Devotional reading assignment: Genesis 48-50
Today’s scripture reading brings us to the close of our study of Genesis. Having vowed to fulfill his father’s request to be buried in Canaan, Joseph was soon after summoned to his father’s bedside.
Genesis 48-49 is Israel’s (aka Jacob’s) “Last Will and Testament.”
Rallying for a few moments, Jacob sat up in his bed and rehearsed with Joseph God’s covenant promises (48:3-4). Because he had been a faithful son and servant of the LORD in Egypt, Jacob promised Joseph he would be doubly blessed of the LORD. Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, would each receive an inheritance in the stead of Reuben and Simeon, his older brothers (48:5-6, 21-22).
Jacob’s final words to his sons and his prophetic insight into the future of their lineages is recorded in Genesis 49. Lest there be any questions of his wishes, Jacob repeated his request to be buried in Canaan with his grandfather Abraham, his father Isaac, mother Rebekah, and his wife Leah (49:29-32). Genesis 49 closes with the great patriarch’s death, an inevitable appointment for us all (Hebrews 9:27).
A dramatic scene unfolds in Genesis 50 when we read, “And Joseph fell upon his father’s face, and wept upon him, and kissed him” (50:1).
Following the ways of the Egyptians, Joseph directed the embalmment of his father’s body in a fashion befitting his relation to Joseph, Egypt’s second most powerful ruler (50:2-3). When the days of mourning were past, Joseph requested permission to carry his father’s body to Canaan to bury him in the ancestral tomb (50:4-7).
The funeral processional out of Egypt was like none ever seen in Canaan (Genesis 50:8-9). Jacob’s twelve sons, their families (with the exception of small children), and senior leaders of Egypt driving Egyptian chariots and horses, followed Jacob’s body from Egypt to Canaan (50:10-13). With their father buried and famine continuing in the land, Joseph and his brothers returned to Egypt (50:14).
Recalling the evil committed against Joseph when they sold him as a slave, his brothers feared the absence of their father would give Joseph opportunity to exact revenge (50:15-17). Instead of revenge, we read, “Joseph wept” (50:17b).
Fulfilling the vision the LORD gave him in his youth (Genesis 37:3-11), Joseph’s brothers bowed before him (50:18) as he assured them the wrongs he had suffered were providentially used by God to prepare the way for him to preserve his family (50:19-20).
One of the greatest statements of faith in God’s sovereignty and providence is found in Joseph’s assurance: “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).
Joseph’s life is a testimony of what it means to suffer wrong and continue to walk in faith and humility. He did not focus on the grievous evil committed by his brothers, nor give rein to bitter, vengeful thoughts. Joseph was confident, whatever wrongs he might have suffered, God was faithful and able to bring to pass that which is good!
Friend, are you bitter? Are you nursing hurts and embittered by disappointments? Are you willing to confess your hurts and let go of your bitterness? Will you trust Him? Trust God knowing He will bring to pass that which is good.
Romans 8:28 – “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith