To: 9 readers
From: Su Min (Lim Su Min)
Subject: Gen 47
Dearly Beloved, Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. (2 Tim 2:2)
As planned, we start today going back 4 verses to Gen 46:31.
A great caravan has descended from Canaan into Egypt. Judah has been sent forwards as emissary to guide Jacob to the correct site (Gen 46:28). A tearful reunion is made in Goshen (Gen 46:29). Joseph had seen that his brothers could settle in the Nile delta in the area of Goshen, and plans to make the proposal acceptable to Pharaoh by declaring that his brothers are shepherds, noting that in Egyptian eyes all shepherds were detestable (Gen 46:34).
So Joseph makes an audience with Pharaoh (Gen 47:1) and presents 5 of his brothers who ask to be allowed to settle in Goshen (Gen 47:4) The request is granted (Gen 46:6). Jacob is presented to Pharaoh. Jacob doubly blesses Pharaoh, (Gen 47: 7,10) and the family settle in Goshen.
Joseph continues to administer well for Pharaoh. The famine still bites. (Gen 47:13). Progressively Joseph buys up the land and the people for Pharaoh, establishing a system of serfdom (Gen 47:13-26), avoiding the priesthood who were under direct care of Pharaoh.
In the meanwhile Joseph's family prospers in Goshen (Gen 47:27). Jacob know he is reaching the end of his life. He calls Joseph and receives a vow that Jacob will be buried with the family members in Canaan (Gen 47: 31).
What lessons speak to you from this passage today?
I perceive 3 main ones:
- God has mighty plans for each one of us. Just as in Joseph life, how so many myriads of factors lead to his being in Egypt to fulfil God's purpose, so for each one of us, as we are today, at school, at home, at work. We are not there by accident. No, God has put us there for His purpose. We may have been obedient to Him, we may have been wilfully disobedient, or we may have been just blur sotong. Yet God has shown repeatedly how he uses ordinary people, sinful people, simple fishermen, thieving tax collectors, prostitutes, adulterers, for His purpose. Yielding our all to him, our good points and our bad, our uneducated spirituality: God, the potter, takes us, the clay, to mould into vessels for His glory. If only we will let Him.
- Joseph skilfully uses his knowledge of Egypt for the benefit of his family. God has given us talents and we are to use them. We are told of the servant who had one talent and buried it. "Well done thy good and faithful servant?" Oh no! He was called wicked and lazy. What little he had was taken away from him. He will be thrown into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt 25:30). So the talents we have been given are not there just for our own fun. We are to use them to profit our Masters' kingdom. Both on a physical temporal plane and on a spiritual eternal plane. Whatever we do, for God's glory. Then, one day, if it is the Lord's will (James 4:15), we will stand before the great white throne, and hear Jesus say to us "Come and share your master's happiness" (Matt 25:21)
- Thirdly, we should prepare to depart from this place. We know our span on earth is limited. We should secure salvation of our souls, as best as we can, and make for spiritual and physical provisions for our survivors. And we can best look after our family and depart in peace if we know that they have been firmly founded on the Rock! And we know that Jesus says that to build our house on the rock we have to hear the words of His and put them into practice (Matt 7:24). So I implore you to hear His words and put them into practice.
Let us close in prayer.
Father, thank you for meeting each one at our very point of need.Layman Bible Study
Thank you for your word for us today.
As we look at the life of Joseph we see how you have been faithful to this man who walked close to you.
Thank you for being faithful to us, even though we have not always been faithful to you. Your word says "If we are faithless, he will remain faithful for he cannot disown himself" (2 Tim 2:13).
Thank you for giving us your word that we may feed on it and grow, that we may hear it and put it into practice, that we may do your will, to your glory..
In Jesus name
For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min
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