Highlights In Today's Reading:
Read the stirring details of how God used Joseph to dramatically save the small Israelite family from extinction.
Our lives are designed to test our faith and focus our attention on the guidance of God. God is able to take the most pathetic situations and turn them into the most wonderful blessings as he did with Joseph who said: Be not grieved . . . that ye sold me. . . . So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God (45:4-8). Jacob's sons returned from Egypt with the wonderful news: Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt (45:26). Although Jacob longed to see his precious son Joseph, yet he must know God's will. His grandfather Abraham had gone into Egypt and had sinned and his father Isaac was forbidden by God to go to Egypt. Furthermore, Jacob was an old man now. Would he be forsaking the promised land to be buried in Egypt outside the will of God? Could he, even for Joseph's sake, go down into Egypt?
Jacob was afraid to proceed further. He did not want to forfeit his right to the Abrahamic Covenant promises. So, before he left Canaan, he stopped at Beersheba where Abraham and Isaac had offered sacrifices (21:33; 26:24-25; 46:1). Jacob presented his fears and laid his all on the altar — "To go, or not to go?" — leaving the decision to God, who 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 (46:3).
After entering Egypt, Jacob had to teach his descendants the consequences of failing to seek God's guidance. As the time drew nigh that Israel (Jacob) must die (47:29), he bestowed his prophetic blessing upon Joseph's two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim (48:17-20) They were selected to receive the inheritance that would have gone to Reuben, Jacob's oldest son. Although Reuben possessed great natural abilities, in addition to having the inheritance rights of the first born, he forfeited his rights to the Abrahamic inheritance because of his immorality. (Note I Chron. 5:1; Gen. 49:3-4.)
If Christians could realize what those in eternity now know, they would drop all interest in this world's attractions and prayerfully read all that God has written. But there are rival voices sounding everywhere, demanding attention and filling our eyes and ears with such a multitude of sounds that we often neglect the Voice from the throne. God's voice, heard through His Word, is too often ignored. We can praise the Lord that greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world (I John 4:4).
Thought for Today:
Like Jacob, our first priority before making any life decision should be to seek the Lord for His guidance. His Word is our Guide.
By Joseph, who was placed by God second only to Pharaoh (Gen. 41:39-40) in order to sustain life and give provision (47:15-17). Jesus said: The Bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world (John 6:33).
46:4 shall put his hand upon thine eyes =will close your eyes when you die; 47:4 sore =severe; 47:6 activity =skillfull at their craft; 47:13 fainted =suffered, exhausted; 47:18 not ought =nothing; 47:20 prevailed over them =continued to be severe; 47:21 removed =became servants throughout the land; 48:6 issue, which thou begettest =your children; 48:10 were dim =became blind; 48:14 guiding his hands wittingly =crossing his hands intentionally.
Pray for International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts in honor of Linda Wilhite • Staff: Barbara Bivens • Country: Ukraine (51 million) east-central Europe • Major languages: Ukrainian and Russian • Religious freedom • 55% Orthodox (various jurisdictions); 15% Catholic (mainly Greek-Catholic); 3.2% Protestant; 1% Jews; .5% Muslim; 25.3% Agnostic/Atheist/Other • Prayer Suggestion: Pray and call upon the Lord with assurance that He will answer if you pray with a grace-filled spirit (Is. 58:9-11).
Optional Reading: Matthew 16
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 4:4