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Apr.13 Genesis Study

Categories: Genesis Study,News


Genesis 49:33-50:26

Homeward bound”

I. Intro.

II. Vs. 49:33-50:14 Jacob’s journey home

III. Vs. 15-21 Fearful regrets of life

IV. Vs.22-26 A life of hope

I. Intro.

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The end of Genesis is caricaturized by two funerals and it is a fitting end to the book. In the beginning of Genesis, we saw the creation of man as he was brought forth in perfection and paradise that which God had for him was glorious. But man chose to walk away from God to rule his own life, he didn’t need God, he didn’t want to listen to God. The out come of which is that he dies; yet there is a journey that starts in this book, a journey of reconciliation. It is interesting that although the book ends with two men in their coffin (one in the land of promise the other in Egypt with instructions to be taken with them when the nation leaves) it none the less ends with a hope of future restoration. A restoration not built upon man’s faithfulness but God’s! In the final chapters of another book we see that the journey will one day be completed as we read in Rev. 21:4 “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

The story is told of a man whose friend was expanding his business and needed a larger space. In celebration of this he sent some flowers on the day of the grand opening of the new facility. When the flowers arrived the business owner read the card with his friend’s name but the saying on the card caused him to question what his friend had in mind. The card you see simply read, “Mt deepest sympathy during this time of sorrow”. When he called his friend to inquire as to the meaning he was informed that it was an error made at the florist. Upon further investigation the phrase that was intended to be the store owners went to a memorial service and it read “Best wishes in your new location!” Some perhaps would see this as a cruel gesture, however for a believer in the Lord the card would make every bit of since as we have completed a long awaited journey!

II. Vs. 49:33-50:14 Jacob’s journey home

Vs. 33 The last acts of Jacob on earth were acts of faith:

  1. He summoned all that was with in him to share God’s word to his son’s.
  2. He set forth to them how and why he wished his remains to be taken care of.

The final words of a man who had spent most of his 147 years being preoccupied with himself spends the last 17 years as well as his final moments on earth speaking the Word of God and future hope to his descendants so that they might only trust in the Lord.

Vs. 1-3 In these verses we are given the eight normal process that every person will have to go through when a loved one dies. I say “normal” as far as “fallen human” experience is concerned but it is not what God had originally planed for us. The truth is we can look out the windows of life as we know it and what we see is the reality that we are not experiencing “life” as God designed for us, we have missed the mark. In the life that we will one-day experience we see what we could have had. A life that would have not included “tears from our eyes; nor death, sorrow, or pain”. Oh how we long for these and in the case of believers who have gone on to experience this I’m envious.

