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Bible Time Period: Patriarchs
In the time of the Patriarchs, you called Abraham and promised his children land, a royal kingdom, and worldwide blessing: Help me to trust in your promises today.
The good that God can bring from evil comes out clearly in the readings today. Joseph, sold into slavery, is destined to become the savior of Egypt and the surrounding nations—not to mention of those who handed him over. Watch how this forerunner of our Lord reconciles his brothers to their father in the process.
Do you see any change in Judah’s character by the end of Genesis 44? How has he grown?
Join the discussion below!
Judah has grown by his willingness to remain behind and be Joseph’s servant. He could not bear to see the anguish in his fathers eyes if Benjamin did not return to him. A big change for Judah as although he did not want to have Joseph killed he suggested selling him saying after all he is our flesh and blood. Now he is willing to sacrifice and replace himself so that his father would continue to receive joy from his youngest son.
Judah is a much transformed person in these chapters. He is ready to take on the blame and pain of his brother Benjamin for the sake of his father Jacob. Once again what a way God prepares him to be a part of the genealogy of Jesus..
Judah reminds me of many if the stories of our Saints when they once lived in a state of sin, and emerged through their relationship with God as loving and caring people. Judah has repented in front of his earthly and heavenly Fathers, showing compassion toward the blunt of Jacob if he was to lose Benjamin.
Judah has indeed grown up. In his final dialogue with Joseph you can feel the anguish he is experiencing thinking about how his Father would be if they returned to him without the youngest, Benjamin. I don’t think it was fear of retribution from his Father but truly grief and repentance for what had happened to Joseph and if Benjamin were not returned Judah could not bear to see his Father’s response.
I absolutely agree, Gig! I believe Judah, arguable for the first time in his life, is putting others before himself. What a change!
The sincerity of his story to Joseph about his father’s plight of loosing another favorite son, Benjamin, displayed an inner strength within Judah that impels me to believe that the Holy Spirit was with him as he spoke. He demonstrated that his father’s wishes were more important than anything else.
Judah had matured into a person that showed character and honesty.
This morning I reviewed Judah’s character first, I then read the 5 assigned chapters. For some reason I decided to read the last 3 chapters aloud. You stated that you believe the Holy Spirit was with Judah as he spoke, well I was moved to tears when I read chapter 45 aloud. I have read that chapter before and never had that reaction, nor have I ever cried before with my readings of the bible. Was the Holy Spirit present? God was with me today during my reading of Scripture. I remember hearing that if 3 or more people read the bible together, the Holy Spirit is present. Although we are not all together in the same room, we are united and the Holy Spirit is present to help guide us during our daily Scripture readings.
Truth shall set you free, isn’t that true here! Even if the story did not have a happy ending, I believe Judah would be able to live with himself even though he was made a servant, knowing that he did everything humanly possible to set things right with God, Benjamin, and Joseph (thought to be dead). Amen
I absolutely agree, Luz. It gives me such happiness knowing there are others reading what I am reading and pondering what I am pondering. These thoughts are with me all day and not just when I am reading the Bible, the comments we all write or writing my own comments. What a beautiful and spiritual experience this is becoming for me! Blessings to you!
I do agree with you, Luz.
As a side note, I am slowly replacing my daily thoughts with what I read and discuss during this challenge. I know that we all have petty feelings towards others whether it is in the home, work environment, etc. (and do I have plenty!) I have seen a slight change in me where I will think twice before I speak and ponder about the challenge for the day. If that isn’t a miracle, I don’t know what is! My human imperfections are huge. This challenge is really making me focus on what is important in God’s eyes, not mine. You are a blessing to me along with the others that discuss this challenge and all those who follow the challenge but prefer not to engage in discussions. May you all be blessed with the grace of God.
And blessings to you as well 🙂
The Holy Spirit was with you. With what you typed, I got goose bumps…May God be with us all during the bible challenges. Your words are the essence of what we are trying to achieve with these readings. May God bless you and keep you.
