Genesis

Potiphar’s Wife

Last week we said that Chapter 38, the story of Judah and Tamar, seemed like an interruption of the main story of Joseph. This week we pick up the story again but, clearly, there is an intentional comparison of Judah and Joseph. In a way, this is a story of how one man is seen through four different sets of eyes: Potiphar, his wife, the prison warden, and God. First, Potiphar. The text says, “When ...[Read More]

Judah and Tamar

If you read the last verse of Chapter 37, it would seem only natural to pick up with the first verse of Chapter 39. “Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharoah’s officials, the captain of the guard.  Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharoah’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had tak ...[Read More]

Joseph’s Dreams

Let’s work backward this morning and start with the bones of Joseph being buried in Canaan several hundred years after his death. We can read in Joshua 24:32 “And Joseph’s bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem.  This became the inheritance of J ...[Read More]

The Tower of Babel

One of Flannery O’Connor’s short stories is about a grandfather who takes his grandson, Nelson, to Atlanta to show him by comparison how good it is in the country. A visit to the city will cure him of his boredom with rural Georgia. Arriving on the train, they begin to walk and are soon lost. For the whole day they try to find their way back to the station but walk around in circles confused and n ...[Read More]

The Prodigal Sons

While the text this morning is from Genesis 33 where Jacob meets Esau, I started thinking about the similarities between this story and one in the New Testament. This is the only positive story about Esau and the Edomites in all of the Old Testament. If anything, it is a picture of forgiveness and grace. Instead of meeting Jacob with 400 men armed and ready to get even after what Jacob had done to ...[Read More]

God Wrestling With Jacob

I don’t know another passage of Genesis with which I have wrestled more than this one. That’s good for you to know at the outset because you can relax and not be thinking I am going to resolve all the questions about this account. In some ways, I am like Jacob.  I come into it with fear and trembling and leave it limping. But, because it is such a central part of Jacob’s journey from the deceiver ...[Read More]

Jacob Flees From Laban

Jacob’s life is, like ours, marked by transitions from one stage to another. First, there is the transition from a young man settled in a family to being on the run.  Second, there is the transition to the challenges of marriage and family. This morning we are looking at the transition from years of working in difficult circumstances to success and going out on his own by leaving Laban. If there i ...[Read More]

Leah and Rachel

Weddings are typically beautiful events with the music, candles, glamorous bride and handsome groom. Receptions, especially those with jumbo cold boiled shrimp, are festive and seeing the happy couple off to Maui just completes the picture. That does not describe this wedding. In fact, had there been the ritual invitation for someone to stand up and object, this would have been the time. Certainly ...[Read More]

Jacob and Esau

Stories about our origins are always stories about ourselves and our unique characteristics. Most tend to highlight the good and play down the flaws.  We airbrush history and our forefathers. You really have to dig around in the history books to read about the darker sides of Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, and Lincoln. It is almost impossible to find any stories about Washington that make him fully h ...[Read More]

Joseph’s Bones

In the last several weeks we have been in the life of Jacob.  He has stolen a blessing, duped his father-in-law, run from his brother, wrestled with an angel, been crippled, lost his favorite child and , last week, moved to Egypt so his family and tribe could survive.  This week Jacob is dying. Dying was different then.  It was talked about differently.  People talked about being “gathered t ...[Read More]