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Today in Genesis Chapter 46 we read about Jacob and his family's journey to Egypt! I really like that God speaks to Jacob in a vision at Beersheba - the same place where both Abraham and Isaac had worshiped God earlier in Genesis. As Jacob was about to leave Canaan, God reaffirms his covenant promises. Very reassuring for Jacob I am sure! I wonder - sometimes in our lives - as we are about to embark on something big: Maybe a new ministry. Maybe a mission trip. Maybe a new job. Maybe a new marriage. Maybe a new child. Does God speak to us? Does God reaffirm his love to us? Does God tell us that he will be with us on this new thing - as he did to Jacob in this chapter? I can't say that I've verbally heard God speak to me during times of big change in my life. But, I have most definitely sensed amazing peace many times during big changes in my life. I do try to pray more than ever during times of change. I try to stay as absolutely close to God as I possibly can. Maybe I'm kind of like a scared child trying to huddle up to my heavenly Father during times of change. Which I am okay with. :) And - it seems almost without fail, God does "speak" to me with a peace that surpasses all understanding. If the peace is not there... then I do begin to worry if what I am doing is really God's will for my life. If the peace is there - I know without a shadow of a doubt that what I am embarking upon is God's will for my life. I will say this - that even if I cannot discern or sense the peace during a time of change, I still do not doubt that God will be with me. That he will not leave me. That he will be there. Do you believe that God is with you always? That he will go with you wherever you go? Below is a wonderful engraving by Gustave Dore of Jacob traveling to Egypt:
Verses 33 & 34 stood out to me in today's readings, as Joseph gives his brothers this instruction: "So when Pharaoh calls for you and asks you about your occupation, tell him, `We have been livestock breeders from our youth, as our ancestors have been for many generations.' When you tell him this, he will let you live here in the land of Goshen, for shepherds are despised in the land of Egypt."" I like Joseph's wisdom here. I guess you could look at this as Joseph being manipulative of Pharaoh. But I don't really see this. I see that Joseph is telling his brothers what to say - which is true - and that this will allow the nation of Israel to begin to grow and flourish in the land of Goshen, removed from the cities of Egypt. It seems like Joseph is definitely catering to Pharaoh's generosity - "let your family come to Egypt!" - and Pharaoh / Egyptians prejudices - "shepherds are despised in the land of Egypt." For a win / win. It's a Stephen Covey win / win business principle here! :) Below is a map showing Jacob's family's journey from Canaan to Goshen:
In Genesis chapter 47 I find it very interesting that Jacob blesses Pharaoh twice. I haven't studied why this happens. My thought is that Jacob is indeed very appreciative of this current Pharaoh - for literally saving the Israelites by allowing God to move mightily through Joseph. We will see soon that there are future Pharaoh's who are not so kind to the Israelites... So, perhaps Jacob realized that this Pharaoh was deserving of two blessings. Let me know your thoughts on these blessings in the Comments below? Below is an image of Jacob blessing Pharaoh:
We then read about Joseph's leadership and business skills during the famine - as things get really bad with the famine and people are on the brink of starving. Overall, I initially thought that Joseph was making wise decisions that ultimately ended up saving lives - and in verse 25 the people said the same thing. However, I have one good friend who was in a Bible study with me who felt that Joseph was being way too harsh. I can see both sides... :) Did Joseph have other options / ways to do this? We actually got into quite a heated discussion on this point in our Bible study on this topic a couple of years ago. What do you think? During this time of extreme famine, was Joseph being too harsh or being wise and even being compassionate? Below is a Victorian era painting from 1874 by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema titled "Joseph, Overseer of the Pharaoh's Granaries":
Okay, I have to say that I absolutely love Bob Deffinbaugh's humor over at bible.org! Check out his commentary on Genesis chapter 46, with the awesome title of "Life Begins at 130" at this link. I love it! Bible.org's commentary on Genesis chapter 47 titled "A Proper Perspective of Poverty and Prosperity" is at this link.
Worship God: Today's readings reminded me of Matt Redman's song "10,000 Reasons:"
Do you have any reason to love God? Click here for 10,000 reasons!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "Then he sent his brothers away, and as they were leaving he said to them, “Don’t quarrel on the way!" Genesis 45:24 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you don't "quarrel on the way" to heaven with others in this life. Pray that you "bless on the way" instead!
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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