Monday, October 24, 2011

Genesis 45:16-28

Today’s passage demonstrates perfectly the difference between the faith of Joseph and that of his father, Jacob. The good news is that God loved them both and had His hand on both of their lives.

We were witnessing the reunion of Joseph and his brothers, after Joseph had finally revealed himself to them. When Pharaoh learned that Joseph’s brothers were in town, he was excited and made an extremely generous offer to Joseph:

Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your animals and return to the land of Canaan, and bring your father and your families back to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you can enjoy the fat of the land.’

“You are also directed to tell them, ‘Do this: Take some carts from Egypt for your children and your wives, and get your father and come. Never mind about your belongings, because the best of all Egypt will be yours.’” (Gen 45:17-20)

Only God could have opened Pharaoh’s heart to pour out such blessing! They would have not just a prime plot, but the BEST of all Egypt! This reminds me of one of my life verses:

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us... (Eph 3:20)

God is able to do so much more than our puny minds can imagine, and He desires to bless His children. Pharaoh didn’t just offer to squeeze them in someplace - he gave them the very best part of Egypt! So Joseph sent the brothers back to get Jacob and the rest of the clan with wagons loaded with provisions for the journey.

To each of them he gave new clothing, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels of silver and five sets of clothes. (Gen 45:22)

This time, the other brothers apparently had no issues with Benjamin receiving so much more! They had more than enough and there was no need for competition anymore. However, when Joseph sends them off he gives them a final word, probably only half in jest, “Don’t quarrel on the way!” (vs. 24) In other words, “Don’t kill each other!” When they reached home, Jacob showed his pessimistic nature:

So they went up out of Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. They told him, “Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of all Egypt.” Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them. But when they told him everything Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the carts Joseph had sent to carry him back, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. And Israel said, “I’m convinced! My son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.” (vs. 25-28)

Here Jacob displayed all of the faith of “doubting” Thomas. He had no trouble, years before, believing the bad lie that Joseph was dead, but here he can’t believe the good truth that Joseph is alive. It is not until he sees the carts filled to overflowing that he believes. And I think we can understand this - he had been believing the lie for about 20 years. And all during that time, that lie had affected his outlook on life, to the point that he was unable to enjoy the blessings of his others sons and his grandchildren.

Jacob was the ultimate pessimist, and Satan knew just how to keep his eyes off of God, by keeping him focused on what he lacked, rather than what he had all along. During that same period, Joseph, who had been denied his family and had languished in prison waiting for justice, was focused on God. He relied on God to sustain Him, and maintained his trust in God throughout. Don’t you know people like Jacob? Maybe you are one of those “half empty” kind of people, who is so wrapped up in what trials you have faced, that you cannot imagine God at work in any of it. And don’t you want to be a person like Joseph, who saw God’s hand in it all?

Again, the good news is that God loved them both. Jacob came around when he saw the wagons, and we will look at what Jon Courson has to say about that tomorrow! I’m just thankful that our gracious God is so patient with us when we show the doubts of Jacob!


No comments:

Post a Comment