Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday, August 11 - by Pamela

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Corinthians 10, Psalm 138, Job 3-4
Today's scripture focus is Genesis 46:1-47:12 

Jacob’s Journey to Egypt

46 So Jacob[a] set out for Egypt with all his possessions. And when he came to Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father, Isaac. During the night God spoke to him in a vision. “Jacob! Jacob!” he called.
“Here I am,” Jacob replied.
“I am God,[b] the God of your father,” the voice said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation. I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again. You will die in Egypt, but Joseph will be with you to close your eyes.”
So Jacob left Beersheba, and his sons took him to Egypt. They carried him and their little ones and their wives in the wagons Pharaoh had provided for them. They also took all their livestock and all the personal belongings they had acquired in the land of Canaan. So Jacob and his entire family went to Egypt— sons and grandsons, daughters and granddaughters—all his descendants.
These are the names of the descendants of Israel—the sons of Jacob—who went to Egypt:
Reuben was Jacob’s oldest son. The sons of Reuben were Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi.
10 The sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar, and Shaul. (Shaul’s mother was a Canaanite woman.)
11 The sons of Levi were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
12 The sons of Judah were Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah (though Er and Onan had died in the land of Canaan). The sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul.
13 The sons of Issachar were Tola, Puah,[c] Jashub,[d] and Shimron.
14 The sons of Zebulun were Sered, Elon, and Jahleel.
15 These were the sons of Leah and Jacob who were born in Paddan-aram, in addition to their daughter, Dinah. The number of Jacob’s descendants (male and female) through Leah was thirty-three.
16 The sons of Gad were Zephon,[e] Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli.
17 The sons of Asher were Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, and Beriah. Their sister was Serah. Beriah’s sons were Heber and Malkiel.
18 These were the sons of Zilpah, the servant given to Leah by her father, Laban. The number of Jacob’s descendants through Zilpah was sixteen.
19 The sons of Jacob’s wife Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin.
20 Joseph’s sons, born in the land of Egypt, were Manasseh and Ephraim. Their mother was Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On.[f]
21 Benjamin’s sons were Bela, Beker, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard.
22 These were the sons of Rachel and Jacob. The number of Jacob’s descendants through Rachel was fourteen.
23 The son of Dan was Hushim.
24 The sons of Naphtali were Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem.
25 These were the sons of Bilhah, the servant given to Rachel by her father, Laban. The number of Jacob’s descendants through Bilhah was seven.
26 The total number of Jacob’s direct descendants who went with him to Egypt, not counting his sons’ wives, was sixty-six. 27 In addition, Joseph had two sons[g] who were born in Egypt. So altogether, there were seventy[h] members of Jacob’s family in the land of Egypt.

Jacob’s Family Arrives in Goshen

28 As they neared their destination, Jacob sent Judah ahead to meet Joseph and get directions to the region of Goshen. And when they finally arrived there, 29 Joseph prepared his chariot and traveled to Goshen to meet his father, Jacob. When Joseph arrived, he embraced his father and wept, holding him for a long time. 30 Finally, Jacob said to Joseph, “Now I am ready to die, since I have seen your face again and know you are still alive.”
31 And Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s entire family, “I will go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘My brothers and my father’s entire family have come to me from the land of Canaan. 32 These men are shepherds, and they raise livestock. They have brought with them their flocks and herds and everything they own.’”
33 Then he said, “When Pharaoh calls for you and asks you about your occupation, 34 you must tell him, ‘We, your servants, have raised livestock all our lives, as our ancestors have always done.’ When you tell him this, he will let you live here in the region of Goshen, for the Egyptians despise shepherds.”

Jacob Blesses Pharaoh

47 Then Joseph went to see Pharaoh and told him, “My father and my brothers have arrived from the land of Canaan. They have come with all their flocks and herds and possessions, and they are now in the region of Goshen.”
Joseph took five of his brothers with him and presented them to Pharaoh. And Pharaoh asked the brothers, “What is your occupation?”
They replied, “We, your servants, are shepherds, just like our ancestors. We have come to live here in Egypt for a while, for there is no pasture for our flocks in Canaan. The famine is very severe there. So please, we request permission to live in the region of Goshen.”
Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Now that your father and brothers have joined you here, choose any place in the entire land of Egypt for them to live. Give them the best land of Egypt. Let them live in the region of Goshen. And if any of them have special skills, put them in charge of my livestock, too.”
Then Joseph brought in his father, Jacob, and presented him to Pharaoh. And Jacob blessed Pharaoh.
“How old are you?” Pharaoh asked him.
Jacob replied, “I have traveled this earth for 130 hard years. But my life has been short compared to the lives of my ancestors.” 10 Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh again before leaving his court.
11 So Joseph assigned the best land of Egypt—the region of Rameses—to his father and his brothers, and he settled them there, just as Pharaoh had commanded. 12 And Joseph provided food for his father and his brothers in amounts appropriate to the number of their dependents, including the smallest children.

Scripture: “How old are you?” Pharaoh asked him.
Jacob replied, “I have traveled this earth for 130 hard years. But my life has been short compared to the lives of my ancestors.”

Observation: 130 hard years. Not easy...not as long as others...but 130 hard years. These verses made me think of the course from this song.

You only get just one time around
                                                                                         You only get on shot at this
One chance to find out the one thing that you don't wanna miss
One day when it's all said and done I hope you see that it was enough
This one ride, one try, one life to love

Application: We only get one life. How we spend that life is up to us. Let's be honest, in Jacob's case his "hard" years were largely based on really dumb choices that he made.

