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Genesis Chapter 47:1-31 - Jacob and Family in Goshen - Part 2
- Read part one here
We now continue our text in Genesis chapter 47, picking it up in vs. 11
Vs. 11-14 - “So Joseph settled his father and his brothers in Egypt and gave them property in the best part of the land, the district of Rameses, as Pharaoh directed. Joseph also provided his father and his brothers and all his father’s household with food, according to the number of their children.
There was no food, however, in the whole region because the famine was severe; both Egypt and Canaan wasted away because of the famine. Joseph collected all the money that was to be found in Egypt and Canaan in payment for the grain they were buying, and he brought it to Pharaoh’s palace.”
So now here is the family of Jacob, through Joseph, being blessed and provided for and taken care of - given the fat of the land, given food, given provision. They’re now settling here in Goshen where they will soon begin to multiply.
But again, keep in mind vs. 13 - all this is happening during a time of severe famine! This is in fact, one of the world’s worst famines of antiquity that is recorded in any literature. And so there’s this crazy severe famine and yet God is blessing His people and meeting the needs of His people...
And this lets us know that regardless of how adverse the circumstances that come our way, no matter how tough the conditions might become, that God has this way of blessing His people and meeting the needs of His people.
So we can have complete confidence that as the adopted covenant children of the Lord, (Eph. 1:5) no matter how tough the conditions of the world around us might become, God is going to ensure that the needs of His people are met. (Heb. 13:5).
Where this really begins to make more sense is when you begin to contrast that blessing with what we’re about to read that’s going on in the rest of the world.
Vs. 15-27 - “When the money of the people of Egypt and Canaan was gone, all Egypt came to Joseph and said, “Give us food. Why should we die before your eyes? Our money is all gone.”
“Then bring your livestock,” said Joseph. “I will sell you food in exchange for your livestock, since your money is gone.” So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and he gave them food in exchange for their horses, their sheep and goats, their cattle and donkeys. And he brought them through that year with food in exchange for all their livestock.
When that year was over, they came to him the following year and said, “We cannot hide from our lord the fact that since our money is gone and our livestock belongs to you, there is nothing left for our lord except our bodies and our land. Why should we perish before your eyes— we and our land as well? Buy us and our land in exchange for food, and we with our land will be in bondage to Pharaoh.Give us seed so that we may live and not die, and that the land may not become desolate.”
So Joseph bought all the land in Egypt for Pharaoh. The Egyptians, one and all, sold their fields, because the famine was too severe for them. The land became Pharaoh’s, and Joseph reduced the people to servitude, from one end of Egypt to the other. However, he did not buy the land of the priests, because they received a regular allotment from Pharaoh and had food enough from the allotment Pharaoh gave them. That is why they did not sell their land.
Joseph said to the people, “Now that I have bought you and your land today for Pharaoh, here is seed for you so you can plant the ground. But when the crop comes in, give a fifth of it to Pharaoh. The other four-fifths you may keep as seed for the fields and as food for yourselves and your households and your children.”
“You have saved our lives,” they said. “May we find favor in the eyes of our lord; we will be in bondage to Pharaoh.”
So Joseph established it as a law concerning land in Egypt—still in force today—that a fifth of the produce belongs to Pharaoh. It was only the land of the priests that did not become Pharaoh’s.
Now the Israelites settled in Egypt in the region of Goshen. They acquired property there and were fruitful and increased greatly in number.”
Some commentaries I have read are critical of Joseph here and the way he handled all this. But here’s what’s going on. Joseph is not enriching himself here, he’s enriching his boss. He’s a gifted administrator being very successful in the stewardship that was given him.
It’s interesting, you remember his father, Jacob really did the same thing. He was engaged in the business of enriching another. You remember back there when he worked for his wife Rachel for 14 years?!! That whole time what he was doing was enriching Labon.
So there’s a pattern that we discover recurring in the full counsel of God, constantly put before us in the N.T. that the Word of God paints this picture of the children of God being about the business of enriching others. (Phil 2:3, Eph. 5:21, Rom. 12:3).
