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25. Two Brothers, Judah and Joseph

June 25, 2009

Text:   Genesis 38:1-39:23

Key Verses:   Genesis 39:2, 21

Outline:      I. Judah’s Disgraceful Home      Gen. 38:1-11

II. Judah’s Disgraceful Decisions      Gen. 38:12-30

III. Joseph’s Graceful Stewardship      Gen. 39:1-6a

IV. Joseph’s Graceful Integrity      Gen. 39:6b-20

V. Joseph’s Graceful Responsibility      Gen. 39:21-23


According to the last lesson, Jacob’s household is dysfunctional. Jacob is in mourning over the loss of Joseph and loses control of his family. These two chapters could be separated but yet together they make an excellent contrast with respect to defining responsibility.

In the first section we learn that Judah left home, married a pagan woman, fathered two wicked sons, and sent Tamar home under a false pretense. Judah’s responsibility to his family was misdirected at best. In the second section we learn that Judah has no intention of giving his third son to Tamar. He refuses to accept his responsibility. So Tamar deceives Judah by acting as a prostitute and bears twins. Judah declares she is more righteous than he. And God respects what she did enough to allow her to be in the lineage of His Son [see Matthew 1:3].

The narrative now focuses on Joseph, for God was with Joseph, and he is successful in running the household of Potiphar. As a result of Joseph’s devotion to be the best for God regardless of his circumstance, Joseph is rewarded by being given responsibility. Unfortunately, as quickly as he rose in stature, he lost it because he had integrity and refused to dishonor God. In other words, his responsibility was taken from him. But God honored his obedience again and returned his responsibility while being held in prison.

In conclusion, consider these comparisons:


• Both names start with “J”.

• Both had the same father.

• Both moved away from home.

• Both were seduced.

• Both were designated leaders; Joseph now and Judah later.

• Both used their separation from their brothers for good.

• Both repented of their ways; Judah for his lack of responsibility and Joseph for his pride.

• Both lose their vision of future Israel.

• Both were restored through pagan heritage [assumes Tamar was of pagan background].


• Judah was the 4th son of Leah and Joseph was the 1st son of Rachel.

• Judah succumbed to seduction; Joseph did not.

• Judah failed in his responsibilities; Joseph adhered at all cost.

• Judah was selfish; Joseph was selfless.

• Judah acted disgracefully; Joseph acted gracefully.

• Judah had servants; Joseph was a servant.

• The Lord’s hand was against Judah and with Joseph.

• God disciplined Judah and blessed Joseph.

• Judah’s hope was in a son; Joseph’s hope was in a promise.


1. Realize that God honors those who honor Him. [John 5:23]

2. Knowing God’s Word coupled with a desire to please Him enables one to face adversity with an attitude of hope.

3. Miraculous things happen when we trust and obey God.

4. Christians should place a greater emphasis on being a blessing than on being blessed. Again, it is not what we are but who we are that counts.

5. God can turn an intended evil/wrong into a good blessing.

6. Faithfulness is always rewarded. Some portion of the reward may be given to you on earth but the majority resides in heaven awaiting your arrival.

7. Your life is a greater testimony than your words. And a holy life is required to back up your words. How one conducts himself in a crisis reveals who his God is.

8. A graceful God-fearing person will:

• Confront issues and not run from them.

• Run from temptation and not into temptation.

• Be a person of integrity and not go back on his word.

• Be influenced by God’s Word and not by one’s circumstances.

• Be a blessing to others and not withhold God’s blessing from others.

• Attract attention by what they do.

Direct your energies to be like Joseph, not Judah.

Trust God

Live Right

Visualize the Future



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