Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Genesis 46:1-27

Before we hop into the moving van with Jacob, let’s look back once more at Genesis 45:27-28 to see the change that had happened to him when he finally decided to believe that Joseph was, indeed, alive:

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.”

Belief in the truth caused Jacob’s spirit to revive, and the father of the twelve tribes, Israel (note the name change), spoke out in faith. Jacob had been emotionally dead to his sons and was most likely feeling bone-dry in his relationship with God all of those years he believed there was no hope. Learning and believing the truth about Joseph positively breathed life back into this old man!

What in your life feels completely dead? Your marriage? Your relationship with your children? Your career? Your hopes for the future? What lie are you believing that is rotting your bones until they are all dried up? Beth Moore quotes Ezekial 37:3-6 in relation to this rebirth of Jacob and to the possibility of a revival of our own dead spirit:

He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’”

These verses specifically were a prophecy to Israel that the LORD would one day restore the Jewish nation, which had been taken into captivity. This prophecy was fulfilled when the Jews returned from Babylonian captivity, but it also had another fulfillment when the current nation of Israel came to life in 1948. If God could breathe new life back into Jacob, if he could restore the nation of Israel, surely he can revive what you believe is dead. Believe that the God who raised Jesus can also raise whatever you see as dead!

Back to Jacob. I can’t even imagine the joy that must have surge through him as he began the journey south! We see that as he headed down to Egypt, he stopped to worship his God and experienced another encounter with Him:

So Israel set out with all that was his, and when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.

And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, “Jacob! Jacob!”
“Here I am,” he replied.

“I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.” (Gen 46:1-4)

Back in chapter 28, when Jacob was leaving home to find his wife and escape Esau, he had his first vision from God.  God had promised him that he would go with him everywhere he went. That would include Egypt. Jacob did not need to be anxious about this move. God was going on ahead of him! I love the promise that his beloved Joseph, himself, would close Jacob’s eyes in death!

Verses 8-27 of this chapter give the names of the direct descendants of Jacob who went with him down into Egypt. Tucked in verse 12 is the royal line of Judah, his son Perez (whose mother was Tamar), and Perez’s son Hezron, from whom the Messiah would come. The total in Egypt, including Joseph and his two sons, was seventy - NOT including the wives! Four hundred and thirty years later, when the Israelites left Egypt, their numbers had grown to 600,000 men, NOT counting the women and children! Yes, God kept His promise! Don’t you love it?


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