- Today's Reading:
- Genesis 37:1 - 38:30
- Proverbs 3:27-32
Genesis 37:1 - 38:30
We begin the reading today by being introduced to a famous man of the bible: Joseph. Joseph is Jacob's favorite son. The introduction of Joseph jumps right into his dreams; dreams where his brothers, the sun and the universe all bow before him. If I had those dreams, I think I would wonder what those dreams meant myself, but I'm not sure I would I have told my entire family that I dreamed that one day they would all bow before me. In today's times, birthright rank does not seem to be taken as severely as it was then. I imagine the thought of all the elder brothers bowing before Joseph was not only absurd, but highly offensive. Nonetheless this does not give cause for what the brothers did. The brothers sold Joseph into slavery (Judah convinced his brothers to do this instead of leaving Joseph for dead) and dipped Joseph's lovely coat, given to him by Jacob, into blood and sent it back to their father. Joseph was taken to Egypt.
In chapter 38 we learned that Judah left the encampment and married a Canaanite woman, Hirah. I wonder, did Judah leave out of guilt for what they did to Joseph? Judah had three sons, the first of which (Er) married a woman named Tamar. The bible says that Er was wicked and therefore the Lord killed him. Judah then instructed his second son, Onan, to marry Tamar and produce an heir for his brother. Onan married Tamar as instructed. He slept with her but would not leave his seed inside her to become pregnant. I find that entirely loathsome and hurtful. Apparently the Lord was also outraged because he also killed Onan. Judah then promised Tamar he would give his third son, Shelah, to Tamar when he was of age, but Judah lied. He did not want Shelah to die as his other two sons had.
Tamar decided she would have her heir, so she disguised herself as a prostitute and waited for Judah. Judah took the bait and slept with Tamar, who then became pregnant with twins. What amazes me is that Judah called for Tamar to be burned for acting like a prostitute, yet what about him? He also solicited sex from a prostitute. Tamar then informed Judah that he was the father of her babies by showing him the belongings he left with her. Judah then proclaimed that she was more righteous than he, because he should have given Shelah to her as he had promised. When Tamar's twins were born, one twin started to emerge first, when the other twin managed to somehow get ahead of his brother and come out first.
The verse that stuck out most to me in this set is verse 3:27. It tells us not to withhold good from those who deserve it, and to help those who ask for it right now. Of course it's not going to be convenient for us, it rarely is. But don't turn it away. If someone needs your help -- emotional, financial, spiritual, physical -- give it to them right now, right when they need it. This verse stuck out most to be because I know I could go out of my way more than I do to help those in need. Too often do I find excuses to why the time is not now right to help them. I must be must more conscious of this and not only take opportunities to help others, but to also seek out ways to help those that do not come to me.