Two weeks ago in our look at the life of Jacob (through the book "Escaping with Jacob" by David Ramos), we read about Jacob's family struggles. His wife, Rachel, dies and his son Reuben commits incest. We saw how Jacob dealt with life's "acid tests" and in his living gained insight into how we can do the same. This week we transition into the latter stage of Jacob's life as his son, Joseph, is introduced.
Week 19: Read Genesis 37:1-11 (The Impossible Dream)
"As we enter into the latter part of Jacob's life, his story now intertwines with his son Joseph's story. Together they will bring the book of Genesis to a close and usher in the next phase of God's ultimate plan. Much like the introduction of Jacob and Esau many chapters ago, the introduction of Joseph comes with trouble. Again, the family is playing favorites: Joseph is Jacob's favorite son because he is the child of Rachel, his favorite wife. The other brothers know this and hate Joseph for it.
The young boy dreams two dreams which add fuel to his brothers' hatred. In both scenes a collection of things are bowing down to him. The first dream takes place on earth while the second is set in heaven. The double dream confirms that what he has seen shall come to pass because God has ordained it. However, Jacob didn't see it that way. He even grew angry at his favorite son and reprimanded him. But still, Jacob did not call him a liar. Instead he "kept the matter in mind," knowing that God has a peculiar way of accomplishing his plans.
Whether he knew it or not, Jacob was planning the same seeds of discord among his children that his own father, Isaac, had done to him and Esau. Favoritism is a terrible divider. And to some degree, what the brothers do next to Joseph can be partly blamed on their father as well.
We should focus on the very last words in the section where Jacob says he will keep the dream in mind. Jacob knows the incredible journey God has taken him on. Jacob ran for his life, became incredibly wealthy at the expense of his uncle, wrestled with an angel in the dead of night, and reconciled with the brother who swore to kill him. His life had been anything but ordinary. Now here was his favorite son explaining some extraordinary dream he had. Joseph likely had some of his father's deceptive ways in him and so everyone probably took this story with a grain of salt. But Jacob felt something more, something to make him remember his son's dream for years to come.
We are not the gatekeepers of God's actions. We are not the one's who get to tell God who he should and should not use, how he should accomplish his goals, or what his timing should be. Neither are we the gatekeepers for other Christians. So often I have seen a Christian's faith dashed by other believers because they were told things like God doesn't act that way, you don't understand it, or you're not worthy.
Jacob had no idea of the plans God had for Joseph, plans that included saving his entire family. The same is true for other Christians. We have no idea how God plans to use them to accomplish great things, and they don't know how God plans to use us either. The next time someone tries to dash your hope in what God can do, remember this scene and allow God to prove them wrong."
Takeaway from today's lesson: God is bigger than anything that will try to stop God's plans for us.
Prayer: God, thank you that you have greatness in store for me. Help me to believe it and to encourage this hope in other believers.