Today's Reading: Genesis 46:1-30
Okay, so, let me just say it: reading lists of names in the Bible are boring. One day I hope I'll figure out what the reason/purpose is behind putting all that in the Bible. Until then, I'm slogging through it just like the rest of you.
I see God's providence. We're 3 generations post-Abraham. The family is still living in Canaan, where God would eventually tell Abraham to stop walking and settle, but there's a severe famine in the region and people are running out of food fast!
Thinking back through some Biblical history, Abraham had a son named Isaac; Isaac had twins name Jacob and Esau. Esau was the first born and by birthright deserved to get all of Isaac's stuff, but Jacob was sneaky and managed to steal Esau's inheritance. And by extension, he got God's blessing of being the line that would eventually become Israel. Jacob had a bunch of sons...13 to be exact. The second-youngest was his favorite, got a fancy coat, and his older brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt. He eventually became second in command in Egypt.
The story itself shows how God's provision works in the messy world we live in. People are messy and far more often than not, we do what we believe is in our own best interests. And God uses that. He made a promise; a promise that one day the serpent's head would be crushed and a descendant of Abraham would become a blessing to the nations. That's by no means a green light to do whatever we want, though.
So there's a famine in the land, Abraham's family has only grown to roughly 70 over the last few generations, and the drama and tension is building to make us think that God's plan for redemption is about to come to a sudden end. And then the second-youngest, Joseph, re-appears on the scene.
How often do we look at our situation and lose hope? How often do we look at our life and wonder what could ever come out of it or how we're going to make ends meet? How often do we look at the church and all we see is everything bad; all we see is the 7-year famine staring us in the face and dwindling grain supplies.
Verse 29 sees Joseph jumping on his chariot and rushing out to meet his family. He goes straight to his father Jacob (who believed he was dead) and threw his arms around him. They embraced and cried "for a long time." Then Jacob says, "Now I am ready to die, since I have seen for myself that you are still alive." Jacob was on the verge of death and God provided. Jacob never lost hope. He died happy.
And God provided...