Genesis 45-46: A Fathers Day.
As we read about the reunion following Josephs revelation of his identity to his brothers, we saw a reconciliation that was a picture of Gods grace and glory. The brothers have been cleared or cleansed from their guilt. They have gained access to the throne and resources of the Pharaoh himself.
They are now set to return home to Canaan to tell the good news to their father Jacob. The provisions they have received for the trip and the means by which to return are made even more impressive in their abundance by the desolation that surrounds the land due to the famine.
Joseph issues a command to his brothers: See that you fall not out by the way. KJV. Dont quarrel on the way. (NIV)
Joseph had forgiven his brothers, now he admonishes them not to quarrel and begin accusing one another. Jesus said we are to forgive one another and love one another. Are these men not brothers of the same father? Are we not brothers and sisters of the same Heavenly Father? What Joseph is saying and what Jesus told us is in essence we shame our relationship to Him , Who is our Peace when we quarrel among ourselves. By this will all men know that your are my disciples, if you love one another. ( John 13:35)
And why should we argue with one another? Here we are on our way to Heaven and He has loaded us with so many benefits:
- He forgives us all our sins.
- He heals all our diseases.
- He redeems our lives from the pit
- He crowns us with love and compassion
- He satisfies your desires with good things
- He does not treat us as our sins deserve
- His Love is from everlasting to everlasting to those who fear Him.(Psalm 103)
As we picture this caravan of brothers loaded with the finest of gifts and resources it is a portrait of our Loving Father. A Father who is more merciful than we deserve. Who always disciplines us with a purpose. A Father who knows we need Him and remembers our frame is dust and our days are like grass.
Joseph could identify with his brothers because he was one of them. The Lord Jesus became one of us and suffered as we did. As a result He could fully comprehend and empathize with our feelings. The Lord Jesus knows we are frail, imperfect mortals. For this reason, He is the perfect mediator between us and God. The Lord Jesus is the perfect one, in fact the One and Only, who is best qualified to introduce us to His Father.
The brothers arrive home and tell Jacob the good news. Your son Joseph is alive! He is ruler of all Egypt! Then they tell him the whole story, as I can imagine Jacob clutching his chest as his heart races and having to sit down and be told everything.
As chapter 46 begins, so begins the journey to Egypt and the Jacob-Joseph reunion.Once again we see God exchange the names of Jacob going from Israel to Jacob and I wonder why He does this?
Since Jacob was the name identified with his old nature- could it be God used it when Jacob/Israel was anxious, worried, fretful and apprehensive about his circumstances? (Not sure- just a speculation on my part)
Why had he stopped to make a sacrifice to the God of Isaac? After all, Jacob is convinced his son Joseph is alive and in a place of authority. He has the physical evidence in front of him with the wagon loads of supplies and provisions. However, Jacob knows the covenant promise regarding this land he is about to leave. Jacob knows of the history of Abraham and his ill-advised journey to Egypt and of God forbidding his father,Isaac to go to Egypt. On the other hand, they need food and provisions to live.
Everything looks good as far as circumstances.
Jacobs desire is to see his son, Joseph again.
All of his family think this is the right thing to do.
But Jacob wants to be sure this is what God wants him to do. Jacob wants to know what God has to say.
So he has wisely stopped and inquired. .
George Mueller was a saint used by God in the 19th century in a mighty way. He was a man of faith, an evangelists, a provider of homes for orphans and most notably a man of prayer. His life story of answered prayers is astounding. But why are we so surprised that the God who created the universe and has given us the right to enter boldly into the throne room of heaven through our relationship with his Son, our mediator, wants to show us great and mighty things? Here is what George Mueller wrote in response to the questions of so many who witnessed the power of prayer in his life. Listen to his method for determining the will of God;
- I seek to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in a given matter. When you are ready to do the Lords will, whatever it may be, 9/10ths of the difficulties are overcome. ( Lords prayer in the garden: Not my will but Thine. His instruction in Lords prayer, Thy kingdom come, thy will be done..
- Having done this, I dont leave the result to feeling or simply impression. If I do so , I leave myself liable to great delusion.
- I seek the will of the Spirit of God through or in connection with Gods word. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to delusions. If the Spirit guides us, He will do so according to the Scriptures ( Gods Word), not contrary to them.
- Next, I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate Gods will in connection with His Word and the Spirit.
- I ask God in prayer to reveal His will to me. ( I John 5: 14, 15)
- Thus, through prayer, the study of the Word, and reflections, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge. If my mind is thus at peace and continues after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. I have found this method always effective in trivial and important issues.
Now even though we do not have Jacobs recorded prayer to God, we have Gods recorded answer to Jacob. Thus we can conclude, this answer is in response to Jacobs sacrifices because sacrifices were part of communicating with God.
So Jacob knowing of the covenant promise of God to Abraham, Isaac and himself is fearful about leaving the land of promise. In other words, Jacob fears leaving Canaan will not be in accordance with Gods Word. So God answers Jacobs fears and assures Jacob he is to go down to Egypt where God assures Jacob he will become the great nation God planned them to be. He also lets Jacob know I will surely bring you back again and Josephs own hand will close your eyes.
Jacobs heart desire was to see his son Joseph again. He was also concerned about feeding and keeping his family alive during a famine. In spite of these desires and concerns- this altar time and answered prayer of God tells me Jacob was seeking Gods will not his. Jacob did not trust his feelings- he trusted the Word of God.
In other words God told him to GO!
Did you ever want to do something- you really wanted to do, really desired to do- but you thought God probably wont let me do that just because I want to do it? What does the Bible tell us about Gods will? The Word of God tells us: His will is good, perfect and acceptable( Romans 12) And guess what? Gods will often coincides with our natural preferences and legitimate desires. Our Heavenly Father loves to give good gifts.
Jacob can now go having made sure he was not doing something just because he desired it and it was a provision but assured it was God who was making it possible.
We are then given a head count of all who went with Jacob down to Egypt. They totaled 66 plus Joseph and this two sons and Jacob made 70 souls who would end up in Egypt.
Now as they got closer to Egypt and closer to the long awaited reunion of Jacob and his beloved son, Joseph, Jacob sends Judah ahead to Joseph to get directions. Joseph had his chariot made ready and went to Goshen to meet his father.
What a Fathers Day it was!
As soon as Joseph appeared before him, he threw his arms around his father and wept for a long time. Do you see the scene in your minds eye? What a Fathers Day Reunion!
Ginas father Houston Sipes flew his last mission as a top turret gunner in a B24 Liberator on May 22, 1945. Here is what Houston said and remembers after 65 years- it felt good to still be around.
He had been credited with 50 missions. He and his crew only flew 33 actual missions ,but 17 were so dangerous that counted as double missions. Listen to his younger brother Gordon describe the reunion.
Houston was arriving in Jackson by passenger train. Gordon says, we only lived 2 or 3 blocks from the depot. We all knew about his 50 missions and everyone in town knew Houston was on the train. When the train stopped, the conductor would not let anyone else off, until Houston got off by himself. There was cheering and crying and everything. Youve never seen a football game that ended like this!
Dont you love stories that end like that? Let me share one more of a young sailor coming home after WWII. He lived way out in the country where they raised cattle and sheep. He had big black Scottish shepherd dog named Teddy. Teddy was his constant companion when he was growing up until he went off to war. He was with him every moment of the day when he worked the flocks and slept by his bed. They were best friend because living so far out- he was his only companion.
The last part of his trip was by bus which stopped 14 miles from his home. He walked the last 14 miles and arrived at the home place at 2:00 am in the morning. Teddy who doubled as a guard dog sensed his arrival and began to bark. The young man whistled just once. The barking stopped and with a yelp of recognition the young sailor saw the big black form of Teddy hurtling toward him in the night. His dog leaped into his waiting arms and excitedly licked his face. To this day- when this man thinks of coming home- this memory comes to mind.
