Each week we webcast Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, morning public worship at 11a, and p.m. singing and sermon at 2:30p (sermon at 3:30); and the Weds. Prayer Meeting at 6:30p

Saturday, March 20, 2021

2021.03.20 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 48

Read Genesis 48

Questions from the Scripture text: What was Joseph told in Genesis 48:1? Whom did he take with him? What was Jacob told in Genesis 48:2? What did Israel do in response? About Whom does Jacob begin speaking in Genesis 48:3? What two things had God Almighty done? Where? What two things had He promised in that blessing (Genesis 48:4)? About whom does Jacob now speak in Genesis 48:5? What claim does he lay upon them? Who will be Joseph’s (Genesis 48:6)? By what names will they be called in their inheritance? Whom is Jacob remembering in this conversation (Genesis 48:7)? What had happened to her? Upon whom does Jacob renew his focus in Genesis 48:8, to formally recognize and address them? How does Joseph describe them (Genesis 48:9a, cf. Genesis 48:5)? What does Jacob say to do with them (verse 9b)? What does Genesis 48:10 note about Israel? What does he do when Joseph brings Ephraim and Manasseh near? What does he say he hadn’t hoped to see (Genesis 48:11)? But in fact Who has shown him what? Now where does Joseph place them for the blessing (Genesis 48:12)? And how does he position himself? How does Genesis 48:13 summarize where each, Manasseh and Ephraim, were specifically placed? But what does Israel do in Genesis 48:14? How did he guide his hands? Despite what fact about Manasseh? Whom does Genesis 48:15 say Israel is blessing? What is the first thing that he calls God here? What is the second? What is the third (Genesis 48:16a)? What is the first/primary request of this blessing (verse 16b)? Whose names are to be named upon them (verse 16c–d, cf. Genesis 48:6)? What is the concluding request of this blessing? What did Joseph see in Genesis 48:17? How did he feel about it? What did he do about it? What did he say to his father (Genesis 48:18)? Why? What did his father do (Genesis 48:19)? What did his father say about himself (cf. Genesis 48:14)? What did he say about Manasseh? What did he say about Ephraim? What was the final part of the blessing (Genesis 48:20)? Thus what did he do, even in this blessing? What does Israel now say is happening to himself (Genesis 48:21)? Who does he say will be with Joseph? What will God do? What does he call the land? What additional gift does Israel give Joseph (Genesis 48:22)? Above whom? How had Israel obtained it?

This chapter gives us a picture of the blessedness that belongs to all of God’s people in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit draws that line of connection by the similarity of the language in Genesis 48:6 and Genesis 48:16

When adopting Ephraim and Manasseh as his own (Genesis 48:5), Jacob blesses Joseph (Genesis 48:15) by saying “Bless the lads; let my name be named upon them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac” (Genesis 48:16). This is the same language as applied to Ephraim and Manasseh’s brothers; “your offspring whom you beget after them shall be yours; they will be called by the name of their brothers in their inheritance” (Genesis 48:6).

Indeed, the blessing that God gives His people is not only to put upon us the name of one of His tribes (like Ephraim or Manasseh, verse 6, or Reuben or Simeon, Genesis 48:5) or even of His servants the patriarchs (like Abraham and Isaac, Genesis 48:16). God’s blessing upon His people is to put His own Name upon us as His own adopted children (cf. Numbers 6:27)!

God has made a people promise, to multiply them (Genesis 48:4a). God has made a place promise, to provide for them (verse 4b). God has made a presence promise, to be their God and to be with them (Genesis 48:21). 

And it is especially this promise that overcomes the death problem (Genesis 48:7Genesis 48:11/cf. Genesis 46:4, Genesis 47:28–30; chapter 15). Even when we die, God is still with us. Even when we die, we are still God’s children. Even when we die, we will yet come into our inheritance. How? Because in order to solve the death problem, God Himself will become a Man, so that we can be joined to Him not only in His death but in His resurrection.

The “one who will come from [Abraham’s] own body” (Genesis 15:4) is God Himself, the only-begotten Son. And it is in Him, ultimately, that believers are not just called by Ephraim’s name, or Manasseh’s name, or Reuben’s name, or Simeon’s name, or Israel’s name, or Abraham’s name, or Isaac’s name. In Jesus, believers are called by Yahweh’s Name! And as adopted children, they are made joint-inheritors with Christ (cf. Romans 8:15–17).

