“Blest Be the Tie That Binds” (Genesis 47-48)

Today’s Bible reading is Genesis 47-48, Psalm 18, and Matthew 18. Our devotional will focus on Genesis 45-48.

Unable to conceal his identity any longer, Joseph orders his servants out of his presence and with tears of joy declares, “I am Joseph”(Genesis 45:1-3).

Imagine the flood of emotions passing over Joseph’s brothers!  Twenty-two years has passed, but the guilt and shame of their sin against Joseph has not faded.  Stricken with guilt, fear, and disbelief; they wonder how this man of Egypt could be their brother?

To assure them of his identity, Joseph declares a fact only they knew…“I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt” (45:4).  The sin that haunted and shadowed their lives was secret no more! The brother they sold as a slave was not only alive, he was second only to Pharaoh.

Sensing their trepidation, Joseph comforted and assured his brothers their sin was sovereignly used by God to “send me before you to preserve life” (45:5-7).  Joseph embraced his brothers with tears of joy and commanded them to return to Canaan and bring his father and their households to Egypt (45:8-15).  When word reached Pharaoh’s palace (45:2), the king affirmed Joseph’s desire for his family to join him in Egypt (45:16-18).

Ponder old Jacob’s thoughts at the sight of an approaching caravan coming out of Egypt.  Imagine the emotions welling up in the patriarch when he is told, “Joseph is alive and rules second only to Pharaoh in Egypt!” (45:19-28)

When Joseph learned his father and brother’s households had arrived in Goshen, he mounted his chariot and rushed to be reunited with his father (46:28-30).

Genesis 47 records the audience Pharaoh had with Joseph, his father Jacob, and his brothers (47:1-10).  Jacob expressed gratitude and blessed Pharaoh for the kindness he extended to his family.  Jacob was one hundred thirty years old when he moved to Egypt and lived another seventeen years (Genesis 47:9, 28) before summoning Joseph to his bedside (47:29-31).

Genesis 48 records Jacob’s earthly benediction, his final blessing.  When Joseph receives news his father is ill, he comes to Jacob’s bedside with his sons.  Jacob rallies for a few moments, sits up in his bed, and rehearses with Joseph God’s covenant promises (48:3-4).  Jacob, now referred to as Israel, promises Joseph he will be doubly blessed and his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh (48:5-6, 21-22), will receive an inheritance in Canaan in the stead of Reuben and Simeon whose sins had brought shame upon Jacob’s household (Genesis 34).

Resting in God’s covenant promises, Israel (Jacob) blesses Joseph, assuring him, “God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers. 22 Moreover I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren…” (48:21b-22).

On a personal note:  I have visited dying saints in the last days, hours, and moments of their earthly life for over 40 years.  I treasure those times…a last conversation, loving hugs, affectionate smiles, spiritual assurances, as they pass through the “shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4) into the brightness of God’s shekinah glory where they will “dwell in the house of the LORD for ever” (Psalm 23:6).

I conclude with a blessed promise… “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8)

Copyright 2019 – Travis D. Smith