In the last article, I'd pointed out the tremendous advantage that the Sacred Record gives us... when it comes to tracking God movements from within our daily lives, both naturally and spiritually. And because of this advantage... the Sacred Record actually gives us the ability, to see how God responds and reacts to us -- not only personally, but with the human race as an whole.
This is why, I hold true to the notion, that if one could learn to approach the Sacred Record from such a viewpoint?
I believe, that person would be able to benefit greatly, from being able to recognize the movements of God -- when it comes to their daily lives, both naturally and spiritually.
Now again, I'm not stating that this approach should be some type of mandate. No I'm not stating that.
For I know, that it doesn't take all of that, to obtain eternal salvation. All you really need, is the faith (or belief) to know, that Jesus (Yeshua) Christ is the One True Way to obtaining eternal salvation. In other words, you must know, that He is, your Lord and Savior:
"Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." -- John 20:29
"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son (Jesus Yeshua Christ), that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." -- John 3:16
But know this... if your faith compels you, to want to go further, when it comes to your biblical studies, or your walk with the Lord? Then by all means, do so! Don't let others (especially other believers) who scoff at, or mock you, because you are willing to take up such a challenge, deter you in any kind of way:
"Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus [Yeshua] Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever! Amen. -- 2 Peter 3:17,18
Nonetheless, let's move forward...
Now with that being stated, let's take a quick look back... when we'd first learned, that Joseph was indeed, his father's favorite son. Let's also take a brief look, at how the birthright of the first born, eventually fell upon Joseph, even though he was the eleventh son born unto Jacob.
Now there are many different viewpoints that are taught, on why Joseph received this honor over his brothers. But again, I would like to share with you, the one that I tend to lean towards? Now keep in mind, that I'm looking at this Sacred Account from two different angles? First, I believe that the strong bond and close relationship that Jacob had with his son Joseph -- came from the fact, that he was Rachel's first born. Now I'm not going to retell the entire account here, but I will summarize it quickly:
Remember that Jacob had loved Rachel with all of his heart, and unfortunately, Rachel would end up eventually dying, while she was giving birth to her second child Benjamin. Now I believe, that Jacob and Joseph's relationship grew stronger from that point forward... being that Jacob had just lost the love of his life, and Joseph had just lost his mother. And because of this, both of them would have a tremendous void that was created in their lives, that simply needed to be filled, from that point forward.
Now the second point I want to share... deals with the passing of the birthright? Understand that this had nothing to do with the favor that Jacob had towards Joseph. Also know, that when it comes to this area, we have to keep in mind that Jacob had worked 14 years in total, in order to earn the right to marry Rachel.
Now the original agreement that Jacob had with Rachel's father, simply dealt with him working seven years for the right to marry his daughter Rachel. But when that time had been reached, Jacob would end up being deceived by Rachel's father Laban. For the Sacred Record would reveal, that Jacob was tricked into marry Rachel's older sister Leah, instead of the woman he truly loved (which was Rachel). Know that Jacob had kept his end of the deal, but Laban (Rachel's dad) didn't. And to make matters worse, Laban decided to finally hand Rachel over to Jacob, only after he had agreed to work for him, another seven years.
Now it's obvious, that when we look at the birth genealogy of Jacob's sons -- we can easily see, that Joseph was born eleventh amongst them. But if we were to take a closer look... we would see, in actuality, that Joseph was born first unto his father -- when it came to the children that Rachel would end up having. And since Jacob was tricked into taking an additional wife, who was Leah -- it would seem, that God still honored Jacob's heart, and blessed his first born -- which was the one, that Jacob would eventually have with Rachel, again, the woman he truly loved.
But for many, they simply don't see it this way... so for their sake, let's take a more difficult approach, and let's see what we come up with -- shall we...?
First off, when we look at the type of men that Joseph's older brothers had turned out to be -- personally, I could see why God had chosen to bestowed the covenant honor unto Joseph -- even if one were to come from a different approach, on why it happened.
First off, remember that Jacob's first born son Reuben -- ended up sleeping with his stepmother Bilhah. Now when it came to Jacob's second and third born sons (Simeon and Levi) -- remember that they had led a fatal deceitful plot, that ended up leading to the slaughter of the entire Shechemite clan. And this was done in retaliation, for what prince Shechem had done, when it came to their sister Dinah (for the prince had laid with her).
Now when it comes to the sons that were born unto Jacob through Bilhah and Zilpah, when it comes to the fifth through eight spots, which were - Bilhah sons: Dan and Naphtali. And Zilpah sons: Gad and Asher. Remember that they were given a bad report by Joseph... when it came to their, perhaps, immoral behavior -- while they were out in the fields tending to their father's sheep.