Why does God do this? Simply because He is pleased to. He is not convinced to do so by anything in us, nor is He following some law of inheritance that compels Him. He is “guiding his hands knowingly” (cf. Genesis 48:14Genesis 48:19) to do as He pleases.

How does God do this? Because He is personal (cf. Genesis 48:15, “before Whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked”), faithful (cf. verse 15, “fed me all my life long to this day”), and powerful (cf. Genesis 48:16, “Who has redeemed me from all evil”). He is personal; He has created a people Whom He redeems to have fellowship with Him. He is faithful; His mercies are new every morning, and there are no gaps in His giving of every good and perfect gift. He is powerful; there is no pain or danger from which He is not supremely and sovereignly producing the blessing of the believer!

Our God adopts believers in Christ as His own heirs because this is the way that He has been pleased to display that He is personal, faithful, and powerful in His mercy!

How has God been personal to you? Faithful? Powerful? In Whom, has He been all of these to you?

Suggested songs: ARP103B “Bless the LORD, My Soul” or TPH461 “Blessed Are the Sons of God”

Friday, March 19, 2021

Conduct Worthy of the Gospel: Standing Unitedly, Fearlessly, Thankfully (Family Worship in Philippians 1:27–30)

How can the Philippians gladden on another and their beloved apostle? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. Philippians 1:27–30 prepares us for the afternoon exhortation on the coming Lord’s Day. In these four verses of Holy Scripture, we learn that believers rejoice to see and hear of one another conducting themselves worthily of the gospel: standing unitedly, fearlessly, and thankfully.

2021.03.19 Hopewell @Home ▫ Philippians 1:27–30

Read Philippians 1:27–30

Questions from the Scripture text: With what word does Philippians 1:27 begin? Upon what one thing are they to focus in conducting themselves? What two possibilities remain for what will happen with the apostle? What does he want to hear that they are doing in one mind and one spirit? What does he want to hear that they are doing together? For what? What does he want to hear is not happening in any way (Philippians 1:28)? What will this lack of fear prove to their adversaries? What would it prove to the Philippians? From Whom is this salvation and its proof coming? How did they come to believe (Philippians 1:29)? What else was granted to them as a gift? On Whose behalf? For Whose sake do they suffer? What do they have in themselves (Philippians 1:30)? In whom had they previously seen it? In whom do they now hear that it is?

Believers, and especially pastors and their flocks, are to aim at increasing one another’s joy in Christ. The apostle looked forward to making their joy in Christ abound in Philippians 1:26, when they discover that for him to live and return to them was fruitful labor for Christ. And now in Philippians 1:27 he lets them know that he would like to have his joy in Jesus Christ increased by what he hears about their affairs: that they are living as citizens of the gospel of Christ. Specifically, he wishes to hear:

That they are standing fast unitedly. That they stand fast “in one spirit.” That probably deserves a capital S, because being in one spirit is further explained as standing “with one mind.” Believers have the mind of Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:16), because it is given to them by the Spirit who knows the things of God (1 Corinthians 2:10–15). 

Christian unity is first and foremost a doctrinal unity. It is a unity forged by the Holy Spirit granting to them to be convinced of what the Holy Spirit has said in the Bible—both about Jesus and about everything else. But if they are convinced, then they will be obeying the same commandments and serving the same kingdom. So, while it is at least a doctrinal unity, it is never merely doctrinal. He also hopes to hear that they are “striving together for the faith of the gospel.

That they are standing fast fearlessly. Yes, in order to obey and serve the Lord Jesus, we must resist sin. But we must remember that there are also other enemies. Certainly the Philippian church had seen adversaries attack Paul (Philippians 1:30a), and they had sent Epaphroditus to him (Philippians 2:25-30) when they heard that he was in chains again (verse 30b, cf. Philippians 1:7Philippians 1:13, Philippians 4:14).

But when enemies attack the gospel and the church, it just shows that they are about to be destroyed by Christ (Philippians 1:28a). And when we fearlessly continue in our obedience to Christ, it shows that God is saving us (verse 28b). Rather than putting us in danger of death, the attack that exposes that living is Christ reveals that if we were to die, it would be infinite gain!

That they are standing fast thankfully. What should we do when we realize that God has made us unafraid of death? Recognize that we’ve been given faith as a gift on behalf of Christ (Philippians 1:29a), and that we have been given suffering for His sake as a second gift on behalf of Christ (verse 29b). How valuable is this suffering for His sake that exposes to us our salvation? Valuable enough that we learn here that Christ Himself has earned it for us. How thankful we should be for such a gift!

