it's been just like that.

* Kupelian quotes the pro-GBLT agenda authors of "After The Ball" as follows on the issue of claiming that famous historical people (Socrates, Eleanor Roosevelt, Tchaikovsky, Abraham Lincoln, and even Jesus Christ) were homosexuals: "Famous historical figures are considered especially useful to us for two reasons: first, they are invariably dead as a doornail, hence in no position to deny the truth and sue for libel. Second, and more serious, the virtues and accomplishments that make these historic gay figures admirable cannot be gainsaid or dismissed by the public, since high school history textbooks have already set them in incontrovertible cement." Amazing, isn't it?

* "1990 saw the launch of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA), which has since grown into a formidable organization." Yes, it has. Currently, NLGJA, headquartered in Washington, D.C., has 20 chapters across the country. Ever wonder why the media you read/watch/hear often seems so pro-GLBT? These groups have intentionally aimed their resources at infiltrating the media in great numbers in order to promote their agenda. You need to read their complaints about 'fairness' in the media in Kupelian's book. He also names many media networks and papers that actually sponsor NLGJA conventions.

* The classic approach "one step backward, two steps forward" does win wars. The GBLT movement is not at all discouraged by the odd loss of a "same-sex marriage" vote in a single state every once in a while.

* Teen magazine "Seventeen"'s survey in 1991 showed only 17% of adolescent readers accepted homosexuality as appropriate. After the activists decided to abandon the streets and enter the television studio, the figure jumped to 54% in 1999. Their plan works.

* While most heterosexuals devote their time and energy to "change diapers, pay for dental braces, or attend their children's soccer games", most homosexual activists have tons of time and energy to focus on their cause.

* Not long ago psychiatry, psychology, religion and common sense agreed that sexually abused young males are up to seven times more likely to self-identify as gay or bisexual than peers who had not been abused. Even the pro-gay authors write that gays "should be considered to have been born gay" and here's the give-away "even though sexual orientation, for most humans, seems to be the product of a complex interaction between innate predispositions and environmental factors during childhood and early adolescence." But they realize they have to ignore that if they are to succeed.

* Where will this whole thing end? Good question. This is not just about their "rights" -- they have lots of them and lots of freedom, and as a group they are much wealthier on average than heterosexuals (so no economic pain here). NO, this won't end until they can silence their own conscience and that of everyone else, especially Christians. They want us to be forced to shut up and discredit us, by force of law. And why is this force necessary? Because deep down, the truth is that homosexuality is not a natural behavior. They like to think their plight in life is akin to that of blacks and the '60s civil rights movement. But it is not -- being black is indeed natural. There's no comparison.

* The movement has got most of us to deny there is a problem. Once we do that, we can appease our conscience.

You'll need to read this opening chapter for yourself. Remember, the book is about "marketing evil". In the next chapter, which I'll summarize soon, is all about the way the separation of church and state has been marketed. In the meantime, buy the book. And thank you Bob for recommending it.

-- Ken Godevenos, "We Inform, so You can do Your thing!"

Join others following Ken on Twitter
Check-out AccordConsulting, SCA International, and Human Resources for the Church.

Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Joseph’s Second Dream -- Genesis 37:9-11


Now he had still another dream, and related it to his brothers, and said, “Lo, I have had still another dream; and behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” And he related it to his father an to his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have had? Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow ourselves down before you to the ground?” And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.

And as if one dream is not enough, God proceeds to give Joseph a second one. But does he dare share this one with his father and brothers after the reception he got the last time? Absolutely. Joseph is either very naïve or someone who likes to stir up trouble. Perhaps in his complete focus on self, young Joseph missed the increased hatred the first dream had given rise to in his brothers. It is not totally clear whether Joseph related his second dream to his father and brothers separately or at the same time. The sentence structure is such that it could be either.

[As an aside, this is an excellent example of what some preachers or bible-teachers can do with a text. They can take one interpretation of this (e.g. he told them at the same time) and purport it to be the case; others will take the opposite (e.g. he ‘likely’ told them at separate times) and push that interpretation. I think, in such situations, it is best to offer both possibilities and indicate which is preferred or the ‘more likely, but not certain’ scenario.]

I personally believe that the sentence structure favors the “together or simultaneous” interpretation but also allows for the “at separate times” view. In addition, I believe Jacob’s chiding of him but secretly holding a different view (see below) also supports this interpretation. But first, back to the dream.

