Saturday, April 17, 2021

2021.04.17 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 50:22–26

Read Genesis 50:22–26

Questions from the Scripture text: Where did Joseph dwell (Genesis 50:22)? With whom? To what age did he live? Whom did he see (Genesis 50:23)? To how many generations? Who were brought up on Joseph’s knees? To whom does Joseph speak in Genesis 50:24? What does he say is happening to him? Whom does he say will visit them? Out of where will God bring them? Into what land will He bring them? What does Joseph “take” from them in Genesis 50:25? What are they called in this verse? What does He say will surely happen? What does Joseph put them under oath to do? What does Joseph do in Genesis 50:26? At what age? What do they do to him? Into what do they put him? Where?

Joseph is 56 or 57 years old when Jacob dies. So Genesis 50:21 describes what he did not only for his own household, but for his father’s household for more than half a century. And Genesis 50:22 summarizes it under the little phrase, “So Joseph dwelt in Egypt.” He was the key for all of them. Egypt was his stomping ground and he “provided for them and their little ones” (cf. verse 21). 

Genesis 50:23 heightens the sweetness and deepens the joy, as we see this last half-century of Joseph’s life surrounded by grand-children and great grandchildren, brought to Joseph’s knees at birth and growing up learning the faith from him. 

Now all these generations and all the extended family are gathered to Joseph again in Genesis 50:24. They quickly discover that this is the last time. “I am dying.” But his theme is the same as it has been. God is in the place of God (cf. Genesis 50:19). God is always intending you good and doing you good (Genesis 50:20). And now “God will surely visit you” (Genesis 50:24). 

Joseph’s message to his family is a God-obsessed message. He is the same God of relentless goodness, and Egypt is not His plan for you. He swore a promise to Abraham. He repeated that promise, swearing it to Isaac. He repeated that promise, swearing it to Jacob. God has sworn, and now Joseph wants them to swear an oath too (Genesis 50:25a). Joseph ties those two together by the repetition in verse 25 of that phrase, “God will surely visit you.”

What God will do is not in doubt. Joseph wants them to be ready to respond when God does so. They need to keep track of his bones, so that they can carry them up to Egypt. God will keep His promises, and they will return to Canaan. And God will keep the further promise of bringing Christ from the tribe of Judah. And God will keep the further promise of the resurrection.

So the book of Genesis ends in a way that reminds us that the story isn’t finished yet. “In a coffin in Egypt.” Sin has entered the world and death through sin. Joseph is in a coffin. God would bring His people up from Egypt. Joseph’s coffin is in Egypt. But the last thing he wants them to know is that God will keep the promise to bring them back to Canaan. And when God does so, they need to bring his bones, because God will also keep the promise of the resurrection. Jesus will defeat death by atoning for the sin whose wages was death. So don’t forget the bones!

As God is relentlessly keeping His promises, so let us relentlessly believe Him for those promises. Let us hear Joseph’s God-obsessed message of the certainty of God’s faithfulness to God’s promises. Let us live and die as those who are sure that God will do it. And let us make sure that our testimony to others is also a God-obsessed message of God’s faithfulness to God’s promises.

How does God’s sure faithfulness to bless His means instruct your time/activity choices day by day? What has God promised to do in the lives of Christians—how does God’s sure faithfulness to keep those promises shape your priorities and goals for your life? What has God promised to do in/after the deaths of Christians —how does God’s sure faithfulness to keep those promises shape your plans/requests about your death?

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH243 “How Firm a Foundation”


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