Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Genesis 49:29-33; 50:1-26

Have you been encouraged by these ordinary men in the book of Genesis?  They walked with God, but did not always do it right and neither do we. 

Genesis 49:29-33; 50:1-14 – The Death of Jacob

Jacob was dying and after he gave blessings to each of his sons, he gave them final instructions stating again to bury him when his people were buried in the land of Canaan.  It was the land God gave him and his descendants.  He was not afraid to die because he had faith.  He put his life in God’s hands.  Matt. 22:31-32 tells us God was his God just like God was the God of Abraham and Isaac and that God is the God of the living not the dead.

We learn more about death from these verses:

Heb. 9:27 – We all are destined to die once and then face judgment.
Rom. 3:23 – all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Rom. 6:23 – The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ.
John 5:24 – Whoever hears the Word and believes in Jesus will have eternal life.
John 8:24 – You must believe in Jesus or you will die in your sins.
John 11:26 – Whoever lives and believes in Jesus will never die.

How prepared are you to die?

When Jacob died, Joseph threw himself on him and wept.  The Egyptians mourned him for 70 days.  Joseph promised Jacob that he would be buried in Canaan.  Joseph was faithful to the last and asked Pharaoh’s permission to take Jacob there and then he would return to Egypt.

Tears are not a lack of faith.  Loss is worth grieving.  It can be an experience of pain that words cannot describe.  All mourned Jacob’s death, because they deeply respected Joseph.  Pharaoh showed deep respect and support of Joseph and allowed him to leave and take his father to Canaan.  Pharaoh sent officials from the court and from Egypt to accompany Joseph probably for protection along the way.  Then all Joseph’s family along with Pharaoh’s chariots and horsemen went with Joseph to bury Jacob.  They stopped at Atad near the Jordon and they mourned for another 7 days.  Joseph buried his father with great pomp and ceremony in the patriarchal tomb in the land of promise.

Principle:  God’s promises bring hope and direction in the midst of grief and loss.

How does your faith impact your experience of a loss?
How do you have hope in spite of your loss, because of what you know about God?
How will you trust God to live an abundant life while in grief?

Genesis 50:15-21 – Joseph Reassures His Brothers

Now that Jacob was dead Joseph’s brothers were afraid they had received mercy and forgiveness from their brother only for the sake of their aged father.  They fully expected punishment from Joseph.  They concocted a story that their father had requested mercy for them.  When Joseph heard this, he wept.  How could they not believe he would honor his forgiveness and not harm them?  He was deeply hurt that they thought so little of him and doubted his character.  Then they backed up their plea with a genuine display of humility offering themselves as slaves.  Joseph reassured them and spoke kindly to them.  Again Joseph told them, “Don’t be afraid.  Am I in the place of God?  You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.  So then, don’t be afraid.  I will provide for you and your children.”Gen. 50:19-21. 

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” Rom. 8:28.  Ultimately our lives are not in the hands of men, but in the hands of God.  He overrules all things for His glory.

The way Joseph treated his brothers is a picture of how God treats us in Christ.  They didn’t deserve Joseph’s grace and forgiveness; we don’t deserve God’s grace and forgiveness.  Joseph loved and provided for them and God loves and provides for us.  He sent us Jesus to die for us.

How do you treat your family? 
Are you kind, loving, forgiving? 
Do you provide for them and give them guidance?
How do you respond to God’s treatment of you in Christ?

God’s purpose for Joseph was the saving of many lives as well as saving the lives of his people, which later would be the nation of Israel.

God does not want you to live with false security.  Don’t live a life of “what if”.
God does not want you to life afraid.  God’s commitment to us is based on who He is and not what we do.

Principle:  Believing in the sovereign and grace of God transforms our fear and pain into peace and praise.

Joseph’s belief in God transformed his pain into praise.  What pain can you surrender to God and turn into praise?
What do your actions reveal about God?
Do you have a “what if”?  What if I mess up, what if He really will not forgive me?
Do you have doubt that His love is unconditional because of your past?

Genesis 50:22-26 – The Death of Joseph

After a full and prosperous life, Joseph’s departing words related to the fulfillment of God’s promises.  When Joseph was about to die, he wanted his brothers to know that God would keep His promises.  “I am about to die.  But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Gen. 50:24.  Twice in his dying words he said “God will surely come to your aid” and predicted that God would deliver the future Israelite nation from Egypt and bring them into the land promised.  Joseph made only 1 request of them, that the sons of Israel take his bones out of Egypt and back to the land of Canaan, the Promised Land – “you must carry my bones up from this place”Gen. 50:25.  He wanted to assure and encourage them in their faith to trust God and His plan.  Canaan is like heaven for believers today.  

Joseph was never buried.  His coffin lay above ground for 400 years until it was taken back to Canaan by Moses in Ex. 13:19“Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the sons of Israel swear an oath.  ‘God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.’”

What will your departing words be?
Are you ready to meet God?
Are you afraid to die?
Has your life demonstrated your faith in God?
Do you trust God’s timing?

Joseph’s lived for a purpose beyond himself.  He was thinking about his brothers.  Like Jesus, his final words show what was on his heart.  In John 17:20-26 after Jesus prayed for his disciples, He prayed for future believers. – “My prayer is not for them (his disciples) alone.  I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.  May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one…..”  Jesus knew he would experience a hard death.  He was thinking about you before He died.  Because of Jesus Christ we can have hope and assurance.

Joseph lived 93 years where he did not choose.  If God has you somewhere you do not want to be, God is there and will bless you as he did Joseph.  “God will surely come to your aid” – that is Joseph’s story, totally confident and with no worries.  He did not want his family to live in fear, but know God would be with them.

Principle:  Because of Jesus Christ, believers can live each day including our last, with assurance of a true and faithful God.

What is your attitude toward life and death and how does it tell others about God?

Egypt was not Joseph’s home and earth is not our home.  His legacy is one that can be trusted.  What is your legacy? 
What is your life message? 
Every life has a message and meaning.  Who is yours about? 

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know, He holds the future.
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

Joseph had a “because of”.  Do You?

No comments: