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Chinese1/22/2005English
經文:創世記卅八至卅九章
鑰節:「耶和華與約瑟同在,他就百事順利……我怎能作這大惡得罪神呢?」(39:2~9)
提要

         在約瑟生平的中間突然冒出一段有關猶大和他兒子犯罪的記錄。為什麼這些奇怪的故事被記在這裡?他們有何重要性?聖經後來的預言和歷史顯示,猶大是以色列十二支派中最突出的一支,它是王室支派,彌賽亞將從它而出,所以猶大和他兒子生平事蹟的記述也變得十分重要。

         猶大離開他弟兄和他敬虔的父親,娶了迦南地的女子為妻,並且住在他們中間。他妻子給他生了三個兒子。老大珥娶妻名他瑪,但珥因作惡太大被神所殺。猶大去住在不該住的地方,所以很多問題也尾隨而至。他沒有教訓他的兒子遵行主道,也沒有找一個敬虔的妻子,所以他因罪的緣故失去了兒子。為人父母者如果不教養他們的兒女愛上帝、服事上帝,也可能會失去自己的兒女。

         他瑪成了寡婦且沒有孩子。這對她是個很不幸的處境。在當時,今天也仍應如此,兒女有責任照顧他們年長的父母親。如果一個寡婦沒有孩子,她前夫的兄弟就有責任娶她,使她有兒子可以繼承前夫的姓氏和財產。令人驚訝的是,大約五百年後,摩西也頒布了相同的律法給以色列的子孫(申25:5~10)。猶大的第二個兒子俄南一定是與他的哥哥珥有什麼過節,再不然就是非常自私,因為他不願給他瑪留後,他知道他瑪若生了兒子就將繼承父親雙份的產業。他的自私使上帝大為不悅,因此也叫他死了。

         猶大答應將三子示拉給他瑪,但或許因害怕示拉也死,所以遲遲沒有讓示拉娶他瑪。猶大說謊,又不承擔他對他瑪的責任,所以他瑪偽裝成妓女欺騙他的公公。猶大隨從當地風俗去嫖妓。當人不從上帝的道路,世界罪惡的道路就成為他的網羅和陷阱。他瑪從她的公公懷孕,就給猶大又生了兩個雙胞胎兒子,叫法勒斯(他是大衛王的祖先,見得4:18~22)和謝拉。他們都名列於馬太福音中彌賽亞的家譜中(太1:1~3)。雖然有這麼多罪,上帝還是顯出祂的恩典,因為這些人是耶穌的祖先。

         再回到約瑟的故事,我們發現他和猶大間有極大的差異。上帝使約瑟凡事順利。約瑟心裡一定知道上帝掌管一切,所以他接受自己身為僕人和奴隸的地位,並且忠心的把工作做得盡善盡美。波提乏看得出這點,他擢升約瑟作他家中的總管。約瑟在波提乏家的期間,波提乏也蒙福,諸事興盛。年輕的約瑟長得俊美又健壯,更有非比尋常的領導才能和勇氣。他的潔身自愛和堅強的信念都堪為楷模。波提乏的太太屢次挑逗約瑟,但約瑟總能抗拒誘惑,並確知那是得罪上帝的事(39:9)。事實上,有一次他還從引誘他的波太太手中掙逃,但不幸的是,波太太抓住他的外套當假見證控告他。

         約瑟雖然被下在監裡,不過他還是得了勝,因為他在上帝眼中是純潔的(參彼前2:19)。波提乏很可能知道約瑟的無辜,但這件事若被披露出來將使他和他的妻子難堪,所以波提乏還是將約瑟下在監裡。約瑟在監牢吃了許多苦頭(詩105:18),但他一定還是相信上帝會救拔他,因他在牢裡忠實可靠的表現,約瑟甚至被派管理所有的囚犯。與主不斷的交通以及每天與主相交能保守我們純正,使我們定睛在祂身上,走在正路中,約瑟一定也是如此,所以聖經告訴我們耶和華與約瑟同在(39:23);這也是他凡事順利的秘訣(參太6:22~23)。

