Sunday, January 8, 2012

On 1-15-12 Genesis 45:3-15 will be our International Sunday School Lesson/Adult Sunday School Lesson herein is my commentary. This lesson is known by some as God Preserves a Remnant aka A Brother Revealed

God Preserves a Remnant
 A Brother Revealed
Genesis 45:3-15
International Sunday School Lesson
January 15, 2012

Jed Greenough

Last week at one point in my commentary I said that at times God’s will is discernable; which left the unsaid, that at other times His plans are not revealed to us or that the plan is of such a Godly scope that it might not play out in a lifetime or even lifetimes.  We know that God’s plan that we have been studying the last few weeks is both.

First we see the plan that God had for Joseph, his father Jacob and his brothers has been revealed to us over a few chapters and to Joseph over several years.  The larger plan for Israel and for us was just beginning here.

In it is my firm belief that we should draw faith from this in a multitude of ways beginning with the fact that God has plans of which we are unaware but sometimes they are discernable, God willing. 

The first example for us to grow in faith is this story of Joseph and all that occurs with him until he is ultimately reunited with his brothers.  Here in today’s verse 5 we see the realization of what God’s plan had been for Joseph and his family.

The next faith builder from the lesson is when we see that our God is working out all things according to His will.  It was God’s will that these people, the descendants of Abraham be preserved both then in the famine and in the years of bondage to Egypt that would follow.

Finally because of all the scriptures we grow in our faith as further reading in the Bible will reveal that long after Joseph and his father and brothers were gone  the far reaching history reveals God’s plan as it all comes together. 

This similarly can help us to realize that while we were here we can play a part in His will too.  Realizing that quite possibly our small part will pay off in the immediate moments we are here but also potentially long after we are gone just as it is with Joseph.  Oh how wonderful is the faith and knowledge of how all powerful our Father is!

As I am writing today’s lesson I have myself had what I will call a “Joseph moment”.  No, I wasn’t sold into slavery and it didn’t take me years to find out what God’s plan was but it was eerie to see it revealed in hindsight!

Now because this is of a rather personal nature I will give only scant details but it should be sufficient to create the idea for you of how moments in our lives, “Joseph moments”, can help us grow in our faith.

Near the time I wrote this commentary I had recently gone on what I will call an “annual trek” without my family.  Normally this is something that I do every year and I anticipate it greatly.  While gone I am in my favorite environs, I eat what I want and I do everything pretty much according to my whim.

I had nothing concrete but a tentative schedule which would have me gone from home over two weeks but after only two days at my destination my whole being was heavily laden and I could draw no enjoyment from being there.  I felt drawn to go home and I left in the morning without delay.

Now I must freely admit to you that I was frustrated by what seemed a needless waste of time and resources but I had only been home a few days when a very clear reason for my being there at home with my wife became apparent.  It wasn’t life threatening but a situation arose that we needed to address together.  The stress that my wife would have been under handling it herself with me 800 miles away makes me grateful to God for urging me home.

Now again, I am sorry for the vagueness but there are enough details there to show that why I needed to be home was revealed to me and as a result my faith is stronger.  This could be the end of the matter or I might yet see more of God’s will revealed to us as a result of this incident.  But who knows what ultimately will play out long after I might be gone but I know that it might and from that, again, I grow in my faith.

For Discussion:

1.      How old was Joseph now?
2.      Discuss the graciousness of Joseph.
3.      Discuss why Benjamin was held in such high esteem to both Joseph and his father.
4.      Have people share experiences where God’s plans have come to light.
5.      Consider the additional verses of 1 and 2 then consider the emotions running through Joseph as you read today’s scripture.
6.      If you have read the chapters between last week and this one you will better understand the position of power that Joseph had and the feeling of weakness that the brothers would have.  Then to be faced with their sin of having sold Joseph long ago you will be better able to understand the terror or trouble that the brothers felt in verse 3.  Genesis 42:21-22
7.      That the brothers had sinned in selling Joseph into slavery is not debatable, in light of that fact read and discuss verses 5-8 from today.

Upcoming Adult Sunday School Class Commentaries

1-22-12:    Joseph Transmits Abraham’s Promise (Reconciliation in the Family) Genesis 50:15-26
1-29-12:     Out of Egypt (A New Ordinance) Exodus 15:1-3, 19, 22-26 or 15:1-5, 19-26
2-5-12:       Justified by Faith in Christ Galatians 2:15-21
2-12-12:    Freed from Law through Christ (The Blessing for All) Galatians 3:1-14

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved

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