Perspective can be everything. Do you view life's challenges and success through the lens of God's sovereignty? Joseph spent twenty-two years in Egypt trusting in God's faithfulness. As we witness the reunion of Joseph and Jacob, we should remember that the God who sees all things also has a perfect plan for you and me.
The book of Genesis is rich with theology including creation, the fall of man, and justification by grace through faith. Genesis, the book of beginnings, provides foundational truths from which we can learn who God is and how He operates in the lives of His people.
In this study of Genesis, Pastor Skip Heitzig presents an in-depth examination and fresh perspective of familiar stories like the creation, Adam & Eve, Noah and the Flood, the call of Abraham, and Sodom and Gomorrah. This series offers solid information to equip believers with truth in today's battle against the lies of evolution, the basic goodness of man, and a "fairy tale" approach to the Bible.
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Figures Referenced: Ignacy Jan Paderrewski; Rameses II;
Cross References: 1 Kings 10:28; Zechariah 12:10; Luke 12:7; Acts 7:14; Acts 16:31; Romans 12:1-2
Keywords: Jacob, Joseph, sovereignty, providence, Egypt
It would be really great if you had in your mind a little file entitled "waiting for further information" because, as you go through life, there's things that happen to you and you can't figure out why this is happening to you. Why am I going through this? why would God, if He loves me so much, or that's what I hear, why would He allow me, the one who loves Him so much, to go through this painful experience? And that's where we need to stop and file that experience in the file "waiting for further information." You don't have the whole picture yet. God does. You may never get the whole picture this side of heaven. You might. So just put it in the file "waiting for further information." Joseph lived his life, that was a pretty big file, in his own life. Things happened to him when he was sold as a slave, as a 17-year-old kid. Why on earth would God, whom I love, allow this to happen in my life? Don't know. File it: "waiting for further information." He gets taken to Potiphar's house, falsely accused by Mrs. Potiphar of trying to rape her, put in jail by Mr. Potiphar, why? Don't know. "Waiting for further information." As he's there, he interprets a couple of dreams and says to one of the guys who has the dream hey listen, when you get it, and I know you will, put in a good word for me. Guy forgets about Joseph, goes to, for two more years rots away in prison. Lord, why? Don't know: "waiting for further information."
Then one day he gets a knock on his cell door, taken into the court of Pharaoh because Pharaoh had a couple of troubling dreams. Now the further information comes as Joseph stands in Pharaoh's presence, interprets the dreams for Pharaoh, gets in motion a plan to save the world in an upcoming famine that would sweep through Canaan, Egypt, and the entire Middle East, and now Joseph understood because he learned to live his life through a very important lens, a lens we'll call the providence of God. The providence of God, simply stated, is that there is a sovereign God who sees all things, knows all things, and has a perfect plan. He won't reveal that plan to you. That's where faith comes in. that's where the adventure comes in. you just cling tenaciously to the Lord and put your experience in the file "waiting for further information," and as life progresses, God is moving supernaturally naturally. That is, He's taking the natural elements of life but supernaturally coalescing them, putting them together, and you're a part of that so that when you look back so often you go, now I understand what that episode was all about.
Waiting for further information. Do you have that file? If you don't--create one. You'll be filing a lot of things in there as days go by. Now Jacob, unfortunately, his dad, didn't go by the same filing system. Whenever something bad happened to him it was just a bummer. It was just a drag and it... he blamed other people for it and he dwelt on it. And he had bad things happen to him. He messed his life up pretty good. His sons messed his life up pretty good after selling Joseph, making up a lie that Joseph was killed by wild beasts, but dad still blamed them. 21, now 22 years have passed by this chapter. All of those bad things had been replayed in Jacob's mind. Why would God allow Joseph to die? Why have these bad things happened to me? It's interesting. The first time we meet Jacob, he's struggling. Remember the story? He's in the womb of his mother struggling against his brother Esau. And the Lord says to the mother, two nations are in your womb. That's why you're experiencing this pain. They're fighting together. They're struggling. The first time we meet Jacob, he's wrestling; he's struggling with his brother. Toward the end of his life, he's still struggling. Struggling with past memories. Struggling with the will of God. Struggling to feed his family in a time of famine and hunger.
And in between those two struggles, it seemed that he never learned to create the file "waiting for further information." Further information does come, however. One day he looks out and he sees 20 donkeys. They just show up. Behind the 20 donkeys laden with all sorts of food, goods, and clothing, are chariots and carts from Egypt carrying his boys back, including Benjamin. In Benjamin's sack is 300 shekels of silver, 15 times the amount that Joseph was sold for into Egypt, and he goes what's up with all this stuff? And they say your son Joseph is alive and he's number two. He's prime minister. He's second-in-command in Egypt and we're all going down to his house and he's gonna take care of us. Now the further information comes and he understands how God has used his son, unbeknownst to him, all of these years. God is working right now in your life. Oh, but I don't feel that, I don't see that, I don't experience that. It doesn't matter. Just put whatever you're going through in that file and watch and see what happens. Whether you understand it now or not is irrelevant. The further information will come and God is at work.
