Family Bible Study lesson for Aug. 3: Confronting Crises
July 25 2003 by Kim D. Shaver , Genesis 37:3-8, 23-28, 34-36

Family Bible Study lesson for Aug. 3: Confronting Crises | Friday, July 25, 2003

Friday, July 25, 2003

Family Bible Study lesson for Aug. 3: Confronting Crises

By Kim D. Shaver Genesis 37:3-8, 23-28, 34-36

"When you can't trace God's hand, you can trust His heart..."

Even when we can't understand the tragic and devastating circumstances God sometimes allows in our lives, we can trust that everything passing through His hand and into our lives ultimately is an expression of His love. We can trust God because His love for us was forever settled on the cross of Calvary. Not only does the cross demonstrate God's infinite love; the cross demonstrates God's ability to bring beautiful results from hideous beginnings. From the suffering and humiliation of Christ, God brought forth a fountain of grace and eternal life that is still flowing centuries later. The cross is God's exclamation mark proclaiming that our suffering is never meaningless or hopeless. God promises to "work together all things for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). God's purpose for all His children is that we be conformed into the likeness of His Son. You can be sure that whatever you are facing today, God can and will bring eternal glory and Christ-like character out of your circumstances as you choose to trust Him.

Remember God has a Plan (Genesis 37:3-8) Other than the redemption story itself, no other Bible story so demonstrates God's providential working to bring blessing from tragedy than the story of Joseph. Joseph was one of the patriarch Jacob's 12 sons, from whom originated the 12 tribes of Israel. Joseph was obviously his father's favorite. Jacob demonstrated his favoritism by making a "richly ornamented robe" for Joseph. Already seething with jealousy at the sight of Joseph in his expensive garment, his brothers were pushed over the edge when Joseph shared a dream with them in which they were depicted as "bowing down" to him. "Do you intend to reign over us?" his brothers asked Joseph in disgust. Jealousy is now degenerating into embittered anger. Sin is clouding the horizon, setting the stage for tragedy.

Persevere in Spite of Shattered Dreams (Genesis 37:23-28) Tragedy struck one day when Jacob sent Joseph out into the remote fields where his brothers were tending the family's flocks. When his older brothers saw Joseph coming in the distance, they plotted to kill him. One of the brothers, Reuben, talked the rest of the crowd out of this drastic measure, and instead they decided to strip Joseph of his robe and throw him into a deep pit. When a caravan of Ishmaelites came along, the brothers sold Joseph to them for 20 shekels of silver. The Ishmaelites took Joseph in chains to Egypt to be sold into slavery. Clearly, this is an example of a sin-inspired tragedy. It began with Jacob's sin of favoritism and was aggravated by Joseph's bad judgment and youthful pride in sharing his dream with his brothers. The jealousy of the brothers fomented into bitterness, murderous rage and cruelty.

God does allow His children to suffer the consequences of sin in the world in general, and of specific sins against them and by them. However, He is always at work to accomplish good in His people's lives and move forward His kingdom purposes even through tragic circumstances of our own making.

Acknowledge Grief (Genesis 37:34-36) Even before the caravan carrying Joseph into Egypt disappeared on the horizon, sin leads to more sin in this tragic plot. The brothers deceive their father and tell him Joseph is dead. They slaughter an innocent goat and dip Joseph's infamous robe in its blood. Taking the bloodstained robe to their father Jacob, they ask him if it belongs to Joseph. Jacob recognizes the now-ruined robe and said, "Some ferocious animal has devoured my son!" Jacob then tore his own robes in grief and became inconsolable.

Now we see this crisis from Jacob's vantage point. We see that God is dealing with His called-out patriarch, who He had renamed Israel. Before his life-changing encounter with God, Jacob himself had deceived others many times, (including his own father in Genesis 27:35). Now, although he is blessed and called by God, Jacob is facing the consequences of his sins. "God disciplines those He loves" (Hebrews 12:16).

Through a seemingly senseless situation, God is working to shape the characters and destinies of His beloved children.

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7/25/2003 12:00:00 AM by Kim D. Shaver , Genesis 37:3-8, 23-28, 34-36 | with 0 comments
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