We’ve discussed before that when reading from Genesis you should read in advance to decide if certain stories are appropriate for your children. This week we have one of these stories – the story of Judah and Tamar. You may be wondering whether there is anything of value in reading a story like this to a younger child. While I respect anyone’s decision not to read it to their kids, I believe there is value. Specifically, I believe that we should focus our children’s attention to love – and how it affects decision-making. Judah did not have appropriate love for his daughter-in-law, Tamar. He refuses to take care of her, and even threatens to have her killed, until he realizes that he has a vested interest in her well-being. But we shouldn’t behave like that. In fact, as Christians we should be ready to love others preemptively – even if they have nothing to offer us. We love others first because He first loved us.
Monday March 2nd
- Joseph was the 11th and most loved son of Jacob. Although Joseph came late, he was the first son Jacob had with his beloved wife Rachel. Jacob’s first ten sons were with Leah (his first wife) or one of Leah’s or Rachel’s handmaids. (Remember that in the old days, men could have more than one wife.)
- Because of this, Joseph was Jacob’s favorite son. Jacob even gives Joseph a special, beautiful robe.
- Joseph had dreams showing that one day his family will bow down to him. That made his brothers (somewhat understandably) jealous.
- Do you ever have dreams about what you are going through or have been thinking about? Do you think God might be talking to you that way, just like He did with Joseph?
Tuesday March 3rd
- Jacob’s brothers were so jealous of the special treatment Joseph got from their dad, that they decided to get rid of him. Reuben, one of Joseph’s brothers, tried to “rescue” Joseph and asked his brothers to throw Joseph into a well instead of killing him.
- A caravan was passing by on the way to Egypt and another brother named Judah suggested they sell Joseph into slavery instead. To make sure their father Jacob wouldn’t go looking for him, the brothers took Joseph’s robe and dipped it in animal blood to make it look like Joseph’s own blood.
- Do you think Jacob should have shown Joseph so much favoritism? How would you feel if your parents did that to you and your siblings?
Wednesday March 4th
- Today’s reading is about Joseph’s brother Judah (the one who suggested that Joseph be sold into slavery instead of being killed).
- It looks like Judah’s family was a little bit of a disaster. Good for nothings and full of deceit.
- Judah wouldn’t take care of his daughter-in-law, Tamar, in the way that he should have. She played a trick on him so that he would have to take care of her.
- Are there people in your life that you should take better care of or spend more time with? Are you ever too selfish to spend the needed time?
Thursday March 5th
- Judah didn’t know that Tamar had played a trick on him. When he heard she was pregnant he got mad. But then he found out that Tamar was actually having his babies, and he realized he needed to take care of her.
- Tamar gave birth to twins.
- Should we only take care of people if they have something we need or if we like them, or should we love others because Jesus first loved us?
Friday March 6th
- In Egypt, the word for “king” was “pharaoh”. Joseph was sold to Potiphar, who worked for the pharaoh and was one of the most important men in Egypt.
- It was clear (even to an Egyptian like Potiphar) that God was with Joseph. Potiphar treated Joseph well and in return his household was blessed.
- Potiphar completely trusted Joseph.
- What do you think Joseph was doing, or how do you think he was acting, that made it clear to Potiphar that God was with him? Do you think your friends can tell from your actions that that God is with you?