Monday, February 22, 2021

2021.02.22 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?

By the time one gets through the Old Testament, the genealogy in this passage will have become familiar. Much expanded versions appear in Numbers 26 and the opening chapters of 1 Chronicles. God, Who promised to multiply Abraham exceedingly, is keeping that promise. And so we can be sure that God, Who promised to bless all of the families and nations of the earth through Abraham, is keeping that greater promise through the keeping of this lesser promise.

And O how it has been kept! There’s some blessed math here. For some reason, Dinah seems to be left out of the tally for Leah’s family, leaving her with 33. Zilpah’s sub-clan has 16. Rachel’s were 14. And Bilhah’s were 7. That gets us to the 70 of Genesis 46:27, but at first he leaves out Jacob himself, Manasse, Ephraim, and Joseph. Even from these numbers, the daughters-in-law have intentionally been left off (which is why Acts 7:5 has the number at 75). 

It all seems pretty intentional to get us from 66 in Genesis 46:26 to 70 in Genesis 46:27. Six was a number of imperfection, seven was a number of perfection/completion, and ten a number of greatness or completion. It is as if the text is pointing out how far short Jacob’s estimation of God’s goodness and faithfulness had fallen. He had spent 22 years focusing on who was missing, and couldn’t see who was there. The Lord was keeping His promises!

When he finally is able to see that this was the case the entire time, there are no words. Genesis 46:29 tells us that it for “a good while,” for a long time, only tears pass between Jacob and Joseph. When Jacob finally finds his voice in Genesis 46:30, the sorrow of the last 22 years have been wiped out, his life feels fulfilled, and he is ready to leave this world. 

If he had been able to see by faith the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen, he wouldn’t have been blind to the sixty-six, to those aspects of God’s keeping His Word that were right in front of his face. And seeing those, he might have been strengthened to trust God for what remained unseen. But how patient the Lord was with him! And how merciful to bring him, at last, to see a little more and to believe God for promises that were yet to come.

Now Christ has come, and there is so much more to support you, dear Christian, against the tendencies of your doubt and unbelief. And the same patient God bears with you, as He bears you up. Trust His Word, and you will better be able to see the keeping of His promises all around you—even as He uses this to strengthen your trust in His Word!

What promises of God have already been kept in Christ? What faithfulness to your life has He added to these?

Suggested songs: ARP119W “Lord, Let My Cry before You Come” or TPH243 “How Firm a Foundation”

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