God is working even in the life of Jacob, though he's a whiner, a complainer, a manipulator, all throughout his life. Oh, he changes a little bit but not a whole lot. There's a great story of the Polish maestro composer Pataroski. He was in a town; he was visiting to give a performance. A mother found out about it and took her 7-year-old boy who was excited about learning piano to see the great master Pataroski. So she brought him to the concert, got front row seats. As they sat down, she noticed an acquaintance a few rows back, so she got up from her seat, went back to talk to her friends. Before the show was about to start, she runs back up to the front, the lights are starting to dim, she can't find her son. Meanwhile, her son has snuck through a curtain on the side front of the auditorium and gone through a door marked "No Admittance." Boy he didn't know what an admittance was. He figured he didn't have any so it said no admittance--he walked through. The lights went out, son wasn't around, curtain went up, and there sitting at the piano bench playing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" was her 7-year-old boy. She was mortified. She was baffled. Why? How? Just then the great master Pataroski walked onstage as the boy was playing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," sat down next to him on the bench, and whispered in the boy's ear, Keep playing. Don't stop. He put his left hand around the little boy's shoulder and started playing the bass notes accompanying "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." Put his right hand on the treble keys and started moving a quick obbligato with his right hand up the treble keys, accompanying "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," and the audience was delighted and amazed and broke into applause. The master and the novice playing together.
Whenever you do anything great for the Lord, whenever you have any great accomplishment, instead of going I'm pretty amazing, stop and listen for the voice of God who might be saying, don't stop, keep playing. Because frankly, what you and I can do on our own, is "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" at best. But when the Master wraps His strong arms around your life and starts moving His fingers, it's a masterpiece--it's beautiful. It's not you, it's the Master. But it's you and the Master working together. Joseph viewed his life that way. God sent me here to preserve life! God sent me here in the midst of this famine! This is all God's plan! The Master is at work. It's not me. It's Him. Now all of that is coming together as Jacob now, the father, meets Joseph. Jacob in this chapter is 130 years old. He's lived that long. In the last chapter, Joseph told his brothers take this grain, take this stuff, bring it back to the family, and go quickly to Canaan and bring my father back here. That's where we left off and now we're in chapter 46 verse 1: "So Israel," that is Jacob, "took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac."
Israel, Jacob, was living up north not far from Bethlehem in a land called Hebron. To go from Hebron down to Beersheba would've taken a week. Beersheba is mentioned for a couple of reasons. Number one, it's the border. It's the border town. It's the El Paso of Israel; it's the lowest border before you get into the land of Egypt. In fact, there's a biblical term, or an axiom, that says from Dan to Beersheba, Dan is the northernmost outpost before you get up into Syria, Dan in the north, Beersheba in the south. From Dan to Beersheba means from top to bottom of the land. So Jacob makes it to Beersheba. Took him about a week. He's en route. There he stops. Beersheba was a significant place. His grandpa Abraham, in chapter 21, plants a tamarisk tree there and calls upon the name of the Lord. His father Isaac builds an altar, or built an altar in the past, and called upon the name of the Lord. It could be that Jacob found that same altar or maybe repaired what was left of it and sacrificed to the Lord. Why does he do it? Why does he stop and why does he talk to the Lord before he goes?
Well he wants to really make sure that this is the right move. Now just think about the history so far. Grandpa Abraham, in chapter 12, went down to Egypt. Was that a good move or a bad move? Anybody? Bad move. Why? Because God said I didn't give you the land of Egypt. I gave you the land of Canaan. Stay there. I'll take care of you. You're lacking faith. And he jeopardizes his family going down to Egypt--bad move. Almost loses everything including his wife and his own life. Later on, his dad Isaac, in a same kind of lapse of faith, leaves Canaan in a famine time and goes down to Egypt where the food is. Well now here's Jacob, third generation, on his way down to Egypt. He stops and goes now wait a minute. I really want to make sure this is the right move. Grandpa did it. Dad did it. And it was dumb. Not only that but my dad brought somebody back with him, or at least his mom did, Sarah brought a woman named Hagar, an Egyptian handmaiden. That's where they got her when they went down to Egypt. And Sarah gave Hagar, the handmaiden, to Abraham and they had a child, Ishmael. And the Middle East has never been the same from then until this day because of it. So it would make sense. That wasn't the will of God for either of them. Is this the will of God for me?
So he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. "Then God spoke to Israel in the visions of the night, and said, "Jacob, Jacob!" And he said, "Here I am." So He said, "I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there." I'm gonna venture to say that this particular worship service for Jacob was the most enjoyable worship service he'd ever had. Go back to the worship service he had when he was a young man fleeing from his own home and fleeing for his life from his brother. When he's on the way to Padan Aram he stops at Bethel. He gets a vision in the night of the angels of God descending and ascending into heaven. And he calls it the house of God. This is Beth'el. God is here, in this place, and I didn't know it. It was a wonderful moment but he's uncertain about the future. And he says if You will bring me back to this place, then you will be my God. He goes, it was a memorable night, but his life was uncertain about the future. Some years later, he comes back. He makes it to Gilead. He's chased by Laban. When Laban and he get together and they have some pretty stern words, he builds an altar, puts a sacrifice on it. it's not an enjoyable worship service. There's strife with father-in-law. He's uncertain about the future because he's gonna meet his brother who's coming to meet him from down south.
A few days later, another worship service. He calls upon the name of the Lord, gives a sacrifice, but he's really afraid. He says O God, my brother's gonna kill me! Preserve my life! A few days later, as he calls upon the Lord, it says a man wrestled with him all night long to the breaking of day. Now it's never fun to go to church and get in a fight that lasts all day and all night. But this particular worship service was exciting because Joseph is alive! I haven't seen him for 22 years! There's going to be a reunion! He's cautious but he's excited. And he calls upon the Lord and the Lord speaks to him and, as he calls His name, he says here I am. "He said, "I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will put his hand on your eyes."
Just a side note. The patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob--those are the patriarchs--the patriarchs had a very simple, uncomplicated relationship with God. God would speak audibly to them. Sometimes God would appear to them in some form or fashion. They would build an altar. They would sacrifice to God. And they would move on. It's interesting, Joseph does not have the same experience with God that they do. There is never a record that God speaks directly to Joseph. It's a very different relationship. Now before you say, well, Joseph maybe wasn't as spiritual, really? As Jacob? Like he was some spiritual dude? No. Not that at all. In fact, sometimes because we're dense perhaps, God has to use more obvious methods. Didn't have to do it with Joseph. The way God spoke to Joseph was simply through the dreams that he had or other people's dreams, even a pagan king's dreams--Pharaoh's. No direct speaking. No apparition. But God is speaking to him through dreams. Every relationship with God is different. Enjoy the one you have with the Lord by faith. Don't try to copy somebody else's. God speaks to Jacob and gives him these promises and notice what He says. It's almost the same thing He says to Abraham in verse 3: "For I will make of you a great nation there."
Do you remember that promise that was given to Abraham, chapter 12? It's funny then because Abraham was married but had no children at all. His wife was infertile and God says I'm gonna make you into a great nation. Really? I don't even have a kid! Now it's the same promise, children later, grandchildren later, great-grandchildren later, it's the same promise. I'm gonna make you, Jacob, into a great nation. And boy did He. Today, within the borders of what is called the modern state of Israel, 7.2 million people live. 5.6 million are Jewish--the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In the last several years, the state of Israel has seen a 43% increase due to immigration alone. They have presently a 10 billion dollar per year economy. That's pretty good. Very strong economy: 10 billion dollars per year; the state of Israel is the size of New Jersey and that's their national economy. The state of Israel today is the world's fourth leading exporter of citrus fruit in the world. The third largest exporter of flowers in the world. When I was in Israel this last time, I was talking to friends of mine. I said hey how's the economy here in Israel? Because the rest of the world, it's pretty bad. He said actually, it's never been better.
So now I'm curious. I go why is that? Our housing market has gone bad and he goes well, it's interesting. in your country, you were able to buy a house if you could put 10 or 20% down. You can't do that in my country of Israel. Our law requires you have to put down, the down payment, has to be 80-90% down. The bank will then carry the 10 or 20% max. So we grow up from our youth being people who save money, not spend money. We save it and save it and save it until we have enough money to put that much down. So their economy is stronger and stabler. Here's the promise: I will make you a great nation. Boy did the Lord make good on that one. 70 souls will go down to Egypt. By the time Moses, the deliverer, takes them into the land of Canaan once again, there will be at least, and these are conservative estimates, 2,100,000--conservatively. From 70 to that number by the time this great nation is ready to inherit the land of Canaan once again.