Dont you see? One day the trump shall sound like that train whistled its arrival that day or the whistle that Teddy heard and knew it was his master. A conductor had brought Ginas Daddy home— a midnight whistle was all it took for Teddy to know his master called.
When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and time shall be no more,
And the morning breaks eternal, bright and fair-
When the saved on earth shall gather over on the other shore-
And the roll is called up yonder, Ill be there!
What a reunion. A reunion with our Heavenly Father. Now that will be a Fathers Day to remember forever!
I like to think Joseph came galloping up in a chariot pulled by a white horse- just as our Lord is pictured in Revelation 19 upon a white horse crowned with many crowns. Can you hear the cheers, the hallelujahs like a roar of water and like loud peals of thunder when we arrive in heaven- home at last from the war?
To quote my Uncle Gordon-younever seen a football game that ended like this!!
There are personal reunions and there are national reunions arent there? These real life examples show us those type. The folks of Jackson who came out to celebrate the return of one of their own who had been to war was happening all over the country in 1945. You have probably seen the pictures of the ticker tape parades of people kissing, embracing, crying, laughing, dancing in the streets- a celebration of a nation reunited.
We have send and heard of prisoners of war who were set free after captivity and how we celebrated their freedom and return. Remember, Jermiah Denton, the Navy Admiral who was held captive in Vietnam for 8 years. Who suffered torture at the hands of the enemy. Upon being set free and returning he said the following: We are honored to have had the opportunity to serve our country under difficult circumstances. We are profoundly grateful to our Commander in-Chief and to our nation for this day. God Bless America.
Do you realize who we, Christians, are? We are a chosen people, a royal priesthood a holy nation serving our Commander in Chief. And like those brave soldiers- we have the honor to serve Him, Our Commander in Chief in these difficult times and circumstances.
When the nation of Israel had been held in captivity for 70 years and were allowed to return to their land, Jerusalem had been destroyed. The people begin to rebuild the wall as well as the place of worship and they gathered in the square to hear the Word of God read for the first time in decades. Their reaction? They lifted up their hands in praise and wept aloud. Can you imagine the Christians in the city of Jackson gathering in the court square by the thousands to hear and read the Word of God and praise Him and weep aloud as we rebuild our city? Now imagine that as a national scene across this country and you have picture of a national reunion of a nation with its Heavenly Father.
Words cannot describe the scene that is why God lets us use our imagination to see Joseph and his father in this Fathers Day scene. Joseph threw his arms around his father and wept for a long time.
Josephs appearance would have been in stark contrast to his father and brothers. He was dressed in splendor, clean shaven and wearing impeccable garments and with symbols of his authority. Jacob and his sons look like Jed Clampett and his crew- the Beverly Hillbillies arriving in Beverly Hills. Joseph showed no shame in recognizing them as family and he will show no shame in bringing them before the Pharaoh.
Such will be the case when the Lord presents each of us— some of us looking hillbillies in awe of the splendor of heaven. But He will not be ashamed of us- for remember He loved us and died for us while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.
Oh What a Moment- when we see Jesus!
What a reunion!
What a day the war is ended!
It will truly be a Fathers Day!
I only have one question- when the roll is called up yonder will you be there?
Genesis : Chapter 47: Help! I Need Somebody! Help! Not Just Anybody!
As we closed chapter 46, the reunion of Joseph and Jacob, listen to Josephs instructions to his father and brothers.
When the Pharaoh calls you in and asks, what is your occupation? You should answer your servants have tended livestock from our boyhood on, just as our fathers did. Then you will be able to settle in the region of Goshen, for all shepherds are detestable to the Egyptians.