Now the only boys that seemed to be doing fine from this point forward were: Judah, Issachar and Zebulun. But all of this would quickly change, after they had played their parts in the betrayal, and selling off of Joseph. So the only brother from that point forward, that was in the clear of doing no wrong, was Benjamin -- Joseph's younger brother through Rachel.
So in retrospect, even by looking at this from a more difficult position, we can see how 10 out of 12 sons that were born unto Jacob had eventually fell out of favor (not only with Jacob) but with God as well. Therefore, leaving only Rachel's sons: Joseph and his younger brother Benjamin, who were left in good standing, both in Jacob's and God's eyes. So if one were going to use the viewpoint, that involves the character and hearts of Jacob's sons as a deciding factor, then the approach I just laid out, will help to explain such a viewpoint.
However that may have been, let's assume (as the Sacred Record would
seem to suggest) that Judah had left his father's household at an
earlier point in his life, you know, well before the betrayal of his
younger brother Joseph. Now most would say, that Judah had ventured off
on his own, when he was around the age of fourteen:
"At that time, Judah left his brothers and went down to stay with a man of Adullam named Hirah. There Judah met the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua. He married her and lay with her; she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, who was named Er. She conceived again and gave birth to a son and named him Onan. She gave birth to still another son and named him Shelah. She gave birth to him in Kezib." -- Genesis 38:1-5
Now the Sacred Record points out, that Judah had married a Canaanite girl at this time. And it's also believed, that he'd eventually married her, when he was around the age of 15. Nonetheless, the three sons that Judah would end up having with his wife, would also have happened before the betrayal of Joseph. Next, the Sacred Record informs us, about the recorded account of Judah's oldest son Er -- and his marriage to a girl that was named Tamar?
Now again, it's believed, that this marriage had taken place, right after the betrayal of Joseph. Now I know, that all of this, is perhaps confusing? but stay with me... Remember that Joseph was around the age of 17, when he was betrayed. Also keep in mind, that Judah was only eight to nine years older than Joseph. And when it comes to Judah's son Er -- know that he didn't get married, until he was around the age of 17 himself.
Now I'm pointing all of this out, because Judah had participated in a very wicked plot, that had caused his younger brother Joseph, to be sold into slavery. Now we find, that Judah is now experiencing a reaping harvest behind those very actions? How so? First off, the Sacred Record gives us some insight on Judah's oldest son Er:
"Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. But Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the Lord's sight; so the Lord put him to death." -- Genesis 38:6,7
Now what I find to be interesting? Deals with the fact, that after Joseph was betrayed, and sold into slavery (at the hands of his brothers) -- Jacob had lost his favorite son. Now we find, that Judah has now lost a son of his very own. Also notice, that Er's life was cut short, for he didn't even have time to produce an heir with Tamar -- therefore leaving the continuation of Judah's family name at stake.
But of course, Judah wouldn't be deterred: "Then Judah said to Onan, 'Lie with your brother's wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother.' But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he laid with his brother's wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother. What he did was wicked in the Lord's sight; so he put him to death also." -- Genesis 38:8-10
Now as we can see from the passage we had just read, we'd learned that Judah's backup plan, dealt with him using his second born son Onan -- to carry out the family name through Tamar. But notice what's revealed at the end of that passage? For we will learn, that Judah's backup plan, didn't turn out to be successful either: "What [Onan] did was wicked in the Lord's sight; so he put him to death also."
Now I want to briefly point out something else, when it comes to this particular passage? Know that most would point to different things, when it comes to why Onan was wicked for what he did in the Lord eyes? Some of these viewpoints, range from social issues that deals with birth control, all the way through, to having oral sex. Now read that again if you have to. But as for me, know that I see it entirely differently? for I see this record going far deeper?
Now I want you to notice, the latter part of the Sacred Text: "But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he laid with his brother's wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother."
Often times I wonder... Could it really be that farfetched, to see that Onan probably had a disdain for his brother, just like his father Judah had a disdain towards his brother Joseph? For I personally believe, that Onan's actions, were simply a continuation of the reaping season, that Judah had to endure... for the selling and betrayal, and the disdain, that he had towards his own brother Joseph.
Now it amazes me, how people in today's world, are quick to cast God as being mean and unfair. And it's for these types of reasons, why I try my best, to point out the faults that Joseph's other brothers had -- in order to show, that there was a legit reason why God had chosen Joseph over them. For the Lord knows our hearts, and He knows our hearts, better than we do. Also understand, that the path that God has chosen, are different for each of us, being that we are different from each other.
And make no mistake, what God has for one, He has a different path for the other. So instead of trying to go down a path, that wasn't designed for us -- why don't we learn to push ourselves beyond the norm (both in knowledge and spiritual growth), and seek out the correct path, that God has laid out specifically for us -- Amen?
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