Summary: Continuing looking at Genesis through the story of Joseph. Many various scriptures are used.
The Story - Part 3
September 26, 2010
Ad lib about my plans
how they change over time . . .
When we’re studying through The Story, we need to understand that there are two stories simultaneously taking place. There is the upper story and the lower story. The lower story is the details of our lives. The things we busy ourselves with. And we will see the same thing in the Bible. When you read the Bible, we see lower story issues, the day to day living, overcoming obstacles, sickness, death, marriage, birth. It’s all there. Just like the characters of the Bible we’re consumed with lower story living.
But as you read the Bible, in every story there’s another story taking place, the upper story. It’s easy to miss it when we get caught up in the details. You get the sense God is up to something. The upper story is God’s big plan to reveal Himself to us and to help us know His plan. My hope is that over the next 28 weeks of The Story, we will catch a glimpse of the upper story, of what God is up to and where God is at in the midst of our daily lives.
We couldn’t find a better case study than to look at the story we find in Chapter 3 of The Story. We are granted, and I’m serious about this, we’re blessed by God to get an inside glimpse of what God is doing, (the upper story) while Joseph and his family are living out their daily lives in the lower story.
You may recall in chapter 2, God unfolds His plan as He is going to use this old man and old and childless woman to build a brand new nation. Through this nation God will reveal Himself and His plan to get us back. We saw in chapter 1 how sin entered the world through Adam and Eve, and now we’re suffering the consequences of sin. Sin separates us from a holy God and this needs to be addressed and dealt with, but we can’t do it on our own, so God steps in and through this nation God will reveal His plan.
Now let’s dive into the story of Joseph. He’s the main character, who is 17 years old and has 10 older brothers. This means he was the low kid on the totem pole. Add to this the fact that his brothers don’t like him. They don’t like him for 2 reasons, firstly, they believe their father, Jacob, loves him more than the rest of them. They believe this because Jacob gave Joseph gifts, but not to his other sons. And remember in that day, it was the oldest son who received the double inheritance and the extra blessings of the father. Jacob is the one who gave Joseph that famous coat of many colors. Of course, you know how it is, when you buy for one child, you need to buy for all of them. Or maybe that rule wasn’t invented when Jacob was raising his sons.
The 2nd reason his brothers didn’t like Joseph, was because he was a dreamer. Not that dreaming is necessarily bad, but you see Joseph reported to his brothers and father what his dreams were about. In his dreams, his older brothers were going to bow down to him. For you younger siblings, make a note to yourself, if you have these dreams, maybe it’s best to keep them to yourself. Or you might end up taking Joseph’s path. I’m not sure what Joseph was thinking, or maybe he wasn’t, but his brothers didn’t embrace his dreams the way he thought they should.
One day Jacob asked Joseph to go out into the field to tell his brothers to return home. So, Joseph goes out to get his brothers, and from a distance they see him and say to one another, “here comes that no good dreamer of a brother, let’s kill him.” They throw him into a pit, then decide to sell Joseph into slavery, to a group of Ishmaelites who are traveling through the land. You may remember from last week that the Ishmaelites come from the affair Abraham had with Hagar. And the fact there would always be conflict between the Jewish nation and the Ishmaelites.
In order to convince their father that something terrible has happened to Joseph, that he was killed by a ferocious animal, they dipped his coat of many colors into the blood of a goat whom they killed. They brought the coat back to their father, Jacob, mourned and wept over the apparent death of his son. And folks, this is only the first chapter of today’s lesson!! How about this for sibling rivalry.
And this is the dysfunctional family God is building His nation upon. This should give us some comfort that maybe God can use our crazy family’s as well.