*Based on ESV.com's Chronological Bible In a Year schedule. If anyone would like to join in, this blog's comments sections would be a good forum in which to share insights from the text.
A Case for Spiritual Reading (Gen. 43-45)
It is a good idea to think of the spiritual realm when we read histories in the Bible.
Thinking this way means asking questions of the biblical text. "What was God's purpose here? What role might Satan have played?" These questions assume that you believe in predestination (i.e. God determines the outcome of all events before they happen) and that you believe in the existence of Satan and demons. The New Testament letters are so insightful because the authors -inspired by God to write- interpreted the Old Testament and recent history with these kinds of questions in mind. Those letters show us how to read the Bible.
The Hand of God In the Life of Judah
Now with that all of that in mind, let us think about the spiritual realm in Judah's life; let us interpret the book of Genesis spiritually. I will show you what I am talking about here. We will look at the book of Genesis the way Peter, Paul, John, James, Jude, and the writer of Hebrews might have done.
The Role of Satan In the Life of Judah
- Encouraged Jacob's favoritism, which caused envy and discord
- Stoked the anger and jealousy of Judah towards Joseph
- Did this to break down and destroy the blessed family of Abraham
- Put it in Judah's mind to sell Joseph to the Ishmaelite slave traders
- Continued to pull Judah down into the spiral of sin (story of Tamar)
The Purpose of God In the Life of Judah
- Supplied visions to Joseph which stoked the envy of Judah
- Caused Judah and his brothers to go to Dothan - away from sight
- Supplied a man to send Joseph into the hostile arms of Judah
- Brought along the carriage of Ishmaelite slave traders just in time
- Had Judah sell Joseph instead of killing him (softened his heart)
- Did all of this to send Joseph before his brothers into Egypt
- Humbled Judah through the episode with Tamar
- Humbled Judah so that Joseph would reconcile with the family
- Caused all of this to bring the Twelve Patriarchs to Egypt
- Did all of this to keep Israel from blending in with evil cultures; no danger of that in Egypt, as "Egyptians could not eat with Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians."
As we can see, what Satan and mankind often intend for evil (favoritism, anger, jealousy, selling Joseph to slavery, the sin of Judah with Tamar, etc.) God intends for good and has a purpose in it. After all, that is a central theme of these chapters of Genesis - check Genesis 45.8 and 50.15-21
Other comments and observations can be found in the comments section! Join in!