Thursday: The Hope of the Promised Land
Read Genesis 49:29-50:21. What great themes of hope are found in the conclusion of the book of Genesis?
The conclusion of Genesis is made of three events that are filled with hope.
- First, it is the hope that Israel will return to the Promised Land. Moses, the author of Genesis, describes Jacob’s and Joseph’s deaths and burial as events pointing to the Promised Land. Immediately after his blessing and prophecy on the “twelve tribes of Israel” (Genesis 49:28) Jacob thinks of his death and charges his sons to bury him in Canaan, at the cave of Machpelah, where Sarah was buried (Genesis 49:29-31). The narrative describing the funeral procession toward Canaan becomes a precursor to, several centuries later, the Exodus from Egypt.
- Second, it is the hope that God will turn evil into good. After Jacob’s death and burial, Joseph’s brothers are worried about their future. They are afraid that Joseph will now take his revenge. They come to Joseph and prostrate themselves before him, ready to become his servants (Genesis 50:18), a scenario that is reminiscent of Joseph’s prophetic dreams. Joseph reassures them and tells them to “not be afraid” (Genesis 50:19, NKJV), a phrase that refers to the future (Genesis 15:1); because what was “meant evil” against him, “God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20, NKJV), and turned the course of events toward salvation (Genesis 50:19-21; compare with Genesis 45:5, Genesis 45:7-9). That is, even despite so many human failures, God’s providence will overrule.
- Third, it is the hope that God will save fallen humankind. The story of Joseph’s death in this last verse of Genesis is broader than just about Joseph’s death. Strangely, Joseph does not command to have his bones buried. Instead he points to the time “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here” (Genesis 50:25, NKJV), which they did, years later, in direct obedience to those words (see Exodus 13:19). Ultimately, the hope of the Promised Land, Canaan, is a symbol, a precursor, to the ultimate hope of salvation, of restoration, of a new Jerusalem in a new heaven and a new earth — the ultimate hope of all of us, a hope made certain by the death of Shiloh.
Read Revelation 21:1-4. How do these verses represent the grandest hope that we have? Without this promise, what hope do we have other than death alone as the end of all our problems?
The hope and the certainty in the eternal plan before creation in the Godhead, that many Sons and Daughters, would be adopted into a new environment of New Heavens and Earth.
Ephesians 1:3-14 (CSB)
3 Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ.
4 For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him.
* 5 He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6 to the praise of his glorious grace that he lavished on us in the Beloved One.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace
8 that he richly poured out on us with all wisdom and understanding.
9 He made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he purposed in Christ
10 as a plan for the right time -- to bring everything together in Christ, both things in heaven and things on earth in him. 11 In him we have also received an inheritance, because we were predestined according to the plan of the one who works out everything in agreement with the purpose of his will,
12 so that we who had already put our hope in Christ might bring praise to his glory.
13 In him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed.
14 The Holy Spirit is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of the possession, to the praise of his glory.
* 5 The eternal PLAN/COVENANT for immortal Sons and Daughters was predestined, NOT predestined individuals.
I have gone on several overseas trips - some of them, several months long. Some of them have been quite exciting, visiting new countries and meeting new people. Others have been challenging, sitting in conferences, teaching classes, and marking examination papers. But, the best part about most of those trips is coming home. Typically when we come back home from overseas we fly into Sydney and it is always good to see the familiar coastline, the Harbour Bridge (We call it The Coathanger) and the beautiful Sydney Harbour. Then it is onto the train for a couple of hours before we reach home with its familiar layout, shapes and smells. It is soooo... good to be back home.
The Israelites were in a foreign country but planted deep in their hearts there was the little seed that their home was Canaan, further north. They did not belong in Egypt.
For Seventh-day Adventists, the hope of the Second Coming is something that is close to our hearts. The Promised Land is something we look forward to. The frustration for us is that we have this expectation that we will get there in our lifetime. I grew up with grandparents who had grown up with that hope. They have died, as have my parents. And it is very hard to keep that hope alive in our children and our grandchildren. One of the most serious problems we have is that there is much focus on the signs of Christ's coming. To be quite honest a fair bit of it is scare-mongering. And the more we shout about the signs, the more immune our listeners become.
When I read the apocalyptic chapters in the Bible, I get an overriding sense that for us the really important thing is to "occupy until I come". There is the Kingdom of God, a Promised Land, we can occupy now. It is not about eternal retirement but about living the Gospel now.
Hi Maurice ...
What's most important and priority no. 1 is santificafion, growth in the planted divine seed within, in any time period, since Christ's resurrection.
Being motivation by end time speculation is not a pure motivation !
“Still other seed fell on good ground and produced fruit: some a hundred, some sixty, and some thirty times what was sown.
5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the #first day until now#. 6 I am sure of this, that he who #started a good work in you# will #carry it on to completion# until the day of Christ Jesus.
