Advent Devotional: Faith-Family Tree {Brothers}

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives (Genesis 50:20 NIV).

Snow blanketed the sidewalks and streets in the town where my sister lives. This past week her family woke up to a winter wonderland and the kids jumped for joy as the pulled on their snow pants, stepped into their boots, placed their hands in their mittens, and put on their brightly colored jackets! They were shoveling, sledding, and playing in the snow, and their smiles were huge! Snow days are lots of fun with siblings! Their coats were warm, bright, and made of many colors.

In the Old Testament, Israel gave Joseph a coat of many colors. Israel loved his son Joseph, who was born to him in his old age by his beloved wife, Rachael. But Joseph’s half-brothers were extremely jealous of their father’s affection towards him. Not only was Joseph the child of Israel’s favorite wife, but Joseph also had crazy dreams! In one dream Joseph saw his brothers bowing down to him. A combination of the coat and the dream fueled the brothers’ jealousy to the point they wanted to kill their younger sibling!

Leah’s son Reuben, the oldest brother, suggested that the brothers sell Joseph instead of killing him. So, they threw Joseph into a pit and sold him as a slave. While Joseph was working as a slave, he never lost his confidence in God. But his integrity got him thrown into prison! After another series of events, he ended up in the Egyptian palace.

Today’s Scripture:

The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master (Genesis 39:2 NIV).

Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you’ (Genesis 41:39-40 NIV).

But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance (Genesis 45:7 NIV).

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives (Genesis 50:20 NIV).

Today’s Snapshot: Brothers

In every situation Joseph faced, he never let go of his confidence in God. Joseph had a tremendous amount of Spiritual endurance. God blessed Joseph from the pit to the prison, to the palace.  In prison, Joseph interpreted a dream for Pharaoh, which eventually led to him become Pharoah’s right-hand man.

This prestigious position, allowed for Joseph to save food to prepare for the upcoming famine, which hit Egypt and the surrounding nations hard. Joseph’s brothers and their families were hungry. When they could no longer feed themselves, their hunger led them to Pharoah where they could get food from his storehouses. Joseph recognized his brothers, reconciled with them, and they bowed down to him just as he pictured in his boyhood dream.

God strategically planted Joseph in a place to preserve his family – the twelve tribes of Israel. Through the lineage of his brother Judah, the Spiritual seed passes into the arms of the young mother, whose baby arrived to offer eternal reconciliation, “In a manger where there was no crib for a bed. The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head. The stars in the sky looked down where He lay,” to remind us of the eternal promise.

Family Discussion:
~ Do you have a favorite colorful coat? Can you describe it?

~ Jealously is common among siblings. Regarding your family members, what causes jealousy to stir in you?

~ How do you build Spiritual endurance to help you withstand trials? {pray, read the Bible, read a devotional, spend time in worship}

Closing Prayer:
Heavenly Father,
I praise You for Your presence in every aspect of our lives. Sometimes it feels like we are in a pit and we are in need of Spiritual endurance. Thank You for reminding us that Your promises are eternal regardless of the situations we face here on earth. Thank you for preparing our hearts in the good times so we are ready to face the difficult times. Thank You for the story of Joseph where we see You took him from the pit to the palace, by way of the prison. Your hand was on him the entire time. You knew exactly where you were taking him to preserve Your nation to bring forth Your Son. I praise you for the “big picture” which is your strategic plan and is so much more than our human hearts and finite eyes can see. Thank You for this season and the reason to celebrate the birth of Your Son.
In the Precious Name of Jesus, I Pray,
Amen

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