If you were to list the members of your distant and immediate family, how long would it be before you cringed when you wrote that one name? How long would it be before you remembered those words you heard or that event you experienced? You may have been to blame, or you could have been blameless. Either way, you are reminded your family isn’t perfect. The Bible is filled with stories of people resembling you and your family.
To Think About:
- Read Genesis 37:1-8. It’s easy to understand why the brothers were upset with the family situation. Describe circumstances today where favoritism may be shown to one family member over another. If it wasn’t favoritism, what is another instance that led you to hate another person in your family?
- Read Genesis 37:17-27. Hatred led to lying and deceit. What other emotions or actions have you seen favoritism or hatred lead to next? What actions could have changed the situation for the better?
- Look at Genesis 38 and identify some of the main characters and how they are related. Briefly describe a situation in your family where marriage, divorce, or death greatly complicated many other family relationships. Do you feel there was ever any resolution or healing?
- Read Matthew 1:1-3. Which names are familiar to you after spending time in Genesis 37 and 38? In what ways had God used this family even though their relationships were not ideal at times?
To Pray About:
- God has maintained his plans, maybe even despite what you or someone in your family did. He kept his plan moving forward regardless of what someone chose to do. Thank him. Be grateful that your inabilities, short-sightedness, justifiable frustrations, or even outright sinfulness do not always thwart what he is trying to do.
- Present to God the names of your family. Yes, it may take a few minutes, but they need God’s blessing, and you will be blessed for remembering them in this way. Share with him what your heart ultimately wants for them.
To Live Out:
Your mind can remember your past and experience your present, but it can only surmise the future. You can’t change your past, but you can choose in the present, and in turn impact your future. Meet regularly with God so you can choose and impact in line with his plans.