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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

GENESIS – An Expositional Overview of the Beginning of God’s Revelation: Chapter FORTYSIX


Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez and James Fire
Chuck Missler Bible Commentary – GENESIS Chapters 46-50

GENESIS 46 – LOOKING TO GOD DURING TRANSITIONAL PERIODS IN LIFE by Sonny Islas; for the Facebook video of this teaching, go here.

Introduction: Jacob is now going to transition from living in Canaan aka Israel (the promise land) to living in Egypt. You and I would say (what’s the big deal?) this move is a no brainer – Jacob should up and go (pronto!) without a second thought because after all - Joseph is alive and because there is a great famine in all the land!

But what we must understand is that Jacob (which means trickster) made quick self-centered moves in the past that brought about lots of pain, regret and trouble (i.e. when he listened to mom (Rebecca) to trick his dad (Isaac) which then angered his brother Esau who then became his worst enemy which then forced Jacob to run away from home etc.) He was quick to make bad decisions.

Jacob is very old now and he’s learned a lot from his mistakes; mainly the mistake of jumping the gun instead of looking to God first. One indication that you’re maturing spiritually is that you’ve become less impulsive and take things a bit slower - all while waiting on God in prayer.
Genesis 46:1-4
And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac. And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I. And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation: I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes
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Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba
Beersheba is basically a border town, the south region of Israel. The Old Testament uses the phrase from “Dan to Beersheba” nine times to refer to the entire land of Israel – top to bottom/North to South. So, before exiting Canaan, he sought the LORD – before making that final transition.

Beersheba was a special place for Jacob’s family. Jacob’s grandfather Abraham worshiped the LORD there. Genesis 21:33 says, “Then Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there called on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God.” Jacob’s father Isaac also worshiped the LORD there. Genesis 26:23-25 says, “Then he (Isaac) went up from there to Beersheba. And the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham’s sake.” So he built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord, and he pitched his tent there (temporary home); and there Isaac’s servants dug a well.”

It is very possible that Jacob sacrificed on the same alter that His father Isaac built. (Wouldn’t that be a beautiful scene?) Like father, like son.

This is a beautiful picture of how our children may eventually walk in our footsteps if we lead by example. Abraham was a worshiper; Isaac became a worshiper. Isaac was a worshiper; Jacob became a worshiper. Jacob was a worshiper; Joseph became a worshiper (that’s four generations of God lovers). If a father truly seeks and worships God, his children will soon follow. 

This reminds of when I was a boy, I would watch my dad play his guitar in his bedroom where he would sing passionately to God and a little over a decade later, I was doing the exact same thing. My dad wrote worship songs - later in life I did too. I watched my dad outreach, preach open air (testimony) I grew up and did the same. My dad played in a Christian band and traveled from place to place, years later, I did it too. I watched my dad witness to his co-workers and bring some to church – I did the same. Listen, follow Jesus, love Jesus, and your kids will too – all in the LORD’s time.

Israel… offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. THEN God spoke to Israel…”
We see here that just before Jacob crosses the borders of Israel, and makes this huge transition, we find Jacob looking to God in prayer.

We also find that answers come after praying. Israel prayed, then God spoke. James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:2b says “You want but you don’t ask (you don’t pray).” In other words, do not expect God to do something for you if you don’t first seek Him in prayer. Don’t expect for God to reveal His will for your life if you don’t seek Him for it.

Looking to God during transitional periods in life is what we see here, and this is critical.
The LORD knew that Jacob feared the transition (Canaan to Egypt) because he was not fully convinced that he was making the right move.

When we’re not fully convinced, let’s pray until God settles our troubled hearts and makes things clear. It’s difficult to go forward when you’re not sure or confident about the road ahead.
Jacob may have thought about the time his grandfather Abraham went to Egypt during a famine and how things didn’t go so well for him. Abraham almost lost his wife (Sarah) and brought back a slave girl named Haggar who caused a great family feud – till this day. In Genesis 23 during another famine, God told Jacob’s father Isaac “do not to go down to Egypt.”

I’m sure Jacob was reasoning in his mind, “If my grandfather’s time in Egypt went south and my father was told not to go, what in the world should I do?!” Should I go forward? Should I go back?! What to do?!

It could also be that Jacob feared the prophecy his grandfather Abraham passed down where in Genesis 15:13-14 God says, “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs (Egypt), and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward, they shall come out with great possessions (take place in Exodus).” Maybe Jacob was wondering if this transition was the beginning of that fearful prophecy? (and it was).

God draws near to Jacob in a night vision because Jacob drew near to God and God said “I AM God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there (while in Egypt, they went from 70 people to over 1 million people – a population boom). I will go down with you to Egypt, for I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will put his hand on your eyes (this points to the honor of closing his dads eyes at the point of his death – Joseph will be the last person Jacob sees).”

Wow! This is our Sovereign God who is obviously in full control and is orchestrating this whole deal – what power! He says, “I AM God, I will, I will, I will.” Are scared Jacob? “I AM God, I will, I will, I will.” And this is how God turns our fear into faith, when He reassures us that He is God and that He is with us! That’s how we become courageous and confident.

You may be one who is in a transitional period right now – seek God and He will calm your fears and direct your path.
The LORD knows that we are frail. He knows that we worry and fear the unknown, the uncertain. This is why He tells us “I will go with you down to ______.” For Jacob it was Egypt, for us it may be a different transition.

Some may be transitioning from one job to another. From dating to marriage. From a place of sitting in the congregation, to a ministry GOD’s called you to. From one place to another place, like Jacob.

