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Greg Brothers is an Adventist pastor in Oregon.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Joseph and his brothers

By now, your Sabbath School class members have probably figured out the theme of this quarter’s lessons, i.e. that God Has Set a High Ideal for Our Families.

Now it’s time to get real – time to talk about the fact that we’ve all failed to reach that ideal . . . and that means we need to talk about forgiveness.

We’ve all made mistakes, after all. We’ve all done things we shouldn’t – things that make us look back and shudder. And we can all think of things we should have done with our families – but didn’t.

So let’s take a look at one of the most dysfunctional families in all of Scripture: the family of Jacob. And from it, let’s learn that God doesn’t just set a high idea for our families . . .

God also picks us up when we fall.

Genesis 37: Who is to blame for what happened here? Jacob? Joseph? His brothers? Why didn’t some of the brothers (such as Reuben and Judah) put a stop to what was happening?

Genesis 42: Now the tables have been turned – and how does Joseph treat his brothers? Why does he act this way? What would you have done in his place?

Genesis 43-44: Why does Joseph act the way he does? Do his brothers deserve this kind of treatment? How have his brothers changed since the events of chapter 37 – and how are they the same? How has Joseph changed since the events of chapter 37 – and how is he the same?

Genesis 45: Why did Joseph finally reveal his true identity? How did his brothers react – and why? What is Joseph’s response . . . and do you agree with it?

General reflection: With whom do you identify in this story and why: Joseph? Jacob? The ten brothers? Benjamin? What would it take for this kind of reconciliation to take place in your family?

Pastor Greg

And remember: “Important things are always simple, but simple things are always hard” – James F. Dunnigan.


Blogger Alex said...

What do you think, please, of Obadiah Shoher's interpretation of the story? (here: ) He takes the text literally to prove that the brothers played a practical joke on Yosef rather than intended to murder him or sell him into slavery. His argument seems fairly strong to me, but I'd like to hear other opinions.

3:46 PM  

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