Joseph was a careful planner, a stickler for details who trusted the Lord but was always careful to do his part. Joseph is arranging for his family to settle in Egypt. It would be in keeping with Gods plan for the future nation of Israel, that they be in Egypt but not of Egypt. Intermarrying with Egyptians would not be part of Gods plan- not due to any racial bias or prejudice but in keeping with Gods plan they not be unequally yoked with pagan unbelievers.
Joseph is a successful mediator who will appear before the Pharaoh. Notice how he has already planned what he will say and rehearses his brothers on what they are to say. He was not ashamed to call them his brothers and he was the perfect mediator before the king because he was one of them and understood them. Just as the Lord Jesus appeared before our Heavenly Father to be our mediator. Hebrews 6 tells us: We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus who went before us, has entered on our behalf. And in other verses in Hebrews we are told Jesus is the mediator of a new covenant.
It was a famine that God used to bring the budding nation of Israel, only 70 souls into Egypt for safekeeping and it was here God would begin to make them a great nation of over 2 million people when Moses would lead them out of Egypt back to Canaan. They would return to Canaan due to the hardship of slavery they were subjected to in Egypt. And interestingly enough- hundreds and hundreds of years later, God would once again allow the horror of the Holocaust in the 1930s and 40s to lead them once again back to the promised land as Israel became a nation once again in 1949.
So as we turn the bend in the closing chapters of Egypt and the story of the nation of Israel let us turn our attention to chapter 47 and Josephs actions during the remaining years of the famine.
Verses 1-11 tells us Josephs introduction of his father and five of his brothers to the Pharaoh. You can see them dressed in their best clothes. Can you imagine how they looked? Just like farmers on Sunday in their suits. The tan lines on their forehead show where their caps and hats have protected them from the sun. You can see rough hands scrubbed clean with Lava soap sticking out of white cuffs and necks that are reddened from the sun uncomfortably enclosed in tight white collars and ties. You would not have to be told what this men did- you could see it in their faces, their hands , their appearance has I am a farmer written all over it. That is how I picture Jacob and his sons.
But Joseph was no more ashamed or embarrassed by their appearance than the Lord Jesus is by ours. And like Joseph he will proudly present us before the King of Heaven, God Almighty. And just as the King accepted Jacob and his sons because of Joseph- We are accepted in the Beloved.
The Pharaoh receives the family of Joseph and tells them they can have the best of the land in Goshen and places his livestock in their care also.
Then Joseph brings his father, Jacob, before the Pharaoh. As he presents his father to the Pharaoh, we are told Jacob blessed the Pharaoh. He will in fact do this twice. The blessing of one to another is always done by the greater to the lesser. In other words the blessing should come from the person in the greater position to the person in the lesser position. In doing this Jacob/Israel was in effect saying- you, Pharaoh might be a prince among men and have power on earth, but I am a prince with God and have power in heaven.
Remember his grandfather Abraham had been a curse to the Pharaoh when he went down and lied about his relationship with Sarah causing God to bring diseases down on the household of the Pharaoh.
Are you a blessing to others? Do we come into their presence of others to bring blessings from God or curses? When we leave- do we leave blessings behind us?
Now remember what Joseph said to his brothers after their reunion? He told them there would be five years of famine ahead of them. If you have seen pictures and heard stories of the Great Depression and the drought that turned the Midwest into a dust bowl these are the conditions that are about to fall upon the land.
Let us look at the manner in which Joseph dealt with a severe famine that is only going to get worse in these remaining 5 years. Joseph is a man of integrity. He is also a careful planner who does not overlook the smallest of details. He will show his care not only for his own family but for every one in the whole region as they suffer from this severe famine and desperate time.
