Joseph and his Brothers

Sibling relationships aren’t always easy, but few involve throwing your brother into a pit and then selling him into slavery. Things were pretty desperate in Jacob’s household and the events that unfold in Genesis 37 resonate with the way Jacob chose his wives and the favouritism he showed to them after their marriages, loving Rachel more than Leah (Genesis 29v30). The sisters struggle together as they bear children to Jacob (Genesis 30v8) and similarly the brothers struggle with jealousy when their father shows greater love for his son Joseph than his other sons.Foster_Bible_Pictures_0054-1_Joseph_Kissing_His_Brother_Benjamin

Throughout the account only Joseph shows unerring faithfulness in his dealings with his brothers, despite the evil that they did to him. He saw God working in his life and trusted in Him, knowing that God had a greater purpose for his people, and that all things were working for Joseph’s good (Romans 8v28).

What an example Joseph is of patience towards his brothers. Even they can’t quite believe it. When their father has just died they send to Joseph to try to appease the punishment that surely he is going to exact on them following Jacob’s death. That wasn’t how Joseph thought about things. He weeps when they send to him, and reassures them that he is not in the place of God but will nourish them and their little ones. He speaks to them of God’s purpose and encourages them in faithfulness (Genesis 50).

This doesn’t look much like the sibling rivalry we sometimes see but Joseph was building a household of faith based on the promises God had given to his fathers. He understood that through God’s great plan of salvation, he and his brothers could share together in God’s kingdom and should help one another to that end, rather than fighting.


“Noah” came out in the cinema on Friday. How true to life it is, we don’t know but what we do know about Noah is what God tells us in the Bible.ark

Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations and he walked with God. He lived in a time when the earth was corrupt before God and filled with violence. God looked upon the earth and saw that mankind had broken the commandments of God. God wanted to save those who followed His way and destroy the violence and wickedness. Noah was told to make an ark to His specifications in order to fit both people and animals. God told Noah to come into the ark with his household because he was righteous before God of all in his generation. It rained for 40 days and 40 nights and all living things that He had made were destroyed from off the face of the earth. At this stage, they had never seen rain in this form as a mist went up from the ground in order to water the earth. God’s desire was not to destroy the earth but for it to be fruitful and multiply. Noah and his family went out of the ark and re-populated the earth. God has promised that He will never flood the earth again and gave the rainbow as the sign of his promise. Noah had to build the ark in order to demonstrate his faith. God also calls us to demonstrate our faith through baptism and He will do the rest.

In the New Testament of the Bible, God tells us that the ancient world (in the time of Noah) was judged by water (see 2 Peter 2:5). However, we are also told that God patiently waited in the days of Noah and that the water which destroyed the wicked also brought salvation to the God-fearing. The saving of Noah and his household in the ark prefigures baptism, which now saves YOU – “not the washing off of physical dirt but the pledge of a good conscience to God – through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21).

Water was used as a judgment on the earth, but water will also save us if we believe and are baptised. Do we see resemblance between the world Noah lived in and the world we live in?

“But as the days of Noah were so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matthew 24:37-39

The world today is in the same state of corruption as it was in the days of Noah, which tells us that Jesus will be coming soon. Turn away from walking in the darkness, seek after righteousness and come into the ark!

“He did not create it empty, He formed it to be inhabited”

Today saw the start of our new series for Sunday mornings. Between now and the end of May we are going to be looking at God at work through the key events and main characters in the book of Genesis. See Adult Bible Learning for details of the programme.

We’ve started at the beginning. The very beginning. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1v1)

Sun over the Earth

How did God create the earth?

Despite those opening words, the Bible doesn’t actually tell us very much about how God created the earth. Genesis 1 isn’t designed to be a scientific account of the formation of all the breathtaking biodiversity we see around us.

Rather, the creative process is described as being split over six days, two sets of three. Days 4 – 6 correspond with days 1 – 3 and see God populating each separate part of the creation:

  • The light of day 1 is populated by the sun, moon and stars of day 4.
  • The waters either side of the expanse (day 2) are populated by the sea creatures and birds of day 5.
  • The dry land of day 3 is populated with the animals and humans of day 6.

The theme through the chapter culminates with God’s instruction to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of heaven and over every living thing that moves on earth.” Genesis 1v28 (ESV)

This starts to answer the more important question:

Why did God create the earth?

God loves diversity and beauty and the things that He has made demonstrate His power and glory – “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.” (Psalm 19v1 ESV)

The heavens and earth declare God’s glory by performing the purpose for which He designed them. The sun and moon never fail to rise and set, Summer and Winter come and go each year (Genesis 8v22).

We can give glory to God by performing the mission He gave to us: to fill this world with people made in the likeness of God (Genesis 1v26), taking responsibility for the things that God has put in our care.

The Bible commences with a planet that is dark and empty. God wants it to be filled with light and beautiful things that reflect His glory.

Thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): ‘I am the LORD, and there is no other….Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God and there is no other.” Isaiah 45v18, 22 (ESV)

What does it mean to be in the likeness of God? Want to know more about the mission statement?

Want to read through Genesis with us? Great, you know where to find us.