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In the last article, we'd learned that the "famine of seven years" had begun to intensify. The change was so dramatic, that the Egyptians would eventually run out of money to purchase grain with:
"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. 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 used up.'" -- Genesis 47:13-15
And it was for these reasons, that the Egyptians were eventually left with one option?
And that option dealt with them accepting Joseph's proposal, when it came to trading their livestock, lands, and even themselves, in order to acquire the necessary grain, to feed their families with:
"We cannot hide from our lord, the fact that since our money is gone; and our livestock belong 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." -- Genesis 47:18,19
And even though Joseph could have taken full advantage of the Egyptians, when they were found to be in a season of great distress. Know that we find Joseph actually giving them the chance, to be able to, somewhat hold unto the things they had to give up -- in order for them, to be able to finish surviving, what was left of the "seven year famine." :
"Now that I have brought 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." -- Genesis 47:23,24
Notice that even after hearing this from Joseph, the Egyptians knew that he had shown them great mercy. And this is why, they responded by telling him: "You have saved our lives; let us find favor in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh's servants." -- Genesis 47:25
However that may have been, we now forward...
And as time went on, the Sacred Record reveals that the Israelites were found to be doing quite well for themselves, while they dwelled in the region of Goshen. For the Sacred Record points out, that they were fruitful, and able to acquire property -- while in the process, they were also able to increase greatly in number: "So Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions there and grew and multiplied exceedingly." -- Genesis 47:27
Now before we go further, I would like to briefly point out something: Notice how the above passage, states that the Israelites were able to "acquired property?" First off, I want you to know, that this had nothing to do with them becoming actual owners of their land. For we must not forget, that the land that they were dwelling on, belonged to Pharaoh -- period.
But in spite of this, while the Israelites lived in that region -- they were able to profit from the land -- as if, they did own it. For they were allowed, to hold on to their entire increase (or profit) that the land had produced for them.
Nonetheless, we journey forth:
"Jacob lived in Egypt seventeen years, and the years of his life, were one-hundred and forty-seven." -- Genesis 47:28
I want you to know, that personally, I find this part of Jacob's record, to be very interesting? Now I want to point something else out, just in case, you missed it. For we should know by now, that Joseph was under the care of his father Jacob for the first seventeen years of his life (you know, before he was betrayed and sold into slavery by his brothers.) And now we find, that Jacob is now under the care of his son Joseph, for the last seventeen years of his life. My oh my, I always marvel at the way things work out, when it comes to God's plans.
You know, I also can't help but to wonder -- when it came to Jacob's last days, it seemed that things were quite the opposite for the great patriarch. Notice how if, we were to compare the last seventeen years of his life, to the first 130 years that he'd lived -- one would discover, that Jacob finally had found comfort, peace, and joy again, when it came to his life.
For we would find, that Jacob would no longer have to: fight and scheme, or feel the need to keep looking over his shoulder constantly (like he had to do, in his early years with his brother Esau.) Also know, that Jacob no longer had to deal with that tremendous void in his life, a void that was created, when Joseph (by the hands of his brothers) was ripped from it. For he was now reunited with the one son, that he'd loved with all of his heart.
Nonetheless, it was at this point from within Jacob's life, that we find him once again, being reassured by the God that had continued to promise him so much:
"I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down into Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph's own hand will close your eyes." -- Genesis 46:3
And you know what? The mere fact, that at this time in life, was able to find joy, peace, and comfort -- while he'd lived in a strange land -- clearly shows that Jacob's faith, was once again, placed in the right spot -- and it's for this reason, that Jacob's faith was once again, strong with the Most High.
But in spite of the good fortunes, that Jacob would receive while he'd lived in the land of Egypt -- he knew that his place, would forever be in Canaan. And although his last seventeen years were spent in a strange land, that had treated him well -- Jacob still wanted his resting place, to be in the land that God had promised him.