Now God makes three promises in verse 4: I will go down with you to Egypt. You can do anything as long as God is with you. When God was sending Moses and said go. He said I won't go unless You go with us. That's... that's a good way... that's a good way to proceed. I won't go, Lord, unless You're coming. So here's Jacob leaving the land of God but not leaving the God of the land. God says I'm coming with--you won't be down there alone. That's the first promise. "And I will also surely bring you up again." Now when will that promise be fulfilled because he's gonna die in Egypt but his body will be carried back to the land of Israel, the land of Canaan. He'll be buried in the cave of Machpelah in Hebron where Abraham, Isaac are buried. But probably the fulfillment is you're coming back as a nation. The whole of you: 2.1 million plus people in the future will all be coming out when you multiply back to this land again to inherit the land. And the third promise is and Joseph will put his hand on your eyes.
When people die, you know, in the movies, at least in the old movies, people die like this. they take their last breath and then they close their eyes and go... ah. It's not how it is in real life. Usually when a person dies, and I've watched a number of people die, their eyes remain open and it's the privilege of the nearest of kin to gently put the hand on the face and close the eyes. Joseph will do that for you. You're gonna see Joseph and the honor and the privilege that is typically reserved for the firstborn will be the privilege of Joseph--to close your eyes. Now I imagine that these promises are coming to Jacob because Jacob is feeling a little bit ambivalent about going down to Egypt, would you think he is? I think he is. And here's why I think he is. Aside from the fact that grandpa and dad went down to Egypt and it was a real bad thing to do, there's a promise that God made my grandpa and he knew about it. Genesis 15. He says Abraham, your descendants are gonna be slaves in a land not theirs for 400 years. They're gonna be in Egypt 400 years and they're gonna be slaves. I'm gonna bring them back with great possessions, but they're going into slavery.
I'm sure Jacob isn't too excited about leaving the land knowing that this is the beginning of the fulfillment of the prediction that grandpa had, that they were going into slavery. So he really wants to make sure it's God's will. Now here's an important principle. In Romans 12 verses 1 and 2, I think you know this well, Paul said I beseech you brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good, acceptable, and perfect will of God. The will of God for Abraham and Isaac was not to go to Egypt. The will of God for Jacob was go to Egypt. The will of God for you may not be the will of God for you or may not be the will of God for me. Certain things will be across the board but individually they vary. Whatever the will of God is for you will be good, acceptable, and perfect. Jacob just wants to find out, is this the will of God for me? That's why he's ambivalent. God assures him.
Verse 5: "Then Jacob arose from Beersheba; and the sons of Israel carried their father Jacob, their little ones, and their wives, in the carts," first class, man, "which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. So they took their livestock and their goods, which they had acquired in the land of Canaan, and went to Egypt, Jacob and all his descendants with him. His sons and his sons' sons," I love that phrase now, because I have a son and I have a son's son, and they all went to Egypt, his daughters, his sons' daughters, all of his descendants he brought with him to Egypt. Joseph would save the entire family. Not just one--the entire family. I love that. Do you pray for your entire family? Could you be the catalyst that brings your entire family to know the Lord? I'm expecting my son and my son's son and my son's sons and/or daughters, whatever the Lord would give them in the future, to be with me forever in heaven. I believe that the Lord is in the business of saving households. Paul said to the Philippian jailer: believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved and your household. It's not that automatically they are, but God will use the one who is saved to be the catalyst for the others. God willing, that will happen in our lives.
"Now these were the names of the children of Israel, Jacob and his sons, who went to Egypt: "Reuben was Jacob's firstborn."" Ok, glance over the next few verses because we just want to skip a lot of those names. If you're into reading the names, just have fun on your own but you're looking at a list of names. It's telling you who went down and in looking at the list of names, you might think well who cares about a list of names? And honestly, when I read through lists of names, genealogies, I don't get terribly excited. Unless my name was in the list. Then I get terribly excited. Why are there these genealogies smattered throughout the Bible? Two reasons. Number one, they are pointing to and will lead ultimately to the most significant genealogy of the most significant person ever and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. Number two, because there are no little people to God. To God, all of these names are important and I love it that they're included in Holy Scripture. God's record book. These names, hard to pronounce, that we'll never on this earth know really who they are or what they did, are all important to God.
Jesus said concerning our Father in heaven, your heavenly Father knows when one sparrow falls to the earth and even the very hairs of your head are numbered. Now I don't care about the hairs on your head. But God does. That's Jesus' point. There are no little people to the Lord. God cares. So there's a list of names. They're given by division. The wives of Jacob are listed. Now here are the divisions. First of all, the sons of Leah, Jacob's first wife. The one he didn't want. The one that Laban put in the place of Rachel. Her children are given first. Then the children of Zilpah are given, the handmaiden to his first wife Leah. Then the children of Rachel, his second wife, and she's called here his wife. She's the only one called his wife because that's really the one he loved. And then the children of Bilhah, the handmaiden of Rachel are also given. And it's the names of the tribes and if you're looking for names for children, you're always looking for Bible names or some of you are, you've got a lot to choose from here like Ohad, Carmi, Hezron. I've never dedicated a Hezron or a Carmi, but you might be the first. Children's names are given.
