Mar 06

Part 69: The Dreamer

Todd Pruitt |Series: Genesis |Genesis 37:1-11

Chapter 37 launches the final “book” of Genesis. Each major section or book of Genesis is introduced by the Hebrew word “toledoth” which means “generations” (2:4; 5:1; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10, 27; 25:12, 19; 37:2). From this point on to the end of Genesis, the themes established earlier will he highlighted once again. “The motifs of God’s promises to Abraham to multiply his offspring, give them the land of Canaan, and bless the earth through them (12:1-3) and God’s covenant with Abraham and Sarah to bring forth kings through them (17:6, 16) escalate significantly in this account” (Waltke, 491). The story of Joseph brings to the fore once again the themes of God’s electing grace, his sovereign providence, and covenant faithfulness.

Also prominent in the final book of Genesis is the theme of God’s redeeming grace. That is, God uses even the failures of his own covenant people as means toward their redemption. God sovereignly orchestrates circumstances as means to bring about the inner transformation of Joseph’s brothers. In doing this, God fits them with the necessary qualities to function in the world as his covenant partners. Joseph’s brothers had shattered the family’s peace by their wicked actions. But through it all God was sovereignly overruling all events and the actions of human creatures to bring about the restoration of the brothers, especially Judah (45:5-7). Indeed, this final book of Genesis tells how a family torn asunder by hatred and rivalry became, by God’s sovereign grace, an earthly expression of the kingdom of God. Perhaps no other account of redemption, save for the salvation of the Apostle Paul, can rival the story of God’s redemption of Jacob’s sons.

Long before we reach the New Testament revelation of Jesus Christ and his death for sinners, God promised to save sinners by grace alone through faith alone through a Substitute standing in their place. In the case of Jacob’s sons we see God patiently keeping covenant with his people in gracious defiance of their sin. The story begins with a murderous rivalry between brothers harkening back to Cain and Abel. It continues with intermarriage with Canaanites. Just as Esau had done, Judah takes a Canaanite wife. Though the family is damaged and compromised by their own sin, they are ultimately reconciled and made pure proving once again that “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Romans 5:20).

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