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Genesis 46





 

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Hey church family! Did I hear someone say road trip? Let’s go! As much as I’d like to go to visit some other places, right now we’re going to take mental journey with Jacob. In Genesis chapter 46, Jacob now knows his son Joseph is still alive AND he pretty much controls all of Egypt. Joseph’s brother’s have returned to Canaan to bring Jacob and the rest of the family back to Egypt to live. Going on this journey to Egypt had great significance to family. First, however, I cannot imagine Jacob being rather intimidated to make this trip for a man 130 years old. He was leaving the security of the familiar places that often afford a certain amount of security to journey to a foreign land to an unknown and uncertain future. Also, remember, Abraham, Jacob's grandfather, got into some trouble when he went to Egypt back in Genesis 12; he ended up getting kicked out. And back in Genesis 26:2 God instructed Isaac NOT to go into Egypt for famine relief. Therefore, fear begins to take hold and Jacob hesitates and builds an altar to sacrifice to the Lord. It is here Jacob receives specific instructions from God to go into Egypt (46:3). Notice, God calls him by his name of weakness, Jacob. Remember God renamed him Israel but here God is meeting him in his weakness. God is so good to meet us in our place of weakness. He had good reason to fear as this long journey ahead might have been simple for someone young but at his age it was rather unsettling. Notice the specific promise renewal to Jacob from God in verse 3, " I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there." Abraham saw this day coming when God told him in Genesis 15:13, “Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there." Therefore, we can certainly see Jacob’s apprehension. Perhaps he was thinking could this possibly be the beginning of that 400 years out of the land of promise? Yet, God wanted to remove his fear. So, there’s a great emphasis here but we must remember, God does not want his children to fear. If you can hear His voice, He is calling you by name. He is promising to go with you and be with you. This is one of the great benefits of being a child of God. We can face life with confidence. We can have that assurance that wherever we go, God will be with us, helping us, and He will work out his perfect plan in our lives.

Now, moving further into chapter 46, altogether, 70 of Jacob's own descendants were in Egypt; that's counting himself. That number includes 66 (verse 26) who left Canaan with him. Add to that number Jacob himself, Joseph and his two sons; that gives us the total of 70 found in verse 27. However, you will notice from verse 26 that this number did not include "Jacob’s sons’ wives" who also went into Egypt with them. Notice there is a long list of names and descendants here and I don’t know about you but sometimes, when I see these, I skip over them. However, what is noticeable here to me are the names of Jacobs sons. This is important because this is the beginning of the establishment of the 12 tribes of Israel. I’ve come to look at sections with these names as a family portrait and this one belongs to Israel. Now, when they arrive in Egypt, Judah takes the lead into Goshen under the direction of Jacob. Why Judah instead of Reuben, the oldest? There are several reasons we can cover here but for the sake of time I want to mention just one. How about the fact that the Messiah will arise from the tribe of Judah - King David's tribe too.

Once settled, we have the joyful reunion between Jacob and his son Joseph. At Jacob's great satisfaction in this meeting he states, “Now let me die”. Not that he is desirable to live with Joseph, and to see his honour and usefulness; but he had so much pleasure and satisfaction in this first meeting that he thought it too much to desire or expect any more in this world, where our comforts must always be imperfect. Jacob wished to die immediately, and, yet, lived seventeen years longer, which, as our lives go now, is a considerable part of a man's age. Joseph continues to show his administrative discernment in

instructing his brothers how to make their case to Pharaoh; shepherds were apparently not much respected or appreciated by the Egyptians so their profession would most likely leave them free of interference. It was reasonable for Joseph to let Pharaoh know his family had now arrived in his land. It could now never be said Jacob and his family moved in deviously. I think it’s also interesting to note here that earlier in Joseph’s story, his brothers planned conspired to get rid of him. Yet, now, here is Joseph standing before Pharaoh advocating for them. How about this as an example of rendering good for evil?

We should recognize two things from this chapter. First, we should recognize that through everything God has been doing in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s sons, he has been working everything together for their good, just as he has promised. There is a grand connection between all events or a ripple effect if you will of a grand design. No matter the ups and downs of their lives, God has sworn that he will make them great, bless them, and he will bring them into their inheritance, and he will absolutely keep his promise. God has promised that “……he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

But second, we should recognize that sometimes God’s sovereign plans take his people through Egypt—places of deep suffering. Although Joseph is now the second most powerful man on the face of the earth, a time will come when a new pharaoh will not remember Joseph. We’ll see that in Exodus 1:8.

It is critical, therefore, both that we take hope in the fact that God is working all things together for our good (Rom. 8:28) and that we strengthen ourselves with the understanding that even though all things together will be good, that does not mean that all the events in our lives will be “good” in and of themselves. Remember, “for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”. Suffering is an unavoidable part of the journey as God brings his people to glory.

If even Jesus had to suffer before his exaltation, why should we imagine that we would be exempt from suffering on our road to glory?

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