The Words of Hope Devotional is a non-profit, donor-supported publication whose goal is to encourage readers to grow in faith through the practice of daily Bible reading and prayer.
Read: Genesis 37:1-36
And he made him a robe of many colors. (v. 3)
I sang songs from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat almost 50 years ago when I was in junior high. Although I’d seen the coat of many colors in our family’s Bible storybook, I really learned the story of Joseph and his brothers from singing about it.
If we stick to the text, we see there is more to the story than jealousy over Joseph’s fancy garment. The real problem between Joseph and his brothers came from Joseph’s dreams, or rather from Joseph telling his brothers about his dreams. The idea that little Joseph would be ascendant over his adult brothers was repugnant to them, and they took matters into their own hands.
One character not mentioned in the story is God. Where is God in the midst of the violence done to Joseph? The theological payoff doesn’t come until many years later, when Joseph, now indeed in a position of authority over his brothers, could say to them that what they meant for evil God used for good (Gen. 50:20). God did not directly intervene in the story of Joseph the way God did with Abraham and Jacob. God was more muted, which is more like our experience with God. It takes the eyes of faith to see God working his purpose out over many years in hidden and mysterious ways. —Jeff Munroe
As you pray, reflect on how God’s purposes have become known to you.
Read: Genesis 32:22-32 And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. (v. 24) This is the ultimate inexhaustible story. I’ve read books, commentaries, sermons, and articles about it. It was the text for my ordination sermon
Read: Genesis 29:15-30 Behold, it was Leah! (v. 25) My friend the used car salesman once said to me, “You have to take advantage of your friends because your enemies will never get close enough.” Laban must have been his
Read: Genesis 27:1-45 The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau. (v. 22) This story is as iconic as any in the Bible, yet I cannot say that there is any easy-to-apply moral or theological
Read: Genesis 22:1-19 Abraham . . . took the knife to slaughter his son. (v. 10) This story is from a very different time. The idea of animal sacrifice is foreign enough; human sacrifice is unimaginable. Could God ask for
Read: Genesis 18:1-15 Is anything too hard for the LORD? (v. 14) God dropped by Abraham and Sarah’s place for a visit. That’s stunning. Here was God, long before the incarnation of Jesus, in human form. God is not a
Read: Genesis 6:5-22 The LORD regretted he had made man. (v. 6) Ancient Israel didn’t do systematic theology. We have theories about God like “immutability” (God cannot change), which tend to make God fixed and static and predictable. In contrast,
Read: Genesis 4:1-16 And the LORD put a mark on Cain. (v. 15) If this were solely a story about murder, we could read it and move on. After all, we already know murder is wrong. Instead, the story is
Read: Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-24 Did God actually say, “You shall not eat of any tree in the garden”? (3:1) I remember almost dropping the Christian faith years ago because I thought its explanation for the existence of every sort of
Read: 2 Timothy 3:10-17 From childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings. (v. 15) When I was young, we had a brightly illustrated book of Bible stories sandwiched on a shelf between Mother Goose and Dr. Seuss. My