I am not used to sharing my feelings about God in public. For some reason I always felt it was very personal and would pray in private. I am starting to realize we need to talk about God in order to enrich our understanding of God and in order to give Him proper praise. Sharing my feelings with everyone in this group and hearing what is on everyone’s minds is extremely uplifting. I can’t thank each person in this group enough!
Wonderful expression of gratitude to God for this online study. You are truly blessed, Luz.
This kind of transformation gives all of us hope for there being a transformation happening in ourselves and others as well. It is truly awesome how God takes ordinary people and makes them extraordinary…That is why the ” In God all things are possible” is so true.
Everyone is capable of transformation if they allow God’s light in.
I see change in family dynmic. The first four Children of are Reuban, Simon, Levi and Judah. Simon and Levi seem to be impetuous. In the case of Dianah, It is Simon and Levi who act without thinking. It is Simon and Levi who want to kill Joseph. It is Reuban and Judah who want to save Joseph. Actually Reuban’s plan is a little better thought out. However Judah comes up with the plan to sell Joseph thus he saves his life but also effectivly gets rid of him. At this point Neither Reuban or Judah have shown real leadership of the family. By the time of Chapter 42 Judah has already had family troubles of his own and has lost two sons. Jacob is treating Benjamin with the same (perhaps more) favortism that he gave to Joseph. Reuban and Judah are still basically good but weak men. A big change here is that the brothers treat Benjamin with great affection for their father’s sake. Joseph with his God-given wisdom, takes Simon out of the picture. At this point Judah rises to the position of leader of the Family.
In Egypt, Joseph’s brothers were caught stealing by the Egyptians (all staged by Joseph). Notice that the sin of stealing was used – symbolic of what the brothers stole from Joseph (his life), his father (Jacob’s peace) and themselves (living in peace instead of guilt and worrying if anyone would ever find out the truth – that is such a heavy burden).
When they were apprehended, the brothers were so convinced that no one stole that they vowed to the Egyptian officials death to come to the thief and the rest sold into slavery if it was proven that they actually stole. When the steward found the goblet in Benjamin’s bag, the brothers fell to the ground in fright. They were brought before Joseph and Judah pleaded with him for mercy. Joseph asked “how could they do this to him?” The question resonates with the event of his brothers selling him into slavery and not showing mercy upon him. Judah related all that had happened and even pointed out that Benjamin’s full brother (i.e. Joseph) was dead. Over all this time, they never tried to rescue Joseph from slavery because they convinced themselves that he was “dead” so that they could contain their guilt and go on living. The longer they waited, the more the guilt grew within. Joseph heard all this and decreed that Benjamin would remain as a slave while the others go free.
This is when Judah showed his growth. Judah continued to plea to Joseph saying that they are innocent of this thievery and that if they return without their younger brother that their father would die of grief (imagine if they would’ve thought this way when they allowed their jealousy of their brother to influence their actions). They finally admitted to themselves and told Joseph that their father is devoted to Benjamin because the child is from the love of his life. If they understood the motives of their father’s actions, perhaps they wouldn’t have been so jealous as to have wanted to kill Joseph or sell him into slavery. Before judging others, it is important to understand why people act the way they do – that is why we should not judge; we don’t know everything (only God could judge because He knows what’s in our hearts).
Here’s the kicker for Judah’s growth – Judah goes as far as to offer himself to Joseph to take Benjamin’s place as a slave because he made himself fully responsible for Benjamin and because of the agreement he made with his father – that his two sons could be killed if Benjamin does not return. There was a lot at stake for Judah – the well fare of his father, that of his own children and how this would tear the family completely apart if he failed. Judah’s growth was reflected in the fact that he began to think about all the consequences of his actions and more importantly, the fact that his actions would impact others. Judah gauged the effects of his actions; something he did not do with Joseph when he was sold him into slavery. He began to love unconditionally giving of himself completely to others for others.
