Genesis 37.3a-The Significance of the Name Israel in Relation to Joseph
Wednesday October 25, 2006
Genesis: Genesis 37:3a-The Significance of the Name Israel in Relation to Joseph
Lesson # 227
Please turn in your Bibles to Genesis 37:2.
This evening we will study Genesis 37:3a and the significance of the name Israel in relation to Joseph’s life.
As we will note the name Israel is used in Genesis 37:3 rather than Jacob in order to emphasize that the unfair treatment by Joseph’s brothers against him and his ending up in Egypt was a manifestation of the providence of God.
The providence of God is the divine outworking of the divine decree, the object being the final manifestation of God’s glory and expresses the fact that the world and our lives are not ruled by chance or fate but by God.
This study will be helpful to us because by studying why God permitted Joseph to suffer for so many years undeservedly, it will help us to understand why God permits you and I to suffer at times undeservedly.
Last evening we noted Genesis 37:2, which presented to us the account of Jacob’s sons and Joseph giving his father Jacob a slanderous report of his brothers.
Genesis 37:2, “These are the records of the generations of Jacob. Joseph, when seventeen years of age, was pasturing the flock with his brothers while he was still a youth, along with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives. And Joseph brought back a bad report about them to their father.”
Corrected translation of Genesis 37:2: “This is the account of Jacob’s family. Joseph, at seventeen years of age, was a shepherd among the flock, together with his brothers and in fact he was an assistant (undershepherd) along with the sons of Bilhah and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s (secondary) wives. And Joseph brought back a evil slanderous report about them to their father.”
Genesis 37:3, “Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a varicolored tunic.”
The statement “Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was the son of his old age” not only expresses that Jacob favored Joseph over his other sons but also expresses that God sovereignly cared for all Jacob’s sons, which is indicated by the name “Israel,” which is divine in origin.
The name “Israel” was given to Jacob by the preincarnate Christ after their wrestling match at Peniel according to Genesis 32:28.
Genesis 32:28, “He (Preincarnate Christ) said, ‘Your (Jacob) name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.’”
“Israel” is the proper noun yisra’el (la@r*c+y!) (yis-raw-ale), which means, “one who fights and overcomes with the power of God” since the causal clause in Genesis 32:28, the Lord states the reason for the name is that Jacob has fought with both God and men and has overcome them (with the power of God).
The name “Israel” memorializes the historical event of Jacob wrestling the preincarnate Christ, and served as a perpetual reminder to Jacob to not depend upon his own power and ability but rather to depend and rely upon the power of God to deal with problems with people and adversities in life.
After Jacob’s failure with his family at Shechem, the Lord reconfirmed this name change at Bethel according to Genesis 35:10 in order to reaffirm to Jacob His plan for his life and to impress upon Jacob the need to live his life in a manner that is consistent with the meaning of his new name.
In Genesis 37:3, the name “Israel” emphasizes that God has control over the situation between Joseph and his brothers and has figured it into His plan since the name “Israel” is divine in origin and is used in the context of Joseph’s brothers resenting him because Jacob their father favored Joseph over them.
God has figured into the divine decree so as to fulfill His sovereign will and thus to bring glory to Himself not only the resentment of Joseph’s brothers towards him but also their selling him into slavery and Joseph ending upon in Egypt.
The divine decree is the eternal plan by which God has rendered certain all the events of the universe, including both angelic and human history-past, present and future (Psa. 2:7; 148:6; Dan. 9:24).
Therefore, God rendered certain to take place that Joseph’s brothers would resent him and sell him into slavery in Egypt and it was thus a part of God’s plan.
God’s decree rendered all things as certain to occur and He decided that they would exist.
Therefore, God rendered certain to occur that Joseph’s brothers would resent him and sell him into slavery and that Joseph would end up in Egypt and God decided that these things would exist.
The divine decree took place in eternity past before anything was ever created and is God’s eternal and immutable will.
Therefore, the fact that Joseph would be sold into slavery by his brothers due to their resentment of him because Jacob favored Joseph over them and the fact that Joseph would end up in Egypt, was part of God’s plan for Jacob’s family from eternity past.
The “providence” of God is the divine outworking of the divine decree, the object being the final manifestation of God’s glory and expresses the fact that the world and our lives are not ruled by chance or fate but by God.
Therefore, the fact that Joseph was sold into slavery and ended up in Egypt did not happen by chance or fate but because God ordained for it to take place in order to fulfill His plan for Jacob’s family and to bring glory to Himself.
God’s sovereignty is expressed in the comprehensive plan or decree for world history.
The decree of God is the chosen and adopted plan of all God’s works.
Therefore, the resentment of Joseph’s brothers towards him and Joseph eventually being sold into slavery by them and ending up in Egypt was part of God’s chosen and adopted plan for not only Joseph but his entire family.
The decree of God is His eternal purpose according to the counsels of His own will, whereby for His own glory He has foreordained whatever comes to pass.
Therefore, the resentment of Joseph’s brothers towards him and his being sold into slavery by them and ending up in Egypt was part of God’s eternal purpose according to the counsels of His own will for His own glory.