I would remind you of what the Lord Jesus told us about the loving care and concern of our Heavenly Father. Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten by God? ( Luke 12: 6). On another occasion Jesus said: Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing and not one of them shall fall to the ground without your Father? ( Matthew 10:29) Did you notice something? The price of two sparrows is one farthing yet 5 sparrows are sold for two farthing. Meaning the seller will throw in a free sparrow when you buy four. Merchants of old understood added value, didnt they? The fifth sparrow has no monetary value- is worth nothing- yet even this sparrow does not fall to the ground without the Fathers knowledge. There is no such thing as being valueless to our Heavenly Father. He cares for us, like no one ever has or will- from the perceived great leaders to the unknown pauper headed for a paupers grave. That is how detailed Gods care is and we see this in Josephs caring attitude for the least of the people brought before him.
Is this not what Jesus said we are to do? To care for widows and orphans. To feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to care for the sick and visit those in prison? Jesus gave us this commandment to love one another, as I have loved you.
As the famine continued, watch the affect it had upon the people.
The people who had hoarded their money discovered you cannot eat silver and gold. They gladly exchanged their silver and gold for something to eat.
You see the famine and great want brought them to the place where they were willing to submit themselves to Josephs care at any and all costs on any terms.
Do you realize what had occurred in their lives? They had come to an end of themselves- the realization they could not save themselves. They were powerless. You cannot eat silver and gold. The people were crying for Help. We need somebody- not just anybody.
In the beginning man did not have money or possessions.He had no need of them. He had life and work he enjoyed and food and everything he needed for life, including a suitable helpmate, was provided for him by his Loving God in the garden of Eden. Adam and Eve did not realize how good they had it ( remember God Himself said it was very good) until they lost it. Ever had that happen to you? Didnt realize how good you had it until circumstances changed and what you had taken for granted and not really appreciated until you had it taken away or lost it and then you realize how good it really was.
Is that not the story of George Bailey in the movie, Its a Wonderful Life! ? Once George had a chance to look back and see just what life was really about he realized he had a wonderful life. Have you discovered what life is really about?
But godliness with contentment is great gain. We brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out of this world. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. ( 1 Timothy 6)
The land of Egypt that Joseph arrived in at age 17 was a land of wealth and power. It was the most advanced and sophisticated civilization on the earth at that time. The economy, commerce, science, architecture, building and progress were unparalleled in the world. Yet here they are brought to nothing by something they cannot control- the weather, the lack of rain, drought.
Prior to the Great Depression of the 1930s the United States experienced decades of growth and movement from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy. The discoveries, inventions and mans creativity and intelligence seemed to be functioning at an extremely high level. Man had invented the mass communication with the telephone, had conquered the air with the first airplanes , entertainment with the radio, movies, and transportation with affordable automobiles and the stock market was everyones opportunity to have a piece of the pie. And America had developed a sweet tooth. After World War I and recognition as a world leader, the country went on a binge in the 1920s to wake up to a terrible hangover in the crash of 1929. What followed then was a great drought and famine in the mid- west the heartland of our farms that fed us. Money, stocks and bonds, and possessions were not worth anything unless you could use them to feed your family. Men moved to wherever there was work to send money back to their families. People were looking for a strong leader to whom they would willingly submit everything in order to survive.
Periods such as this have existed in the past and will exist again in the future. They have a way of reminding us- Gods people, we are really not in charge. You see, sometimes we are just like the people we read of in the Bible. Good times, good jobs, nice homes, clothes, cars can somehow give us a false sense of well-being that is a result of our own abilities and of our societys creative resourcefulness . If we are not careful and vigilant we somehow see ourselves as being the cause of our good life and our hope is in our abilities, the economy, the goodness of our fellow man, the company we work for- the government or science. And all of sudden our hope is not in the One who is our hope and our anchor in the storm. Apart from Him, the Lord Jesus, there is no hope.
All of a sudden there comes a problem or series of problems that the brightest minds and the most powerful and rich corporations cannot resolve. They are helpless and the people grow hopeless- because there hope is in their collective strength.,
This is what God is showing us in this story of this world-wide famine that has brought the world to its knees. And that is where we need to be when we sense this is the situation- on our knees before God confessing we have no hope but Him.