Would your theology gladden the brethren and the elders? How about your fearlessness? Your thankfulness?

Suggested songs: ARP46 “God Is Our Refuge and Our Strength” or TPH243 “How Firm a Foundation”

Thursday, March 18, 2021

How Faith Answers Alarmism When the Evil Bare Their Arms—The LORD Bares His Holy Arm! (Prayer Meeting Lesson in Psalm 11)

Evil has bared its strong, ready, clever, cloaked, powerful arm. Even worse, there are those who are advising the godly to abandon their posts and go underground. But there is a greater factor to consider in such a circumstance: Who is the LORD, and what is He doing?! "This devotional should be required reading before anyone reads 'Live Not By Lies'"—PW (godly man in the congregation who was there for it)

Jesus Loves to Save Sinners Like You (Family Worship in Luke 15)

What could make a man grumble at Christ’s saving others? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. Luke 15 prepares us for the serial reading that we have been doing in that book in the public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these thirty-two verses of Holy Scripture, we are confronted with the need to see ourselves as sinners, so that we will rejoice to see that Jesus urges us to come to Him and treasure Him above all things, and subsequently rejoice when He saves others in this way too.

2021.03.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 15

Read Luke 15

Questions from the Scripture text: Who drew near to do what (Luke 15:1, cf. Luke 14:35)? Who complained (Luke 15:2)? About Whom? For doing what? How did Jesus respond (Luke 15:3)? What happens in the first parable (Luke 15:4)? How would they respond if they find the lost sheep (Luke 15:5)? What would they do when they got home (Luke 15:6)? Where is similar rejoicing done (Luke 15:7)? Over what? What happens in the second parable (Luke 15:8)? What would she do when she finds the coin (Luke 15:9)? In whose presence is there similar joy (Luke 15:10)? Over what? What is the third parable about (Luke 15:11)? What did the younger son want (Luke 15:12)? What did he do with it (Luke 15:13)? What problem did he run into (Luke 15:14)? What did he do about it (Luke 15:15)? For what did he long (Luke 15:16)? What happened to him in Luke 15:17? What did he say? What did he decide to do (Luke 15:18)? What did he decide to say (Luke 15:18-19)? What did he do in Luke 15:20? What did his father see? What did his father feel? What did his father do? What did the son say to him (Luke 15:21)? But to whom did his father speak (Luke 15:22)? And what did he say to do (Luke 15:22-23)? Why (Luke 15:24)? Where was the older son (Luke 15:25)? What did he hear when he came home? Whom did he ask about it (Luke 15:26)? What did the servant say (Luke 15:27)? How did the older brother respond to this (Luke 15:28)? What did the father do with him? How did he answer his father (Luke 15:29)? What does he claim to have done? What did he want to be able to do? With whom? What did he call his brother (Luke 15:30)? What is he angry at his father for? But what has his father done for him (Luke 15:31)? And why does his father say he should have been happy (Luke 15:32)?

Jesus is just too gracious. That was the complaint about Him (Luke 15:2) that He was dealing with this entire chapter (Luke 15:30). After all, He was feasting with repentant tax-collectors and sinners (Luke 15:1). 

So the thrust of the chapter as a whole is that if there’s anything worth making merry and being glad about (Luke 15:32a), it’s when God gives spiritual life to the dead, and brings them to Himself in repentance and reconciliation (verse 32b).

Retrieving the lost is worth effort. This is a main feature of the first two parables. The man with the lost sheep and the woman with the lost coin both exert themselves significantly (Luke 15:4Luke 15:8)—and this out of self-interest (though perhaps there is compassion for the sheep, certainly not for the coin). In the third parable, we see the father running out of compassion. 

Jesus is showing us something here about Himself and how sinners come to repentance. It’s not like it’s primarily their idea or their effort. If we notice the relationship of Luke 14:35 to Luke 15:1, we’ll see that the reason that tax-collectors and sinners drew near to hear was because the Lord had given them ears to do so.

Retrieving those whose hearts have been made receptive to hear the gospel is worth the effort not only because of the value of an eternal soul (and how great is that value!) but because it’s an effort that the Lord Himself is spearheading. It is worth it, because He is worth it. It succeeds because He is doing it.

Retrieving the lost is worth rejoicing over. In bringing sinners to repentance, in bringing sinners to Himself, the Lord is aiming at His own gladness. He does the work because it pleases Him, and when the work is done it both pleases and praises Him. “Rejoice with me!” says the man in Luke 15:6. “Rejoice with me!” says the woman in Luke 15:9. “Let us eat and be merry” says that father in Luke 15:23.

If we are “to rejoice with those who rejoice” as touches our brothers and sisters—and even those among them who are persecuting us (cf. Romans 12:10–16), then how much more are we to rejoice in God’s rejoicing?! Yet, if we don’t value the Lord Himself, then what pleases Him will make little difference to us.

At the beginning of the third parable, it seems that just the younger son fails to value his father and being with him (Luke 15:12-13). But later we find out that the older son considered it a burden to slave for his father (Luke 15:29a, more literally translated), or to obey his father (verse 29b). And that he cared more to make friends with other friends than with his father (verse 29c). He didn’t value either being with his father (Luke 15:31a) or jointly possessing, as an heir, all that his father had (verse 31b). This is why he lacked the capacity to be merry and glad with his father in his father’s merriness and gladness (Luke 15:32).

The marvelous thing about Jesus is that this is exactly the kind of lost sheep that He is going after in Luke 15! He turns away from the “99” tax-collectors and sinners who are making merry and glad with Him, and He comes away as it were—like the father leaving the party to plead with the older son. This Man even seeks and receives Pharisees and scribes to eat with them (cf. Luke 15:2)!

Accurately seeing and valuing God is the path to joy-enabling repentance. At its bottom, sin is an attempt to enjoy the created thing without the Creator. A desire to have the inheritance without Him in Whom alone it is truly ours. When we live for ourselves, we may have the illusion of responsibility like the older son, or may be allowed to suffer more immediately visible consequence and lost like younger son (cf. Luke 15:13-16). 

But in either case what is needed is to have our minds enlightened and hearts awakened to: 

the goodness of our God (even his hired servants are well-cared for, Luke 15:17!), 

our guiltiness against Him (we have sinned against heaven, before Him, Luke 15:18!) 

and our unworthiness to be His (we are not worthy to be called His children, Luke 15:19!) 

This ability to see God and come to Him was given to the younger son in the parable and to the tax-collectors and sinners in Luke 15:1. But if we find ourselves unable to rejoice over others’ coming to Christ, the problem may well be that we lack the very life and repentance that they have been given. May God make us value above all things to be with Him and belong to Him!

How glad are you to be with/belong to God? What does your response to sinners’ conversion tell you about this?

Suggested Songs: ARP45B “Daughter, Incline Your Ear” or TPH187 “I Belong to Jesus”

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Participating in God's Infinitely Better Plan (Family Worship in 2Samuel 7:1–17)

Who is going to build whom a house? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. 2Samuel 7:1–17 prepares us for the serial reading that we have been doing in that book in the public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these seventeen verses, we learn that God’s plan isn’t David’s plan, because God is the giving God, Whose infinitely better plan is Christ!

2021.03.17 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 7:1–17

Read 2 Samuel 7:1–17

Questions from the Scripture text: Where was the king dwelling (2 Samuel 7:1)? What had Yahweh given Him? To whom did the king speak (2 Samuel 7:2)? What comparison did he make? What did Nathan say to do (2 Samuel 7:3)? Who did he say would be with him? What comes to Nathan in 2 Samuel 7:4? When? For whom was this word (2 Samuel 7:5)? What did He ask? What point does He make in 2 Samuel 7:6? What had He never spoken about (2 Samuel 7:7)? What does He call David in 2 Samuel 7:8? Who chose whom? From where? To be what? What three things does Yahweh point out that He has done for David (2 Samuel 7:9)? What does He call Israel in 2 Samuel 7:10? What will He do for them (2 Samuel 7:10-11)? What does Yahweh declare that He will make for David (verse 11)? When will this happen (2 Samuel 7:12)? Whom will Yahweh set up? From where will the Seed come? What will Yahweh establish? What will the Seed King do (2 Samuel 7:13)? What will Yahweh establish? For how long? What relationship will Yahweh have with Him (2 Samuel 7:14a)? What will happen if He bears guilt/sin (verse 14b)? What will never happen (2 Samuel 7:15)? What will the establishing of the Kingdom of the Seed do for David—what two things will be established forever (2 Samuel 7:16)? How did Nathan respond to this message from Yahweh (2 Samuel 7:17)?

The king already has a house (2 Samuel 7:1), so why is Yahweh promising to build him a house (2 Samuel 7:11) as the main theme of this passage? Because it will be a forever-house (2 Samuel 7:16) that constitutes a forever kingdom under a forever King (2 Samuel 7:12-13).