Immediately there after as shown in the next chapter, the result of Judah’s sacrifice of himself was that Joseph broke down and exposed his identity to his brothers. Judah broke Joseph heart – with all the years of resenting his brothers for what they did to him, the walls around his heart broke down and he forgave his brothers. Joseph knew at this point that Judah learned by his mistakes.
I like the angle: Judah broke Joseph’s heart. It is truly amazing how empowering and freeing it is to let go of past hurts, no matter how justified the pain may be.
This is sometimes so difficult to do, isn’t it? Thankfully, with God working through each of us our hearts are more easily softened and we can put ourselves in the position of others which make it less of a challenge. As many have stated previously, “Let go and Let God!”
This is so true! AMEN!!!!
Excellent summation. It was actually Reuben in chapter 42:37 who stated: “You may kill my own two sons if I do not return him to you! Put him in my care, and I will bring him back to you.” Judah instead guaranteed his father that he would bear the blame forever. Judah only had one son left Shelah, as his other two sons were taken by God while they were married to Tamar.
I find there are so many characters and occurrences that take place, that it is difficult to keep track of all of them. I love reading your posts! Thanks.
I find it interesting how we can all read the same passages but each of us reads between the lines differently. I never thought that Joseph resented his brothers for what they did to him. I feel this way because of Genesis 45. I will admit that Joseph probably didn’t immediately reveal who he was to his brothers because he wanted to see if their attitudes had changed but I don’t think he resented them for years and years and years. There is definitely a very happy ending to this story.
I agree, if Joseph had been resentful, God could not have blessed him the way he did in Egypt because HIS heart would have been hardened. That is the single most important lesson about forgiveness, that we forgive for our own hearts to be open to God. I have heard that resentment or holding a grudge is like taking poison and hoping the other person will die! I am so happy for Joseph that his brothers’ attitudes had changed so they could be reunited.
EXACTLY!!!!! You put into words what I was thinking but didn’t express like you just did.
The reason I expressed the thought that Joseph resented his brothers was because he was ostracized for the gifts God gave him by his brothers (the interpretation of dreams to which the brothers must have called it “just being arrogant on the part of Joseph”. Second, he was then sold into slavery – an act of violence by his brothers to him for something that was not Joseph’s fault. Third, he was sent to a foreign country with different languages and beliefs. Fourth, he was imprisoned for 2 years. I’m not sure, but I think I’d be wee bit annoyed at my brothers for putting me through this, Now the Almighty God, who IS LOVE paved the way for Joseph to be freed from the prison. We also go through feelings of resentment and what saves us and Joseph was the fact that he was always open to accept God’s love as reinforced by the fact that after all that was done to him, he still gave honor to God alone for his gift. Joseph knew that he was not forgotten. It is that faith that allowed him enough of an opening for God to get through.
Peace and blessing to you all…. 🙂
Thanks Joe for sharing! I definitely took your comment about the resentment the wrong way. I agree with you that I also would be a wee bit annoyed at my brothers/sisters/co-workers/friends or whoever else if I was in a similar situation. My prayer is that I would be like Joseph and forgive like Joseph did without sarcastically saying something like “I told you when I was a teenager that you would look up to me. Don’t you remember all those dreams I had?”
Yes, you’re right – he never came back to them throwing it in their face but he did acknowledge to his brothers that what they did was of evil intent (skip to Genesis 50). Perhaps to make the forgiveness connected with something real and not saying “it’s o.k.” for the sake of saying “it’s o.k.”.
Thanks Barb for pointing this out.
Perhaps we should look to Joseph as to how God would hope all of us would respond in like circumstances. I’m going to just put this thought out there: Israel loved Joseph in such a way that Joseph was able to see though bad things to see the good that could come of it. The Fathers’ love (a human father) is how we learn about God the Fathers’ love. In fact someone mentioned what he did say to his brothers. “What you intended for evil, God intended for good.” I’m not saying he didn’t grumble when he was in the bottom of the cistern or forced marched as a slave to Egypt, but that is not the part of the story that is related in scripture. As we know, all scripture is good for teaching. Thank you God for this valuable lesson, help me to internalize it so when I am in like circumstances, I know how You want me to behave!