The decree of God is the sovereign choice of the divine will (His attribute of sovereignty) and mentality (His omniscience) by which all things are brought into being and controlled, made subject to His pleasure, and producing His glorification.
Therefore, the fact that Joseph was resented by his brothers and was sold into slavery by them and ended up in Egypt was the result of God’s sovereign will and omniscience by which all these events were brought into being and were controlled and made subject to God’s pleasure and glorified Him.
The “decree of God” is His eternal, holy, wise and sovereign purpose, comprehending at once all things that ever were or will be in their causes, courses, conditions, successions, and relations and determining their certain futurition (i.e., that they will certainly take place).
When I say “comprehending” I mean that the omniscience of God is the source of the divine decrees by “determining” I mean that the sovereignty of God chose before anything existed which things would actually become historical events.
Therefore, the omniscience of God comprehended at once in eternity past that Joseph’s brothers would resent him and sell him into slavery and that Joseph would end up in Egypt.
God also comprehended at once in eternity past the course that these events would take and their conditions and relations and determined that these events would take place.
All history was yet future at the time of the divine decree.
Therefore, the resentment of Joseph’s brothers and selling him into slavery and Joseph ending up in Egypt was known by God in eternity past before anything was created and was sovereignly determined by God to take place at the time these events did.
The decree of God is His eternal and immutable will regarding the future existence of events, which will happen in time and regarding the precise order and manner of their occurrence.
Therefore, it was God’s eternal and immutable will that Joseph’s brothers would resent him and sell him into slavery and that he would end up in Egypt and God decreed that these events would take place in time and the precise order of events leading up to these events and the manner in which these events would transpire.
The will of God in common usage refers to what God desires of an individual or group in a particular situation.
The will of God in relation to the divine decrees refers to the decision God made in eternity past, from His attribute of sovereignty, which established that certain things would actually come into being while other things would not.
The will of God is His sovereign choice as to what will take place in time.
God from His sovereignty decided in eternity past that Joseph would be resented by his brothers and sold into slavery by them and end up in Egypt and He decided that these events would take place in the exact time that they did.
God in eternity past decreed that angels and human beings would have volition and would be allowed to make decisions contrary to His sovereign will and without compromising His justice.
In giving angels and men volition, God decreed that their decisions, whatever they might be, would certainly take place-even those that are contrary to His desires.
Therefore, God decreed that the decisions of Joseph’s brothers, Joseph and Jacob himself would all take place in time and even those by Joseph’s brothers, which were contrary to His desires.
Being omniscient, God had the good sense to know ahead of time what men and angels would decide, and He not only decreed that those decisions would exist but He also decreed the exact manner, consistent with His integrity, in which He would handle our decisions.
Since God is omniscient He knew ahead of time the decisions that Jacob and his sons would make and decreed that those decisions would exist and He also decreed the exact manner in which He would handle their decisions.
Therefore, since the name “Israel” is divine in origin, it implies that the resentment towards Joseph by his brothers and Joseph being sold into slavery by them and his ending up in Egypt was a part of God’s sovereign will that is based upon His omniscient knowledge of all the facts concerning what will take place in the future.
The Lord knows perfectly, eternally and simultaneously all that is knowable, both the actual and the possible and thus has all knowledge of every event in human and angelic history.
Therefore, the Lord looked down the corridors of time and decreed to take place Joseph’s brothers resenting him and selling him into slavery and that Joseph would end up in Egypt.
The name “Israel” implies that Joseph’s brother’s resentment of him and their selling him into slavery and Joseph ending up in Egypt was figured into the divine decree and was a part of the providence of God, which is the outworking of the divine decree, the object being the final manifestation of God’s glory.
Genesis 45:5-8 records that after Joseph revealed himself to his brothers in Egypt, he told them that God sent him to Egypt in order to keep the family of Jacob alive in the sense that God decreed from eternity past that he would be sold into slavery and arrived in Egypt in order to fulfill God’s will to preserve his family alive.
Genesis 45:1, “Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried, ‘Have everyone go out from me.’ So there was no man with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers.”
Genesis 45:2, “He wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard of it.”
Genesis 45:3, “Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?’ But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence.”
Genesis 45:4, “Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Please come closer to me.’ And they came closer. And he said, ‘I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.’”
Genesis 45:5, “Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.”
Genesis 45:6, “For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting.”
Genesis 45:7, “God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.”
Genesis 45:8, “Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.”
In Genesis 50:14-20, after Jacob died, Joseph’s brothers were worried that he might exact revenge on them, Joseph reassured his brothers that it was God’s plan for him to be sold into slavery and end up in Egypt and suffer undeservedly in order to preserve their family.
Genesis 50:14, “After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, he and his brothers, and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.”
Genesis 50:15, “When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, ‘What if Joseph bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!’”
Genesis 50:16-17, “So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, ‘Your father charged before he died, saying, thus you shall say to Joseph, ‘Please forgive, I beg you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, for they did you wrong. And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.’ And Joseph wept when they spoke to him.”
Genesis 50:18, “Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, ‘Behold, we are your servants.’”
Genesis 50:19, “But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for am I in God's place?’”
Genesis 50:20, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”