Speaker: Jerry Cisar
The story of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the story of redemption. Long before God rescued Israel out of Egyptian slavery, Israel themselves entered into the slave-trading business and began enslaving one another. Genesis 37 is about how God works in unseen ways, within a most dysfunctional family, in order to redeem and rescue them from themselves.
Genesis 37 introduces the story of Joseph and Judah and is given to bring us hope—especially those of us who recognize just how dysfunctional our families are. Earlier in Genesis, Abraham was a model father in many ways, yet Isaac’s parenting was less than brilliant. Jacob’s leadership has floundered and in this story it finds new lows. God works in the midst of dysfunctional families to redeem them.
Genesis 37 begins the final segment of Genesis. Time slows down. Attention is given to details. God no longer just shows up to talk to His people, nor is He giving the visions or dreams in which He is the central character. This is how He talked with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Indeed, Joseph is a dreamer, but neither God nor heavenly messengers are the main characters in those dreams. He has dreams, but so do the wicked, yet God speaks through all of them.
Providence – God’s unseen activity in providing and caring for His creation – takes the front seat and is seen in statements from Joseph that what was intended for evil, God works for good. Providence is the driving force behind all that is accomplished in this section. Providence never minimizes one’s responsibility for their sin, but it does keep sin from having the final word.