This second dream portrays an image of the sun (which his father interprets to represent himself), the moon (his mother) and eleven stars (his brothers) bowing down before Joseph. No sheaf of wheat this time so there’s no mistaking that the recipient of the submission is clearly Joseph. And interestingly, his parents join the brothers in paying tribute to him. This presents a bit of a problem for us. We had read of Joseph’s mother Rachel dying in Genesis 35:19. It is possible that this current segment of scripture is out of chronological order. We must accept it as that or come up with some other meaning for both what the “moon” in the dream was meant to signify as well as what Jacob asked. David Guzik suggests that the transition point may have been Genesis 37:2 where the genealogy begins. Up to that point, Jacob may have been the keeper of the records and he included Rachel’s death, but then others (likely Joseph himself) took over and did some backtracking to continue the story and history of the patriarchs. Matthew Henry on the other hand suggests that Jacob only took the dream to be an idle one since it included Joseph’s mother who had died earlier. [Once again, we can see how different scholars view scripture differently. We need to be careful, when we adopt one view versus another that we do not insist that “this is the way it was” and anyone who thinks otherwise is a fool or lost forever.]

The scripture does say his father “rebuked him”, although we do not know whether it was in public or in private. Was Jacob coming to the defense of his other sons? I tend to think so because right after we are told of the rebuke and the question Joseph’s father posed to him, we read, “And his brothers were. . .” . That “And” is a strong connector for me, but again not definitive in indicating that the rebuke was public and thus the sharing simultaneous.

While he did rebuke Joseph and while his other sons became jealous of their brother, Jacob also stored the dream and its meaning in his mind. You will remember that like Abraham and Isaac, Jacob had also been made part of the promise or covenant that God had established for His people. Jacob was indeed a man who had personally experienced the power and will and presence of God. In his mind, he had a good idea of what God wanted. This possibility of what the dream foretold, as strange as it seemed, came to him as something the Almighty could well use in His plan.

So what are some of the potential implications or teachings for us from this short segment? I think there are several worthy of note.

First, we may want to show some greater wisdom or discernment with whom, how, and what we share with others. With the exception of being a means for us to learn about the dream and its potential prophecy, was there really any benefit to his brothers knowing that Joseph had it? One could argue that it will all make sense much later in the story and that is true. But did they really need to know it at this point in time?

Secondly, we need to note that both of Joseph’s dreams were foretelling all the good things that would occur. There was no dream about what difficult experiences would happen to him personally in advance (we will study these further as we continue in Genesis) or even the struggles that his family would have. The implication being that we need, once we get a vision or a calling from God, to prepare ourselves for the risks and the hardships that may accompany that vision. Not that we should say ‘no’ to God, but that we weigh the costs and be prepared to pay them, rather than complain later about them.

Finally, seeing some of the complexities with interpretations as well as the possible non-chronological retelling of the story as recorded in Scripture, I think it behooves us to be less dogmatic about certain positions or views that are not one hundred percent clear and absolute with respect to the evidence that supports them.

Join others following Ken on Twitter
Check-out AccordConsulting, SCA International, and Human Resources for the Church.

Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Joseph’s First Dream - Genesis 37:5-8


Then Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said to them, “Please listen to this dream which I have had; for behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf rose up and also stood erect; and behold, your sheaves gathered around and bowed down to my sheaf." Then his brothers said to him, "Are you actually going to reign over us? Or are you really going to rule over us?" So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.

It is not enough that Joseph was the most favored son of his father Jacob, that he got a special coat as a gift from Jacob, that he squealed on his brothers, and that his brothers hated him. But now Joseph has a dream and proceeds to tell his brothers about it. Under normal circumstances that would be what one expects a younger brother to do – share his dream with his older siblings. But in this case, the dream depicted a situation that was not at all favorable to the brothers.

Unless I am missing a third alternative, either Joseph was very naïve or he really wanted to stick it to his brothers. Why else would he plead with them to listen to it? He was either looking to them for an interpretation or he was telling them what was in store for them.

The dream itself is interesting, depicting Joseph and his brothers harvesting wheat in the fields. The bundles that the brothers had put together bowed down to the bundle that Joseph had amassed, which stood tall and upright in the field. You can imagine how kindly the brothers took to that. In fact, they immediately saw the connection and asked Joseph if he thought he would some day reign or rule over them.

