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Lenten Reflection: Feb. 22

Audio Reading of Genesis 37:1-11

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Today’s texts: Genesis 37:1-11; 1 Corinthians 1:1-19; Mark 1:1-13

Genesis 37:1-11

This familiar beginning to the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis immediately presents the tension within Jacob’s family–there is a rivalry among his sons.  Joseph stands in isolation from his older brothers and for good reason.

Joseph is Jacob’s favored son and receives a specially made robe from him; he is a tattletale and brings his father “a bad report” about the behavior of his brothers; he shares not one, but two dreams with his family where he stands over them.  As a result, three times we are told that Joseph’s brothers “hated” him.

Did Joseph say anything that wasn’t true?  No!  But the way he handled the truth and the manner in which his family reacted to his words all attest to the sin in their hearts.  No one comes off innocent in this story.

Jacob loves Joseph more than any of his other sons in a display of blatant favoritism.  Joseph is puffed up with arrogance and pride as a result.  And the brothers become jealous and resentful of their younger sibling.  Within this family unit where love should prevail over everything else, we find instead that sin intrudes, dominates and fractures their relationships.

Lent is a time to remind ourselves that we need the cross of Christ to redeem us from the darkness within our hearts.  In traditional Asian families, it is not uncommon to find favoritism and disparity due to gender (male), birth order (first-born), academic success (“A” student) or other accomplishments (lucrative career).  Valuing these things can breed discontent and rivalry as in Jacob’s household.  Do we need to bring our pride, our jealousy, or our resentment to the foot of the cross?  Are there festering attitudes that need to be exposed to the light of God’s love?

Audio Reading of Genesis 37:1-11

Andrew Lee 200
Rev. Dr. Andrew Lee is the East Region Director for ISAAC.  He also teaches in seminaries and provides pastoral consultation to churches. .

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