Monday, December 21, 2020

2020.12.21 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)?

God has made Joseph fruitful! His wisdom pays off for Egypt, and ultimately for Canaan. When Jacob asks his sons (Genesis 42:1), “Why do you look at one another,” part of the answer is that they had sold into slavery the one whose wisdom would have had them preparing for this famine for the prior seven years!

Back in Egypt, although the grain storage was a “big government” program, Joseph emphasized local administration (Genesis 41:48). Genesis 41:54 may imply a little lag before Genesis 41:55, possibly due to each city’s residents storing their own, in addition to the local/city-wide effort. Regardless, Pharaoh has bread (verse 55) because Pharaoh has Joseph (Genesis 41:56), whom Canaan also needs (Genesis 41:57).

Of course, Joseph was fruitful in more than one way. Sure, he had an uncountable ocean of grain (Genesis 41:49Genesis 41:47-48). But he also had a very countable, but much more significant, pair of boys (Genesis 41:50-52). In fact, he names boy #2 “double fruitful,” acknowledging what the Lord has done. Yes, Joseph had been afflicted in Egypt, but affliction was a tree that had borne double fruit.

In addition to making Joseph fruitful, the Lord had made Joseph forgetful—not just of his toil in Egypt, but especially of his father’s house (Genesis 41:51). Not so much a structure or collection of tents, but a clan that had tried to murder him. In his new position, Joseph could probably have made a trip up to Canaan to see his family, but he goes instead throughout all the land of Egypt (Genesis 41:46). He was on a mission quite literally from God, and commissioned by Pharaoh. A mission that would save that household, whom he hadn’t seen in 13 years. The knowledge of God’s grace enables Joseph to a holy forgetfulness in which he set aside what came before in order to serve God fully in his present circumstances.

By the time we get to Genesis 42:3-9, those 13 years have become 20. It is at this point that God adds fulfilled faith to the fruitfulness and forgetfulness that He has given Joseph. The brothers bowing with their faces to the earth in Genesis 42:6 fulfill the prophetical dream of Genesis 37:7. Joseph recognizes (Genesis 37:7Genesis 37:8) and remembers (Genesis 37:9). God has displayed His faithfulness and strengthened His servant’s faith.

How necessary for us is this grace of God that makes affliction into the soil where our fruit grows, the dark velvet which we forget for the sparkling jewels of His blessing set against them, the season of clinging by faith until that faith becomes sight! It is worth observing that Genesis 37:5 notes for us that Jacob has now joined both father Isaac and grandfather Abraham in experiencing famine in the land of promise. Let all of God’s saints anticipate this affliction, resting upon the God Whose grace will use it to give us fruitfulness, holy forgetfulness, and fulfilled faith.

Through what affliction has God brought you? What fruit/forgetfulness/fulfilled faith did it bring?

Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH257 “Children of the Heavenly Father”

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