Summary: The message deals with Joseph’s spirituality, Judah’s sinfulness and God’s sovereignty.
Gen.37:36- 38:30. Judah’s sins
Last time we looked at how maliciously the brothers dealt with Joseph and how in their hatred towards Joseph they threw him in that pit without any mercy.
Not only that the dealt maliciously with their brother but they dealt deceitfully with their father. Knowing exactly what happened to their brother they broke their father’s heart by lying to him.
As you look at the entire account, up until this moment, you will discover a definite chain reaction in so far as sin is concerned.
Favoritism led to rivalry.
Rivalry led to bitterness.
Bitterness let to hatred.
Hatred led to evil speaking.
Evil speaking led to murderous thoughts.
That led to selling in slavery.
They had to justify that to the father and that led to deception.
If there is anything that we can learn from chapter 37 is this: Sin always leads to sin. Two wrongs never make a right. Two wrongs lead to the third and so on.
If sin is not dealt with it always has a snow balling effects. That’s why God says in Hebrews 12:1 “let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnare us”.
The picture is that of a tree that has on its trunk one of those plants that keep creeping up and in the process of it strangles the life out of the tree.
There is a sense in which that’s what happened with Joseph’s brothers. One wrong led to the other.
If Joseph was their main problem, now Joseph is gone and one would think that the brothers would really grow up. Ch.38 proves that the heart of the problem is the problem in the heart.
Joseph wasn’t their problem. Their problem was their heart. They did not have an external problem but an internal problem.
A lot of people say that if people had a better environment and more education we would have less problems in our society. Education makes evil people smart it doesn’t make them better. The problem is in the heart not in circumstances.
As we come to chapter 38 we continue to discover that, even with Joseph removed, Joseph’s brothers continued to do what they knew best.
The chapter centers almost exclusively on Judah and makes no reference to Joseph. For a very casual reading the chapter seems almost out of place, because it kind of breaks the flow of the story about Joseph. So why did the Holy Spirit inspire Moses to put this chapter here?
There are a couple of reasons for which I believe that God inspired to write this chapter about Judah and his sexual antiques.
a) I believe that this chapter shows, first of all, why the Egyptian slavery was necessary. Let me explain to you what I mean by that.
Abraham’s descendants were beginning to intermarry with the Canaanites, who were entirely pagan. They were beginning to be swallowed up by the Canaanites. Judah, our main subject, had married a Canaanite woman.
Even though the twelve tribes would suffer in the slavery, through it God would preserve them, because the Egyptians disliked foreigners and consequently the nation of Israel had to stick together.
This is the wonder of God’s sovereignty, that out of evil God brings good, even though at the time we may not see it.
Even though they endured a lot of pain in their slavery, they left Egypt, wealthier, more numerous and more united than they went into it.
b) The second main reason for which God allowed this chapter to be here is because it provides a contrast with Joseph’s attitude towards temptation and sin in the next chapter.
In this chapter, Judah fell for the sexual temptation, hook, line and sinker. But in the next chapter Joseph is faced with the same temptation and he goes past it as straight as an arrow.
I want to talk to you about three things that come out of these verses that we have read.
1) Joseph’s spirituality.
Although I want to talk to you about Joseph’s spirituality I do no want to spend a long time because we will talk about it in more detail later on. However, I want us to notice some things.
V. 36 “Now the Midianites had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar…”
Now Joseph is in Egypt. While Egypt was a very wealthy and advanced nation, at the time, it was one of the most pagan societies in the world.
In fact throughout the bible, on repeated occasions Egypt is synonymous with everything that is evil.
Egypt was a polytheistic society that had a lot of gods. If one god did not please you, you could go to another one. There was a big selection of gods and everybody had several gods for various circumstances. So, for Joseph…