Monday, March 27, 2017

Daily reading assignment: Genesis 48-50

Today’s scripture reading brings us to the close of our study of Genesis.  Please do not underestimate the inestimable value of this book; not only its historic character, but also the doctrines that are foundational to everything we believe.  It might be argued that no other book in the Bible has come under harsher attack and been denied more by liberal and progressive “churches” than the Book of Genesis.

Consider what is lost if the integrity of Genesis is undermined:  Creation… the fall of man…God’s promise to Eve of a Redeemer…God’s judgment of the wicked fulfilled in the worldwide flood; the choosing of Abraham and the preservation of his lineage through which our Savior\Redeemer Jesus Christ would be born.   Reject Genesis and you have no foundation for the Christian faith or the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Genesis 48-49 is what I will describe as the “Last Will and Testament” of Jacob, whom the LORD named “Israel” (Genesis 32:28) and whose lineage is the twelve tribes of Israel.

In Genesis 48 we find Jacob, his twelve sons, their children and servants now living in Egypt.  Joseph, Jacob’s eleventh son, was providentially sold into slavery by his brothers and raised up by the LORD to serve second only to Pharaoh.  Jacob rehearsed with Joseph God’s covenant promises that were first given to his grandfather Abraham, his father Isaac,  and then repeated to him (48:3-4).  Because Joseph had been a faithful son and servant of the LORD in Egypt, Jacob promises he will be doubly blessed of the LORD; his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, will each receive an inheritance equal to that of Reuben and Simeon (48:5-6).

Jacob’s final words to his sons and his prophetic insight into the future of their lineage is recorded in Genesis 49:3-27.  Jacob’s final request to his sons was that he might be buried with his grandfather Abraham, his father Isaac and mother Rebekah, and with his wife Leah (49:29-32).   Chapter 49 closes with Jacob’s death.

Genesis 50 opens with a dramatic scene:  “And Joseph fell upon his father’s face, and wept upon him, and kissed him” (50:1).  A powerful officer of Pharaoh, Joseph gave his father a burial fit for a king (50:2-3).  When the days of mourning were past, Joseph sought permission to fulfill his fathers’ dying wish and bury Jacob in Canaan with his ancestors (50:4-7).

Genesis 50:8-9 records a funeral procession like none ever seen in Canaan.  Jacob’s sons and their families followed his mummified body from Egypt to Canaan, driving Egyptian chariots and horses  (50:10-13).

With their father buried and famine continuing in the land, Joseph and his brothers returned to Egypt (50:14).  Understanding the evil they had committed against their brother in his youth, Joseph’s brothers feared he might exact revenge for their wrongs in their father’s absence (50:15-17).  Instead of revenge, we read, “Joseph wept” (50:17b).

Realizing once again the fulfillment of the vision the LORD had given him in his youth (Genesis 37:3-11), Joseph’s brothers fell on their faces before him (50:18).  Joseph; however, had come to accept the wrongs he had suffered were providentially used by God to prepare the way for him to preserve his family (50:19-20).

I close with one of the great statements of faith on God’s sovereignty and providence found in the Bible:  “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” (50:20).

My friend, I do not know your circumstances, but I assure you God is in control!  Joseph’s testimony is one we should all embrace…whatever evil others might commit against us; be confident…God is able to bring to pass that which is good!

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith