We are all familiar with the story of Joseph in Potiphar’s house in Egypt. Raised to a position of authority and then an accusation. If we are paying attention, we will recognize that the previous chapter contained a similar story of an accusation against an innocent. This parallel in these chapters opens up for us a topic of human justice. The process that the Bible gives from accusation to conviction. This is vitally important today. A day and age of weaponized accusations.
In Genesis 38 the text takes a detour that has caused a lot of discussion in theological circles. We know who Judah becomes. We know what Judah just did. And for one chapter we get a Judah centered narrative that tells us of his life between those two points in time. But why this narrative? It is confusing and confounding all at once. What is it about this chapter that it would be the one and only chapter of all of scripture that is focused only on the character of Judah?
The story of the sons of Jacob begins in full in this chapter of Genesis. Once again, we find that as young men, there is a baseline of evil that runs through there hearts. But if we examine this episode of Joseph being sold into slavery from a perspective of life, we may discover an amazing example of just how the path of life is not the same as either good or evil.
Genesis is a book of origins. The origin of the world. The origin of the covenant. The origin of the family of Abraham. The origin of the…gospel? How do a trip, the death of two women, a blessing, a coup, and a genealogy reflect the gospel?
For the past few chapter we have witnessed the fact that Jacob is a changed man. He is at peace with all of his neighbors. It doesn't last long. Something happens in Shekhem that will shape much of what is to come. But do we truly understand this episode? How can an honor and shame perspective change our understanding of the tragedy of the destruction of Shekhem?
This episode is our second podcast exclusive holiday special. This is a rerecording of a teaching that I gave at a local Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets) gathering in Easley, SC. Yom Teruah is a celebration of the Kingship of God. Once we acknowledge His kingship, it follows that we are servants to the king. What does it mean to be a servant?