God’s plans are almost never our plans. David is grateful (for good reason, 2 Samuel 7:1), and tells Nathan that he thinks that he ought to do something in return for God (2 Samuel 7:2). Nathan—doesn’t even have to pray about it—thinks that this is a good idea (2 Samuel 7:3). 

But since Nathan doesn’t come to God, God comes to Nathan and points out that He has no need of a house (2 Samuel 7:5-7). It’s not particularly less humbling to God to make His presence known in a tent than in a cedar structure. He makes His dwelling among His people because He is pleased to do so. 

He doesn’t need nicer accommodations, or any accommodations at all. BUT, His plan is to make that dwelling among His people in One Whose name is Immanuel. And one of the last things the Scripture will end up saying is that the dwelling place of God is among men (cf. Revelation 21:3, Revelation 21:22, Revelation 22:3). That’s where all of this is headed, because…

God is the giving God. Yahweh proceeds to remind David that He gave David the kingship because He was giving His people a prince (2 Samuel 7:8), peace (2 Samuel 7:9) and a place (2 Samuel 7:10). Yes, we owe Him obedience and service, but what can we give unto God? We are simply to honor Him and to trust that He is honoring Himself. 

God’s plan is to raise up a seed (2 Samuel 7:12) who will build a house for His own name (2 Samuel 7:13). Does David want to build God a house? Here, Yahweh promises that from David will come the Lord Jesus Himself, in Whom the fullness of God dwells bodily (cf. John 2:21, Colossians 1:18–19, Colossians 2:9)! 

This is far more than David bargained for. He thought he would be giving back to God, but God was adding an infinite upgrade to what He had already given to David. Whatever the Lord assigns to us, we can do with the knowledge that God is giving to Himself all glory, even as He gives us the astonishing privilege of participating in His plan for that glory.

God’s great plan is Christ. The language of the seed in 2 Samuel 7:12 obviously reminds us of the Seed of the woman in Genesis 3:15 and the Seed of Abraham in Genesis 12:7 (cf. Galatians 3:16). Here is the One Who will be king forever (2 Samuel 7:13). Yes, Solomon comes from David’s body, and Solomon builds a great temple. But Solomon’s reign ends, and his temple is destroyed. 

What reign, what temple, what throne can last forever? Everything in this world is bound to corruption and decay since the Fall (cf. Romans 8:20–22). But there is One coming who can not only bear our iniquity but eliminate it (2 Samuel 7:14, cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17–21, Romans 3:25).

David thought that God had completed his blessing (2 Samuel 7:1), but it turned out that God was just getting started. His plan is to glorify Himself in Christ, by giving Himself for us in Christ, that He might give Himself to us in Christ. Forever and ever. 

We dream of accomplishing great things for God, but when we realize what God is doing for Himself and for us, we learn that there is nothing that we can “accomplish” that could add to that. Whatever roles and duties He has assigned to us already participate in that marvelous plan. So, let us pursue regular faithfulness with all the zeal that we would have if we were building the very temple of God!

What do you want to “accomplish” for God? What roles & duties has He assigned you? What is He accomplishing?

Suggested songs: ARP72ABC “God, Give Your Judgments to the King” or TPH434 “A Debtor to Mercy Alone”

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

The Mission, Message, and Means of a Perfect Church (Family Worship in Revelation 7:9–17)

What is a perfect church like? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. Revelation 7:9–17 prepares us for the first reading, prayer, and song of the public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these nine verses, we learn that the perfect church’s mission is the glory of God, message is that salvation belongs entirely to God, and means is Christ Who is the fountain of all her cleansing and life.

2021.03.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ Revelation 7:9–17

Read Revelation 7:9–17

Questions from the Scripture text: Whom did the apostle see in Revelation 7:9? In what were they clothed? What were they crying out in Revelation 7:10? With what kind of voice? Who respond to this in Revelation 7:11? What do they do? What do they say in Revelation 7:12? Who asks John a question in Revelation 7:13? How does John answer in Revelation 7:14? Whom does the elder say they are? In what have they washed their robes? Where are they (Revelation 7:15)? What do they do? When? What does “He who sits on the throne” do? What two things won’t they do anymore (Revelation 7:16)? What two things won’t strike them? Who is in the midst of the throne (Revelation 7:17)? What will He do to them? Where will He lead them? What will God do to them?   

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, Song of Adoration, and Prayer of Confession all come from Revelation 7:9–17, so that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me

We will be joining the great assembly of vv9–12 this coming Lord’s Day (cf. Hebrews 12:22–29). For what will they be worshiping our God?

