October 19, 2020


Genesis 37:1-11

Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons. . . .

—  Genesis 37:3

As he settled down in the land God had promised, Jacob’s struggles within his own family intensified. Rachel, Joseph’s mother, had always been Jacob’s favorite wife (see Genesis 29:30). And that favoritism now began to affect the next generation. Joseph is the new favorite, and his dreams reveal an arrogance that irritates not only his brothers but his father as well. This irritation would later bear tragic fruit in the family.

Sometimes our past sins reappear just when we think we have begun to settle and grow in our life before God. Perhaps we thought we had left behind our marriage struggles, our angry exchanges with a coworker, or our struggles with addiction. We have been encouraged by the work of God’s Spirit in our life. Yet we discover that we still have moments of struggle and temptation, and we sometimes return to the same old sins in our lives.

The Bible is not a story about spiritual superheroes who have “arrived” in their walk with God. It is God’s story of working in people’s lives, redeeming and restoring them to wholeness for the sake of Christ.

What’s more, we have a Savior who understands all our temptations and struggles (see Hebrews 4:15). God would continue to work for Jacob’s redemption, and he will continue to work for our salvation as well.

Heavenly Father, help us. Our sins and weaknesses sometimes keep such a grip on us. Be merciful to us, redeem us, and make us whole for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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