Do you see and understand how this severe famine has brought all the people before Joseph. The first year of the famine they had spent all their money.
When their money was all gone they began to bring their livestock in exchange for food and grain.
When their livestock was gone- they brought their land to barter for food on the table. And finally when that was gone- they brought themselves. Buy us they said.. take us as your slaves and servants in exchange for food and clothing.
The earth was exhausted. Men had come to an absolute end of self. Joseph was their only hope.
Josephs solution to the worlds problem and great need was a simple one. He, Joseph, brought all things under the authority of the throne. It was the only way the world could be saved. In fact in vs 21, the KJV tells us: and he(Joseph) removed them to cities from one end of the borders of Egypt to the other end thereof. Relocation was necessary, just as many men had to move their families during the Great Depression to find work. In making such moves, Joseph was bringing everything and everybody under the rule and authority of the throne of Pharaoh. It was their only hope!
And He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put in effect when the times have reached their fulfillment- to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. (Ephesians 1:9-10)
Do you see the illustration here in the story of Joseph? The only way Joseph could save the world from its self was to have it brought under the absolute control and authority of the throne.
This is Gods plan and it will be accomplished and put into effect when the times have reached their fulfillment. When will that time be? At the end of the Great Tribulation. A seven year period in the future. A time I believe we are moving toward at an ever increasing speed.
When you read and study the Great Tribulation in the book of Revelation, you will read of a future catastrophe that will make this period of famine in Egypt in the days of Joseph look like a picnic. The earth, the oceans, the population and environment will be brought to complete ruin, all resources exhausted and no law on the planet. Finally the remnant that is left of the nation of Israel will have turned to the One who is their Only Hope the Seed of Abraham, the Messiah who they did not recognize the first visit but Who revealed Himself at His Second Coming and will come to make things right.
What was the response of the people in Egypt to Josephs rule? you have saved our lives, may we find favor (grace) in the eyes of the lord we are in bondage to Pharaoh. And Joseph made it law.
When the Lord Jesus comes at the end of the age, the Great Tribulation, He will set up His Millennial Kingdom. He will rule and reign with a rod of iron. Complete authority- all things in heaven and on earth together under one head- even King Christ. And every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.
We will own nothing- but have everything we need. We will have meaningful work. A grateful people who have survived the Tribulation saved by the Lord Himself will be glad to be the Lords servants. The Raptured Church which was spared the wrath of God will have returned with Him to set up His Millennial Kingdom. Having tasted the glory of heaven, His will is our command and our greatest desire. Our future is assured, our happiness guaranteed not by a politicians promises- but by the Word of God.
There will truly be peace on earth and good will toward man.
Is it possible that we are coming to an end of a period of prosperity to be followed by lean years? How can we not look at the current circumstances and not see the writing on the wall?
Remember what it was like for weeks following 911? Remember how the churches were filled and you could not turn on the television without seeing and hearing about prayer and Gods will. There was also the utter surprise that a handful of terrorists armed with box cutters and religious hatred had done this to us- the great nation of the America? Would we be able to protect ourselves against such as enemy as this? Fear ..real fear came to America.
Time after time in the Bible we see the nation of Israel in trouble and danger. Time after time they had to learn the lesson- we are powerless . We do not know what to do but our eyes are upon YOU, LORD. Until they would learn, as we must learn- the battle is the Lords .
It must be fought with His weapons which are mighty.
But do you know what is Gods greatest weapon? A SURRENDERED LIFE!
Have you surrendered?
On September 16, 1977, I said to the Lord in affect: You have saved my life- may I find grace in your eyes and I will be your servant for all eternity. I surrender.
I give up.
I cried out to Him that fateful day in desperation I cried for Help. Help! I need somebody! Help! Not just anybody- I need you Lord Jesus- no one else will do.Copyright © 2010 Linda Benthal
Last modified: 08/12/14