August 16, 2020 ~ Joseph

Readings for Sunday, August 16, 2020

Genesis 45:1-15; Psalm 133; Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32; Matthew 15:10-28


The Bible study sessions this week focused on the Old Testament passage from Genesis 45:1-15, which continues the narrative of Joseph. Joseph’s story takes him from being sold as a slave by his brothers, to his imprisonment in Egypt, to finally becoming a counselor or confidant to Pharaoh, “lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt” (Genesis 45:8).

When famine causes Joseph’s brothers to travel to Egypt in search of grain, Joseph recognizes them, even thought they do not recognize Joseph. Genesis 45:1-15 tells how Joseph reveals his identity to his brothers and then begins the process of family reconciliation by welcoming them and offering his house. First he offers them a word of consolation, aimed at quelling their own guilt and anger. Joseph then tells his brothers how this horrid situation was used by God for their sakes.

Contributor to Feasting on the Word Curriculum, James C. Howell puts it this way: “Joseph may never understand or sympathize with the brothers’ actions, but he can love. The brothers could grovel in guilt forever, but the reconciling grace of Joseph’s mercy enables them to stand up, and to love and live. It is not merely that they make peace; they see the divine purpose in it all. God did not force the brothers to sin, just as God does not force Joseph to reconcile. Rather, God uses the bone-headedness, God brings beauty out of hatred – and it is the glimpse into this holy purpose that gives us hope.”

Source:       Feasting on the Word Curriculum, August 16, 2020, PCUSA


Note: We have concluded the Bible study sessions for the summer. Thank you to all who participated to make it a time of learning and growth. Bible study will resume in September. Date to be announced.

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