Jacob Mourned for His Son
Dr. Tony Chute, Lead Pastor
Overview: The story of Joseph in Genesis 37-50 explains to the original audience how their ancestors arrived in Egypt, living outside of the Promised Land but not outside of the promises of God. Jacob continues to be a central figure in this narrative, which is fitting since he too learned to trust God even in the most difficult of times and would continue trusting the Lord for the remainder of his life. He had already experienced the loss of loved ones and witnessed rebellion in his own family, yet he determined to live by faith and appreciate God’s continued blessings in his life. However, his resolve to walk by faith would be challenged again when he was deceitfully led to believe that his beloved son had died, thus leading him to the verge of despair. Only after all the facts were known could Jacob truly understand that God is in control and works all things out for our good. We do well to embrace these same truths.
01. The Bible speaks to the reality of human sin in all of its wickedness and shameful arrogance; thus, we should not be surprised when we experience its continued effects in our world today.
02. The Bible instructs us to be righteously angry at sin and to appropriately grieve over sin; thus, we should not become numb to the news or live as those without hope.
03. The Bible promises us that God’s grace is sufficient for the day and His kingdom is coming on an appointed day; thus, we should remember that we are strangers living in a strange land, but His promises are “yes and amen.”
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION & DISCOVERY
1. How does Genesis 37-50 address the question as to how the nation of Israel arrived in Egypt? Why would they need to know the backstory to their plight? How does Genesis as a whole point to the faithfulness of God to His people even when they were living outside of the Promised Land?
2. Jacob experienced several instances of grief in Genesis 35 with the death of Deborah (verse 8), the death of Rachel (verse 19), the sin of Reuben (verse 22), and eventually the death of Isaac (verse 29). How did Jacob deal with his grief (as far as we know) in each of these instances? How can believers deal with grief in a way that sets them apart from non-believers?
3. What accounts for Jacob’s favoritism towards Joseph (37:3)? How did Joseph’s brothers respond to Joseph as a result (37:4)? In what ways did Joseph bring some of the hatred upon himself (37:2, 5-11)? What do these patterns of behavior teach us about family dynamics? How can the gospel and fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-26) bring peace into such situations?
4. What evidence of God’s mercy and providence do you find in the life of Joseph to this point? How does the sparing of his life eventually lead to the sparing of all Israel (see Genesis 47)? Are you able to say with Joseph that what people mean for evil, God means for good (Genesis 50:20)?
5. In light of the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, are you praying for the Lord to return and bring an end to such evil? Will you take time to pray for parents and families who, like Jacob, have lost loved ones and find themselves in deep grief?
For Further Reading: D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Why Does God Allow War? (Crossway, 2003)