The Whole of Us Is to Be All of God's.
Genesis 50 is the conclusion to chapters 47-49. It’s a chapter of two funerals for two men of faith. A life lived with simple integrity most influences the lives of those who follow. Jacob and Joseph left a legacy of faith for their family in three simple ways:
The book of Genesis begins and ends with family. The failure of the first family, Adam and Eve, brought sin into the world. But God’s grace can reverse the effects of sin in the family.
In Genesis 48, Jacob legally adopted Joseph’s sons and gave them a blessing. In this chapter, he tells his sons what will happen in their futures. His words do come true. Some of Jacob’s sons’ families were permanently troubled or blessed; some were temporarily, individually troubled but later restored. All had the opportunity to respond to the grace of God.
This passage shows the spiritual change of three individuals – Jacob, Judah, and Joseph. Two of them had made significant mistakes in their younger years, yet God showed patience with them. By His grace, they progressed in their maturity and now show virtues of obedience. This can encourage us not to measure spiritual growth by hours, a day, or even a month of a person’s life. Instead, look at big-picture growth. Do you know God more than you did a year ago? Are you more Christ-like?
From Genesis 42, we can learn about wise stewardship, political leadership, and the fact that sin will always find you out. But the main focus of this chapter is a servant leader who lives faithfully wherever God puts him because he knows he has a divine purpose.
As Joseph waited in prison, God still had not brought to pass the dream He gave Joseph when he was 17 years old (Gen. 37). Joseph was now 30 years old and had spent over half of his life waiting for God to fulfill His promise that he would rule over his brothers. Meanwhile, he has been faithful with what God has given him, both position and promises. From his youth, Joseph was faithful to God’s Word, even when it got him in trouble. And in His own timing, God would exalt him.
According to statistics, about 5% of people across the globe suffer from depression, and over 10% of Americans are depressed. Sometimes depression has a physical cause; sometimes it is caused by circumstances. When our circumstances threaten to discourage us, God’s remedy is spiritual. Though you might not guess on the first read, Joseph’s story in Genesis 40 tells us how to avoid depression and discouragement in our Christian walk.
At the start of Genesis 39, Joseph’s resume isn’t likely to earn him an audience with anyone in power. He was the least popular child in his home, constantly bullied, but lived for truth and was not known as a liar. His resume would tell the story of being a victim of child trafficking, purchased as a slave but maintaining his responsibility before the Lord, before having everything taken away because he resisted temptation to be immoral. Joseph was viewed as a commodity by everyone around him, but hand of the Lord was with him wherever he went.
Psalm 63 describes a saint who needs refreshment. Jacob receives spiritual refreshment from the Lord in Genesis 35 as he gets right with God and continues to make progress.
Genesis 33 ended with Jacob’s family worshipping together. They were in God’s will living at Shechem on their way to Bethel where God had called them. The next chapter shows how quickly things can change. Jacob’s family got comfortable and settled down in the culture around them. Their hearts were no longer inclined toward Bethel. They became under-whelmed with God’s will, and the results were tragic.
Along the path of Christian growth, sometimes we can feel like we’re stuck in a traffic jam on a one-lane highway. The pace slows sometimes with trials and afflictions, and other times it speeds up. The Lord determines the pace.
As Genesis 32 begins, Jacob’s pace is picking up. He’s reminded that divine help always goes with him along the way. Likewise, Christians have angelic forces that minister to us, always working to help us be more like Christ.
All Scripture is God’s Word, and is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). It’s our natural tendency to apply principles that we know from the New Testament to Old Testament stories. But remember, a text taken out of context leaves just a con. So don’t judge Jacob too harshly. His family did not have the written Bible, but they did have the oral Word of God which they were responsible for.
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