Genesis 36-38

When the One Who Sees Is Hard to See

“Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into a deep pit. We can tell our father that a wild animal has eaten him. Then we’ll see what becomes of all his dreams! Genesis 37:20 NLT

These three chapters are filled with genealogies, stories of jealousy, hatred, and family disfunctionality. It would be so easy to read these chapters and conclude that God is nowhere to be found. His name is just mentioned once, and only in reference to the evil life that one of Judah’s sons lived before Him. There is no renewal of the covenant like we have seen so often before. There are no visions of God or visits from angels. No, there are only seemingly pointless lists of the generations of Esau, the shockingly sinister behavior of the sons of Jacob toward their younger brother Joseph, and the sad story of Judah and his treatment of Tamar. Where is God in all of this?

But if you know much about the Bible at all, you know “the rest of the story.” You know that what happens to Joseph has the hand print of God all over it. This extremely sad story would have a very happy ending. Even the story of Judah and Tamar, as dark and depressing as it appears to be, has a glimmer of light within it. Because one of the sons born to Tamar from her incestuous relationship with her own father-in-law, would end up being listed in the genealogy of the Messiah (Matthew 1:3).

I am reminded that while it is sometimes difficult to see God in the midst of the circumstances of life, He is there. God is ALWAYS there and He is always orchestrating and overseeing the affairs of men. At no time are we out of His sight or operating outside of His sovereign authority. We may violate His plans and disobey His law, we may act in unrighteous ways and do unconscionable things, but God is still there and He is still in control. We may not see Him, but He sees us. We may feel like things are completely out of His control, but time will always prove us wrong. While we may have a hard time seeing God in these three chapters, He is there. The story of Joseph may sound like a twisted tale of sibling rivalry gone bad, but we will learn that it is really the story of the sovereign hand of God over the affairs of men. God is behind the scenes putting in place His plan of salvation for the people of Israel, and setting the stage for His miraculous deliverance of them from slavery and bondage. Little did the brothers of Joseph know that they were setting in motion an incredible series of circumstances that would result in the Exodus, the great Old Testament foreshadowing of the coming Messiah and His deliverance of mankind from slavery to sin.

As you read through the Old Testament, always look for God. He is there. You may not see Him immediately, but rest assured that He is there, hidden behind all the scenes and shadows of deception, hatred, moral failure, and human sinfulness. He is there. And He is the God who sees. Do you see Him in your life today? Look for Him. He is not always obvious. But rest assured that He is there behind those circumstances that appear so bleak and foreboding. He is there behind that relationship that looks hopeless. He is there behind your feelings of helplessness. He is there behind all your doubts, fears, and feelings of weakness. He is there. But we must look for Him. And sometimes we will not see Him clearly until time has passed and we are able to look back and see His fingerprints all over that portrait of our lives.

Father, You are there. You are here. You have not gone anywhere and You are not busy somewhere else. You are intimately and powerfully involved in my life and, while I may not see You clearly right now, the day will come when I will. Open my eyes today so that I might see You in the midst of my day. And when I can’t, give me the faith to believe that You are there. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

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