Interestingly, scripture does not give us Joseph’s answer to those questions, perhaps because they were rhetorical in nature and he did not reply. But the bottom line was that his brothers hated Joseph even more because of both his dream and “his words”. We do not know whether this latter reference was to his answering the questions they asked or to his telling of the dream.

As an only child, I have not had the experience of growing up with siblings. Something both my wife and children feel contributes greatly to my lack of understanding the intricate workings of close family relationships. I have observed however, both in my own family and elsewhere, many relationships of younger siblings to their older brothers and sisters, especially when that child is more artistic, creative, or in short a bigger dreamer. In a healthy situation, that child would be loved, joked with, and protected from the evil world that his/her older siblings have discovered. In a situation that had already been marred by the over-attentiveness of a parent, the relationship can easily turn sour as it did in the case of Joseph and his brothers.

As we study this text, we have an opportunity to examine several things including: reflecting on how our parents handled us and any siblings we may have had; how we relate and show our love towards each of our own children; how we ourselves relate to our siblings; and finally, how our children relate to each other. There is much to be learned. Often there is much to be forgiven. But almost always, there is something we can change for the better.

Join others following Ken on Twitter
Check-out AccordConsulting, SCA International, and Human Resources for the Church.

Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

THINK TWICE, Eat Pray Love, MOVIE



You don't have to walk out of a relationship to find yourself.


by Ken Godevenos

I am not here to debate whether Christians should go to the movies or not. I do. But I've been going to fewer and fewer of them these days. The plots stink or are just variations on a theme. Most of what is available is not the kind of movie that I believe I need to see. Once in a while, you come across a talented actor that you like and you go to see the movie that he/she is in. Many people consider Julia Roberts in that category.

But her latest movie may be one you want to avoid. The movie is called "Eat Pray Love", and really an adaptation of the bestselling book by the same name. I have not seen it (nor read the book), so you can criticize me right away for knocking something I have not seen. Fair enough. But I do have some other input that I believe should be considered. Bear with me for a second.

The movie's director (Ryan Murphy) himself, according to Metro News, a daily Toronto newspaper, "contemplates if (the) movie will cause breakups". When asked if he was "worried the movie is going to break up a lot of couples?" said this: "Well, there's two women in my life who got divorced because of the book, and I hope the movie, is, that it says to people -- particularly, I think, women and gay men -- if you're not happy, change."

He goes on to say, "Be brave enough to walk away from what other people tell you you should be. I hope that it doesn't cause divorces so much as that it launches a discussion of, 'OK, why do you feel you're stuck?'"

He admits everyone can't afford a year off to travel in order to find themselves. He hopes you can do it by reading the original book or seeing his movie.

Murphy was going through a bad breakup and then read the book and immediately related to it.

Okay, let's analyze just a few of these statements and thoughts.

1. The movie is bound to be a hit because it stars Julia Roberts. Even though many that do not agree with the philosophy of the book/movie (possibly conservative Christians), they will feel justified in going to see it, you know -- "hey, I like Julia Roberts; I'm going to see it because of her."

2. Murphy has had at least one bad breakup by his own words. Not even sure if he was married or not and no, I didn't think it was worth it trying to do research to find out. So, you have to consider the experience of the director -- if you see the movie, you will likely see/hear much of what he wants to get across to you along with the original author, on this topic. You really won't get God's view on it. (I could be wrong for as I say, I have not seen it.)

3. Murphy claims two women in "his own" life have divorced over the book. Okay, I understand every one who has read the book can't claim those statistics, but it does beg the question, "just how many have divorced as a direct or indirect impact of the book?" Probably more than we'd like to think or admit.

4. Consider the goal of the movie: Getting people to "change if they're stuck" -- read "get out of the situation". If you're unhappy, get out. If you're feeling 'gay' (pun intended) and you're in a straight family or marriage, get out and get into a homosexual relationship.

5. We all know that "finding ourselves" to the secular mind does not mean "finding who we are in God's mind and eyes". It means, "be happy", "you deserve it", "you're all that matters anyway", "life is short, so have a good time" and many other things that are contrary to a Christian worldview.

Don't let the "pray" word in the title fool you. I want to hear from those that have seen it or those planning to see it. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Or tell me "I didn't miss a thing."

When I read Murphy's concern about the movie causing divorces, I asked myself "why would Christians want to go and see this?" Why would we want to support with our money and our presence those that advocate such philosophies? When will we start saying "I really don't need this"? As for me, now in my 40th year of marriage (to the same woman), I don't have any desire to see the movie, as much as I like Julia Roberts. But clearly, 100's of 1000's of Christians will -- I just want to know why?

