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By: Larry Shaffer
My dear friend from Malawi, Pastor Charles Tsukuluza, with his wife Ella, graduated with a doctorate in Theology.
Joseph, lesson 34
Joseph prepared his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet his father Israel; as soon as he appeared before him, he fell on his neck and wept on his neck a long time. Then Israel said to Joseph, ‘Now let me die, since I have seen your face, that you are still alive.
Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, ‘I will go up and tell Pharaoh, and will say to him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me; and the men are shepherds, for they have been keepers of livestock; and they have brought their flocks and their herds and all that they have.’ 46:29-31.
Allow me to mention a boring detail for a moment. I haven’t fully researched this yet, (I guess because it’s kind of boring), but for some reason, the Egyptians did not mingle with keepers of livestock. When Pharaoh set up Jacob and his clan in the land of Goshen, they were isolated from the rest of Egypt. Providentially, it seems God had all this planned out so that the Israelites would flourish and grow without Egyptian intermingling.
As to the devotional part of the text and in an effort to be transparent with you in my journey through this section of Genesis, all I can say is ‘I got nothing.’ You recall that Jacob wrestled with the angel of the Lord and he would not let go until he received a blessing. Well, I feel like I’ve been wrestling with Genesis 46 and 47 the last couple of days and I don’t have any rich and inspiring insights of devotional application.
I can recount to you what happened in the text, but when it gets down to the ‘so what?’ question, I’m coming up a little empty. As a devotional blog writer with deadlines, this is a little disconcerting 😊. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen too often but it sometimes does. So, I’m just going to start writing and see what happens.
In these verses, a twenty-year separation of father and beloved son comes to an end. Who can imagine the depth of emotions; the embrace and the flow of tears! Who can explain the bond of a father and son? These two are the victims of a treacherous act of calculated evil performed by the sons. Father and son have been robbed of twenty years of time together. However, there’s no sign of revenge toward the evil-doers. The focus is only on the joy of their reunion.
Perhaps there was a reunion, of such, when Jesus returned to heaven after completing His work on earth. Jesus was separated from His Father – My God, My God, why has thou forsaken Me – it was painful but only temporary.
Jesus wasn’t a victim, like Joseph was, but He was separated from His Father because of the acts of treacherous men and the sins of the world. Joseph had dreams that made his brothers hate him even more. Jesus performed miracles that made the pharisees hate him even more. Hatred for Joseph grew to such a fevered pitch that the brothers felt they had to get rid of him. Hatred escalated toward Jesus until the frenzied crowd screamed, ‘Crucify Him.’
In both cases, God used the actions of evil men to accomplish is ultimate purposes.
Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which He performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know – this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. Acts 2.22,23
This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore, having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.
Father, You gave Your Son and He gave Himself. Help us remember today the sacrifice made, out of love and mercy, toward us. You are a good, good Father. Amen!