About a year or so ago, a good friend of mine was moving from one town to another and she was very nervous because she just didn’t know if it was God’s will – if this was what God wanted for her. 

So she prayed and prayed then she asked me for some advice and without thinking twice, like a quick reflex Joshua 1:9 came to mind, and I gave it to her “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” She said that that’s all she needed to hear. The LORD made it clear to her through this verse. (By the way, at this time Joshua was in a transitional period – leadership and location. From Moses to Joshua. From the wilderness to the promised land)

America seems to be going into a transition of being a free nation to no longer being a free nation. What to do? Trust in God and pray.

I remember when the LORD called me to plant this church. My transition from E.L.W. to Shine Bright wasn’t easy. To be honest, I was a little nervous (Marla more than I) and I had thoughts like, should I? Is this just me? Is this just what Sonny wants to do? Will it work? Will God bless it? Will I fail? So I prayed and trusted and took steps of faith and the LORD showed up and has been with me every step of the way! Trust in God in all transitional periods! He will see you through!

A child of God doesn’t walk forward blindly because the God in whom he trusts knows all and sees all and is our eyes. He’s our Leader, our Way Maker, our Protector, and our Provider. Our God knows the end from the beginning – with us!

By the way, fear is a great motivator. When we fear or when we’re in pain or in some kind of trouble these things move us towards the LORD. God uses our fears to draw us near.

A preacher once told a story of a man who took a walk in a cemetery at night when suddenly he falls into a very deep and large open grave and he tried to climb out but just couldn’t, so he decided to wait until morning to cry out for help. All of the sudden another man falls into the same open grave and he too tries to climb out but couldn’t then the first man says, “you can try but you can’t get out’’ and the second man shoots out so fast! – Again, fear is a great motivator!

Genesis 46:5-27
And Jacob rose up from Beersheba: and the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, and their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. And they took their cattle, and their goods, which they had gotten in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob, and all his seed with him: His sons, and his sons' sons with him, his daughters, and his sons' daughters, and all his seed brought he with him into Egypt. And these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons: Reuben, Jacob's firstborn. And the sons of Reuben; Hanoch, and Phallu, and Hezron, and Carmi. 10 And the sons of Simeon; Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman.
11 And the sons of Levi; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 12 And the sons of Judah; Er, and Onan, and Shelah, and Pharez, and Zarah: but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. And the sons of Pharez were Hezron and Hamul. 13 And the sons of Issachar; Tola, and Phuvah, and Job, and Shimron. 14 And the sons of Zebulun; Sered, and Elon, and Jahleel. 15 These be the sons of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob in Padanaram, with his daughter Dinah: all the souls of his sons and his daughters were thirty and three.
16 And the sons of Gad; Ziphion, and Haggi, Shuni, and Ezbon, Eri, and Arodi, and Areli. 17 And the sons of Asher; Jimnah, and Ishuah, and Isui, and Beriah, and Serah their sister: and the sons of Beriah; Heber, and Malchiel. 18 These are the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to Leah his daughter, and these she bare unto Jacob, even sixteen souls. 19 The sons of Rachel Jacob's wife; Joseph, and Benjamin. 20 And unto Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him.
21 And the sons of Benjamin were Belah, and Becher, and Ashbel, Gera, and Naaman, Ehi, and Rosh, Muppim, and Huppim, and Ard. 22 These are the sons of Rachel, which were born to Jacob: all the souls were fourteen. 23 And the sons of Dan; Hushim. 24 And the sons of Naphtali; Jahzeel, and Guni, and Jezer, and Shillem. 25 These are the sons of Bilhah, which Laban gave unto Rachel his daughter, and she bare these unto Jacob: all the souls were seven. 26 All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins, besides Jacob's sons' wives, all the souls were threescore and six; 27 And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten.

In verse 19 we find another parallel between Joseph and Jesus. Joseph married a Gentile, an Egyptian woman named Asenath. Jesus married the Church which is made up of mostly Gentiles (non-Jews).

Genesis 46:28-34
28 And he sent Judah before him unto Joseph, to direct his face unto Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen. 29 And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while. 30 And Israel said unto Joseph, Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive. 31 And Joseph said unto his brethren, and unto his father's house, I will go up, and shew Pharaoh, and say unto him, My brethren, and my father's house, which were in the land of Canaan, are come unto me; 32 And the men are shepherds, for their trade hath been to feed cattle; and they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have. 33 And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation? 34 That ye shall say, Thy servants' trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians
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In verse 30 when Jacob says to Joseph “Now let me die, since I have seen your face…” this reminds me of Simeon in Luke 2 where when he sees baby Jesus and says, “LORD, now I can die in peace for I have seen Your salvation.” Here too is another parallel between Joseph and Jesus. Just like Jacob finally got to see the face of the son he thought was dead, we too will someday see Jesus the risen LORD face to face. But we won’t say “now I can die,” but “now I can live forever!

In this cluster of verses we also find four more parallels between Joseph and Jesus.

1. Just like Jesus who was God and man mediated between us (humanity) and the Father, Joseph who is a powerful Egyptian and Israelite mediated between Pharaoh and the Israelites.
 2. Just like Jesus went to heaven to prepare a place for us (John 14:3), Joseph went to Egypt to prepare Goshen for his family. Goshen was the best piece of land in Egypt.
3. Just like Joseph gave gifts to his people; Jesus gave gifts to us.
4. Just like Joseph provided bread for his people, Jesus is our spiritual bread.

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