Genesis 46-48

Genesis 46-48 – April 18

The time that we have with our children is always limited. The time they are small moves by so quickly. They grow up so fast. Parents with adult children tell me all the time that I need to be sure to delight in every day because I will never get them back. Jacob was treated terribly by his sons who kidnapped Joseph and sold him into slavery. But, Jacob ends up getting everything back - except time. Those years of believing that Joseph was ‘dead’ were not retrievable.

There are two stories in the Bible of Sons returning to their Father that stand above all of the rest for their emotional resonance: the return of the Prodigal Son, and the reuniting of Jacob and Joseph. 

There are three details that I want to make sure that you don’t miss as you are reading these chapters.

The Lord speaks to Jacob

As far as we can tell, God has not spoken to Jacob verbally since they wrestled and the Lord gave him a life-long limp. Now, after years of silence, the Lord speaks in order to give Jacob the green light to go down into Egypt, even though it would result in 400 years of slavery. (Gen 46:1-4) This is also significant because it is the last time that we are going to see the Lord speak until the time of slavery in Egypt is almost over and the Lord appears to Moses at the burning bush. God never forgets these promises. He always follows through. Although He does not verbally acknowledge His covenant with every generation moving forward, it continues to be intact. What was God’s specific promise to Jacob? “I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph's hand shall close your eyes.” Through the book of Exodus, we are going to see God fulfill this promise after the passing of many generations. 

Dying in Peace

In Gen. 46:30, Jacob said through tears, “Now let me die, since I have seen your face and know that you are still alive.” This is basically a way for him to say that he could now die happy. This immediately brings to my mind how Jesus experienced the exact opposite. The relationship that He had with His Father was different at the cross than it had ever been. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46) The Father turned away from the Son for the first and only time in all of history. But, not only were they not unified, but the Father also poured out wrath on the Son. “Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt…” (Isaiah 53:10) The Lord blessed Jacob with the opportunity to die fulfilled and happy, with his relationship to Joseph restored. Jesus’ sacrifice for us was more than just a physical sacrifice. He experienced the curse of sin and the separation from the Father that accompanies it. His sacrifice for us was more costly than we could ever calculate. Yet, in love, Jesus took that upon Himself so that we might be restored to a relationship with our Heavenly Father.

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Too Far from the Tree

In chapter 48, when Joseph brings his two sons to be blessed by Jacob, you can see the first and only clear misstep in his entire narrative. Joseph seems to have failed to learn a lesson from the favoritism that was so problematic in the lives of his grandparents and parents. As such, Joseph attempts to trick his father into blessing Manasseh instead of Ephraim. Many of the sins that you will commit in your life will be sins that you learned to commit from watching your parents. Whether you notice or not, their example has shaped much of the way that you function. But, just because you were provided with some bad examples, you are still responsible for your own actions. This sin of partiality towards their children was noticeably passed down for generations in the covenant family. If we are not careful to kill sinful practices in our daily lives, we will potentially cause a ripple effect of sin for the next one hundred years. Our actions have consequences, many of them much more long-lasting and impactful than we can comprehend.

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