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Bible Pathways 01/16/2003

January 16

Read Genesis 46 -- 48

In Today's Reading:

Jacob's vision at Beersheba; the journey to Egypt; Joseph and the famine; the best land given to Jacob; Joseph's sons blessed.

Jacob knew that God had planned for his people to live in Canaan, not in Egypt, so he did not rush to Egypt for a grand reunion with his precious son Joseph. Since the will of God remained uppermost in Jacob's heart, he needed assurance from God concerning his journey to Egypt. After Jacob left Hebron, he journeyed about 25 miles to Beersheba, and he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. Then God spoke to Israel that night in a vision: Jacob, Jacob! . . . And Jacob replied, Here I am. . . . God said. . . . Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there. . . . I will . . . bring you back (Genesis 46:1-4).

The Lord assured Jacob that their sojourn in Egypt was not to be a permanent one, but that it would be a time of preparing his family to become a great nation. Earthly life is a time of preparation for eternity (Luke 12:20-21). What gets priority, and how we live, is an expression of our preparation for eternity. Our eyes should not be set on worldly securities and achievements, but foremost on being the person God wants us to be in order to accomplish the purpose for which He created us.

The life of Jacob gives the believer insight into the sovereignty of God, who protects, directs, and provides for the needs of all who are faithful to Him. As the years in Egypt passed, Jacob could see how God had been directing, protecting, and providing for him all his life.

This remarkable man of God received so much abuse throughout his life, but God conferred more blessings on Jacob than any other man in Old Testament history. The name of Abraham, the father of the faithful, appears over 300 times in Scripture. The name of Isaac appears only 131 times, and many times only in conjunction with Abraham and Jacob. Jacob, however, is mentioned over 370 times, and his new name Israel, referring to both himself and his descendants, appears over 2500 times. It is a serious thing to criticize one whom God has chosen to esteem, as He clearly said: Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated (Romans 9:13; Malachi 1:2-3).

Christ Portrayed:

By Joseph, who was placed on the throne to sustain life and give provision (Genesis 47:15-17). Jesus said: For the Bread of God is He who comes down from Heaven, and gives life to the world (John 6:33).

Prayer Needs:

Government Official: Rep. Tony Hall (OH) · Country: Madagascar (15 million) an island in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Mozambique · Major languages: French and Malagasy · Increasingly anti-Christian · 43% witchcraft, ancestor worship, and some astrology; 21% Protestant; 21% Roman Catholic; 2% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Bless the Lord at all times, regardless of the circumstances (Psalms 34:1).

Optional Reading: Matthew 16

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:4

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