Look at verse 13: "The sons of Issachar were Tola, Puvah, Job, and Shimron." Some scholars believe that this Job, this son of Issachar, one of the seventy that goes down to Egypt, is the Job of the book of Job. Now there's dispute on that, but lean to this being Job. If you take all of the genealogical records, Moses will be about 55 years of age contemporary with the adult Job that will be written here in this chapter. He will be a contemporary of it. The book of Job we don't know who wrote it. It's an unknown author. Some believe it's the oldest book in the Bible. We know that Moses wrote Genesis, Exodus... the first five books of Moses. And it is thought that perhaps he wrote the book of Job. A lot of scholars believe he wrote the book of Job. It could be that he had a relationship with that Job that is written about in your Old Testament. It's a thought. It is disputed. I thought I'd bring it up. More names are given. More names are given. Verse 19: "The sons of Rachel, Jacob's wife, were Joseph and Benjamin. And to Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath, the daughter of Poti-Pherah priest of On, bore to him."
Now if you remember we have mentioned that Jesus Christ is seen in the life of Joseph. That Joseph becomes a type of Christ. Remember the study we did on that for communion? We called it "Joseph is A Lot Like Jesus" or "Jesus is A Lot Like Joseph." What's interesting about all of these wives is that Joseph is the one that marries a Gentile bride. Now that's significant because so did Jesus. The church, which is largely non-Jewish, largely Gentile, we're called the bride of Christ. The nation of Israel is called the wife of Jehovah. There's a distinction between Israel and the church. That's very important when it comes to eschatology. Israel is called the wife of Jehovah; the church is called the bride of Christ. We are the Gentile bride of Christ. Joseph married a Gentile bride. "The sons of Benjamin," verse 21 are a list of all of these names. I'm not gonna read them but there are ten. There are ten. Here's what's wild. Ten children, he has the most, Benjamin. Benjamin is in his mid-20s. How did he get ten children? It becomes an issue to the commentators in trying to deal with this. Evidently he started very young which was not uncommon in those days. He could've had twins in some cases or triplets. But he was a very busy young man raising this family.
The other tribes are given, Dan, verse 23, 24, Naphtali, these were the sons of Bilhah, verse 25. Verse 26 and 7 are the summary verses: "All the persons who went with Jacob to Egypt, who came from his body, besides Jacob's sons' wives, were sixty-six persons in all." So 66, that's excluding Jacob, Joseph, Ephraim, and Manasseh. "And the sons of Joseph who were born to him in Egypt were two persons," that's Ephraim and Manasseh. So "all the persons of the house of Jacob who went to Egypt were seventy." Now we have a problem. When you get to Acts chapter 7 and Stephen is giving the history of Israel, Stephen says to the Sanhedrin, the scholars who would know what's what and what numbers are what. Stephen says 75 persons went down to Egypt. Not 70, not 60--75. Now he's following the Septuagint version, the Greek version of the Hebrew Old Testament. That's what the early church quoted from in the New Testament. There was no dissent among those that he was talking to. 75 people. So it is believed that if you count, and it wasn't counted and it is counted in the 75, the two children of Manasseh, the two children of Ephraim, and one of the grandsons, the one grandson at the time, of Ephraim. That's five extra people making 75. I'm bringing that up thinking somebody's gonna have that question so I nip it in the bud first.
"Then he sent Judah before him to Joseph, to point out before him the way to Goshen. And they came to the land of Goshen." Remember we said Goshen was the fertile part. So if you're flying over Albuquerque and you say ok, I'm gonna put in the fertile part of Albuquerque, where you gonna put him? You're gonna put him in the valley, right? You're gonna put him in the valley. You're not gonna go like 20 miles west. You're gonna put him right where the water is. Goshen was 900 square miles of where all the water is. The very best part of the land of Egypt was Goshen. "So Joseph made ready his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet his father Israel," now watch this. I love this. "And he presented himself to him, and fell on his neck and wept on his neck a good while." Now Joseph, this guy is important. This guy's the prime minister. This guy was number two in the land. He was a big dog. His license plate on his chariot read: number two. Number two, that was Pharaoh... number one was Pharaoh. Number two, that was Joseph. Joseph, being in charge, could've easily looked at Jacob and said, "Remember that dream I had that even you would bow? Do it--now. Bow!"
