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Feb.24 Genesis Study

Categories: Genesis Study,News


Genesis 47:1-31

The journey of a life time”

I. Intro.

II. Vs. 1-12 The blessings of a new home

III Vs. 13-26 The failure of the Egyptians

IV. Vs. 27-31 The prosperity of the Israelites

I. Intro.

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Jacob passed through his “crises of faith” a stronger more peaceful man. Over the next two chapters we will look at his death. For those of us Jacob types we might want to pay attention so that we can spare our self’s some wasted years. What are the keys to Jacob’s change while in Egypt as compared to the rest of his life? For most of his 147 years his life was a constant struggle and he was easily shaken from trusting the Lord, yet in the final 17 years he is “God ruled”. While thinking about the change I remembered a book I picked up after my recent drive across the “Golden Gate Bridge”. The book by Earl Palmer states an interesting fact that if I had known at the time I’m not sure I would have driven the 2 miles across it. You see the bridge is built directly upon the San Andreas Fault yet through out its existence it has survived many earthquakes. What are the keys to its success that has enabled it to survive while others have crumbled?

  1. First the bridge was built anticipating the need to change. At its center the bridge has the flexibility to sway some 20 feet. In other word’s the key to its survival is its “FLEXIBILITY” apart from which it would just snap and break.

  2. Second by design, every part of the bridge, (from its concrete roadway, steel railings, to its crossbeams) is wielded joint upon joint, thus in every way it is inner connected. As important as this inner connection is the key to its usefulness is what it is ultimately anchored to. Every thing is linked to the two great towers and they are anchored to two great land piers and the piers are attached deep into the rock foundation beneath the sea. The towers bare the weight and thus the strength and support of the whole bridge and they are imbedded into the solid rock. The key to the bridge’s stability then is its total preoccupation with its “FOUNDATION”.

Wow, the keys to survival through out our journeys are the same as Jacob’s and the Golden Gate Bridge: “FLEXIBILITY” and “FOUNDATION”. Get it? Success is not a destination but rather a journey! The important thing is not to measure your success based upon how long you have been on the road but rather the distance you have traveled since you started!

II. Vs. 1-12 The blessings of a new home

Vs. 1-4 Joseph presents his father and brothers to Pharaoh but before he does he places them in the land for several reasons.

  1. Relationally: It was only 39 miles from where he was thus close enough for him to visit.

  2. Physically: Based upon 47:6 as well as 45:18 it was the best of land in Egypt.

  3. Spiritually: Finally, it was 20 miles from the nearest Egyptian town of Ramesses thus keeping them isolated and insulated from worldly influence something that was more important to them then grain. I have found personally that it is easier to keep Egypt out of Israel then Israel out of Egypt.

Vs. 5-6 Pharaoh gives them what they wanted and even entrusts them with his own herds. There is an interesting historical side note to this. We know that from ancient history that Egypt was ruled at this time by the Hyksos dynasty for around two hundred years. They had originated from the same area as Israel and had came to Egypt as slaves but had risen in power to over through the Egyptian government. This helps explain why the Pharaoh was so generous to them and why some 400 years later the Jews found no favor with the new ruling power.

Vs. 7-12 The fact that we read here that Jacob blessed Pharaoh is interesting in that Pharaoh was seen as a god, the human embodiment of Ra the sun god. The greater always blesses the lesser thus Pharaoh obviously recognized Jacob as a man of God as he accepts his blessing. God has clearly raised Jacob up and he has used this blessing to be a blessing.

As Jacob looks out over his life he gives Pharaoh his opinion of his journey:

  1. First Jacob saw it as a pilgrimage. In times past he put all his effort into this life instead of seeing that all this life did was prepare him for another life.

  2. Secondly, he openly acknowledges his own failures and short comings. He sees the wasted time of struggling with his brother, father, uncle, children and most importantly the Lord. His life spent in being the “con-man” was wasted and empty. For all of his life spent in striving he came up empty and it was only when he saw the Lord as great that he achieved up to his potential.

Joseph is the sole source of provision and protection for his family in Egypt just as the Lord is our only source of provision and protection in the world for us. The land of Ramesses was a store city in the Nile delta and in Exodus it will be this city that the Hebrew slaves will labor prior to their exodus. Its location is near the city of Qantir 19 miles south of Tanis and was probable one the store cities that Joseph had built prior. The Mormons claim that the proof of Jews being the original Indians of the Americas is to be found in the similar architecture of pyramids. Problems exist in that the Jews were never seen building pyramids and the pyramids are in the ancient city of Memphis not Ramesses.

III Vs. 13-26 The failure of the Egyptians

Vs. 13-26 As the famine began the Egyptians had no doubt some personal reserves then they traded their money for grain. When their money ran out he allowed them to barter using their animals and when the next year came they only had their land and service in which to use as money to purchase food. It would appear to some as though Joseph is exploiting the adverse situation for his own gain. Why not just them the food since they had it to give? Why did he make them move into the cities? Several things need to be realized based upon the text:

  1. First Joseph did not profit from his own administration. He was acting on behalf of his employer Pharaoh. In other word’s it was not his grain to give away. In chapter 41:40 Pharaoh told Joseph that he was to be “over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word”. Joseph’s sole task was to see to it that Pharaoh prospered.

  2. The moving of the people into the cities served two benefits:

  1. It made the administration much easier.

  2. It brought the people closer to the food supply.

  1. Although this looks as if he put the Egyptians under slavery in actuality they became sharecroppers. They were able to remain on the land and farm as they always had the only difference was that they were taxed a flat rate of 20%. Many of us would settle for a flat tax of 20% in our country. In verse 25 it is clear that the Egyptians them selves did not regard Joseph’s actions as unfair instead they credit his wisdom and administration as saving their lives.

  2. Finally, all that Joseph had done in the seven years of plenty was not done in a vacuum. Before all the people Joseph had set aside 20% of the grain each year and put it into storehouses to provide for the lean years. Joseph had demonstrated a savings plan that each Egyptian could have done for themselves had them been disciplined. So what did they do during the seven years of plenty? Well they eat up their savings and plunged themselves into debt which during lean times they could not afford. Simply out it was not Joseph’s shrewdness that cost them everything rather it was their lack of applying his principals into their own lives.

IV. Vs. 27-31 The prosperity of the Israelites

Vs. 27 Reading this right on the heels of Egypt’s debt appears to some as though Israel was blessed at Egypt’s expense. The truth of the mater is that this happens all the time, ever by something that is on liquidation? Did you go to the storeowner and demand to pay full retail? No, you bought tree more then you needed then went home and told everyone the deal you got.

Numbers are not an accurate indication of blessings or the rate of blessings anyway. Consider the fact that from the group of five (Jacob and four wives) they grew to 100 in 50 years that is a growth rate of about 6% a year. Expand that group over the next 430 years while in Egypt and the number would be around several million, which is still just a growth rate of around 6%. In other word’s they were being blessed the same all along but when the numbers were smaller it just seemed less. I think all to often we look at numbers and not the Lord. You could conclude that the Lord blessed them more during the 430 years in Egypt when in reality He blessed them the same all along. That means right now God is at work blessing your life but you just aren’t in a place where you can easily see the effects of that.

Vs. 28-31 Finally Jacob is really going to die, its like we have been watching one of those old westerns where the cowboy is shot but gets up several times. At the end of his life Jacob doesn’t care about all his success all he wants to make sure of is that his future descendants realize that Egypt is not their home. Jacob realized that the goal in life was not in obtaining things it was in the journey. He was at rest because he stops striving to reach a destination and started enjoying Whom he was traveling with!