And because of this, Jacob would call for his son Joseph -- as his final hour drew near: "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, carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried." -- Genesis 47:29,30
And after hearing his father's request, Joseph responded by saying: "I will do as you say." But this wasn't enough, for Jacob wanted reassurance in his son's pledge: "Swear to me!" And after hearing this, Joseph swore to his father that he would indeed, honor his request, when it came to him being buried in Canaan -- along with his progenitors (Abraham and Isaac).
Understand that it was Abraham and Isaac -- that Jacob was referring to, when he'd mention "they" -- while he was making his request to his son Joseph: "Do not bury me in Egypt, carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried."
I also want you to know, that Jacob's request had nothing to do with having limited faith, as some who teach this account would suggest. For some teach, that Jacob believed that he would have to be buried in the land of Canaan, in order for him to be raised again, so he can enter into the "New Jerusalem." But personally, I hold the viewpoint, that this is quite the opposite?
For I truly believe that Jacob's request, is simply a testament to how strong his faith really was at this time in his life. And the reason why I feel confident in making such a statement -- deals with the fact, that we find Jacob approaching his last hour, and through faith that he held true and near, when it came to his heart and mind -- Jacob basically makes a demand to his son Joseph.
For we find him adamantly telling his son, that he wanted to be buried in Canaan, and not in Egypt. And when one goes beyond the surface of the text, one should be able to see, that Jacob's request (demand) was actually made, on the behalf of the Israel nation as a whole. For Jacob wanted to show, and remind the Israelites in his own way, of the promises that God had made, when it came to their future as a great nation, and to the land of Canaan.
Know that it was by his strong faith, that Jacob knew that God would continue to keep His Word (Promise Covenant), by eventually bringing the nation of Israel out of Egypt, as a great nation. Jacob wanted the Israelites to remember that "Promise Covenant" that the Lord had made to their forefathers. For he didn't want the Israel nation, to forget about their inheritance, that had been promised to them by the Most High.
To simply put it, Jacob didn't want them to forget who they really were, and where they'd came from. And he definitely didn't want them, to fall into the idolatrous practices of the Egyptians, or to be overly influenced by their pagan culture.
For it would be Jacob's strong faith, that gave him the confidence to trust, that God would eventually deliver his household from out of Egypt as a great nation, just like He'd promised. Jacob didn't want the Israelites forgetting what they had to do, when they are eventually set free from the Egyptian kingdom.
So it's at this point, from within his life, that Jacob had enough faith to finally trust in the "promise covenant" that God had given to him. And because of this, the great patriarch continued to stand with God, no matter what.
And because of this, I want you to know, that the same holds true for us today -- for we too, have a "promise covenant" with God -- a covenant that has been made possible, and sealed, through the great sacrifice and blood offering, of our Lord and Savior - Jesus Christ.
And just like God had honored his "Promise" when it came to Jacob and the Israel nation. Know that we as believers, can take solace in knowing, that God will do the same for you and me -- for we must always remember, that He's the same yesterday, today and forevermore: "For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob." -- Malachi 3:6
For the Word of God allows us to develop a "faith" that will help to enable us to stand confident, when it come to those who oppose us, and the God that we serve. It's this same faith, that constantly reassures us, that in the end, through Christ, we'll be victorious, no matter what. And because of this assurance, that the Lord has given us through His Sacred Record -- we should forever stand uncompromising, and resistant, to the ways of the world -- while staring back, courageously, in the face of it.
Pastor & Bible Expositor: Charles H. Spurgeon once said:
"Our glorious Jesus plays the Man beyond all other men. For He's the boldest, when it comes to the sons of men. He quails not, in the hour of battle, as He tunes His voice to loftiest psalmody. The genius of the Christianity, of which Jesus is the Head and Founder: Deals with the fact that its object, spirit, and design -- are happiness and joy. And they who have made the choice to receive it -- are now able to sing praises, as they face the very jaws of death."
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