They will be praising Him that He must save and He alone. “Salvation belongs to God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (Revelation 7:11)! Salvation is the Lord’s proprietary work. Not the labors of our hands. Not the intensity of our zeal. Not the depth of our emotions. Salvation is His alone.

They will be praising Him that “Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and power and might” are His forever and ever (Revelation 7:12). The One who has saved them is the all-glorious, all-powerful God. The Rock of Ages, as it were, from Whom fountains of living waters flow (Revelation 7:17; cf. 1 Corinthians 10:4, Exodus 17:5–7).

They will be praising Him that they have been washed clean in His blood (Revelation 7:13-14). The blood which flowed from the side of Christ has cleansed them now, not only from the guilt of sin, but even from the power and the presence of sin!

They will be praising Him for His enthroned glory, where they behold Him and worship Him and He dwells among them (Revelation 7:15). They will be praising Him for removing every trouble: hunger, thirst, the striking of sun or heat, even every last tear (Revelation 7:16-17).

And though we see that victory only from afar at the moment, when we join them on the coming Lord’s Day, we will praise Him for the same, as it touches the situation of our soul and life in this world. Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee!

How can you be saved? How can you be cleansed? What are you looking forward to in glory? How can you do it now? 

Suggested songs: ARP18A “I Love You Lord” or TPH452 “Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me”

Monday, March 15, 2021

The Significance of Christian Burial (Family Worship in Genesis 47:27–31)

What was so important to Jacob to have Joseph swear to him before his death? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. Genesis 47:27–31 reviews for us yesterday’s morning sermon. In these five verses, we learn that even with all its blessings, this life is a short, hard sojourn by comparison to what we will have in the resurrection; that it should be important to us to be buried and that it be with believers; and that we ought to testify to the importance of this both before men and also in worship unto God.

2021.03.15 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 47:27–31

Read Genesis 47:27–31

Questions from the Scripture text: How long did Jacob live where (Genesis 47:28)? How long was his life? What time drew near (Genesis 47:29)? Whom did Jacob call? What did he tell Joseph to do? What did he want Joseph to promise? What does he call his prospectively dead body in Genesis 47:30? With whom does he wish to lie? What does he want Joseph to do with him? Where does he want Joseph to bury him? What does Joseph promise? But what does Jacob ask him to do in Genesis 47:31? And what does Joseph do? How does Israel conclude the conversation?

God had surely gone down to Egypt with Israel (cf. Genesis 47:27a, cf. Genesis 46:4a) and made of him a great nation there (Genesis 47:27b, cf. Genesis 46:3b). Yet for all of this blessing, Genesis 47:28’s tacking seventeen happy years onto the 130 of Genesis 47:9 hasn’t changed that these are the days of the years of a short, hard pilgrimage by comparison to what God has promised. 

Indeed, Jacob has need of that precious hand that will close his eyes (cf. Genesis 46:4c)—but in this case for swearing an action (Genesis 47:29) in keeping with God’s own steadfast love and faithfulness in the greatest of the promises: that He would still be with Jacob to bring him up again, even after he dies (cf. Genesis 46:4b). 

However God has blessed Jacob in this life (and, indeed, it has been great!), it still pales in comparison to the blessing to which he looks forward in the resurrection. There are bodies laying in a cave in Canaan awaiting that resurrection. And Jacob’s body, which will still belong to him but more importantly to the Lord, must be carried up to lay down and wait along with them (Genesis 47:30).

That’s why when he calls Joseph to him, to talk about arrangements, he isn’t focusing on the management of this massive wealth or multiplied family—surely logistical challenges and real concerns! No, his focus is upon what to do with his body, because it is his final testimony to his family and to the world about what he values and where his hope lies (cp. Genesis 49:29–33). 

This solemn, swearing ceremony (Genesis 47:31a) is about making sure that they bow their head and worship (verse 31b) in response far more to what is going to happen with their bodies after they die than all of the good that they enjoyed before it.

God is with you to bless you now. Surely that is a great promise. But how you think about what to do with your body when you die should be a testimony that you consider it an even greater promise that He will be with you to resurrect you unto everlasting glory. More than any amount of wealth or position, this is the legacy that a believer should leave to his children and his church!

When you worship, to what blessings do you respond? What do your plans for your dead body say about this?

Suggested songs: ARP116AB “How Fervently I Love the Lord” or TPH159 “Abide with Me”

Sunday, March 14, 2021