Sunday, January 20, 2013

Genesis 42 - 50

Before turning to Genesis 42 and the story of Joseph. I wanted to comment further on the focus Scripture of AndersonBibleStudy for 2013. If you read the entire third chapter of Lamentations you would probably describe it as a dark chapter. Lamentations is the followup to the book of Jeremiah where God had repeatedly warned Judah that He was going to punish them for their sin and unbelief. The Babylonians sack Jerusalem and carry the people off into exile. Lamentations cover the time in exile. The overall purpose for us to consider is that our sin and unbelief will eventually cause God to bring punishment on us if we do not repent. Just as the dark days of Lamentations are a consequence of God's punishment, so we should look forward to dark days if we persist in our sin, it does not mean that we are unsaved, it means that God is serious, He has provided and He is working in and through everything that happens in our life to bring us into compliance with His will. It will be painful at times, just as it was for Judah. Yet throughout the darkness, even in the midst of it, Lamentations 3:22-23 shines forth. Just as Jeremiah says although God had turned His back on his prayers due to working out the consequences of the peoples sin, he still looked forward to God's faithfulness Lamentations 3:21 says that "But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope." God's faithfulness is still there, always available. We need to remember just as Jeremiah does in the darkness, God's faithfulness is our hope. That is the point we should grasp.

Joseph has become successful in Egypt, He was able to interpret Pharaoh's dreams and was placed in power to oversee the preparation of the time of famine that was coming and which God had shown in Pharaoh's dreams. Joseph fill the storehouses of Egypt during the years of plenty so that when the famine strikes there is food in Egypt. The land of Canaan was not immune to the effects of the famine and Jacob hearing that there is food in Egypt sends his sons there to buy food. When they come before Joseph they do not recognize the brother they had sold, but Joseph recognizes them. The story that unfolds shows how God gets Jacob and all his people (the total was 70) into Egypt.  Joseph eventually tells his brothers who he is and they are amazed and Joseph instructs them to tell Jacob to come to Egypt. God has worked through Joseph's hardship to save and provide for his family. Joseph dreams come true as his brothers and even his father bow to him because he has become 2nd in command in Egypt. Jacob and his family move into Egypt and settle in the land of Goshen. Jacob lived for 147 years and as his death draws near he makes Joseph promise to him that when he dies to bury him not in Egypt but to carry him in their burying place back in the land of Canaan. Jacob also blesses his sons in chapter 49 before he dies and when he does die because he is the father of Joseph, Pharaoh honors him by sending up a large assembly to bury Jacob, so much so that the people who see it marvel at it saying "This is a grievous mourning by the Egyptians."  In chapter 50 we see that the brothers of Joseph fearing that Joseph will surely punish them for there selling him away, scheme and tell Joseph that Jacobs request was that he would forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you. The Bible says that Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also fell down before him and said Behold we are your servants. But Joseph responded with the most memorable of his expressions when he tells them "Do not fear, for am I in the place of God?As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So so not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones." Joseph lived for 110 years and before he was to die he tells his brothers, "I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring up out of this land to the land that He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob," "God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here."

What Joseph says about God being able to work good out of evil should not escape our attention. The more you deal with issue like this in the Word of God the more it becomes clear that God is a absolutely Sovereign God. The Bible tells us He created all that we see but the Word of His Mouth, It tells us that we live, breathe and have our being in Him. You are alive at this very moment only because God has decreed it so. Those that died in the last hour, died because God decreed it so. We sometimes things that bad things happen outside of the realm of God, that God has no hand in it. Everything that happens, happens because God decreed it to happen. We don't know how it all works out, we are not God. But one thing that is sure we are dealing with a Omnipotent, Holy God who has wrath, He punishes sin and unbelief even in His people (see yesterday's AndersonBiblestudy). Joseph says that God can use evil to break about His good purposes and plans. His grace and mercy are available, His faithfulness stand forever firm, He will work in our lives so that we hunger for His righteousness, and because of our sinful nature, there will usually be pain and anguish allow with joy and peace. God does not desert His people. The whole book of Genesis has portrayed that most vividly. If we have done evil let us bow down to this Great God and Sovereign and plead for His forgiveness of our sin, just as Joseph brothers bowed in fear to him. When His people bow their hearts in confession and repentance of their sin, we can confidently know that He forgives us and cleanse us. Run to our Advocate frequently, hold the Lord as Holy in our heart.

Next study 1 and 2 Peter and more Catechism.



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