I am with you on this. Bitterness/Resentment is not what I was feeling/thinking that Joseph was thinking either. I agree that Joseph was much more like “testing” them, than “getting even” with them. Although I think there was at least just a little of the getting even mixed in there too.
As a side note, what jumped out at me in this reading was Gen. 55-57. It reminded me of the Wedding of Canaan, foreshadowing Mary’s request when the wine ran out and telling the stewards to do as He tells you. Here hunger comes and pharaoh directs the Egyptians to do whatever Joseph tells them. For the wedding, drink runs out and Mary says the same thing. And then in Gen. 57 it states that all of the world comes to Joseph to be fed, and now through Jesus the world comes to be fed by the Eucharist, the bread of life.
Then I thought about the 12 brothers foreshadowing the apostles…. Some act rashly with a sword like Peter in the garden on the night Jesus was betrayed and others betraying Jesus, like Judas. Joseph is betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery. But for all of the suffering that goes on, the victim forgives and all are reconciled once again.
Yes! The OT truly does point to the New Testament, and the NT truly does illuminate the Old Testament.
Thank you Karen for sharing. I know that many things in the OT foreshadow things in the NT but sadly I don’t take the time to reflect long enough to see them all. Thank you Sarah Christmyer for putting this online bible study together and this discussion board together. It has been so helpful in helping me see our Old Testament ancestors as real people with flaws and weaknesses just like we have today. All the comments have helped me to realized our ancestors were real people not perfect people. The comments have also helped me to put myself in the story and ask myself “How would I act if I was in the same situation?”
I like how you brought in the other OT stories. For sure Joseph is a type of Christ.
I find that anyone who overcomes his own human failings whether overcoming resentments or animosity is a type of Christ. It is what the saints have managed to do with the grace of God. Please pray for me because I’ve managed to build up enough resentment in my brother to the point that we are not talking. I’ve tried to reach out to him but he’s hardened his heart towards me. I’m trying not to be resentful towards him but I strongly believe that the resentment is just another form of protection I have for myself of being hurt by him again.
I prayed for five years for two separate families to reconcile and The Lord reconciled each of those families in the most unexpected way! So don’t give up hope, just keep praying and it will happen!
Thank you Karen for your hopeful outlook. What I’m praying for is that this silence doesn’t continue to a point that we just get so used to not being in each other’s lives and that would be truly sad. God bless you.
You are not alone, so many of us have had the same experience and for more than eight years my husband did not speak to his brother the longer it went on the sicker we became, it wasn’t what we would have wanted, but when we realized that we were not in control and gave it up to God and prayed for his brother and family the rosary many times and forgave him from the heart and really let it go, we became healthier and good things have come…they now have a good relationship. When Mother Teresa was asked how do we stop world war? Her response was go home and love your families…I will pray for you and your brother through Mary our mother and the blessings that come from prying type rosary…
Thank you so much Joy for your words of comfort and your prayers. I’m truly grateful.
Joe, I feel your pain. I too have a family member who’s hardened his heart. I pray every night that he let’s go of some of the hurt which will enable him to soften his heart again towards those who hurt him. Time tends to heal wounds more often than not. I will pray for you and your brother that you be united again, hopefully sooner than later.
I appreciate your kind words. Thank you.
Joe I will pray for you. Are you sure that what you feel is not resentment but fear. There are two sides to forgiveness accepting forgiveness and forgiving I find it easy to forgive but very hard to accept forgiveness when it is offered. When I ask for forgiveness I fully expect (like Joseph’s brothers ) to give me some sort of punishment. Unconditional forgiveness is hard to deal with. We see that Joseph’s brothers had such a hard time dealing with it they had to lie about Jacob’s last wishes.