Rather he's getting ready and he's going up. And he's going to present himself to his father. This is a sign of respect. I love this because I feel that sometimes as kids grow up toward adulthood, they lose respect for their parents. They lose respect for the older generation. I think a person becomes more valuable the older they are because they have so much experience and so much to share in terms of mentoring, so valuable. But so often, at least in our culture, you know when you're growing up, your parents are the smartest people on earth. You're just: wow! They know everything! They're so strong and mighty! And then, as you grow, they get dumber. Until you're like in junior high and high school and you go my parents are so dumb! I mean, they don't even get this modern society. They don't even understand anymore. And then you go away. You leave home and you come back and it's amazing what your parents have learned in the time you've been away. And have your own kids and you go man, they're wise. You get my drift. There's a respect that this boy, this son of Jacob, has for his father. He presents himself and I love it. He fell on his neck and wept on his neck a good while.
Just imagine: for 22 years, Jacob has believed Joseph is dead. He understands he's alive. He can't wait for this moment. It's such an emotional moment to find out his son is alive and to look at him and recognize him. There's a story from World War II that a father received a letter that his son was missing in action with the allied forces during the war. The belongings, the personal belongings of that boy, the soldier, were sent to his father. The war ended and a decade went by. 10 years went by. Eventually they found that that boy was alive. He had long-term amnesia and he had a missing identification or he had a, an uncertain identification, and somebody eventually flagged it and he was reunited with his father. Can you imagine thinking your son is dead for that length of time only to discover he's alive? And he's in charge! And he's gonna take care of me! Too good to be true. I just won the lottery.
"And Israel said to Joseph, "Now let me die, since I have seen your face, because you are still alive." You know what this reminds me of? Do you remember Simeon in the New Testament when Jesus is brought into the temple and that old man takes that little baby Jesus in his hands and he lifts Him up and he says now You are letting Your servant die in peace, Lord, because my eyes have seen Your salvation. That's how Jacob felt when he saw his son, the one who was saving the world from famine. "Then Joseph said to his brothers and to his father's household, "I will go up and tell Pharaoh, and say to him, 'My brothers and those of my father's house, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me. And the men are shepherds, for their occupation has been to feed livestock; and they have brought their flocks, their herds, and all that they have.'" Ok, we've told you before and we've outlined a couple of times how Joseph is a type of Jesus Christ. Number one, uniquely loved by his father. Special treatment; special coat. Jesus is the only begotten Son of the Father. This is My beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased. Uniquely loved by the father, number one.
Number two, unjustly hated by his brothers. Number three, he was sold cruelly for 20 pieces of silver. Jesus was sold for 30 pieces of silver. Number four, the first time that Joseph and his brothers met, Joseph didn't reveal himself to them. The second time they met, Joseph revealed himself to his brothers. The first time the nation of Israel didn't recognize their Messiah. The second time, Jesus will reveal Himself to them and the prophecy is they will look upon Me who they have pierced and they will mourn as one mourns for his only son. They'll be that recognition. Here we have another type of Christ. Joseph is the mediator between his brothers and the pharaoh. I'm gonna mediate. I'm a Hebrew. I'm one of you. And I'm related to the king. I'm by all standards Egyptian. I'm the perfect mediator being Egyptian and Hebrew. I'm gonna bring you guys together. I'll mediate for you. The Bible says there's one God and one mediator between God and man, the Man Jesus Christ. Perfect mediator. Fully man; fully God. The entropos. The God-Man, bringing God and mankind together.
Something else. Not only is he the mediator, he's the instructor. Look at what it says. Verse 33: "It shall be, when Pharaoh calls you and says, 'What is your occupation?'" Let me tell you boys how to answer him. "You shall say, 'Your servants' occupation has been with livestock from our youth even till now, both we and also our fathers,' that you may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians." We explained that a few weeks ago. We talked about the Hyskos dynasty. The dynasty of shepherd kings that was coming to an end at this time and because the Egyptians in this dynasty were agriculture-based, the previous dynasty that they were trying to get away from were shepherd-based. It was an abomination. They were trying to make a separation. So all of the shepherds go to the best part of Egypt, the land of Goshen. Make sure that you say that because we're glad you guys are here but we hate shepherds so you're going to the best part of the land. Funny how that works.
"Then Joseph went and told Pharaoh, and said, "My father and my brothers, their flock and their herds and all that they possess, have come from the land of Canaan; and indeed they are in the land of Goshen." And he took five men from among his brothers," we don't know which ones, but Joseph knew their personalities and he got the best reps, "and presented them to Pharaoh. Then Pharaoh said to his brothers, "What is your occupation?" And they said to Pharaoh, "Your servants are shepherds, both we and also our fathers." And they said to Pharaoh, "We have come to dwell in the land, because your servants have no pasture for their flocks, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. Now therefore, please let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen." Then Pharaoh spoke to Joseph, saying, "Your father and your brothers have come to you. The land of Egypt is before you. Have your father and brothers dwell in the best of the land; let them dwell in the land of Goshen. And," and, "if you know any competent men among them, then make them chief herdsmen over my livestock."