禱告

         聖天父,我們知道所有的罪都違背您,求您赦免我們的罪,並賜給我們力量,從您總是為我們開的路上逃避試探。奉主耶穌基督聖名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read Genesis 38 & 39
Key Verse:“The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man;… How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”( Genesis 39:2a, 9c )
Overview

         In the middle of the account of Joseph’s life there is an interruption recording the sins of Judah and his sons. Why would these strange stories be written at this point and what are their significance? Later biblical prophecy and history revealed that Judah was the most prominent tribe among the Israelites. His was the royal tribe and the one from which the Messiah would come; therefore, it was important to relate the life of Judah and his sons.

         Judah left his brothers and godly father, took a Canaanite wife and lived among them. She bore him three sons before her death. The first, Er, married Tamar, but we are told the Lord killed hem because of his great wickedness. Judah was in the wrong place, and so many difficulties followed him. He did not instruct his sons in the way of the Lord, nor did he have a godly wife, so he lost his sons because of sin. If parents do not raise their children to love and serve God, they could lose their children as well.

         Tamar was left a window without children. This was an awful position for her to be in. At that time, and as it still should be today, the children were responsible to take care of their elderly parents. If the window was lift without children, it was the responsibility of her late husband’s name and be his heir. Surprisingly, almost 500 years later, this same law was given to the children of Israel by Moses. (see Deuteronomy 25:5-10). Judah’s second son, Onan, must have had something against his brother, Er, or else was very selfish, for he was not willing to give her a son who would inherit the double portion that should have gone to Er, the eldest son of Judah. Selfishness displeases the Lord, therefore he also was killed.

         Judah promised his third son to Tamar, but maybe out of fear that he also would die, she never got to marry him. Judah lied and did not carry the responsibility he had toward her, so she deceived him into thinking he was a prostitute. Judah had fallen into the ways of the sinful society in which he lived and went to the prostitute. When God’s ways are not followed the sinful world’s ways can be a trap. Thus Tamar conceived and in such a way Judah had two more sons, twins named Perez (who was the ancestor of King David, Ruth 4:18-22) and Zerah. They are all listed in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus the Messiah (Matt. 1:1-3). In spite of such sin, the grace of God was manifested, for these were the ancestors of Jesus.

         When we return to the story of Joseph, we find a great contrast between him and Judah. God had given him success in all that he did. Surely he kept in mind that God was in control, so he accepted his position as a servant and slave, and did his job well and faithfully. Potiphar recognized this and made Joseph the head of the affairs of his household. While Joseph was with him, he also was blessed with great success and prosperity. Joseph was a very handsome, strong young man, with unusual leadership and courage. He sets a worth example by his purity and strength of convictions. When Potiphar’s wife made continuous sexual advances toward Joseph, he always resisted temptation and recognized it as a sin against God (39:9). In fact, one time he actually ran from the temptress (see 2 Timothy 2:22), but she held onto his coat and falsely accused him.

         Although he was thrown in prison, Joseph nonetheless had the victory, for he remained pure in the sight of God (see 1 Peter 2:19). Most probably Potiphar knew he was innocent, but since it was an embarrassing public situation for him and his wife, he kept Joseph in prison. Joseph suffered there (Psalm 105:18), but he must have kept trusting in the Lord to bring him through, for he continued to show himself faithful and dependable and was even put in charge of all the prisoners. Keeping in communication with the Lord and having daily fellowship with Him keeps us pure with our eyes on Him so we may walk in the right way. Joseph would have done this and so we are told that the Lord was with him (39:23) and this was the secret of his success (see Matt. 6:22, 23).

Prayer

         Holy Father, we recognize that all sin is against You. Forgive us and grant us the strength to take the way of escape from temptation which You always provide.


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