I am reminded of something my father used to say to his children when we quarreled (there were 7 of us): remember to be good to each other because when the chips are down, your family is all you have. I also remember how my oldest sister and I did not get along growing up (we are close now). I once heard someone saying unkind things about this sister and I came to her defense without hesitation. Nobody messes with my family!
I see Judah completely reconciled to his family – at some point he must have decided how important his family was and moved closer; perhaps the famine drove him in? I see him accepting fully the consequences of his youthful indiscretions, to the point of offering himself in atonement that his father might not suffer. I note that none of the brothers seemed to begrudge the extra care and portions Benjamin obviously received from Israel and then Joseph, much different than when Joseph was an impetuous youth.
Judah has taken all his experiences, faced them squarely and allowed himself to mature into a patriarchal presence advocating, interceding and offering himself sacrificially for his family.
Is it incredible how the boys went to Egypt to be fed and received more than food for their bellies but the nourishment associated with the healing power of love.
Amazingly changed person. Comforting his father Jacob and even exchanged himself for his half brother Benjamin so that his father may not grieve to death. Such filial piety needs to be admired
Judah most likely spent years reflecting on his losses…his wife, his 2 sons, his brother, and his sins. After being confined in the guardhouse with his brothers for 3 days ( humm.. 3 days) he returns to his father Jacob. Realizing his family will not be saved, from famine in this case, the father, Jacob, willingly sends his son Benjamin. Judah, the line from which Jesus will come, willingly offers to stand surety or him…
( humm again…a father sending an only son to save his family…and a son willingly accepting responsibility)… Old Testament leading to the New. God always has a plan. We often see it in retrospect but in the midst of life our eyes are often covered with scales and cannot see.
Lord, help me to see with the eyes of faith. Remove the scales fom my yes. Help me to trust in you in he good times and bad.
I hope that made some sense. Sorry for the typos.
Made perfect sense. 🙂
Amen to that, Sister!
Beautifully said…I like when you begin to write something and another revelation pops up about what you’re thinking about – that is the Holy Spirit guiding you and all of us in this study and hopefully outside this study as well.
Judah has truly transformed in these chapters. In previous comments I have spoken of free-will. I believe this is what Judah “suffered” from in his younger years. He made the choice to allow Joseph to be taken but I believe his conscience told him they were wrong as God was always with him. As I mentioned yesterday, this is why I believe he went away from his brothers after Joseph was sold. He was truly suffering because he put his own needs, wants and desires first, not those of others and he knew he was wrong. He put himself first because he was suffering and hurting. Thankfully, God was working in him, so ultimately, a change for the good does occur. I liken this change that Judah went through to St. Thomas Aquinas’ definition of love, “Willing the effective good of the other, as other!” Indeed, Judah came to see that love of father, love of brother, even love of oneself can only truly occur when you want those you encounter to be truly happy. Judah sought the opportunity to show this love by letting go of the hurts he had incurred, most notably, not being the favored son. What growth, indeed! Judah took full responsibility for his brother Benjamin when they went to Egypt by saying he was the guarantee of his brother’s life. A second time we see the effective good of the other, as other, occur when Judah offers to be a slave to Joseph in place of Benjamin so their father, Israel, does not suffer further heartbreak and anguish by losing his only other son by his beloved Rachel. Just as Judah learned, it is not always easy putting others first, especially when we feel we have been wronged. (The, “It’s all about me!” mentality.) This, however, is exactly what God wants from each of us; to put others’ needs above our own. When we do this, I believe, we are becoming the people God wants us to be; saints that are truly worthy of His eternal company.
Very well put. Thank you.
Judah has developed so much from when he was jealous of his brother Joseph as it is clear that he loves Benjamin (his father’s new favourite). Notwithstanding the cruel words of his father where he says he has lost one of his two sons, Judah accepts his father’s limited capacity and puts the needs of his father first. He has learned to stand out from his brothers, take responsibility and be brave enough to plead for his youngest brother. He has grown wiser, kinder and stronger than his father and meets his obnoxious brother who has also mellowed and grown in the same way.