That's the way I "see" this one. How about you? Where do you stand?

Join others following Ken on Twitter
Check-out AccordConsulting, SCA International, and Human Resources for the Church.

Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Jacob’s Love for Joseph - Genesis 37:1-4


Now Jacob lived in the land where his father had sojourned, in the land of Canaan. These are the records of the generations of Jacob. Joseph, when seventeen years of age, was pasturing the flock with his brothers while he was still a youth, along with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives. And Joseph brought back a bad report about them to their father. Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a varicolored tunic. And his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers; and so they hated him and could not speak to him on friendly terms.

As we start our study of this 37th chapter of Genesis, we find Jacob in the land of Canaan. The author starts to relate to us the “records of the generations of Jacob” but immediately focuses on Joseph, who at this time is seventeen years old. Unfortunately, we have no way of relating this point in time to our chronological timetable that we last looked at the time we were studying Genesis 35:28.

We are told that Joseph was taking care of Jacob’s flocks and he was doing it with his brothers. The text takes care to mention that he was doing this “as a youth” implying perhaps this was not a normal situation. In addition, Joseph, the son of Jacob via Rachel, was working as a shepherd boy with his stepbrothers, the sons of Jacob through both Bilhah and Zilpah.

Now there is no indication that all of them did not get along together. Obviously, Joseph knew the difference between himself (a son of Jacob’s beloved Rachel) and his stepbrothers, sons of his mother and ‘aunt’ Leah’s handmaidens. We can only wonder whether or not this gave him a sense of superiority. Perhaps he was just naturally more industrious than the others and he noticed that some of them were not behaving according to the way Joseph would have expected his father Jacob would want them to. So he brings home a bad report about them. We neither know what it was they were doing that was not deemed appropriate, nor do we know if Joseph made the whole thing up. Everything is possible.

It is difficult to ascertain whether the next sentence is in the appropriate chronological order or not with respect to when Jacob had made Joseph his “coat of many colors”. Was it prior to his tattling on his brothers or after that? We do not know. At face value, if we had to opt for one choice or another, we would argue that following the text and assuming some chronological order to the writing, it was afterward. However, the fact that Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph more than all his sons may well have been evident long before Joseph’s report to Jacob about his brothers. If so, it is possible that Joseph felt it his duty to report on his brothers, as he was his father’s favorite son and thus took upon himself the role of being his father’s eyes and ears.

What we do know is that his brothers could see Jacob loved Joseph more than them. And as one would expect, his brothers hated Joseph as a result. So much so, that they could not have a friendly conversation with him.

So, what do we make of all this? I believe there are lessons here for us as parents and grandparents with respect to how we treat all of our children and grandchildren. For me, with respect to my children it has always been a conscious decision to show them all the love I possibly can show, all the time. Yes, there are differences that come into play that would attract us to one more than to another, but we must see those as simply characteristics of who they are, not reasons to love them in varying amounts. Some of these could include their gender, their age, their availability, their choices, their personality similarity to us, and so much more. But we love them equally and totally. I believe that is what God does with all of us.

Secondly, as parents in the sandwich generation (having parents that are still living and having children), we need to be careful that we referee any preference our own parents may show towards one or more of our children over any other of our children. This happens not intentionally but more due to the values of the older generation. It takes a wise son or daughter to guard their children from it well and to encourage their parents to refrain from showing such differences without alienating them. But hey, no one ever said it was going to be easy being a parent and a child.

Finally, I think there is something here that children and grandchildren need to be aware of as well. If we detect some “special treatment” from our parents, we need to be careful how we deal with it. We need to be sure that it does not interfere, as far as our own actions and attitudes and words are concerned, with our own relationship towards our siblings. There is also a lesson here to us who are “specially treated” in that we need to understand the “human feelings and responses”of those who feel they are not treated or loved as specially as we are. We need to cut them some slack and show them our love goes beyond the love that they feel others may be showing them. Lastly, we may also have a responsibility to gently and indirectly encourage and remind those who show this special love or treatment towards us that they have other children and other grandchildren. Many an adult is moved to the correct action by the words of a child, regardless of the ‘child’s’ age.

Join others following Ken on Twitter
Check-out AccordConsulting, SCA International, and Human Resources for the Church.

Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.