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Genesis 46

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19

SCRIPTURE: Genesis 46

As the chapter opens, Jacob and his family, servants, and livestock had begun the move to Egypt.  We find them in Beersheba which is the southernmost town in Canaan.  There Jacob stopped the journey, built an altar, and offered sacrifices to God.

Beersheba has played an important role in the Biblical narrative since we first met Abraham.  He dug a well there.  Abraham lived there after offering Isaac on Mount Moriah.  Isaac lived there for awhile.  And it was from Beersheba that Jacob would leave to go to Laban’s home to find a wife.  At Beersheba, God appeared to Hagar, to Isaac, and now He would appear to Jacob.

We all need those places that are spiritual markers in our lives.  Those may actually be physical places.  For example, I can take you to the place in the pastor’s study at First Baptist Konawa where I asked Jesus to save me.  Those spiritual markers may actually be more memories of times that God did a most special thing.  I think Beersheba was one of those places.  It was a physical place but it held many incredible memories of God doing some very special things.

In verse 2, God spoke to Jacob.  He called His name twice.  There are a couple of important things here.  One, God knew Jacob’s name.  God is not some distant deity that is out of touch with His servants.  He is close.  He is personal.  He knows things about us that no one else knows.  And, yes, He knows our names.  It is more than a bit crazy to think about the fact that God knows our names.

The other important thing to notice here is that, as I have already said, God called Jacob’s name twice.  There is an interesting pattern of this throughout the Bible.  As God prepares to speak to an individual about something of great importance, He calls out that individual’s name twice.  Maybe that is just to get that person’s attention.  Maybe it is a reinforcement that God knows who that person is.  Maybe it is that God is about to do something significant.  

God’s first words to Jacob at this point were for Jacob not to be worried about going to Egypt.  God promised to go to Egypt with Jacob.  He promised to do a great work among Jacob’s family there.  And He promised to be with Jacob throughout the rest of his days on this earth.

We have a pretty good understanding of the omnipresence of God as well as His omnipotence.  In other words, we know that God exists everywhere simultaneously.  We may not understand that or truly comprehend it but we know it to be true.  We also know God is not limited.  He can do whatever He chooses to do wherever He chooses to do it.

From the ancient, eastern view this was a very different perspective.  Their gods or idols were always limited.  They could only “work” in certain areas and they could only “do” certain things.  So, God is showing Himself to be bigger, stronger, and different from any of the idols of that part of the world.  God stands alone in this universe as the one, true God.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

Genesis 45

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 18

SCRIPTURE: Genesis 45

Because of our physical detachment from this story, I am not sure we can grasp the impact that occurred when Joseph proclaimed to his brothers, “I am Joseph”.  I cannot imagine the mix of emotions that must have flooded their thoughts.  Surely, there was disbelief.  After all, they were convinced they were responsible for his death.  Surely, there was terror.  After all, they had horribly mistreated him and now he had total authority over them.  Surely, there was joy.  The one that they thought was dead was, in fact alive.

Another interesting aspect of this story is before this Joseph had only spoken to his brothers through an Egyptian interpreter.  His brothers would have believed that Joseph didn’t speak Hebrew and, therefore, their conversations would have been private even in his presence.  But now Joseph has sent everyone out of the room and he is speaking to his brothers in Hebrew.  I suspect part of the terror they were struggling with was trying to remember what they actually said in his presence.

Verse 5 is a huge statement.  Joseph told his brothers not to be afraid or angry because God had been sovereignly at work behind the scenes.  Looking back at all that had happened, Joseph could see that God was directing things so that Joseph would be in the position he was in to help his dad and the extended family.  Apart from that, the nation of Israel may very well have died in Canaan during the famine and the story of God would have ended or would have required a very sharp turn to another group of people.

This chapter gives us another beautiful example of Joseph as an Old Testament Christ figure.  Joseph had gone from suffering to triumph.  He had gone from prison to the throne.  And because of his victory over the suffering, he had great wealth and glory to share with those in His family.  

There is one last thing I want to call to your attention.  It is found at the end of verse 24.  Joseph is on the verge of sending his brothers back to their father and he tells them, “Do not quarrel on the way.”

I honestly don’t know whether to laugh at that or shake my head in disbelief.  On one hand you would think that after the events of this chapter, the brothers would be so relieved, so full of joy and excitement, so focused on purpose they would be in total unity.

On the other hand, they boys are humans just like most of us are.  They had a history like most of us have.  They have some tendencies like most of us have.  So, Joseph says, “Do quarrel on the way.”  “Don’t be fighting about stuff on the way home.”

We can be a quarrelsome bunch at times.  Even in the good times and especially in the not so good times.  Maybe as we continue our journey to our Father we would be well served not to quarrel so much either.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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