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Sabbath: Israel in Egypt — 7 Comments

  1. Moving from Canaan to Egypt was no small task. Carmel and I are in the process of moving Carmel's parents from Queensland to NSW - a distance of around 1000km - right now. I wish I had some of Joseph's carts to help us. Actually moving them physically is the least of our worries. Both parents are over 95 and obviously, the move is causing a lot of emotional anxiety. We still have a few more trips to Queensland with our oxen carts to accomplish the move.

    So, I can understand Jacob's anxiety, as the family patriarch, in charge of an extensive family. He looked forward to seeing Joseph again of course, but at the same time, he knew that the status quo was shifting. He would be taking up residence in a foreign land. God assured him that he was doing the right thing and that he was going to be with him.

    What lessons can we learn from Jacob about stepping out in faith? Just something to think about this week as we study the last lesson in this series on Genesis.

  2. The whole clan of Jacob is now in exile in Egypt. The last words of the book of Genesis are a "coffin in Egypt." The history of salvation seems to have no happy end. And yet, this is the part of the book that is the most redolent with hope. The profile of Israel as God's people looms on the horizon. The portentous number of "seventy" that constitutes the house of Jacob (Genesis 46:27) alerts the reader to the spiritual destiny of this people.

  3. The end of the book of Genesis presents a perspective of a future in a better place. Our world is also in its final chapters, and we have the firm expectation that an extraordinary future awaits us.

  4. Human nature seems to expect bad things to happen more readily than good things. Maybe the daily news cycle supports that, or maybe we create the news cycle out of that mentality.

    Jacob believed his sons when they told him that Joseph had been ripped to pieces by a wild animal. At least, there’s no record that he hesitated to believe that tale. Whereas when the brothers (including Benjamin) brought home news that Joseph was actually alive and now second in command, ruling all of Egypt, Jacob was astonished and had a hard time swallowing their true story. It was easier to believe in Joseph’s demise and death than to believe in Joseph’s rise to God-given power and authority.

    Jacob knew Joseph had had two prophetic dreams as a teen that indicated that he would fill a rulership role in the family (so how could he be dead?). Jacob also knew that God spoke through parallel dreams and kept His Word, and yet this was the biggest miracle and intervention demonstrating the providence of God that the 130-year-old patriarch of faith had received in his life, I’m pretty sure he would say. God keeps outdoing Himself, all through our lives, to grow our faith and knowledge of Him.

    What about us, is it easier for us to receive the stories of sorrow, suffering and defeat, or to believe the stories where good triumphs and characters change majorly for the better? It looks like our next quarter’s Bible study, “In the Crucible with Christ “, will explore this question more.

    Joseph certainly seemed to keep his mind set on things that he knew were true and of a good report (Phil. 4:8). He didn’t dwell on how he had become a victim, but set his mind on things above (Col. 3:2; Gen. 45:5, 7). He hungered and thirsted for righteousness (Matt. 5:6) - he must’ve often rehearsed examples of the mercies of God in his forefathers’ lives and in his own - and because of his pure heart, he saw God… and through Joseph’s story we too are still catching glimpses of God’s character (Matt. 5:8).

    Joseph stood in Pharaoh’s palace and confidently gave God the glory for his attractive and useful gifts (Gen. 41:16, 25, 28, 32, 39). Am I linking my gifts unashamedly with the gospel (Rom 1:16)?

    How can I more faithfully recount God’s goodness and providential leadings in my life and bring my own “God meant evil for good” stories before my circle of friends and family, from young to old (Deut. 6:7)?

    This is my Father’s world…. And though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet!

  5. For some reason I have always imagined Benjamin to be a teenager when he meets Joseph. Bit of an eye opener to read in Gen. 46: 20-21 that Benjamin had 10 children when they moved down to Egypt.
    Also, noted that God was silent when Jacob was told of Joseph’s death but He comes to Jacob in Gen. 46:2-4 to reassure him about the move to Egypt. Any thoughts on why that is so?


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