So they instantly get a promotion to being royal herdsmen. Probably got a wage for it since they're shepherds and Pharaoh himself would, some believe, was the last of the Hyskos dynasty had his own private flocks. And now they get to watch them. now watch this: "Then Joseph brought in his father Jacob." He's 130. "And set him before Pharaoh; and Jacob blessed Pharaoh." That's unusual. For this old man, this famine-ridden shepherd from Canaan to say I bless you in the name of the Lord would've blown Pharaoh's mind because it implies, it implies, that Jacob is superior to Pharaoh. According to the custom mentioned in Hebrews chapter 7, the lesser is blessed by the greater. That's why Melchizedek, remember, blessed Abraham. So I'm sure Pharaoh's going who is this old coot? Blessing me! I'm Pharaoh! But you know what? You and I have the same privilege. We have a covenant relationship with God as did Jacob. Sons and daughters of God have the special calling and opportunity to be a blessing to people in this world. Are you?
Wherever you go, with people that you meet, are you a blessing when they see you? Do they look at you and go oh look! It's so-and-so! What a blessing! Or do they go oh boy... here she comes. Oh no. Here he comes. Some people are a blessing wherever they go. Other people are a blessing whenever they go. Phew, glad he left. What a menace. Jacob blessed Pharaoh. And that's what God wanted Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob--to be a blessing to the world. He blessed him. And "Pharaoh said to Jacob, "How old are you?" If I tried that, I'd get in so much trouble. You ask people or somebody, how old are you? Not a good idea. I couldn't do it. But he's Pharaoh, he can do anything he wants. How old are you? "And Jacob said to Pharaoh," love the answer, "The days of the years of my pilgrimage are one hundred and thirty years." I'm 130 years old, young man. "Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life," Few? Did he just say few? He's 130 years old. He goes I haven't lived very long. Well actually if you compare him to his great-grandfather Terah, who lived to be 205 years of age, he was a young whippersnapper.
If he compares himself to Grandpa Abraham died at 185 or Dad Isaac 175, 130 years of age isn't that old. He says few and evil have been the days of my life. 47,200 some odd days--that's 130 years. "And they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage." So Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh. And Joseph situated his father and his brothers, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. Then Joseph provided his father, his brothers, and all his father's household with bread, according to the number in their families." Now you go now wait a minute, what do you mean the land of Rameses? Weren't they supposed to get the land of Goshen, right? Same land. Why is it called the land of Rameses? It's an important question. Because Rameses, the pharaoh, the pharaoh at the time of Moses was called Rameses the Second. Rameses the First isn't even in power. He won't be in power for some time. It's called Rameses because this is written by Moses. And by the time of Moses, nobody will have heard of the land of Goshen, they'll have heard of the land of Rameses. If I were to say tonight here we are tonight in the great state of Texas, you'd go Texas? This is New Mexico. It is now. But at one time it was Texas. So I may want to give an explanatory note that we were once Texas; now we're New Mexico. This was the land of Goshen that would become the land of Rameses. Same land.
Verse 13: "Now there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished because of the famine." We're gonna read through this pretty quickly because we have now, in this next section, the fulfillment of the blessing that Jacob was to Pharaoh by what his son did for Egypt. His son Joseph was the blessing. "And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, for the grain which they bought; and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh's house. So when the money failed in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, "Give us bread, for why should we die in your presence? For the money has failed." Then Joseph said, "Give your livestock, and I will give you bread for your livestock, if the money is gone." So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for the horses, the flocks, the cattle of the herds, and for the donkeys. Thus he fed them with bread in exchange for all their livestock that year."
Side note: You know how I like to give you first mentions in the Bible? This is the first time horses are mentioned in Scripture. And they're horses in Egypt. Why is that important? It really won't be important until you get to 1 Kings chapter 9. And in 1 Kings chapter 9, King Solomon will have 1400 chariots, 12,000 horsemen, and it says the horses of Egypt. If you come with us to Israel and you go with us to Megiddo, the city of Megiddo, we will show you the stalls where Solomon kept the horses from Egypt. You can still see the outlining stones of the stalls. Underneath the Temple Mount are some of the stables of Solomon. He had chariots sitting around the land because he took and multiplied horses into himself, something forbidden him by law, but the evidence is there and he gets the horses from Egypt. So it's an interesting note to tie together.
