Epistles to the Cyberchurch - Su Min

To: 9 readers
From: Su Min (Lim Su Min)
Subject: Jacob Goes To Egypt

Dearly beloved, Today we look at Genesis Chapter 46. In Gen 45 Joseph has revealed to his brothers that the Egyptian-speaking Grand Vizier of Pharaoh is none other than their brother whom they had sold into slavery 22 years ago, but he held no grudge against them, instead he implored them not to be angry with themselves, declaring that it was God that had placed Joseph in Egypt, in order to prepare for the famine and save his own people. The brothers are laden with gifts and sent back to Canaan to bring Jacob to Egypt.

So we read in Gen 46:1 that Jacob set out with all that was his, and when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.

Beersheba is an important landmark: the well of seven sheep at the southern border of Israel, on the trade route to Egypt, named by Abraham when a peace treaty was made with Abimelech (Gen 21:31). There Abraham had planted a tamarisk tree, and called upon the name of the Lord, the Eternal God (Gen 21:33). So as Jacob passes this important landmark, Beersheba becomes a maker point in his life, as he marks the egress from Canaan on the way to Egypt. And there at the markerpoint, Jacob stops to offer sacrifices, to praise and worship God. I believe that this a great lesson embodied for us in this opening verse. A lesson that teaches us that as we embark on any momentous journey, we should stop and offer a sacrifice of praise to the God of Abraham and the God of Jacob, the God of the Chosen People who has accepted us as His People: for we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that we may declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9).

And God is gracious, speaking to Jacob, promising him that a great nation will descend from Jacob, that his sojourn into Egypt will be temporary, and that his son Joseph will personally close his eyes when he is ready to depart from this world (Gen 46:2-4).

A great caravan of peoples and possessions moves from Canaan to Egypt (Gen 46:5-27), and when they meet in Goshen there is an emotional reunion between father and son (Gen 46:29). This love and desire is a two way process, son to father, father to son. As we think of all the factors that formed a gulf between Jacob and Joseph, time, distance and events, things of their own doings, direct and indirect, and things beyond their control, so too we think of how gulfs of events have kept us much more apart than we really want to between ourselves and our earthly father, and our earthly sons, and even much more so between ourselves and our heavenly father. And as Gen 46:29 reminds us of the poignancy of that fond embrace, and the tears that reflect that inner longing to be together, so too we see the desire on our part for a warm hug and a "hi dad" on an earthly plane, and the spiritual equivalent on a heavenly plane. That is how much God longs to commune with us. But alas, too oft we are too busy...

Jacob expresses satisfaction and content. His life has been made complete by this reunion (Gen 46:30)

The last 3 verses of Gen 46 relate to Joseph's plan to settle the family as shepherds in Goshen, and we will look at them in conjunction with Gen 47.

Let us close in prayer.

Love Dad.

For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min

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