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Gen. 50

8/3/10 Joseph had his father embalmed after the manner of the Egyptians, a procedure that took 40 days. By now the famine was long over but Pharaoh continued to employ Joseph in apparently an important position in Egypt. Since Joseph was so prominent all Egypt observed 70 days of mourning for his father.

At that point Joseph asked Pharaoh’s permission to take some time off and bury his father in Machpelah, which not only did Pharaoh allow but he sent a sizable delegation along with Joseph including the elders of his own household and of all Egypt and the household of Joseph, his brothers, and his father. It was a large contingency that made its way back to Canaan. After crossing the Jordan the group observed seven days of mourning, which was noted by the Canaanites as something amazing and unique.

Joseph returned to Egypt. He was still a young man at this point, around 40 years old probably. His brothers feared that maybe Joseph held a grudge against them but was waiting for the passing of Jacob to act. So they brought him a planned message asking for his mercy. Joseph, though, had been genuine in his forgiveness. He wept over the fact that they mistrusted him so. “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…” he told them. Joseph refused to judge his brothers over what had happened. And not only did he refuse to judge, he promised to care for them for the rest of their lives.

Joseph lived for another 70 years in Egypt presumably in Pharaoh’s service. When he died at 110 he asked his brothers who at least some of them were still living to take his bones from there when Israel left. This, of course, his brothers would not do in person, but they passed the message down faithfully from generation to generation to the time of the exodus. Then indeed they took Joseph’s bones with them.

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Posted by on October 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Gen. 47

7/30/10 When Jacob’s household arrived in Goshen Joseph took five of his brothers. Which ones and why isn’t told, but he presents them to Pharaoh and when Pharaoh asks their occupation they tell him they are shepherds. Pharaoh then officially gives them permission to settle in the best land and tells Joseph to choose any good men from Jacob’s house to shepherd his livestock.

Then Joseph brought in his father to meet Pharaoh. Pharaoh asks his age, which he states as 130 few and unpleasant years. I had never thought about how unpleasant life was for Jacob: his parent’s relationship, his brothers’ and his relationship, stealing, fleeing, being cheated, lying, his wives, his son’s actions, losing Rachel, losing Joseph, it just never ended for Jacob. The last 17 years in Egypt, I suppose, were the best of his life with his sons reborn and Joseph restored.

Joseph managed the whole of Egypt by access to food. He acquired all the money in Egypt for Pharaoh, then all of the animals, then all of the land, and finally the people themselves as slaves. Not forced labor slaves apparently, but enough so that they could be freely taxed a fifth of their yearly harvest. Everyone from then on worked on Pharaoh’s lands instead of their own.

When the time came for Jacob to die he called Joseph to him and asked to be buried with Abraham and Isaac in Canaan. Joseph promised to make this happen. And Israel grew to many people.

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Gen. 45

7/28/10 At the point that Joseph was convinced about the changed characters of his brothers his emotions overcame him. He could finally reveal himself to them. He ordered everyone of this attendants out of the room, but it didn’t really help, because he wept so loudly they heard him and word of it got to Pharaoh himself.

Joseph blurted out, “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?” But the brothers were too stunned to answer, though Joseph knew already because he had heard them discussing it before. Then with himself under a little better control Joseph called his brothers closer and explained that it really was him and not to be concerned or even angry at themselves for what they had done to him, for God’s hand had been in it all along. This had all been part of a plan to save his family from starvation.

Of course, God wouldn’t have needed such an elaborate and painful plan to save them from famine. Much more was really going on. He also saved them spiritually speaking, for the trauma of all that happened worked much change in their lives. Also God would use this whole narrative to much good throughout the coming ages. And, finally, Joseph hinted at another big reason it had worked this way. God wanted Jacob’s family to be settled and established in Egypt because he had a grand plan for their future.

In v.7, Joseph says that God sent him there to preserve a remnant and to keep them alive by a great deliverance, which is literally translated as “an escaped company.” Joseph had a glimpse of the exodus that would happen 400 years later. At the end of his life he even asked that his bones be taken with them when they would go.

Joseph then invited them all to move to Egypt. Finally, the reality and joy of the situation sank in for the brothers and they had a grand reunion. Pharaoh found out what was going on and also extended his invitation. He was so pleased with Joseph that he was generous in his invitation, sending wagons and donkey and even telling them not to be concerned with moving their possessions because Egypt would provide its best for them.

When the brothers told their father, he was understandably stunned and didn’t believe them. However, it didn’t take a lot of convincing for him to believe them. The story doesn’t say whether they told him then or another time the truth of how Joseph got to Egypt.

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Gen. 41

7/24/10 This story is a dress rehearsal for the plan of salvation. The tentacles in the Bible narrative run all over the place. The one whom God has chosen to bring the good news of the salvation of the world (the Jewish nation and then the Christian church) grows up, is slightly arrogant (Rev 3:17), is betrayed and goes into a time of bitter trials (Rev 12:6), resists being defiled by women (Rev 14:4), emerges triumphant and in power (Rev 15:2), prepares the world for spiritual famine (Rev 6:8), when famine comes the whole world comes for food, forgiveness, reconciliation (Rev 18:4), and God’s people become rulers (Rev 5:10). So much is going on in this story that it’s difficult to see what it all means.

