Saturday, February 20, 2021

2021.02.20 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 46:5–30

Read Genesis 46:5–30

Questions from the Scripture text: Who arises from where (Genesis 46:5)? Who are carried in which carts? What do they take with them (Genesis 46:6)? To where? Whom does he bring with him (Genesis 46:7)? How does Genesis 46:8 introduce the next section? Who is named first? Who are his children (Genesis 46:9)? Who is second (Genesis 46:10)? Who are his children? Who third, and what children (Genesis 46:11)? Who fourth (Genesis 46:12)? What sons don’t come and why? What children/grandchildren come? Who is named fifth, with what children (Genesis 46:13)? Who sixth, with what children (Genesis 46:14)? What did all of these have in common (Genesis 46:15)? Who else is in this group? How many altogether? Who is named seventh, with what children (Genesis 46:16)? Who eighth, with what children (Genesis 46:17)? What did these two have in common (Genesis 46:18)? How many were in this group? Which group is named third (Genesis 46:19)? Who were already in Egypt (Genesis 46:20)? Who was the other son (Genesis 46:21)? What children did he have (verse 21)? How many were in this group (Genesis 46:22)? What son of Jacob is named 11th, with what child (Genesis 46:23)? What son 12th, with what children (Genesis 46:24)? What did these two have in common (Genesis 46:25)? How many were in this grouping? How many total went to Egypt that came from the body of Jacob (Genesis 46:26)? How many did this make in total (Genesis 46:27)? Of all of these, whom does Jacob send in Genesis 46:28? To whom? To do what? What does Joseph do (Genesis 46:29)? Where does he go? To whom? What does he do when he gets there? What does Israel say can/should happen now (Genesis 46:30)? Why?

There’s something bitter-sweet about Jacob’s statement in Genesis 46:30. At some level, he is recognizing that the Lord has been working marvelously in ways that he couldn’t see. Joseph wasn’t dead. Joseph was alive. And Joseph had been exalted to the pinnacle of Egypt. Egyptian wagons brought the family down (Genesis 46:5), and the chariot of the Egyptian vizier brought Joseph from his palace to Goshen (Genesis 46:29).

But, the bulk of the passage focuses upon something that Jacob had not been able to see clearly: how greatly God had multiplied him. Sixty-six persons who had come from his own body went to Egypt with him (Genesis 46:26), and that doesn’t even count sons’/grandsons’ wives. And the mention of Dinah in Genesis 46:15, and of Serah in Genesis 46:17, seems to imply that of these, a statistically improbable majority were male. 

After the first couple generations of the Abrahamic covenant, this was an astounding explosion of the growth of the kingdom! That’s one reason that it’s helpful to bumble slowly through genealogical lists like this. Even the difficulty (to us) of the names can be helpful, if we don’t just skip over, but slog through instead. 

Each one of these is the life of a member of the visible church, and a testimony to God’s faithfulness to build this family of Abraham through which would come the Seed in Whom all the families of the earth would be blessed. Indeed, such membership rolls of the church should provoke gratitude not boredom, as every name is a testimony to the mercy and faithfulness of God. 

And often, God’s gracious work in their life is quite evident, as we could see with Judah, whom Jacob sends in Genesis 46:28. It has been a marvelous turnaround for this (humanly speaking) forefather of our Lord Jesus. Can Jacob see how marvelous the work of God has been in those years through which he had despaired and moped?

Perhaps his statement in Genesis 46:30 isn’t continuing that unbelief. It calls him “Israel” at this point, after all. But it at very least calls to our attention the evidences of God’s grace in this family generally, and in Judah specifically, that unbelief had hidden from Jacob’s eyes for so many years. 

But rather than congratulate ourselves for catching some of what Jacob had missed, we ought probably to ask ourselves: do I have eyes to see God’s gracious working in me and through me? Do I trust, even without being able to see it, that He is graciously doing so—simply because His true and sure Word says so? May His Spirit give us such eyes and such trust!

What circumstances are discouraging you? What evidence is there of God’s patience and mercy toward you? What evidence is there of His gracious work in and/or through you? Why don’t you even need life-evidence to be able rejoice over it? Where can you find word-evidence to stir up Hebrews 11:1 faith?

Suggested songs: ARP46 “God Is Our Refuge and Our Strength” or TPH257 “Children of the Heavenly Father”

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