Monday, March 08, 2021

2021.03.08 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 47:13–27

Read Genesis 47:13–27

Questions from the Scripture text: What wasn’t there, and where (Genesis 47:13)? Why? With what result? What did Joseph gather up (Genesis 47:14)? For what? Where did he bring it? What happened where (Genesis 47:15)? Who asked for what? What did Joseph ask in return (Genesis 47:16)? With what result (Genesis 47:17)? At the end of that year, what did they say was the only thing left (Genesis 47:18)? What did they propose (Genesis 47:19)? For what two purposes? What did Joseph buy (Genesis 47:20)? What happened to the land? Where did he move the people (Genesis 47:21)? Whose land did he not buy (Genesis 47:22)? Why didn’t they sell? What did Joseph give the people (Genesis 47:23)? To do what with it? How much did they have to give Pharaoh (Genesis 47:24)? How did the people describe this arrangement (Genesis 47:25)? What did they ask to be? What became a permanent law (Genesis 47:26)? Who was doing what, and where, all this time (Genesis 47:27)?

Earthly riches sprout wings and fly away (cf. Proverbs 23:5). Certainly, that was the experience of all the land of Egypt and Canaan (Genesis 47:15a) in our passage. Twice in that verse, we read that the money “failed” (literally “was consumed/finished”; it ran out). Money will fail you.

Sometimes, the Lord blesses your labor and gives you an abundance, but then famine comes along (Genesis 47:13). 

Sometimes, your assets have appreciated for you to use as wealth, but then all the assets are sold (Genesis 47:16-17).

Sometimes, you have an inheritance (perhaps of land) from your fathers that though dearer than any other asset, you must part with in extreme circumstances (Genesis 47:18-20).

Sometimes, you have a providentially-protected position like the priests (Genesis 47:22), but you don’t know when that providence will quickly change. With the plagues of Exodus 7–12 as a judgment upon their gods, even Pharaoh who was so enriched (Genesis 47:21-22) would ultimately be ruined (cf. Exodus 10:7).

And sometimes the Lord gives His people a surprising season of government support like in the days of Mordecai or Daniel, or even government sponsorship like with Cyrus or Artaxerxes or Darius in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah.

But, however the Lord might provide earthly means for us, what a danger there is in relying upon those means! In our passage, Joseph’s position and Pharaoh’s favor lead to the enriching of Israel (Genesis 47:27) during the impoverishing of nearly all Egyptians and Canaanites (Genesis 47:13-26). And what an impoverishing it is, when you praise the state that enslaves you as your savior (Genesis 47:25)!

But we will always be impoverished of what earthly things we accumulate. We brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out of it (cf. 1 Timothy 6:7). How much we need to be content with God’s provision for our basic needs (cf. 1 Timothy 6:6–8) lest desire for earthly wealth either sink us lower than the grave (cf. 1 Timothy 6:9) or otherwise fill believers’ earthly lives with sorrows (cf. 1 Timothy 6:10).

O how important for us to read passages like this one and see what our God can do, and see that He is sometimes pleased to do it—so that when He takes it away, we know that we still have Him Himself “who gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17) and who had enabled us to “be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for ourselves a good foundation for the time to come, that we may lay hold on eternal life” (1 Timothy 6:18–19).

Indeed, let us be wise with our wealth, and appreciate it, and even enjoy it. But let us always do so as those who expect the great reversal that is coming: the wealth of this world will vanish, and our invisible wealth toward God will be revealed (cf. Luke 12:13–34).

There are many who treat God as if God’s chief end is to facilitate their glorifying themselves and their wealth and their enjoying themselves and their wealth forever. O, let us make use of whatever He gives us with the conviction that the chief end of wealth is to facilitate our glorifying God by it and even enjoying God with it. The great reversal is coming; blessed are those who view themselves and their wealth and their lives with a view toward that great day!

What earthly things has God given you? How are you using it to glorify Him? How are you using it to enjoy Him? What eternal benefit will appear from your earthly wealth, once that earthly wealth has vanished?

Suggested songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly, I Am with You” or TPH564 “The Beatitudes”

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