International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday January 1, 2012
Purpose: To believe that God honors a life of integrity and faith
Scripture Text: Genesis 39:7-21a
Genesis 39:7-21a (NRSV)
(7)And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.” (8)But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Look, with me here, my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my hand. (9)He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except yourself, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (10)And although she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not consent to lie beside her or to be with her.(11)One day, however, when he went into the house to do his work, and while no one else was in the house, (12)she caught hold of his garment, saying, “Lie with me!” But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside.
(13)When she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled outside, (14) she called out to the members of her household and said to them, “See, my husband has brought among us a Hebrew to insult us! He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice ;( 15) and when he heard me raise my voice and cry out, he left his garment beside me, and fled outside.” (16)Then she kept his garment by her until his master came home, (17) and she told him the same story, saying, “The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought among us, came in to me to insult me; (18) but as soon as I raised my voice and cried out, he left his garment beside me, and fled outside.”
(19)When his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, saying, “This is the way your servant treated me,” he became enraged. (20)And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined; he remained there in prison. (21)But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
To fully appreciate the story of Joseph you need to read chapter 37, to see how Joseph ended up in Egypt. The story has been recreated in the Broadway Play, by Andrew Lloyd Webber “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
Evidently Joseph's father, Jacob (now called Israel by God) saw something unique in Joseph and made him a coat with bright colors and long sleeves, a coat that signified power. Joseph was the first born son of Jacob's favorite wife Jacob had labored fourteen years marry her, because Rachel's father had tricked Jacob into marrying Leah, the elder of the two sisters after his first seven years of labor. Then Rachel died giving birth to Joseph's younger brother Benjamin.
As we come to today's text, Jacob's name has been changed by God (32:28) to Israel and he has twelve sons. His first wife Leah is the mother of Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. Rachel was Joseph and Benjamin’s mother. Rachel's maidservant gave birth to Billah, Dan and Naphtali, and Leah’s maidservant had Zilphah, Gad and Asher.
Joseph is sold by his brothers to Ishmaelites, or Midianites, (see 37:28) both were descendants of Abraham. (See 16:15 and 25:2) Abraham would have been Joseph's great-grandfather.
Joseph's qualities seen by his father were also seen by Potiphar, a commanding officer of Pharaoh’s bodyguard. Joseph had been given command over Potiphar's house and all of his possessions; Potiphar seemed to recognize that Joseph was blessed by his God, and God blessed Potiphar's household because of Joseph. Potiphar had so much confidence in Joseph's ability that verse 6 tells us he didn't even know what he had, except he had bread to eat. Verse 6 also ends with these words: “Now Joseph was handsome and good-looking.”
You can sense the plot thickening as we approach our text, there is about to be all one could ask for in a good movie or book. However, we should not let the story deter us from the fact, that Joseph becomes a type of Christ for us. Joseph, who is betrayed, by his brothers, treated as a slave, arrested without cause, emerges as a savior for his entire family, without bitterness; it makes him an ideal type of Christ. Jesus The Christ would come as a descendant of one of Joseph's older brothers, (Judah) and be born in the very same place that Joseph's mother Rachel gave birth to Benjamin and died doing so.
Our text ends with, “the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love.”
My prayer for each of you this coming year is that the LORD will be with you and know that God's steadfast love is available to all that call upon Him.
Wishing a very Happy New Year to all of you.