Good morning. We hit a snag with the land. The town planner called to say that the municipality has flip flopped and said we cannot use it for what we want to use it for. He feels someone’s looking for a bribe. Please pray for this to be resolved. Also, let’s continue to pray about the spiking cases of Coronavirus.
We come to Jacob’s final move—to Egypt. We want to examine the faithfulness of God to Jacob and to Abraham. We want to also think about this in light of our current crisis.
- Vv 1-4—Describe how Jacob’s meeting with God would have encouraged him. How does it encourage us?
- What a series of events. First we have the revelation that Joseph is alive, then all the packing and excitement of moving and now an encounter with God.
- It’s interesting that this encounter began by Jacob’s offering sacrifices in worship to God.
- As we look at God’s words to Jacob we can learn some things. First, Jacob was evidently afraid to go to Egypt, or at least unsure about this move. God reassured him. God reassured him by saying that He Himself would go with Jacob, that He would fulfill His promises to Jacob and as an added benefit, Joseph would be with him in death. There’s a bit of a curious statement in v4 where God says, I’ll go down with you and bring you up again. Is He speaking of bringing Jacob back to Canaan for burial or bringing the nation back in the days of Joshua?
- As we apply this to the current pandemic, I think it’s very important to learn from Jacob’s encounter. Are we afraid? Every time I hear a story of a +60 year old who was healthy getting the virus and either dying or getting extremely sick, I confess it makes me want to go into hiding. But we need to draw lessons from this section. First, God will be with us whether to avoid the sickness, to go through the sickness or to die.
- Second, and related, God will be faithful to all His promises—to be with us always, and to prepare a place for us and to take us to Himself.
- Third, He’ll bring us up again—if we die we have the promise of a glorified body. We may fear the uncertainty of our future, but we don’t have to ultimately fear because God knows and controls our future and He’ll go with us through whatever that future brings.
- So, let’s worship God!
- Vv 5-7—try to imagine this trip for different members of the family. What can we apply to our current “trip.”
- We talked about Jacob’s apprehension of this move, but there were 70 other members on this trip and they would have had varying responses to the events. Can you imagine the children? This would be like our kids going on their first airplane flight. What excitement!
- Then there’s the adults—all the work to be done. And the trip was not a couple of hours long. There would be days of driving to get there and putting up with all the kids’ cries of “Are we there yet?”
- There was the anticipation of getting to Egypt and they were all probably excited about that. We’re going to see Joseph, we’re going to be in the most powerful land of the day (like going to the US might be for people here). We’ll meet new people and see new things. For a bunch of nomadic farmers this was amazing!
- We’re on a journey too. There’s apprehension, there’s work but there’s also excitement. Look at what God’s doing among us. The landscape when this is over is going to look a lot different from the landscape this past March. So, let’s board the plane and wait for our heavenly Pilot to take us where He wants us to go and show us what He wants us to see.
- So let’s pray!
- Vv 8-27—what “oddities” do you see in this genealogy? What do you think is Moses’ overall purpose of including this here?
- In v10, it mentions that Simeon’s children were born of a Canaanite woman. In vv 15, 16, two sisters are mentioned and in vv 20, Joseph’s wife is mentioned.
- I think the main purpose of the inclusion of this genealogy is to show the faithfulness of God to His covenant with Abraham. The fulfilling of this covenant started slowly. Both Abraham and Isaac had to wait for sons to be born. And then even though they each had multiple sons, only one was actually part of the plan of God in the fulfilling of His covenant, but with Jacob that changed. Jacob has 70 offspring and his family is growing nicely. This will also prepare us for the book of Exodus in which it’s estimated that the children of Israel numbered around 2 million.
- For Jacob personally, I believe this chapter includes the last recorded appearance of God to Jacob as well as Jacob’s final move. If we go back to the first appearance of God to Jacob and Jacob’s first move—from Canaan to Padan Aram—things have changed greatly. Jacob was one and didn’t know God. Now he’s more than 70 and his relationship with God is much greater. God has been faithful to the man Jacob.
- And He’s faithful to us. David said, once I was young and now I’m old, but I’ve not see the righteous forsaken by God—Ps 37:25. God is faithful to us too and we can trust Him no matter what our path will be.
- Let’s rest!
- Vv 28-34—why would Joseph tell the brothers to introduce themselves as shepherds?
- This struck me. I’m not sure if the last part of v34 is part of Joseph’s words to his brothers (the ESV includes them in the quote) or if it’s Moses’ explanatory words to his readers. Whatever the case, it seems strange that if one knows that the people he’s introducing himself to would look down on you for your occupation, that this would be the first thing you’d introduce about yourself.
- There may be a couple of explanations for this, but I think we see something of the character of Joseph here. He was transparent. Joseph wasn’t too concerned about impressing Pharaoh. We are easily dazzled by humans whom we view as being important. Even those who have no political clout, we tend to want to impress. We talk about a first impression.
- Joseph was who Joseph was and his eyes were upon the Lord. The Lord made them shepherds and it really didn’t matter what Pharaoh or any of the Egyptians thought about that occupation or about these men. It only mattered what God thought of them and God had accepted them just as they were.
- We too easily fall into the trap of trying to impress people. The fear of man brings a snare and we get trapped trying to impress others rather than just being willing to be who God made us.
- Let’s focus on what God thinks of us!
- What lessons did you get today?
- In these days of fear and uncertainty, let’s worship, let’s pray, let’s rest and let’s focus. God is doing a great thing among us. It may involve some of us getting sick or dying. It may involve some of us losing jobs or finding difficulty dealing with our finances. How can we worship God and serve Him and others during this time? How can we go through this journey with our eyes upon Him? Focus on God by focusing on His promises and His faithfulness both to us and to others.
Your Thoughts or questions?