Archive for January 28th, 2009

Gen 37 The tragety of Joseph’s life

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

 Gen 37 The tragety of Joseph’s life

Biao Chen

To our surprise, time is flying fast. Couple weeks ago, we were in Abraham’s earlier life (Gen 14), now in Gen 37! We have already begun to heard his grand-grand son’s story.  If we divide Genesis into two large portions, we can call them as Primeval History (Gen. 1-11), and Patriarchal History (Gen. 12-50). Today, we are in the second portion and we have already skipped the Jacob’s story, and right at the beginning of his son’s story, dramatic Life of Joseph.

We can entitle Gen 37 as “Joseph Is Sold into Slavery” (EVS study bible).  Joseph is the second youngest son of Jacob. But his father bestows on him privileges normally given to the firstborn. Joseph’s royal dreams further antagonize his older brothers, who cannot accept that he will reign over them.  When the opportunity presents itself, they sell Joseph into slavery in Egypt.

In this classic plot, we have much to learn and to ponder. On the immediate level, we may see the jealousy among brothers and favoritism of fatherhood contribute to the division and murder among real bloodline of brothers.  The discussion and proposals among the Joseph’s brothers regarding dealing with Joseph very much reveal the human evil hearts: First idea is simply to kill their younger brother, then Reubin proposal to have indirect murder by throwing Joseph into the pit; finally, Judah finalized the plan with selling Joseph as slavery, which from the surface could be a rescuing plan, but could well being the motive for the money.

Of course, from retrospective point of view, we can see family influence on their decisions and characters. Jacob was shrew and cunning person in his dealing with people and even to God.  Covenantal curses, implied in second commentant (Exo 20:5  “You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me), can be perceived from Jacob family influence.  His sons are very good at lying and manepulation as they told “story” to their father Jacob about what happened to Joseph.

Yet, God’s plan out of His inifinate wisdom and soverignty is much higher and deeper and stronger than human’s evil tricks and dominant of sins. We all know the up and down of life of Josoph and great ending how God raise Joseph as priminister in order to deliever Jacob’s family in the Egypt.  Sometimes our daily lives just like Joseph, some of us has been victimized by evils mineds friends and relatives, we have no way out in that situation.  What are your response to this kind of circumtances? bitterness, revengetive, or trust Lord is our ultimate deliver and judge? In fact, futuremore, the story of Joseph has pointed to an even greater delievery for humanity in Christ Jesus. For example, in the Joseph’s dream, his brothers bowed down to him (37:7).  This prophetic dream concerning God’s plan for the offspring of promise foreshadow the final prophetic unveiling of God’s purposes through Christ. In NT, we all know that the church bow down to King Christ now and in the end, every knee should fall and every tongus would confess that Jesus is the Lord of the lords.
second foreshadowing we can see from Joseph’s life is in 37:20. Joseph, who is to be the key deliverer of God’s people, has a scrape with death, and is finally glorified (In Gen 41:41), foreshadowing the suffering and glorification of Christ the final deliverer.  Have you looked Christ, our ultimate Redeemer and Savior, in your unfairly treatment or condition? Or you are taking other popular route?

Well, today is just beigining of Joseph’s story, I don’t want to ruin your curioucities for the details, and my hope is that this reflection just as small aptites for your big meal in His words.

Psalm 20-21 Divine & Human King

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Psalm 20-21 Divine & Human King


Most us may not realize that they are supposed to read or sing together as Royal Psalm. In this pair of royal psalms, 20 Psalm 20 is a prayer that God will give success to the Davidic king, particularly in battle. Psalm 21 gives thanks to God for answering the request of Psalm 20.

If we read them with care of form of structure,First,  we may find that first portion (20.1-5 and 21.1-7) come from their current situations:

1) Prayer for the King’s Success. In these verses the congregation addresses the Davidic king (“you”) with a prayer that God will answer his prayers, protect him from enemies, send him help, and support him.
2) Thanksgiving. These verses are addressed to the Lord (you) about the king (he), celebrating the military success prayed for in Psalm 20. It is clear from such terms as salvation (21:1, 5), your presence (v. 6), and trusts (v. 7) that the psalm assumes a pious and faithful king and is not intended to offer endorsement to sinful plans.

Second, we may find second portion (20.6-8 and 21.8-12) reflect their faith response to future:
1) Sound Confidence in the Lord Alone. Now the worshipers shift from speaking to the king to speaking about the king. They place their confidence in God alone as the one who saves his anointed, and thus the chariots and horses that they must use are not the final cause of success, only the means that God may be pleased to prosper (as they hope for themselves) or thwart (as they hope for the enemy).

2) Confidence for the Future. The person addressed (you) may still be God, as above, but it seems better to take it as the king, who will continue his military exploits on behalf of the people. As above, it is necessary to see that these enemies are those who hate the king (who is the Lord’s anointed, 20:6) and plan evil against him (21:11). When the king lives by the Davidic ideal, God takes hostility against the king as hostility against his own purposes and thus as against himself; thus the godly king is the tool of God’s wrath (v. 9).

Both Ps end with Praise King for who He is and His Deeds

Ps. 20:9 God Save the King! The terms save and “salvation” are repeated in this psalm (vv. 5, 6, 9).

Be Exalted! As in 18:46, the Lord is exalted when he shows his power in making the faithful king successful.

We all know that ultimate Royal King is Jesus who had won the battle and subdue the enemy for his people on cross and resurrection.  We should not only have confidence in His future return for total victory, but also have to trust His reign and rule even now in our various situations and circumstance.  May our Heavenly King grand you our victorious day today!  Amen