Bob Deffinbaugh says:

The most surprising feature of Jacob’s interview with Pharaoh is Jacob’s appraisal of his life to this point in time:
So Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning” (Genesis 47:9).
This does not fit the contemporary concept of a good testimony. In essence, Jacob has told Pharaoh that his life has been short and sour. That isn’t a very good case for Christianity is it? The thrust of much evangelism today is that trusting Christ and following God makes your life happy, joyful, and free from trials and tribulation. If it hadn’t been for the testimony of Joseph, Pharaoh would have thought very poorly of the God of Israel.
And yet what Jacob said was true. His earthly beginnings were prophetic of his life. He struggled with his brother in the womb (25:21-26). He lived in a home where the parents were divided in their affection for their children (25:28). He gained the blessing of his father by deception and then was alienated from his family because of the hatred of Esau (chapter 27). He spent years in exile, serving his deceitful uncle Laban. He sought one wife and ended up with four (29:18ff.), and the outcome of this was continual competition and strife (29:30ff.). He finally fled from his uncle and eventually had to make a non-aggression pact with him lest further conflict arise (chapter 31). He suffered the loss of the purity of his daughter Dinah at Shechem and feared the reprisal of Canaanite kinsmen when his sons killed the men of the city and took the women, children, and cattle as booty (chapter 34). Rachel, his most beloved wife, died prematurely along the way to Bethlehem (35:16-19). His oldest son lay with one of his concubines (35:22), and his favorite son was tragically lost and presumed dead. Finally, there was the famine which threatened the existence of his family, and the second in command to Pharaoh appeared to be taking even his youngest son away. Jacob, you see, was correct in his evaluation of his life.
There was a significant difference between the suffering which Jacob alluded to and that which Joseph endured. Joseph’s suffering was undeserved; Jacob’s was not. Jacob suffered virtually every painful experience because of his willfulness and foolish choices. He deceived his brother. He chose to live near Shechem rather than to go up to Bethel. He unwisely showed preference for Joseph. The suffering which Jacob experienced was due almost entirely to his sinful decisions and responses.
Jacob did not see the hand of God in his adversity, but Joseph did. Jacob became more fearful and protective, while Joseph was forgiving and eager to serve others, even at his own expense. In his adversity Joseph grew closer to God, while Jacob seemed to drift farther and farther away. In this interview with Pharaoh all of these bitter experiences may have begun to come into focus. He was wrong when he had concluded that “all these things are against me” (42:36). His fears did not conform to the facts.
Life doesn't always go as we have planned but it is up to us how we react when it doesn't. We only get one life. We only get one shot. The choices we make when we experience adversity can either draw us closer to God or lead us away from Him. They determine whether we will live through "hard" years and be anxious to just die as Jacob was or whether those "hard" years will be used as a model of inspiration for others.

Thankfully, even if we have lived through "hard" years as a result of our own poor decisions, there is still grace and forgiveness.

Bob Deffinbaugh says:

Many Christians, like Jacob, spend the vast majority of their lives, as the song describes it, “Workin’ like the Devil, Servin’ the Lord.” Foolishly, they think that God’s blessing is obtained as we struggle to get ahead, even at the expense of others and of biblical standards of conduct. Perhaps your life, like Jacob’s, has been largely a disaster. It is not too late. Life for Jacob began at 130. Life for you can begin right now as you learn to rest in Him and to rely upon His promises. There will be striving, but it will be striving to do what is right, not striving to protect your rights.

This was the beginning of a whole new life. It was only 17 years, but it was life lived in the blessings which only grace can give. Those 17 years were the happiest, most fulfilling years of Jacob’s life. He did not live in Canaan, but he had entered into “Canaan rest,” that rest which is obtained only by faith, and it is forfeited by unbelief (cf. Hebrews 3-4).

The primary lesson I have learned from the life of Jacob is the greatness of the grace of God. Surely it was nothing else, nothing less than grace which saved and sanctified Jacob. And so it is for you and me. We cannot bargain with God, for we have nothing to offer. We cannot get ahead by striving in our own strength, but only by resting in Him. We must labor to enter into that rest (Hebrews 4:1), but by His strength, not ours. That is the lesson which Jacob learned. And this is the truth which made the last chapter of Jacob’s life the best. I do not know what chapter your life is in. Perhaps you are in one of the early chapters, perhaps the last. But this one thing I know: every chapter of our life can be a blessing if it is marked by humble dependence and grateful obedience.
Perhaps you have not yet come to know God as Jacob did. For you the message of the gospel is clear, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved” (Acts 16:31). Recognize that your striving has only led to struggle and suffering. Believe that God’s offer is one of free grace, that it is only He who can give you peace, rest, and the assurance of blessing and salvation. That lesson is a prerequisite for walking with God. May you learn it today.

Prayer: Lord, we like easy. We don't want things to be hard. We don't want to face consequences for our wrong choices and we definitely don't want to take responsibility for our mistakes. Please guide our hearts in your ways and help us to grow in hard times. Give of your grace freely to cover our vast multitudes of sinfulness. Help us to not wait until we have journeyed 130 years before we fully understand and repent so that we can live our lives to what You desire for us. Amen.

Tomorrow's scripture focusGenesis 47:13-31 
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage:  2 Corinthians 11, Psalm 139, Job 5-6

1 comment:

Tammy said...

Great post Pam! And it's so true that no matter the cause of our suffering (whether it's deserved or undeserved), God is working and has a purpose.