Family Jesse Tree Study – December 8

Welcome to our family Bible study focused on preparing our hearts for Christmas. The Jesse Tree is the family tree of Jesus (see Matthew 1 and Luke 3 for a complete genealogy of Jesus). All along its branches are men and women of God who have incredible stories to share and from which we can glean a deeper understanding of faith and build a stronger relationship with God. God orchestrated these people and stories for a reason — to point us to His Son Jesus who comes to save us once and for all.

For this study, we encourage you to read, reflect, and journal on these scriptures on your own and then find a good time with your family to do this devotion together.  Below is the NIV version of today’s reading followed by a devotion, discussion question, and prayer taken from “Jesse Tree Family Devotions” by the Reformed Church in America, then below that is a SOAP journal note from one of our study leaders. For printable ornaments to make your own Jesse Tree, see: If you’re doing this study with smaller kids, consider using a children’s Bible to share the stories, or use the shorter version of the scripture provided in parentheses. For older kids, consider introducing them to the SOAP method of journaling through this study.

We hope you join us in this study, and please share how it’s going, your favorite Christmas traditions, and prayer requests in the Comments section on our website.

Genesis 37, 49:1, 8-12 (shorter version – Genesis 37:1-36) – Joseph and Judah

Joseph’s Dreams

37 Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan. This is the account of Jacob’s family line.
Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.
Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.
Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”
His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.
Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”
10 When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.

Joseph Sold by His Brothers

12 Now his brothers had gone to graze their father’s flocks near Shechem, 13 and Israel said to Joseph, “As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them.”
“Very well,” he replied.
14 So he said to him, “Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me.” Then he sent him off from the Valley of Hebron.
When Joseph arrived at Shechem, 15 a man found him wandering around in the fields and asked him, “What are you looking for?”
16 He replied, “I’m looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are grazing their flocks?”
17 “They have moved on from here,” the man answered. “I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’”
So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. 18 But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.
19 “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. 20 “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.”
21 When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. 22 “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.
23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the ornate robe he was wearing— 24 and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.
25 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.
26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.
28 So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.
29 When Reuben returned to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes. 30 He went back to his brothers and said, “The boy isn’t there! Where can I turn now?”
31 Then they got Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. 32 They took the ornate robe back to their father and said, “We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son’s robe.”
33 He recognized it and said, “It is my son’s robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.”
34 Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. 35 All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “No,” he said, “I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave.” So his father wept for him.
36 Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard.

Jacob Blesses His Sons

49 Then Jacob called for his sons and said: “Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.
“Judah, your brothers will praise you;     your hand will be on the neck of your enemies;     your father’s sons will bow down to you. You are a lion’s cub, Judah;     you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down,     like a lioness—who dares to rouse him? 10 The scepter will not depart from Judah,     nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come     and the obedience of the nations shall be his. 11 He will tether his donkey to a vine,     his colt to the choicest branch; he will wash his garments in wine,     his robes in the blood of grapes. 12 His eyes will be darker than wine,     his teeth whiter than milk.


coatJoseph might have been annoying when he told his brothers about the dreams he had. But he certainly didn’t deserve to be thrown into a pit or sold into slavery. His brothers let their jealousy get the best of them. Even Reuben, who didn’t want to kill Joseph, wasn’t brave enough to stand up and defend him right then and there. Reuben decided he would go back to the pit later and rescue Joseph, but by then it was too late. Joseph had already been taken as a slave. The good thing is that Jesus knows all about being at the bottom of a dark pit when you don’t deserve it. He knows about being betrayed by the people closest to him. But he still loves people like Joseph’s brothers. He still loves people like us who make mistakes and do things we shouldn’t. He forgives us and welcomes us back. In fact, God’s forgiveness is evident in Jacob’s blessing which identifies Judah in the lineage of Jesus.


Right now, do you feel more like Joseph or his brothers?


God, bring light to people who are in a pit and forgive the people who have thrown them in there.


Why Judah? | Becky Newman


Genesis 49:10


Joseph is an impressive Godly man! Judah not so much — he was there right along with his brothers beating Joseph and selling him into slavery (Genesis 37:26), though his suggestion to sell Joseph fulfilled a promise God made to Abraham in Genesis 15:16, and there’s that whole prostitution incident in which he was caught in Genesis 38. So why did God choose Judah to become a great nation from which the Son of God would emerge as the King of Heaven and Earth? Despite the ugly parts, the stories about Judah in Genesis definitely portray a man who is growing and maturing under God. Even through the prostitution incident, Judah sees where he went wrong, and he later offers himself to become a slave in place of his brother which is the final step in Joseph forgiving his family and offering them refuge in Egypt (Genesis 44). Judah without a doubt is part of God’s orchestrated plan, even in his sin — it was his child Perez who was born out of the prostitution incident and whom God also chose to be in the lineage of Jesus. What an amazing example of God working ALL things for good, though Judah never saw it in his lifetime.


We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. You include these guys like Judah in Your story to demonstrate that You are bigger than our sin, that You can even use our sin to make something good. But You also want us to grow in our relationship with You, to leave our sin life behind, and to choose love. Like Joseph forgiving his family, You forgive me for my past transgressions and are making all of these things, good, bad, and ugly, work together for good.


There are seasons when it rains good and seasons when it rains ugly and seasons somewhere inbetween, but Lord please continue maturing me in relationship to You no matter the season and weaving Your good through the whole cloth.

The Discover One Thing main website continues to follow the Life Journal Reading Plan which covers the whole Bible in one year. Click HERE to check out today’s Discover One Thing post.


Posted on December 8, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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