The beautiful paradox is, the maturing believer begins to walk into this eventually, but you discover somewhere down the line in your maturity as a Christian that: it is the enriching of others that winds up enriching you spiritually.
God has made us that way. When we come into that real growth and maturity in the Lord where we find enriching others blessing us, then it shouldn’t surprise us because that’s the way the Lord made us.
Practically speaking, the second thing that is going on here is that it's NOT Joseph’s fault that these guys are in the condition they are in. Nor is it Pharaoh’s fault. The word of God came to these guys - “There’s going to be 7 years of absolute prosperity, you’re gonna be rollin’ in it. But then don’t kick back and spend all your money because there’s going to be 7 very lean and rough years on the heels of that.” So man, begin to prepare for that, and begin to walk in that.
This is a great example of walking by faith or not walking by faith (2 Cor. 5:7). Walking by faith does NOT mean walking around in some emotional hype - “Oh man, God’s so wonderful and nothin’ bad is ever gonna happen to me, that’s what JOEL told me.” NO!!!
Jesus said: “In this world you WILL have trouble...” (John 16:33). There is a difference between faith and presumption. And as you become a student of the FULL counsel of God that will be clear to you.
Walking by faith is simply ordering our lives according to the revealed word of God. And this is a great example of those who choose to ignore the revealed word of God, and as a result, they made some very poor decisions, and now they are reaping the consequences of those poor decisions.
On the ground here, it is important that you and I order our lives after the revealed Word of God.
If you blow that off during the week, and if you don’t have a high view of Scripture, if your not making time throughout the week to pursue God and know Him prayerfully, communally, throughout the week, with the word of God open, you are going to be the poorer for it.
The grace of God is here - Joe saves the day, they acknowledge that very specifically, and what they wind up with is this - “Do you guys wanna die or do you wanna pay 20% income tax?” And if you take a look at what we are paying in taxes, 20% is probably not a bad deal!
Finally, in vs. 27, the sharp contrast - The world is withering away upon the backs of some very poor decision making, while the people of God are being prospered by the Lord.
Switching gears here in vs. 28, we now begin to approach the end of the earthly role for Jacob.
Vs. 28-31 - “Jacob lived in Egypt seventeen years, and the years of his life were a hundred and forty-seven. When the time drew near for Israel to die, he called for his son Joseph and said to him, “If I have found favor in your eyes, put your hand under my thigh and promise that you will show me kindness and faithfulness. Do not bury me in Egypt, but when I rest with my fathers, carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried.”
“I will do as you say,” he said.
“Swear to me,” he said. Then Joseph swore to him, and Israel worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.”
Here’s a guy who has full confidence that this bunch is going to make it back to the promised land some day. He expresses very clearly here - “That’s where I want to be buried.” Jacob was in Egypt, but Egypt was not in Jacob. Just as Christ says of us, that we are IN the world but the world is not to be in us. (John 17:14-16).
So here is an example of a man that was greatly blessed, a man with tremendous possessions, but the thing that occupied and captured and gripped his heart was the promises of God. This guy is loaded, tremendous possessions, they were a caravan when they were traveling around, a very wealthy man. But what occupied his heart - centrally - was the promises of God. And that lets us know that there’s nothing necessarily evil about prosperity, nothing wrong with becoming a person of great wealth.
The issue is: What is it that occupies your heart? Here’s a man that has absolute confidence that the promises of God are going to extend beyond the grave. So we ought to ask ourselves in the quietness of our hearts this week - do we have that confidence?
“Death cannot hold the child of God anymore than a spider web can hold a falling rock.” Johnathan Edwards.
How many of you REALLY know, feel, discern that you are living in eternity right now? Did you know that? When our bodies expire we’re not going to be in some void purgatorial abyss somewhere - That is NOT what the Bible teaches.
The word of God teaches very clearly- 2 Cor. 5:8 - “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” Anything else you hear out there is extra-Biblical and needs to be discarded.
If you know that you're living in eternity right now, may I be the first to say - Welcome to eternity. And if you don’t know that or are unsure of that, well then...