Two years after the cup bearer was restored to Pharaoh’s service, Pharaoh had his troubling dreams. When no one could interpret them the cup bearer remembered Joseph. Pharaoh summoned Joseph and he interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams. Then he proceeded to advise Pharaoh on what to do about the situation. Pharaoh conferred with his advisors and they all agreed that Joseph was the man for the job. Potiphar was likely there to vouch for Joseph’s wisdom and faithfulness.

Joseph’s integrity in small things had qualified him for great things. Pharaoh bestowed on Joseph unprecedented power, which Joseph wielded well. He stored up food and the famine came upon the known world. Soon the word was out that there was food in Egypt, and the whole world flocked to Joseph to buy food.

When God’s people are faithful and serve in obscurity with integrity, the day will eventually come when the church is catapulted to prominence because there is real spiritual food there. The church will not have “defiled itself with women” (spiritually speaking) and the spiritual famine when a “quart of wheat goes for a dinarius and three quarts of barley goes for a denarius” (Rev 6:6), falls upon the whole earth. At that time the atheistic Pharaoh will tell the earth to go to Joseph for food. And God’s people who are filled with the word of God will distribute that spiritual food.

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Gen. 40

7/23/10 A couple of Pharaoh’s servants displeased him somehow, so he sent them to prison. But not just any prison, the special prison at Potiphar’s house for the king’s prisoners. Potiphar, who was the captain of the guard, put Joseph in charge of them. So Potiphar still looked with favor on Joseph.

One morning Joseph came to Pharaoh’s servants and found them looking dejected and asked what was the matter. They had had dreams, they told him, but couldn’t have them interpreted. Right away Joseph answered that to God belonged interpretations. Tell him the dreams. One wonders if Joseph had previous experiences not recorded or if he acted on impulse of the Holy Spirit. It was bold of him, and God honored him for it.

Joseph interpreted the dreams informing the cup bearer that he would be restored to Pharaoh, but the baker would be executed. Joseph asked the cup bearer to present his case to Pharaoh, since he was an innocent kidnapping victim and even an innocent prisoner.

But when the prophecies were fulfilled, the cup bearer forgot about Joseph. It seems odd that he forgot, or maybe he didn’t forget right away but didn’t immediately have an opportunity to broach the subject with Pharaoh and then later forgot. Still, this even was a divine appointment until the time was ripe to bring Joseph out to deal with a coming crisis. In the mean time the chief jailer trusted Joseph implicitly, not even checking on his work.

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Gen. 39

7/22/10 In Egypt Joseph was purchased as a slave by Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s body guard. God prospered all the Joseph did, and he prospered Potiphar because of Joseph. Potiphar was evidently a wise man and he recognized in Joseph wisdom and honesty, so he soon put Joseph in complete charge of his household.

Joseph, though, was a good looking man, and he caught the attention of Potiphar’s wife, who attempted time and again to seduce Joseph. Joseph refused to even be near her.

One day, when the opportunity was right, and when God knew it was time for Joseph to get connected with Pharaoh, Potiphar’s wife caught Joseph alone. Grabbing him by his garment she begged him to sleep with her. He ran, leaving his garment in her hand. Angry at being spurned she screamed out to the other servants.

First she blamed her husband. “He brought us a Hebrew to make sport of us…” She waited, forming her story, until Potiphar came home. Somehow one gets the feeling that Potiphar didn’t believe her, else he would have executed Joseph on the spot. But at the same time  he had to do something. It must have been with profound regret that he sent Joseph to prison.

Joseph went to prison for doing the right thing. But it wasn’t just any jail, it was the place where the king’s prisoner’s were kept. We don’t know exactly the timing of these events, but it seems to have happened quickly that Joseph won the trust of the jailer and was soon in charge of the whole jail. Maybe Potiphar put in a good word for him. Everything Joseph did prospered by God’s blessing.

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Gen. 12

6/21/10 Abram was living in Haran, but God wanted him to go all the way to Canaan. So God told Abram to move on. If Abram would obey then God promised to make him into a great nation and to protect him. Through him the entire world would be blessed because through him Jesus would come. So Abram obeyed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness, we find in Gal 3.

At Shechem, where so much would later happen, God made a promise to Abram to give him all of this land. Abram built and altar and worshiped there. Then he moved on to a place between Bethel and Ai, and there built another altar.

A famine came that was severe, so Abram moved temporarily to Egypt. Fearing for his life because of Sarai’s beauty, Abram lied. He asked Sarai to join him, which she obediently did. Sure enough, she quickly attracted the attention of Pharaoh and he took her and enriched Abram because of her.

But God wouldn’t let his promise die because of Abram’s lack of faith. He struck Egypt with plagues. Pharaoh, this time, recognized and obeyed God and returned Sarai to Abram.

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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