Thursday, May 2, 2013

Genesis 46 - 48

Genesis 46 – Trusting God to Go

Jacob left Canaan and go to Egypt.  He stopped along the way at Beersheba to worship God.  He wasn’t really sure what God wanted him to do, but was confident he would hear from God.  He faced a major decision to move his family out of Canaan the land promised by God.  He wanted to see his son, Joseph, but wasn’t sure it was wise to leave.  In Genesis 26 God told his father Isaac not to go to Egypt so Jacob needed to know what to do.  What would you do?  Jacob prayed.  He sought God’s guidance.  God told him not to be afraid, but to go and He would be with him, but that God would bring him back to the Promised Land.

What do you do when faced with a decision?
Do you ask others what they would do?
Do you read books to find the answer?
Or do you seek God first for His guidance?
How do you know God’s will?  It begins with worship.  When you are worshipping, you are focused on God and are open to Him and his guidance.

We learn about God’s guidance from theses scriptures:
Genesis 26:2 – God tells us what we should do.
Genesis 46:3 – God is our God and we should not be afraid for He is always with us.
Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in God and not to your own understanding.  Acknowledge Him and He will direct you.
James 1:5-7 – Ask God for wisdom and do not doubt Him.

God gave 4 prophecies to Jacob in Genesis 46:1-4:
I will make you a great nation.  I will be with you and bring you back again.  Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.  All these promises were fulfilled.  See Exodus 1-12.

Jacob and his family needed to go to Egypt so his people would be preserved and not starve to death because of the famine.  Jacob took his entire family – 66 in all. Counting Joseph and his sons there were 70 in Jacob’s family.  The number 70 is like the number 7, symbolizing perfection.   All the names of Jacob’s family are listed in this chapter.  Why do you think it was necessary to list these names?  This is a list of every tribe which would later become the nation of Israel.  They are also probably listed, because God wants us to know that each one of us is important and special. 

God records the names of people today.  All of the names of the church are written in heaven in the book of life. (Luke 10:20, Rev. 20:12-15).  It includes anyone who has accepted Jesus as Savior.  Are you sure your name is listed?  There is no reason not to be sure.

Principle:  God works through our individual obedience to grow and strengthen the body of Christ. 

Now after 22 years Joseph and Jacob meet.  When Joseph sees his father he threw his arms around him and wept for a long time.  Imagine the emotions of their hearts.   

Joseph had them settle in Goshen.  Since they were shepherds, Goshen had the most fertile land for their sheep to graze.  It was also on the border of Egypt separating the Egyptians from the Hebrews.  The Hebrews would be isolated and insulated from the culture and religion of Egypt. 

Genesis 47:1-27 – Trusting God to Provide

Joseph told Pharaoh his family was in Goshen.  Pharaoh was a wise, courteous and gracious ruler.  He respected and trusted Joseph.  He recognized his gifts and honored him for them.  He allowed Joseph’s family to settle there.  Joseph continued providing food for all of his family.

Joseph presents his father to Pharaoh.  Jacob gave Pharaoh a blessing and thanked him for his kindness.  Both were blessed.  Jacob explained his hard life, but he was blessed because the Lord was in his life.

A Summary of Jacob’s Life:
He struggled with his brother in the womb - Gen 25:1-6.
He was raised by dysfunctional parents – Gen. 25:28.
He stole his brother, Esau’s blessing - Gen. 27:1-46
He spent years serving his uncle, Laban who cheated him - Gen. 29:13-30.
He planned to marry 1 wife, but ended up with 4 – Gen. 29:18
He fled from his uncle and later made an agreement with him to stop the conflict – Gen.31:1-55.
His daughter, Dinah was violated – Gen. 34:1-4.
He lived in fear after his sons killed the men of Shechem – Gen. 34:30.
He lost his true love, wife Rachel – Gen. 35:16-19.
His son Rueben lay with one of his concubines – Gen. 35:22.
He lost his favorite son, Joseph – Gen. 37:33-34.
He went through a severe famine – Gen. 42-43.
He was reconciled with his son Joseph to live out his days – Gen. 46:29

Principle:  Surrendering our lives to God matures our faith and secures our future.

Sometimes God sends us to unexpected places.  How are you using an unexpected place to bless someone else?
How do you respond to the challenge to be totally dependant on God?
How grateful are you to be able to serve God?
Do you recognize it is a privilege to serve Him?

There was still no food in the whole region, because the famine was so sever.  The people ran out of money to buy food.  Joseph was wise and fed the people so that they did not die.  He devised a plan in 3 stages for relief of the famine:  first, they paid for food with money; second, when they ran out of money they paid for food with their livestock; third, when they ran out of livestock they paid with their land and with themselves making them slaves to Pharaoh.  The people could still grow their crops, but they were to give Pharaoh a fifth of the produce.  Joseph gained nothing from this himself.  These strict measures where for the good of the people.  It taught them to work hard and appreciate and value what they had.  It taught them to appreciate God and how He had provided for them. 

Do you plan wisely for the good of others?
Do you ask God for help?

Genesis 47:28-48:22 – Trusting God as Shepherd

Jacob lived for 17 years in Egypt.  He was 147 when died.  Before he died, he asked Joseph, before God, to not bury him in Egypt, but to bury him in Canaan with Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah and Leah.  This was the country that God had promised to him and his descendants.  “’Swear to me,’ he said. Then Joseph swore to him, and Israel worshiped as he leaned on the top op of his staff.” Gen. 46:31.  This is a visual of standing on the promises of God.

Jacob was a liar, self-reliant, careless, and worried about his own reputation most of his life, but he did not end his life that way.  When Jacob was very ill and ready to die, he spoke words of encouragement from his deathbed.  “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and there he blessed me and said to me, ‘I am going to make you fruitful and will increase your numbers.  I will make you a community of peoples, and I will give this as an everlasting possession to your descendants after you.’”Gen. 48:3-4.  He took time to remind Joseph about God and His promises, the same promises given to Abraham and Isaac. 

Joseph brought his sons, Manasseh and Ephraim to Jacob for his blessings before Jacob died.  Jacob declared Joseph’s sons to be his own.  He gave them a special blessing.  He gave the youngest, Ephraim the greatest blessing instead of giving it to the older Manasseh.  He gave Ephraim the blessing of the firstborn.  This was God’s choice and Joseph accepted it because it was God’s will.  God is sovereign and He can do what He wishes.  Jacob then repeated God’s promise that God would take them back to the Promised Land. – Gen. 48:21.  Then Joseph received the birthright blessing, because of Reuben’s sin (Gen. 35:22 and 1 Chron. 5:1-2). 

When you die, will you be known as a person who relied on God?
What would others say about your character?
Do you bless your children?
Do you share with them the promises of God?
It is important for parents, especially fathers and grandfathers to bless their children.  Many children never hear encouraging words from them.  Every boy needs to be touched and verbally affirmed by his father and grandfather.  Instead, some are criticized, rejected and reminded of their weaknesses and failings.  We must bless our children.  Jacob hugged and kissed is grandsons.  That’s what fathers and grandfathers today should do.

How is God asking you to surrender to His plan that you do not understand?  Peace and blessing come through surrender.
How can you share what God means to you?

Principle: With God as our Shepherd we will have peace and blessing beyond our understanding.

At the end of Jacob’s life he shows us that we must pray for guidance before making decisions; God guidance is different for each person; God always fulfills His Word.

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