Vayeshev (He Continued Living)

Vayeshev (He Continued Living)
Genesis 37:1-40:23
Amos 2:6-3:8
Acts 7:9-16

The Making of a Family

So if you were allowed to have the title of "God for the Day" and were given the task of planning from the heavens, an earthly family, just how would you go about that task.

Maybe here is what you would plan: First you would find a man living in a pagan land whose wife was barren. You would invite him to go to a land you are promising, but you don't tell him where the land is until he commits. He would go with his barren wife and eventually at age 100, her being a young 90, they would have a child who you would ask the guy to sacrifice to you, just to prove his devotion. After the test you would have the man's servant go back to a foreign land to find a wife for the son, but she would be found to be barren also. For time sake you would not wait till they were 100 or so, but would instead have the husband pray for her and in answering that prayer give her twins, one of which would even from the womb try to kill the other. You would plan to have one of the boys deceive the other, which would send the whole family into a near murder experience to the point that the boy who has a heart toward you has to flee from his family for about 20 years, during this time marrying two women. From these two women and their handmaidens you would bring forth 12 sons and create the greatest comedy/soap opera ever written.

Now, just to make this all interesting, you would have the 12 boys in constant struggle with each other caused by favoritism of their father. One would become a spoiled brat who would tell of his dreams of the whole family bowing to him. This scenario would cause the favorite son's brothers to seek to kill him. One of the boys would step in and save his life by wanting to make a profit off the deal, so he would be sold to slavery.

This is where you would get creative. You would send the brat son to a foreign land to learn a bit of humility. To teach this lesson, you would cater to his ego and right from the start make him a great man in the country. You would then frame him with someone else's wife, pulling the rug of pride out from under him and have him thrown in a prison cell to contemplate his life. While in prison you would give him just enough favor to keep him comfortable, then bring him back to the subject of dreams by meeting a couple of men who he thought would be his immediate ticket to freedom, only to spend some more time alone considering the true purpose of dreams.

Now for the test. Please answer the following multiple choice question.

A. This is exactly the way I would have planned this out to begin and build a family. I did not see any surprises here.
B. "God is smarter than I am!"

If you answered "A" you can stop reading now. You have life all figured out and, move over Joseph, you are in line to take over as the most arrogant brat who ever lived on planet earth.

If you answered "B" there is still hope for you as you have come to the place in life of understanding His ways are not our ways, His thoughts are much more wondrous than we could ever consider.

So what is the point you may ask? Good question.

In the above summary of life between Abram and part of the life of Joseph, we see just how incredible the plans of Yahweh really are. We see the twists and turns of a story line more fascinating than any mystery novel ever written. We see Him working through His creation in ways too marvelous for us to comprehend, much less for us to figure out. So with this thought, what makes people think they are going to figure it out from where we are in time to the end? Of course we today have the whole Book. We are able to read the beginning and the end. We have the prophets and greater understanding gained from our vast references. Really?

Truth is, there was a time in my life in which I thought I had it all figured out just like many of you did. We knew what each trumpet and bowl stood for. We had the beast of Daniel all figured out right down to his belly button, but then HaShem (Yahweh our God) threw us curve balls in history and all our puzzle pieces no longer fit like we thought they would.

Now please understand what I am about to say. I am not saying we do not study the prophecies we have been given today, but what if instead of using them to "Figure out the future," we instead used them to guide and enhance our daily walk. What if we began to use prophecy, not to show others how smart we are, but rather how wonderful He is. Jacob is actually a good role model for us in this area. In Gen 37:11, we read his response to one of Joseph's dreams. While the brothers hated Joseph for the dream, Jacob "Kept the matter in mind." In Hebrew it states he "Shamar HaDavar." This can be translated to mean he observed a fragment of prophecy and hid it in his heart. You may remember a young Hebrew girl named Miriam who did the same thing around 2000 years ago.

Each person we read about in Scripture plays a great role in building a family for HaShem. I imagine that whenever they get a chance to read the book which was their life, they are going to be very surprised at how their lives were interwoven into the puzzle called Israel's story. I am sure the same surprise will be in store for each of us as we will one day be amazed at how seemingly insignificant events of our lives were also filled with great meaning. So maybe it would be best for us if instead of always focusing on the puzzle, we focused on living out our puzzle piece.

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