Saturday, December 19, 2020

2020.12.19 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 41:46–42:9

Read Genesis 41:46–42:9

Questions from the Scripture text: How old is Joseph now, and how long has he been in Egypt (Genesis 41:46, cf. Genesis 37:2)? How many years pass in Genesis 41:47-53? What does the land do during this time (Genesis 41:47)? What does Joseph do, where, during this time (Genesis 41:48)? How much does he gather (Genesis 41:49)? What/who else is fruitful at this time (Genesis 41:50)? What does Joseph call the firstborn (Genesis 41:51)? Why? What does he call the second (Genesis 41:52)? Why? What begin to come in Genesis 41:54? Where was there famine? Where was there bread? What happened to all the land of Egypt in Genesis 41:55? To whom did they cry out? What did he tell them to do? Where, again, does Genesis 41:56 repeat that the famine was? What did Joseph open? To whom did he sell? How bad was the famine? Who came to Joseph in Genesis 41:57? Where else was the famine this bad? What did Jacob “see” in Genesis 42:1? What were his sons “seeing”? What does he tell them to do in Genesis 42:2? For what purpose? Who go to Egypt to do what in Genesis 42:3? Who doesn’t go (Genesis 42:4)? Why not? With whom do the sons of Israel go (Genesis 42:5)? Who was personally overseeing the selling in Genesis 42:6? Who come? What do they do before him? In what manner (cf. end of Genesis 37:10)? What does Joseph do when he recognizes them (Genesis 42:7)? What does Genesis 42:8 tell us about this recognition? What does Joseph remember (Genesis 42:9)? How does he speak to them, and what does he say? What do they call Joseph in Genesis 42:10? What do they call themselves? What do they claim shows they are not spies in Genesis 42:11? What accusation does Joseph repeat (Genesis 42:12)? What extra data do they add in Genesis 42:13 about the claim they had made in Genesis 42:11? What accusation does Joseph repeat in Genesis 42:14? How does the demand of Genesis 42:15 relate to the claims they have made? How many does he say may go, and how many must stay, to prove it? For how long does he put them where, under this stated arrangement (Genesis 42:17)?

Dreams come true, if they’re prophetical dreams. Joseph has been very insistent that these particular dreams (Butler, Baker, Pharaoh, chapters 40–41) are from God. And they have come true. But what about his? Yes, God has lifted him out of the pit. The previous passage especially emphasized God humbling the proud (Pharaoh/Egypt) and lifting up the lowly (Joseph), but what about his brothers bowing down before him?

The Holy Spirit gives us a clue in Genesis 41:46 that what we are to see here is fulfillment of God’s Word: “Joseph was 30 years old.”  The dreams were to take effect immediately (Genesis 41:32). Then we add the seven years of Genesis 41:53. So Joseph is 37 years old and married with two children (Genesis 41:50) whom he has named out of faith in the Lord and praise to Him for the way His goodness has swallowed up the affliction of his years growing up (Genesis 41:51) and in Egypt (Genesis 41:52).

All of this calls our attention back to Genesis 37:2, which was some 20 years ago now—more than half his lifetime. And that establishes the background for Genesis 42:6, “Now Joseph was governor over the land; and it was he who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the earth.” Joseph sees them (mentioned twice, actually, Genesis 42:7Genesis 42:8) and remembers that this was prophesied by God (Genesis 42:9).

In all of this, the Lord has brought Joseph to a holy forgetfulness, fruitfulness, and faith.

Forgetfulness. Manasseh. “God has made me forget all my toil and all my father’s house” (Genesis 41:51). Just as the years of famine were going to swallow up the years of plenty in Egypt, the reverse is true with God’s providence to believers: “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17). The certainty of God’s Word means that we may embrace already the certainty that the exceeding and eternal blessedness that is coming will make us “forget” the toil and affliction of the past and present.

Fruitfulness. Ephraim. “For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction” (Genesis 41:52). The certainty of God’s Word coming true means not only that these afflictions will be forgotten in the future, but also that they are fruitful in the present. He has planned them for His good purposes. It is precisely through them that He is doing good. We are not only to trust Him, but to serve Him, seeing that He works graciously now in us, and is glorified by the fruit of that grace, as it is displayed in our lives.

Faith. “Then Joseph remembered the dreams which he had dreamed about them” (Genesis 42:9). We’ll consider the rest of the verse, and what Joseph is doing, when we come to consider Genesis 42:9–38 and the priming of the rest of the family for a leap of repentance and faith. But, for now, we see how God uses affliction to strengthen our faith. To make us that much more sure of Him, and everything He has said in His Word. Joseph is a man who has believed God up until now. And what a payoff of confirmed faith he now enjoys. 

What is God doing in the afflictions of believers? He is bringing them to a holy forgetfulness, fruitfulness, and faith! He may be doing so in a way that feels painfully slow to us, but it is actually in His perfect time.

What is the hardest thing you’ve gone through? What fruit did it produce? How does your future compare?

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH257 “Children of the Heavenly Father”


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