Walking in His Steps
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We are developing biblical community, studying the life and ministry of Jesus to discover how he made disciples.Follow
- Now that Daddy is DeadThese brothers were afraid of what Joseph might do now that Jacob was gone. They sent a messenger - be man enough to talk to me face to face. Joseph wept over this situation. Won't you give me the benefit of the doubt? Has Joseph given any sign he did not really forgive them? Wiersbe writes: After all that Joseph had done to encourage them, it was cruel of his brothers to say, “Joseph will perhaps hate us and pay us back for what we did to him.” (We often suspect in others what we’d do ourselves if we had the opportunity!) When you doubt God’s Word, you soon begin to question God’s love, and then you give up all hope for the future, because faith, hope, and love go together. But it all begins with faith: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). What the men should have done was to sit down and calmly review all that Joseph had said to them and done for them. In many tangible ways, Joseph had demonstrated his love and forgiveness and had given them every reason to believe that their past sins were over and forgotten. They really had nothing to fear. How did we know God loves us and forgives those who put their faith in Christ? His unchanging Word tells us so. “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). How we feel and what God says are two different things, and we must never judge God’s eternal Word by our transient emotions. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” asked Paul, and then he proceeded to answer the question: Nothing (Romans 8:35, 38–39).
- Don't Leave Me HereThis will be fulfilled in the time of Moses, so it takes a while, but Joseph will leave Egypt with the deliverance of the Hebrew slaves.
- Do Not Withhold GraceYou meant it for evil but God meant it for good, to save you all. Do not withhold forgiveness to those whom God has forgiven. Therefore don't be afraid of me. I'm not God. Who am I to pass judgment? Do not fear that I will take vengeance on you. There is a holy Father required to take vengeance on sinful humanity, then Jesus steps in and says don't be afraid, I've got this, you're safe with me. If we say that we don't know why we suffer in this life, then we don't know Scripture. There is a reason we suffer in this life.Genesis 50:19–21New American Standard Bible: 1995 UpdateBut Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. “So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
- Joseph Returns to EgyptJacob receives a royal burial, even the local Canaanites took note of what was happening (Genesis 50:11). This was Joseph’s first trip back to his homeland in thirty-nine years, and it’s too bad it had to be for his father’s burial. But he didn’t linger in Canaan, for God had given Joseph a job to do in Egypt, and that’s where he belonged with his family.
- Egypt Mourns for JacobA Pharaoh would be mourned for 72 days, and here we read that Egypt mourned for Jacob for 70 days. This was such an honor. Embalming has come a long way, but here it took 40 days. This was important because the family will soon take Jacob's body back to the Promised Land (Genesis 50:6-7). Wiersbe writes: The scene was a solemn one. Jacob had nothing more to say. So he drew himself into the bed, lay down, and went to sleep with his sons standing around him and his God waiting for him. He left behind the nucleus of a great nation and the testimony of what a great God can do with an imperfect man who sought to live by faith. He exchanged his pilgrim tent for a home in the heavenly city (Hebrews 11:13–16).Genesis 50:1–3New American Standard Bible: 1995 UpdateThen Joseph fell on his father’s face, and wept over him and kissed him. Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel. Now forty days were required for it, for such is the period required for embalming. And the Egyptians wept for him seventy days.
- Jacob DiesThis is a beautiful image. Being gathered to his people is rarely used: it was used for Abraham, Ishmael, and Isaac. Now it is used for Jacob. Are you to the point that you can say that you have no regrets? Have you done what God wanted me to do? Have you prepared your family for your passing or will you leave a mess? Jacob died in peace. There is a phrase in the south, "he went on in." Wiersbew writes: Jacob’s long and difficult life was over. He had made his last journey, given his last blessing, and shared his last request. His work was done, and he breathed his last and died. With only his staff, he had crossed over Jordan many years before; and now he had his staff with him (Hebrews 11:21) as he crossed to the other side. He was a pilgrim to the very end.