  1. Vs. 1 SorrowJoseph fell on his father’s face, and wept over him, and kissed him.” The first reaction is “sorrow” in our fallen state it is a normal and natural expressions of our love. Our sorrow, as seen in Joseph’s weeping, is the only response we can have when love has lost fellowship with another. We can see this same response in Jesus in Luke 19:41 when He drew near to Jerusalem at the beginning of His final week of earthly life. We are told that when He saw the city He wept over it. The truth is the moment we choose not to obey His word and separate fellowship with Him He sorrows at that separation and it breaks His heart to not be able to shower His affection upon us.
  2. Vs. 2-3a ArrangementsAnd Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel. Forty days were required for him, for such are the days required for those who are embalmed.” These are the practical side and include the medical arrangements. We are told that Jacob was embalmed and we know that according to the historian Herodotus this was a lengthy process that took 70 days, which coincided with the number of days, they would mourn, (verse 3).
  3. Vs. 3b RemembranceThe Egyptians mourned for him seventy days.” Here is where the public is invited to show respect, love and sympathy. In this case it was a national time of morning, on a smaller scale we would write an obituary and place in the newspaper. The fact that Egypt mourned for Jacob 70 days is quite remarkable considering the Egyptians hate for foreigners, they would only morn two days longer for the Pharaoh upon his death. Jacob died at home in his bed with loved one around him saying good bye. The circumstances of death are beyond our control but our attitude to death is not. How a heart responds to death can reveal a lot about where that heart is! Jacob had been preoccupied with his death mentioning it 5 times seeing it as an escape from earthly difficulties. Instead we ought to see it not so much an escape from earthly struggles but instead the beginning of an irreversible eternity.
  4. Vs. 4-6 Burial Preparation Where the body was to be placed and who would attend had to be arranged just as the body needed to be prepared. All the family with exception to the children and the flocks were to attend the burial. The internment of the body was to be along side Leah in cave purchased and prepared for many years prior. Jacob wanted to make sure that he would be placed in the land of promise and not in the world, thus his death spoke to his family of where his as well as their true home is, as well as how it is that we will one day dwell in that home. We are not of this world and it is by trust in the Lord that we shall dwell with Him!
  5. Vs. 7-9 Funeral Procession This is the largest and longest funeral procession ever recorded in history. The Egyptians provided the transportation and security. The procession took an unusual route traveling northeast through Jordan instead of northwest the normal trade route as they left Egypt. What is of interest is that 400 years later God would instruct them to travel to the land upon the very same route as they had taken Jacob.
  6. Vs. 10-11 Public Burial Which we are told was at the “threshing floor of Atad”. The service lasted seven days and was such a spectacle that the Canaanites who occupied the land called the pace afterward the “Abel Mizraim” which means “the deep mourning of the Egyptians”.
  7. Vs. 12-13 Private Farewells The actual laying to rest of Jacob’s body was only for the immediate family as they placed his body in the cave, which Abraham had purchased for a burial place.
  8. Vs. 14 Return to LifeReturned to Egypt”: Every person who has gone through this knows that eventually we have to return back to the world in an attempt to go on with life as we know it.

III. Vs. 15-21 Fearful regrets of life

Vs. 15-21 There are two contrasting emotional responses to death that we can see in Jacob’s sons:

  1. Vs. 15-17 Guilt: Grief is something that we all will experience and there is nothing wrong with it, guilt however is something that we need not experience. These brothers had guilt over their past behavior in how they had treated Joseph and was triggered by the death of their father no doubt upon the remembrance of how their father had responded when told that Joseph was dead. Their life had been a life of jealousy they had erupted into hatred and they now feel as though perhaps Joseph had not dealt with their sin and was waiting until their father had died to take vengeance. Guilt produces fear and fear causes us to look upon things with a wrong view. Joseph had been around them for 17 years and had demonstrated over and over again his forgiveness of the wrong done to him by them. Yet the death of their father brought all of this back again. Upon hearing the words and lie of their brother Joseph weeps probable because they reveal in their guilt that they did not trust his forgiveness of them.
  2. Vs. 18-21 Faith: Joseph shows the opposite emotion by his actions of humility and grace. He understood that he was not God, it was not for him to right the wrong done, instead he chose to trust God to work it out both for his benefit and for others as well. God had used their cruelty towards him to make him godlier and also to save the nation. The perspective of faith always views death through the sovereign loving hand of God and not trough the human eyes of guilt and fear.

IV. Vs.22-26 A life of hope

Vs. 22-23 Fifty-four years pass between verses 21-22 yet Moses places these two deaths side by side. Moses tells us that Joseph’s life was full at 110. He lived long enough to see his great, great grandchildren and played with them on his knees. I can think of nothing in this life more fulfilling then to enjoy the simple blessings of spending time with those you love. Joseph was not preoccupied with death he loved life and made the best out of every opportunity and in the end was looking foreword to going home.

Vs. 24-26 Joseph like his father 54 years earlier had specific instructions concerning his death and burial. He did not want his body to remain in Egypt but like Jacob wanted it carried back to the land of promise when the nation left. So for 350 more years after the death of Joseph the Israelites would walk by Joseph’s old coffin and if they would listen he would be speaking to them about their future departure from Egypt. His death was as much of an example as his life had been it was a testimony of faith and trust in the God who holds the future in His hand. Death was not Joseph’s end it was but his beginning to be with the One who loved him and those that love Him. We Christians also walk by a tomb only this one is empty and it speaks to us as well.