DAY 15When I read a book (not just the Bible) and get close to the end, I have coming-in-for-a-landing feeling. That is, I can tell things are being concluded and the book's content is wrapping up so that I can turn the last page; I can tell it's the end.
As we finish the final chapters of Genesis you might get the same kind of feeling. DON'T! It may feel as if the story is winding down. Joseph is reconnected to his family. Now he and his family share in riches and new land. Jacob can die happy because he knows his son(s) is alive.
Remember, though, we're reading the entire Bible. And the Bible is an entire narrative of the story of God. There's much more to discover and witness. Pay attention to how the events of the final chapters of Genesis set us up to be ready to read Exodus.
Have a great day of reading!
DAILY READINGSGenesis 46-47 & Psalm 15
- Jacob was literally "sacrificing sacrifices."
- Was Jacob fearful of moving to Egypt? The last time (first time) God calls someone's name twice was when Abraham was prepared to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. Abraham would have been fearful to lose his son. That may seem like a stretch, but when scripture repeats patterns or story plots, often it is intended to draw us back to another biblical event.
- When you read "persons" replace that word with souls.
- It's unclear why Egyptians found shepherds to be "abhorrent." Whatever reason, Joseph tells his brothers to stretch the truth to Pharaoh. They will be asked what their contribution to the land will be. Perhaps Joseph is worried Pharaoh will not accept them.
- Presumably, since he only took 5 of his brothers, Joseph brought before Pharaoh the 5 strongest of his brothers.
- The brothers' answer is not what Joseph told them to tell Pharaoh.
- It may have been that Joseph wanted Pharaoh to hire his brothers as keepers of his livestock, although he seems to have had the authority to do that anyways. Pharaoh doesn't address the brothers after they tell him they are shepherds. Is that because they are abhorrent? Pharaoh allows them to settle where they have chosen and offers that those who are "capable" be in charge of his livestock.
- Jacob's description of his life seems overstated. His ancestors had their family issues, too.
- The text says the land was "frantic." Imagine having no food or means to produce food. Your options are limited and you would do anything to survive. Joseph devises a plan that builds Pharaoh's supplies by obtaining the people's money, cattle, land and the people themselves.
- The people of Egypt are made slaves to Pharaoh. That can be seen as a prelude to the Israelite's enslavement to Pharaoh in Exodus.
- The irony of all this is that Joseph arranges all these obligations. Through his orders, Pharaoh's strength is intensified. The people's subjugation to Pharaoh is solidified through this new, perpetual tax. These actions will have consequences for his people in the future.
- Jacob was able to watch his family multiply in the new land. Still, as his death draws near, his desire is to return the the land of his ancestors.
- Does Jacob doubt Joseph's word? We've seen this kind of oath taken before (Genesis 24:9). There are a couple of similarities. First, Abraham was nearing the end of his life; Jacob is, too. Second, the Abraham demanded was related to his homeland. Jacob's oath, although for a different reason, is the same.
- Notice the emphasis of our need to walk in the way of God. God's holiness demands our obedience. And when we are obedient, we "shall never be moved."
OTHER OBSERVATIONSAn assumption people make is that Pharaoh and other nations the Bible speaks of were not religious. They do not worship God. Their lack of worship of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob does not equate a lack of worship, however. The people are extremely religious. Pharaoh allows the priests to keep their lands and live, presumably, more comfortably. That is a reminder of the priority of religious things.
That might be an important reminder for us today. Just because people are not in tuned with the worship of God, does mean they are not used to the idea of worship.
That might be an important thing to remember as we engage the culture around us. While keeping our focus on the love of our God, we can help others understand the worship of God by relating to what they already know of devotion and commitment.