I noticed the interchange between the use of the name Jacob and Israel. It is Jacob who sends his sons (except Benjamin) to Egypt, Israel who asks why his sons brought trouble and sends Benjamin (in his eyes, his only son), and at the end of Chapter 45, all of the boys are now Israel’s sons. I wondered whether, this was describing the family growing from Jacob and family, into being Israel and sons of Israel? If so, it might be in the same way, we also grow in faith fulfilling our potential (in faith) to achieve the promises God has in store for us?
I am fascinated about Judah in this reading today. I have to admit that I red the subtext explanation to help me, but wow it is cool! Judah was never a bad man as he wanted to rescue Joseph in the initial scene, but now he has matured by speaking up in front of everyone! It begins to explain how it is that the line of Judah is the one that stayed pure and became the faith we know as the Jews today.
Just wondering…why do you think Joseph in 45:24, when he sends his brothers away laden with supplies and provisions, says ” let there be no recriminations on the way”?
A few months ago I noticed that I too had difficulty reading certain passages in Scripture. I found that you can go to http://www.biblegateway.com and read the same passage in another version of the Bible. I was amazed at how different certain verses are in the bible: New American Standard Bible, New International Readers Version… For instance look at Genesis chapter 19: 5. Use the side by side comparisons of this verse and you will see what I mean.
I am reading the RSV (revised standard version) 2nd Catholic Edition and 45:24 reads “Then he sent his brothers away, and as they departed, he said to them, Do not quarrel on the way.” I found it easier to understand than the verse you have in your bible noted above. The family were finally making amends and Joseph wanted his family to go back to Canaan in peace. I believe he did not want them to rehash the terrible sin that did years prior with getting rid of Joseph, placing blame on each other all over again. He wanted to start on a clean slate and let their relationship flourish by not staying stuck on the past. We all need to move forward and leave guilt and blame behind. Don’t you think?
Ah yes, that makes more sense. It also shows great leadership on Joseph’s part…telling his big brothers to let it go, it’s in the past.
Exactly : )
Amen…who am I to judge for I too am a sinner seeking God’s forgiveness.
Against whom, and by whom does he think there might be recriminations? Does he still not truly believe they all have changed hearts?
Not sure exactly who the trouble maker would be, but it only take one to stir up trouble and create unrest and tension. Their journey back home is long, plenty of time to think and possibly become judgmental. I do believe Joseph thinks they had a change of heart, but don’t people have the tendency to revert to a prior bad habit or way. Man may want to change, but sometimes its not so easy. Is it possible there was still a tiny bit of underlying jealously, that if not kept in check, could flourish again out of control if not kept at bay?
This is the first time I have a close look at Judah, son of Jacob/Israel. Being grow up among a big family with many wives from the same father, the peer pressure would be high. Judah was played along with his brothers when they intended to kill young Joseph, his suggested another solution as a mean to remove their father’s favourite son at the crucial moment. As time goes by, his maturity as a righteous man has also improved. Always at the crucial moment, Judah has demonstrated his leadership role and take charge of the responsibility to his father and Joseph. Looking back in my life when facing the crucial moments, have I ever acted upon with courage to make the right decision?!
the gates of heaven are closed during this period of time.
in chapter42:38 Jacob replied “you would send my white head down to sheol in grief” I assume that Jacob knew this–do you all agree ?? ray
That’s right, I forgot about that… Closed from the time of Adam/Eve till “Jesus descended into Hell (to do all the Judgement)… and on the 3rd day rose again” Since Jacob used the word Sheol, then he must have known, because that is the place where all the souls waited for judgement. I just found: In the Hebrew Scriptures, the word used to describe the realm of the dead is sheol. It simply means “the place of the dead” or “the place of departed souls/spirits.”
