Israel may have had both doubt and fear in going down to Egypt, but God spoke to him in the visions of the night. God assured him that He was with him, and His promise to make them a great nation and grant them the land, was still true.
Just as a quick side-note, isn’t it interesting how in the same sentence the Bible refers to the same man as Israel AND Jacob? (Genesis 46:2) We will see that throughout the rest of the Scriptures, both names are used, interchangeably, Jacob and Israel. I don’t want to read too much into it, but maybe it’s because it serves as a reminder or an example of how we all posses two natures. There are two “sides” of us, until the day we die. Sometimes I’m Israel (Governed by God), but other times, sad and sorry to say, I’m not.
Israel’s family had grown to 70 (Genesis 46:27). Today the Jewish population is 16.7 million with 6.87 million Jews living in Israel and 5.7 million living in the United States of America. (source)
When Israel and Joseph were reunited, they held each other and wept “for a good while.” What a moment!
Joseph’s mission was now the movement of his family into Egypt; his plan was to have them settle down in the land of Goshen as shepherds. Joseph put the words into his brother’s mouth and gave them a crash course on palace etiquette. But Joseph couldn’t put the words into his father’s mouth, and we read a couple of interesting things on this:
First, when Pharaoh asked Jacob his age, he described his 130 years as “few and evil.” I get the few part, after all his father Abraham had lived to 175, but the evil? It had been a rough life of many mistakes and sin abounded, but so did grace. Jacob was chosen, he was a believer, he was saved, he was blessed; my personal opinion is that his life cannot be summarized as evil – how important our perspective is. Some see the cup half full, while others see the same cup as half empty.
Secondly, we read that two times this old, poor, and seemingly insignificant man ended up blessing Pharaoh, the most powerful man in the world. I smile when I think of some of these older folks and the way they’ve sort of lost their filter and have that tendency to speak their minds – to anyone. Jacob was not intimidated in the presence of Pharaoh. And the truth is, Jacob was, in one sense, greater than Pharaoh in the Kingdom of God. We read in:
Hebrews 7:7 (NKJV) “Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better.”
God blesses us that we might bless others.
The famine wore on and the Egyptian government was enriched by the people. I wonder if there were any who “saved for a rainy day?” That’s what Joseph did for God and Egypt…in his wisdom he truly was a “saver.”
Joseph promised to grant Jacob’s wishes and bury his father in the Promised-Land. How beautiful the example of Israel, to hold onto those dreams from God for ourselves as well as our children. (Genesis 47:29)
Warren Wiersbe, “Egypt was a haven for Jacob and his family, and there God protected them and built of them a great people. But Jacob knew that Egypt was not his home, Canaan was; and he wanted to be buried there with the others who had made the same pilgrimage of faith. He was a testimony in life, and he wanted to be a testimony in death. Despite his mistakes and failures in life, Jacob ended well.”
We usually wash our hands for the purpose of personal hygiene, but the Pharisees made it a matter of spirituality. They had twisted God’s law into a myriad of man-made rules and regulations and in doing so, nullified the law. Jesus called them to the carpet on how their law of corban (Mark 7:11) allowed them to neglect their responsibility to financially take care of and honor their parents, by giving that money to the Synagogue. (keep in mind that back then the only retirement plan was that your children would take care of you in old age). In this type of legislation they cancelled out God’s truth for man’s tradition.
The prophet Isaiah had predicted this in:
Isaiah 29:13 (NKJV) “Therefore the LORD said: ‘Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men.”
They said they loved the Lord, but they really didn’t. They said they loved the law (the Bible) but they really didn’t. They went through the motions, sung the songs, attended the Synagogue, even gave at the Temple, but they did not truly worship God. The possibility of this taking place definitely makes me search my heart.
It’s not what goes into the mouth that defiles us via dirty hands, germs and all, it’s what comes out of the mouth that defiles us, even out of the heart (Matthew 15:21).
Can you see the blind leading the blind? That’s what happens to those ignorant or defiant of God’s Word, they’re lost and will eventually fall because their faith is superficial, even artificial.
I’ve always been inspired by the faith of this Canaanite mom in Matthew 15:22-28. She did not give up in prayer, neither was she offended at Jesus’ delay. She knew very well that all she needed was the crumbs from the King’s table and she walked away that day with the desire of her heart for her daughter. Lessons for us as parents and intercessors.
This is an epic Psalm.
Verses 1-6 is often referred to as General Revelation. Verses 7-11 is seen as Special Revelation.
If we open our eyes to the things God has made, the heavens, the stars, the sun, even the setting of the sun, day by day, we get a glimpse of the glory of God and how awesome He is – this is General Revelation – everyone in the whole wide world sees it.
If we open our eyes to the Book He’s written, the Bible ,we discover even more about God, all the necessary details to live life now, and have life forever. The Bible is perfect, converting the soul, able to save. Knowing the Bible brings light to our eyes, and living the Bible brings joy to our hearts and great, great reward. For these reasons we should want the Word more than the greatest gold or the finest food.
General Revelation is found in Creation and Conscience.
Special Revelation is found in the Written Word (the Bible) and the Living Word (Jesus – John 1:1, 14).
This is how God has revealed Himself to us. May this revelation of Himself lead to holy lives and holy lips (Psalm 19:12-14).
Don’t even enter the path of the wicked (Proverbs 4:14).
Stay on the path of the just – the journey gets greater and the destination is out of this world!
Proverbs 4:18 (NKJV) “But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.”
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.