Genesis 35:9–15, Genesis 37:1–2
While the “rest of the story” appears to mostly be about Joseph, it is incredibly important to understand that from a familial perspective, this is the continuing story (in comic book terms, the “origin” story) of Israel, both the man (born as Jacob) and the people (the 12 male descendant lines of Israel).
Laying the groundwork is very important to understand the framework of the story. In many respects, the story of Joseph and his brothers is told within the larger framework of Israel, which is part of the larger framework of Abraham, and God’s faithfulness to Abraham and his line.
In fact, we can look at the promise of Abraham as a single line (which it was), until the sons of Israel. With the sons of Israel, the line branched and become a fuller, more complete version of itself. What it also bears a testament to is God’s faithfulness in the midst of brokenness.
This was a family heritage that was anything but healthy. It was, by any account, a complete and utter mess. God did something beautiful with it.
1) Have you ever thought that your life was too messy for God to fix? Do you have friends or family who think that?
2) Imagine if God waited for the Israelite family to get it “all together”. Why do you think people believe that God will only accept them after they have it all together? What can we do to share the grace that says, “come as you are”?