I found it here: http://www.gotquestions.org/sheol-hades-hell.html
What I gathered from the reading today was that Judah had become more mature and acted more like an authoritarian figure than before. His demeanor demonstrated patience, kindness and responsibility toward his family.
With every chapter I read lately, I get more impressed with Judah. His actions show he is becoming a man of good heart/character. In Chapter 44, he attempts to give himself to slavery so that Benjamin could be released. Quite a contrast to the Judah I perceived when I read that he sold Joseph to slavery. When I read that, I was 50/50 split trying to decide if he truly hated & wanted to be rid of his brother, and make his brother greatly suffer, humiliate him, and to “make some money to boot”, …or… it was a way to save Joseph’s life. I now am pretty sure he did it to save Joseph’s life.
I think it’s pretty clear that Judah wanted to spare Joseph’s life. It was the lesser of two evils.
Yes, that is the conclusion I am coming to.
I agree with PnkyB4brain and Kevin. Israel favoured Joseph and Benjamin above the children of Leah, causing much resentment amongst the brothers and their behaviour towards the younger Joseph. The Judah in these chapters has grown up to be a caring and responsible man. In some ways I can identify with Judah in that since reverting, I have started to mature in faith. I have a long way to go (hopefully) because it is a journey that lasts a lifetime.
Judah cannot help but be humbled, chastened and grateful for the grace bestowed on him. Who, carrying the burden of crushing guilt, could experience that kind of forgiveness and not be transformed?
Judah, is ready to give his life up in front of Joseph and it was before Joseph reveals himself.
This section of scripture is a mirrored image of today. Time and time I have witnessed myself and others transforming a less sinful life toward seeking a stronger commitment with God. Not always, but many of times it is the older whom wisdom kicks in to assist in finding that the best way of life is for the love of God.
I admire the young when they are walking with God at such a young age. God bless!
Joseph models Jesus in living the commandment of forgiving others through love. Amazing and something for me to continually strive for.
Judah has changed. My thought is that is because he has hit rock bottom; fear of hunger, fear of hurting his dad again, fear of failure, etc. If he had been well-fed and prosperous, I don’t know what he would have done. These chapters really show me how God uses the worst situations to bring about good.
YES, I think God does exactly that! Especially in today’s world! I think that since the coming of Christ, and that we in today’s world have Christ to learn from, and the Bible to refer to, God does not directly intervene nearly at all anymore. Especially compared to the old testament ages, when those people had no instruction, except what God gave them directly.
It is my opinion that in today’s world, God is not the cause of any of the disasters or any of the “bad” things that happen. Those are ALL directly or indirectly caused by Satin. I do believe though, that God actually uses those things/events/etc, so he can watch us. To see what choices/actions we take with our “Free Will”. Do we act with bitterness/revenge? or in a Christ Like way… I read a book once. Recommended by my priest because I was having troubles understanding something… The book is called “Where the Hell is God” Written by a Jesuit priest, who had his faith shaken by a tragedy in his own family. I had to read the book twice. Once to get a feel where he was going with it. Then the second time through it I think I REALLY GOT IT!!! Another incredible book to read is “As We Forgive Those” by Charles F. Finck (2014 was a tough year for me, but a VERY good year for my faith!!!)
We see a “naked” Judah in every sense of the word. And in this vulnerable state he finally sees and transforms to a man of god.
What does this show? It shows that even the most flawed of us can transform and break free from our past if we are willing to do so. Even though it takes circumstances it shouldn’t, sometimes it takes quite a blow to start that transformation. We can always turn to God if we are willing to put in the work. The biggest transformations come from the most flawed of us. What better people to spread the message of love and loyalty to our god.
I think God chooses to use the “broken vessels” because the transformation reveals His glory.
Marianne I agree so much. I mentioned before the catholics that are caught up in routine and do not know they are only going thru the motions.