2 Peter 1:3-8
3 His #divine power# has #given us everything required for life# and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
4 By these he has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may #share in the divine nature# , escaping the corruption that is in the world because of #evil desire#
5 For this very reason, #make every effort# to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge,
6 knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness,
7 godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
8 For if you #possess these qualities in increasing measure#, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Divine Qualities and godly attributes takes place in our life time, since the resurrection of Christ !
Was there any growth in Christians in 100 AD, 500AD, 1000AD ...1500AD, rethorical question !
Shalom brother in Christ
Maurice, you hit the nail on the head: “occupy until I come.” (Luke 19:13.) It is not the vehement profession of prophetic beasts and timelines, nor the precision with which we “keep” the ten commandments and the 28 “fundamentals,” but it is the outworking of our faith in the covenant faithfulness of God that brings us “back home” into his presence. That faith is seen in how we relate to others, even our enemies. (Matthew 25:31-46; Matthew 5:43-48.)
This was seen in spades in the life of Joseph, who exemplified the attitude of Jesus (Philippians 2:1-11), and it is that to which God calls each of us. All of us struggle with the infirmity of sin, which is compounded because we live in a world of sinners just like us. Our only hope is trusting in and cooperating with the work of the One who sees us not as we are, but as what we will be as we identify more with him each day. (1 Corinthians 13:12; 2 Corinthians 3:18.)
I am encouraged that Levi, a man of violence and whose anger was cursed, was the father of those who were “scattered in Israel” as teachers and preachers for God and were used in the work of God’s sanctuary. (Genesis 49:5-7, Exodus 32:25-29.) There is hope for the worst of the chief of sinners who is willing to know God and his Messiah as he learns to work out God’s will in life.
I think we like Christ will have at least tasted everything that Christ has ordained it necessary to be able to appreciate the sacrifice it takes to save us from our sins.And we will never desire again any other ways but God's ways throughout eternity.
I sense the hope that burns within Joseph's heart, "God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” That hope is ours today! Let this blessed hope keep us encouraged.
We have this hope that burns within our hearts,
Hope in the coming of the Lord.
We have this faith that Christ alone imparts,
Faith in the promise of His Word.
We believe the time is here,
When the nations far and near
Shall awake, and shout and sing
Hallelujah! Christ is King!
We have this hope that burns within our hearts,
Hope in the coming of the Lord.
(Wayne Hooper, 1962. SDA Hymnal 214)
Gods perception of eternal life begins here on earth and continues to grow outside the limits of time and space. It does not start after death and glorious resurrection. We should enjoy eternal life here and now on earth knowing the Lords promise. This should help us to live the best Christian life now knowing what the Lord has prepared for us. Therefore we should be actively and not passively awaiting eternal life by our thoughts, words and deeds but ultimately by our faith in God.
Here is this statement again: Gen.50:19-20 - ”Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” God's Plan of Salvation includes everyone, not just you and me.
“God’s providence will overrule,” says the author. All who believe, like Joseph, are called to righteous living, especially when those who do not know God and cannot trust him engage in acts of hostility and harm toward others. We are to know that God is powerful and wise and uses everything He deems useful toward the Salvation of Mankind, even the acts of unkindness.
A great work is being worked out, we ought to not interfere but stay faithful to the Word of God. Does not our Maker’s teachings admonish us to leave the judging and the response up to Him? Does He not say: “vengeance is mine’? This does not mean he strikes down the person who has harmed us, but we can rest assured that He will 'set the record straight'.
Joseph, like Jesus, has been living accordingly throughout his lifetime. Is it not wise to emulate his trust in the Wisdom of God when we encounter adversity in all its forms? Can we see the importance of reacting with longsuffering, kindness and prayer, not becoming distraught and taking justice – setting things right - into our own hands?
I am really disappointed about the conclusion the lesson writer draws from the study of this quarter’s lesson; but this is a recurring disappointment.
The lesson writer looks at the death of Jesus as the 'means' for our salvation; I believe it is imperative to look at the Life of Jesus. All the studying of the Scriptures shows us again and again the Way of Life according to the Will of God to be the right Way; living by being engaged with the lifegiving spirit of the Creator of all Life, not the death of Jesus.
I wholeheartedly believe that the New Testament and the Old Testament are the testimony to teach us about the True Life of the children of God. My hope is that, in time, an adjustment of perspective and focus will bring about a clearer understanding regarding the core message of the Gospel as we respond to our Creator’s Work of Salvation of mankind with our lives.
I look at the life, the death and the resurection. All three are important. We studied the life of Joseph in the last few weeks. This week we studied Joseph's life at the end of his time and then death as depicted by Moses the writer who also was not void of detail of Joseph death. Next quarter we will study the life of Christ not as a theodicy, but as a God with us through our daily lives, of suffering, hardship and trials, and loss. A God that points us to joy, rejoicing, and happiness found in trusting fully in Him. We will find we are part of a people being prepared for His soon coming, through the One who lived, died, and was resurected as a propitiation for our sins. 1John 4:10.