In Genesis 36 we witness God’s faithfulness in the continuation of the fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham. Then in chapter 38 we can’t help but be somewhat shocked that of all of Jacob’s sons, Judah is the one that God has chosen for the lineage that would someday be known for the “Lion of the Tribe of Judah”. God often shows us that his choice stems from grace and not from man’s merit.
In between those two chapters we find chapter 37 and are introduced to Jacob’s son Joseph. Joseph was favored by his father and treated differently than his older brothers. This in itself is a recipe for trouble but after the “richly ornamented robe” and the telling of the dreams, the chafing of inequality gave way to jealously and jealously bore its fruit as full blown hatred. The day came when the father sent his beloved son to go among his brethren. As his brothers saw him coming, this one that they would someday bow down before, they conspired and planned to kill him. Judah intervened and instead of killing him they ultimately sold Joseph into slavery. Joseph had dreamed of his preferment but not of the path he would walk to get there. His brothers had rightly interpreted the dreams but hated their meaning. While doing terrible things to defeat the dream they unwittingly become instruments in its eventual fulfillment.
Our text in Matthew 21 in many was begins to echo the story of Joseph. The time had come to go to Jerusalem. The disciples did as Jesus instructed and brought back the young donkey fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9. The disciples and many from the crowd that day eagerly gave up the clothes from off their backs while others spread palms to the service of their Lord. Crowds went before and others followed behind proclaiming “Hosanna in the highest!” and “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” Many seemed to approve, but how few would remain consistent in their praise? Even at this time of great rejoicing there were those who’s pride and jealously would give birth to hatred. From this hatred they would conspired against this one that they would someday bow down before.
In Matthew 21:18 we have the story of the fig tree with all its lush foliage and grader however; it had not produced any fruit. It is not uncommon to find flourishing professors, but much more rare to find consistent producers. Christ cursed the tree and it soon withered. When the disciples questioned Jesus regarding the tree He replied “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig-tree, but also you can say to this mountain, `Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
Prayer can indeed move mountains but sometimes it seems they move glacially slow. As Joseph headed off to Egypt as a slave with an uncertain future the dreams that God have given him must have seemed so distant. But God works in His own time and in His own way. So even if those dreams seem so distant and so faint, hold on! A mountain is beginning to move