Reading the Bible wisely requires learning about the ancient literary styles used by biblical authors. These writers expressed their ideas and claims through various types of literature, and this video will explore why it’s essential to tell them apart so we can hear their message on their terms.
In Genesis 38, we read about the life of Judah, one of Jacob’s sons, and his family. The story begins with Judah leaving his brothers and father to live in the land of Canaan, where he marries a woman named Shua and has three sons: Er, Onan, and Shelah.
Tragically, both Er and Onan die, leaving only Shelah alive. To ensure the continuation of his family line, Judah arranges for his daughter-in-law Tamar to marry Shelah when he grows up. However, Judah breaks his promise and never gives Tamar to Shelah, causing her to take matters into her own hands.
Disguising herself as a prostitute, Tamar meets with Judah and becomes pregnant with his twins. When Judah discovers that Tamar is pregnant, he is angry and decides to have her killed. However, Tamar reveals that the father of her children is Judah himself, causing him to confess his sin and spare her life.
In Genesis 39 and 40, we read about the story of Joseph, another son of Jacob. Joseph is favored by his father and given a unique coat of many colors. His brothers become jealous and sell him into slavery in Egypt.
In Egypt, Joseph is sold to Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard. Joseph is a hard worker and is soon put in charge of Potiphar’s household. However, Potiphar’s wife falsely accuses Joseph of trying to seduce her, and he is imprisoned.
While in prison, Joseph interprets the dreams of Pharaoh’s baker and cupbearer and correctly predicts their outcomes. When Pharaoh has a dream that no one can interpret, the cupbearer remembers Joseph and recommends him. Joseph correctly interprets Pharaoh’s dream as a warning of a coming famine and advises him to store food.
Pharaoh is impressed by Joseph’s wisdom and appoints him as his second-in-command, responsible for preparing for the famine. When the famine arrives, Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt to buy food and are shocked to find that their brother, whom they thought was dead, is actually in a position of power.
From these stories, we can learn about the importance of forgiveness and reconciliation. In the story of Judah and Tamar, we see how Tamar’s persistence and boldness ultimately lead to the fulfillment of God’s plan for her to have children through Judah. In the story of Joseph, we see how he can forgive his brothers for their wrongdoing and work with them to save their families.
We can also see the theme of God’s sovereignty and faithfulness in both stories. In the story of Judah and Tamar, we see how God works through Tamar’s actions to bring about the fulfillment of his plan. In the story of Joseph, we see how God uses Joseph’s difficult circumstances and abilities to bring about his more significant purpose for Joseph’s life.
These stories remind us of the importance of trusting God’s plan and purpose, even under challenging circumstances. They also encourage us to strive for forgiveness and reconciliation in our own lives and to trust in God’s sovereignty and faithfulness.
If you haven’t yet downloaded the Bible App, you can do so right here. Click this link to begin the One Story that Leads to Jesus Bible reading plan. Our Compass staff, including Pastors Brian and Matt, will also engage with these posts and leave comments. Feel free to join the conversation and share what you are learning with the rest of our Compass community.
I loved the line in today’s video that said that we aren’t supposed to be “like” the Bible characters we are reading about, but we are supposed to see ourselves “in” them. We make similar mistakes and try to do things our own way instead of God’s way, and learning from their mistakes could definitely help us in our lives!
In 39:2 & 38:23, it states “the Lord was with Joseph”- it stuck out to me that a chapter of deception against Joseph is bookended with the reminder that, even though hardship befell Joseph, the Lord never left him. I think sometimes when we face difficult seasons, we question the presence of God & this chapter is a good reminder that there is no need to question. God is always present, in all circumstances.