- Jacob's Last WordsBury me in Canaan, in the cave at Machpelah near Mamre with the patriarchs. Wiersbe writes: The old man’s last statements were about himself, not about his sons; for he wanted them to guarantee that they would bury him in the cave of Machpelah where the bodies of five members of his family were now resting. Abraham had purchased the cave as a burial place for Sarah (Genesis 23), but over the years Isaac, Rebekah, and Leah had been buried there, and now Jacob would join them. He had already spoken about this matter to Joseph (Genesis 47:27–31), so he knew his requests would be followed, but he wanted all his sons to know they had the responsibility of obeying his last commands and showing respect for their father.Genesis 49:28–32New American Standard Bible: 1995 UpdateAll these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them. He blessed them, every one with the blessing appropriate to him. Then he charged them and said to them, “I am about to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field from
- Benjamin's BlessingThis is the second favorite son so you might expect a little bit more out of Jacob. Being left-hand, they were hard to kill in battle, and were good archers. Wiersbe writes: You would expect Jacob to say more to and about his youngest son Benjamin, the “son of his right hand,” but his words were few and puzzling. Why compare Benjamin to a “ravenous wolf”? The men of Benjamin were brave and helped defeat Sisera (Judges 5:14), but when you read Benjamin’s tribal history in Judges 19 and 20, you see the ravenous wolf in action. Saul, the first king of Israel, was from Benjamin. During his career, he more than once tried to kill David (1 Samuel 19:10), and he ruthlessly murdered everybody in the priestly city of Nob (1 Samuel 22:6ff). Other Benjamites known for their ferocity were Abner (2 Samuel 2:23), Sheba (chap. 20), and Shimei (2 Samuel 16:5–14). Saul of Tarsus, a Benjamite (Romans 11:1; Philippians 3:5) was like a wild animal when he persecuted the church and tracked down Christians to imprison them. It’s remarkable that Moses’ words about Benjamin say nothing about the ferocious behavior of an animal (Deuteronomy 33:12). Instead, Moses called him “the beloved of the Lord” and promised him constant protection from God. In fact, Benjamin shall “dwell between His shoulders,” which suggests either being carried on his back or over his heart. When the nation divided after Solomon’s death, the tribe of Benjamin remained faithful to the Davidic line and stayed with Judah. Together they formed the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
- Joseph's BlessingEven in his final words, Jacob pours out heaps of blessing and favoritism on Joseph. This may be uncomfortable for the brothers (revisiting a lot of hurt), but there will be a bounty of blessing in the future. Joseph gets this double portion. Wiresbe writes: Jacob used the word “bless” at least six times in his speech to and about Joseph. He compared Joseph to a fruitful vine (or bough of a fruit tree), drawing water from a spring (Psalm 1:3) and growing over the wall. It was Joseph who was taken from home and lived in Egypt, and the word “fruitful” points to his son Ephraim (Genesis 41:52), founder of a tribe that grew greatly and expanded its territory (Joshua 17:14–18). Neither Joseph nor his sons could be hemmed in! Jacob used the image of “archers” to describe the suffering that Joseph experienced at the hands of his brothers and his master in Egypt. In Scripture, shooting arrows is sometimes an image of telling lies and speaking hateful words (Psalm 57:4; 64:3–4; Proverbs 25:18; 26:18–19; Jeremiah 9:8). Joseph’s brothers couldn’t speak to him in a civil manner (Genesis 37:4), and they lied about him to their father; and Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph and helped put him into prison. Indeed, the archers shot mercilessly at the innocent young man. But Joseph didn’t shoot back! God strengthened him so that his words were always true, and it was this integrity that eventually led to his release from prison and his elevation to being second ruler of the land. But the reference to bows and arrows goes beyond the image of lies; it also reminds us of the military skill of the men of Ephraim (Judges 8:1ff; 12:1ff; Joshua 17:17–18). Jacob used three more special names of the Lord: the Mighty [One] of Jacob, the Shepherd, and the Stone [Rock]. Yahweh allows to be called “the God of Jacob,” and as “the mighty God,” He cared for Jacob’s needs, helping him with his difficult work (Genesis 31:36–42), and delivering him from danger. Jacob had already referred to the Lord as “the God who shepherded me [looked after me]” (Genesis 48:15). Since Jacob himself was a shepherd, he knew what was involved in caring for sheep. The concept of God as the Shepherd is found often in Scripture (Psalm 23:1ff, 80:1; 100:3; Isaiah 40:11; Ezekiel 34) and culminates in Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd who gave His life for the sheep (John 10). The Stone [Rock] is another familiar image of the God of Israel (Deuteronomy 32:4, 15, 18, 31; 1 Samuel 2:2; 2 Samuel 22:32) and also points to Christ (Psalm 118:22; Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:11; 1 Corinthians 10:4; 1 Peter 2:7). When you think of a stone, you think of strength, stability, and security, and God provided all of that and more to Jacob during his difficult earthly pilgrimage. Jacob promised Joseph that God would give his descendants blessings on the soil that they farmed by sending the rains from heaven above and providing the streams in the earth beneath (see Deuteronomy 33:13–16). He also promised fertility to the people so that the tribe would increase to God’s glory (Hosea 12:8). Ephraim and Manasseh were important tribes in Israel. In fact, the Northern Kingdom was frequently called “Ephraim” (Isaiah 7:1–2; Hosea 13:1). God had blessed Abraham richly (Genesis 13:6), and Abraham had shared his wealth with Isaac (Genesis 25:5), who in turn gave it to Jacob. But Jacob’s hard work had generated even more wealth. Thus, from generation to generation, the wealth increased because of the blessing of the Lord, like filling the land up to the very mountains. But the number of heirs had also increased, and now there were twelve sons. But Joseph was the firstborn, and his two sons would share the inheritance of their father.Genesis 49:22–26New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update“Joseph is a fruitful bough, A fruitful bough by a spring; Its branches run over a wall. “The archers bitterly attacked him, And shot at him and harassed him; But his bow remained firm, And his arms were agile, From the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel), From the God of your father who helps you, And by the Almighty who blesses you With blessings of heaven above, Blessings of the deep that