A Cherished Birth: Joseph

We’re a couple of weeks into the New Year, yet it seems Christmas 2018 is far behind us.  The birth of Christ gets shelved along with the Nativity scene for many of us.  But today, we have reason to think of another special birth in our new study, “Joseph: A Life With Many Colors”. 

First, let’s be clear because the name Joseph is just as confusing as the name John with respect to the Bible.  (Let’s face it: not everyone was lucky enough be named Tychicus or Onesiphorus.)   We’re looking at Joseph–not the one with Mary and the manger and no room at the inn—we’re looking at the one born in Genesis 30 and we can see this birth was a special moment too.

Why was it special?  Cherished?

Joseph was born to Jacob (also known as Israel) and his wife Rachel.  They had tough start in marriage since Jacob—deceiver extraordinaire—reaped what he had sown over that whole “sell me your birthright” stuff with his brother Esau.  What goes around, comes around.  I’d say karma, but I don’t actually believe in that. 

Jacob had been working for a guy named Laban—a relative who made Jacob’s deception look like child’s play.  Laban had two daughters: Leah and Rachel.  Leah was older and headed for Old Maidsville.  Rachel was the girl Jacob wanted.  Laban (Deceiver Dad) pulls a grand switch and hides Leah under a veil and after the vows are said and the act is done…it’s morning and Bride Surprise.

Jacob naturally protested this situation, an Ancient Near East version of WTH?  You can read the whole multiple wives thing yourself.  It’s all right there in Genesis 29.  (Betcha Jacob peeked under the second veil to make sure it wasn’t someone else.  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.)

Two wives, double trouble, and the birth wars began.  Frankly, if the wedding situation was a mess, this sibling rivalry between Leah and Rachel was worse.  These two women plus their maidservants and garnished with some fertility mandrake plants populated the official Tribes of Israel in a very messy way.  Genesis 30:15 But [Leah] said to [Rachel], “Wasn’t it enough that you took away my husband? Will you take my son’s mandrakes too?” “Very well,” Rachel said, “he can sleep with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.”


Sisters.  Hmmm.  Just as an aside, don’t you find it interesting that the Chosen People of Israel would be like this and how into the total mess of human life, God sends a deliverer?  Not “the deliverer” who will come much later, but one named Joseph whose many-colored life would in fact provide a pattern anticipating the Christ to come.

And it all began with a cherished birth:  Genesis 30:22 Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and opened her womb. 23 She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said, “God has taken away my disgrace.” 24 She named him Joseph.”

Think about it:

  1. Why does God choose to send deliverers into messy situations? 
  2. What encouragement does that offer for your life and mine? 
  3. Why would Jacob favor Joseph, the first biological offspring of himself and his favorite wife, Rachel? 
  4. Is it right for parents to play favorites with their children?  What types of trouble does that invite? 
  5. In 1 Chronicles 2:1-2, we read that “these were the sons of Israel: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Joseph, Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher.”  Only two of them were born to Rachel.  Which two?

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on January 20, 2019

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