"When that year had ended, they came to him the next year and said to him, "We will not hide from my lord that our money is gone; my lord also has our herds of livestock. There is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our lands. Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants of Pharaoh; give us seed, that we may live and not die, that the land may not be desolate." Then Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for every man," the government took it or bought it from the people for food, "for every man of the Egyptians sold his field, because the famine was severe upon them. So the land became Pharaoh's. And as for the people, he moved them into the cities, from one end of the borders of Egypt to the other end." That's where the grain was stored, if you remember the cities. "Only the land of the priests he did not buy; for the priests had rations allotted to them by Pharaoh." So it was government subsidized religion as in many parts of Europe still. "And they ate their rations which Pharaoh gave them; therefore they did not sell their lands. Then Joseph said to the people, "Indeed I have bought you and your land this day for Pharaoh. Look, here is seed for you, and you shall sow the land. And it shall come to pass in the harvest that you shall give one-fifth to Pharaoh." 20% flat tax. "Four-fifths shall be your own, as seed for the field and for your food, for those of your households and as food for your little ones."
Now look at what they say. They don't go to him and say 20%?! You're a rip-off! They said, "You have saved our lives; let us find favor in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh's servants." You know why they said that? They looked at a 20% flat tax as a great deal because the average tax in the Middle East at that time was 33% plus. A full one-third was given to the government. Part because some were vassal states; part because it was exorbitant taxation. So 20%? You saved us. We'll be your slaves. They sold themselves. Debt slavery was very common. This is how it works: it was a short-term idea. I don't have any money so, you know, it's like if you went to a restaurant, you didn't have any money, they're gonna make you go back and wash dishes. We'll wash dishes for Pharaoh. We'll now become your slaves. We'll work this off. Sometimes the arrangement was one week, sometimes it was one month, sometimes it was several years, but they worked off the food that they got at a certain price. That's how it worked and they were thankful that they were alive.
"And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt to this day, that Pharaoh should have one-fifth," 20%, "except for the land of the priests only, which did not become Pharaoh's. So Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions there and grew and multiplied exceedingly." Here's the bottom line deal for Pharaoh. God blessed this pharaoh because he treated Israel generously. God will curse another pharaoh, Rameses the Second, under Moses, because he treats Israel harshly. Because God said to Abraham whoever touches you, that's not Abraham, that's the minor prophet, touches the apple of my eye but I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you. That's what He said to Abraham. God is blessing those who bless Israel. God will curse those who curse Israel. And guess what? The promise is still in effect for today. When I look at the situation in the Middle East and I see Israel surrounded by a lot of people and nations building nuclear arms and people go oh, poor Israel! I go poor Israel? Poor the other guys! Just get a history lesson. Look at all those who have cursed Israel. Don't want to be there.
"And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt," how long? Huh. "Seventeen years." How old was Joseph when he was sold as a slave by his brothers? Seventeen. See the correlation? For seventeen years, Joseph was nurtured by his father. For seventeen years, the father will be nurtured by the son. It is a privilege as parents get older to be able to pay them back a fraction by being there to help take care of them. To be a blessing to them. He's 130 years old, Jacob is. He lives seventeen more years. Awesome. So it says, "The length of Jacob's life was one hundred and forty-seven years." Time to go--that's old enough. "When the time drew near that Israel must die, he called his son Joseph and said to him, "Now if I have found favor in your sight, please put your hand under my thigh," that's how they would give an oath back then, we already covered that, it's the muscle of greatest strength, so swear to me by my strength is the idea. That's how contracts were made. You didn't have to sign pieces of paper 500 times with lawyer's print all over them another 200 times and then have them notarize 3 times saying if you don't pay me this every month till the day you die, then we'll take it back from you. It was a word of mouth contract, a handshake, grab the thigh, make a promise--good as done.
"Deal kindly and truly with me. Please do not bury me in Egypt, but let me lie with my fathers; you shall carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place." And he said, "I will do as you have said." Did Jacob make a mistake wanting to get buried in the land of Canaan? After all, the Egyptians had the edge on burial techniques. You can dig them up today and you can still see hair on Pharaoh Rameses the Second, the pharaoh who was there who talked to Moses. You can see his skin and his eye sockets and nose and lips and eyebrows--still intact. Why would he want to get buried back in Canaan? It was an act of faith, that's why. God didn't give the land of Egypt to Jacob, but the land of Canaan. That was the Promised Land. That was the covenant land and he wants to go back. So he's demonstrating his faith wanting to go back. He's probably a little bit afraid, also, that this land of blessing, this land of Goshen, this land of plenty, my kids are gonna love it here. My grandkids are gonna prosper here. In fact, they might love it so much, they don't want to go anywhere else. Could that be a problem? It becomes a problem when the children of Israel later on get taken to Babylon. When the time comes for them to go back to the land of Israel, Jerusalem, and build the temple, nobody wants to go. We like it in Babylon! We're comfortable here, man. This is a great place to hang out. So instead of the entire nation going back, they just send 50,000 missionaries back. That's a paltry sum of people to do all the building, all the work. They became too at ease and comfortable in the wrong place. And maybe Jacob is sensing a little of that.