Title: Together Again
Scriptures: Genesis 46:1-47:12
Speaker: Bauer Evans
Date: March 19, 2017
Introduction: Now, as we take up chapter 46, Jacob sets out by way of Beersheba, at the beginning of the desert expanse that extends to Egypt. God is not finished with an old, weak and broken man, whom He dearly loves, and neither are His purposes finished with us. The structure of the narrative is simple: Jacob stops to worship God in Beersheba (v. 1-7), Jacob brings his entire family to Egypt (v. 8-27), Jacob is reunited with Joseph in Egypt (v. 28-48:12)
Main Point: For broken people, the God of Jacob is our hope!
God gives us His reasons not to be afraid (46: 1-7): Jacob leaves for Egypt with his family, but he stops in Beersheba to worship God. Why did Jacob stop? There are many reasons he is leaving the promised land. He may feel helpless, even hopeless, possibly afraid to begin his journey south. God reassures him that he has more reasons not to fear than reasons to fear. Beersheba was the same place, years ago, during another journey, that God spoke to him in the night (28:12-15). God promised him then, and He reiterated it again in vs. 4: “I will go down with you to Egypt and I will also bring you up again.” (cf. 28:15.) How reassuring these words would have been for him, and for the nation of Israel in their wilderness sojourning about to occupy the promised land. God was with them. Dear friends, how reassuring are God’s promises to us in Christ today? God, by His Spirit is with us. He reassures us that there are more reasons to trust Him than fearful reasons that hinder our faith. What scriptures from God’s word remind you of His presence today? And we can pray for His Spirit to help us.
Jacob gives us God’s perspective on our journey too (47:1-12): We are given a wonderful clue of Jacob’s faith in God in his conversation with Pharaoh. Two things stand out: First, Jacob ‘blesses’ Pharaoh twice. Second, he tells Pharaoh that his life has been “evil.” The first statement is curious. The second is striking. What does Jacob’s blessing of Pharaoh signify? I believe it exhibits Jacob’s faith in God’s promise given to Abraham, that from “his seed” would come a nation through whom all the nations of the world would be blessed (cf. Gen. 12). Jacob may be recognizing how God had used Joseph, a ‘seed’ of Abraham, to profoundly bless Egypt. But Jacob’s faith seems to falter when it comes to his assessment of his own life. Why did he say the years of his sojourning are “evil?” Were we to look back at his story, bad things have happened to him. But blessings have also come. including Joseph’s ‘resurrection’ and the provision of food, land, and a home for his family in Egypt. Jacob’s statement shows us how someone turned in on himself by disappointments and pain hinders his ability to hope in God. So the defining story of Jacob’s life is evil in his eyes. Friend, by what are you determined to define your life? What is to be the main story line when others ask? Let us resolve, in light of God’s gift of Christ to us, to define our lives by the mercy and grace of the gospel. Let us continue to hope in His continuing presence in our lives, mediated by His word, His Spirit, His people. There is hope for the broken. God speaks kindly to the broken in hope, even in moments when we are not doing well, because Jesus Christ has promised to do us good and not evil all our days. Let us look to Him and lean on Him as we continue our sojourning together.