While I have been far from a perfect Catholic (if there is such a thing) I have seen myself go from a broken vessel to a more whole one, revealing such great glory, the likes of which many never see. I wouldn’t change that for the world because I see what many never have had the chance too. And I think now I can use what I have seen to help others as well.
I hear you, m.g. When you experience His healing power, you just want to shout it from the rooftops!
Judah has grown in compassion and wisdom. We saw where he realized and admitted his maltreatment of Tamar and took responsibility. (He could have lied to save face and had her put to death). Now we see that he cannot bear to have his father be grieved again by the loss of a beloved son and so offers himself in Benjamin’s place.
I am grateful for these study questions about Judah. I have always loved these chapters of Genesis, but focused on Joseph and his total faithfulness to God and incredible ability to forgive. That remains a powerful example, but now I also have the example of Judah, who didn’t always act in faith or righteousness, but grew in compassion and learned to become “other” directed.
Judah is now holding himself accountable. Seems he has Repenter and standing for what is right. It reminds me that God knows the heart. I feel he may spare us at times when he knows what our potential is as he is the Beginning and the end.
Josephgave the glory go God regarding his dream interpretation, which more than likely brought more blessings. Let us all remember to give God the glory. Joseph also showed mercy and found it interesting he started under Pharaoh at the age of 30. Lord Jesus make my heart more like yours.
One more thing that keeps striking me over and over… it is also along the lines of how God’s time is not like our time… Especially when he is Testing us!!! When God tests us (per OUR view of time) it is almost always a REALLY long time!!! How many years was Joseph enslaved? During that time, 2 were in prison for something he was framed/accused. Yet he came out with a great attitude! In the book of Tobit, Tobit was blinded for 8 years! Job was tested even more than Tobit.
In reading Genesis now, I have seen it a few times now, how some people have endured suffering for many years. This is a great reminder for me. It gives me great hope about some things I have been praying for for many years now. It gives me more strength to keep going and NOT GIVE UP!!!
Judah acts upon the realization that “family” is the priority of living. He went through the entire process so many of us do, when we take time away from our families, maybe through uncontrollable factors or maybe by choice. It reminds me of my earlier years when I had the yearning to be on my own, to experience my solitude through good choices and more often bad choices. But, as I grew older or maybe matured I learned there is nothing like being close to your parents and siblings. I saw Judah feel the compassion of his father’s suffering and it reminded me of myself. To grow into maturity, love for family is a given. Judah understood the importance of bringing Benjamin back to Egypt and promised his father he would be accountable for his well-being, and later to beg Joseph to allow Benjamin return to his father, made Joseph see the compassion and love Judah displayed. I believe this is what really made Joseph break down and cry.
Wow, Judah has made a 360 degree turn!! From the moment Joseph set them up and accuses them of being spies and sends them back to bring their youngest brother (Benjamin), it is Judah who convinces Jacob (who was reluctant to let Benjamin make this trip) that he would be surety for Benjamin if he fails to return to home with him, and he accepts to bear the blame for this forever. I see this as Judah now being repentant. His cruel attitude towards his younger brother Joseph (‘…let us sell him to the Ishmaelites…’) has now turned into one of protecting and taking responsibility for the safety of his brother (‘… I will be surety for the lad… and if I don’t bring him back to you, then let me bear the blame forever). In fact, when Joseph accuses them of stealing his silver cup, it is Judah who is the first one to speak up and after pleading with Joseph, asks Joseph to take him and not Benjamin as a slave on
account of this incident. Judah has definitely grown from being cruel, heartless and reckless, to being caring, protective and selfless, to the point of being willing to take the blame for
something that is not even his fault.
Joseph breaks down and cries after Judah pleads with him. I think he is especially emotional
at this moment because it was Judah who convinced his brothers to sell him into slavery, and now he sees Judah giving himself up in place of Benjamin – clearly, Joseph must have seen this as a sign of Judah’s repentance. Through all the accusations he leveled at them, he was looking to see if they had repented for what they did to him. I think he was looking more so at Judah.