READ: Genesis 48-50
BACKGROUND: This is the closing section of the book of Genesis that deals with the deaths of both Jacob & Joseph.
48:5 – Jacob adopts Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim & Manasseh, as his own which ensures that Joseph’s descendants will receive a double share of the inheritance. For the rest of the Old Testament when the tribes of Israel are mentioned there is no tribe of Joseph but always the half-tribes of Ephraim & Manasseh. This double-share was reserved for the oldest, but Jacob transferred it from Rueben to Joseph.
15 – This is the first time in the Bible that God is referred to as shepherd.
49:4 – Reuben forfeited his right when he slept with Bilhah (Gen 35:22).
7 – Their temper was sparked when Dinah was raped and they killed the Shechemites (Gen 34:25)
8 – Judah received the blessing, the Promise, that the Messiah would come from his line. He would now be the leader.
50:20 – One of my favorite verses in the Bible. Joseph clearly understands that God is in charge of our lives in ways we might not even recognize at the time.
25 – Joseph knew that his people would eventually go back to Canaan. And he asked them to bring his body with them. They did.
THINK: When we think of what God has done for us in the past, we can move confidently into the future. This was true for the people of Israel as they traveled from Egypt to the Promised Land.
In the final chapter of Genesis, we read that as Joseph was dying, he made his brothers take an oath that they would carry his bones to the land God had promised to Abraham (50:24-26). More than 300 years later, Moses took the bones of Joseph as the Israelites left Egypt (Ex. 13:19).
For the next 40 years the people carried the ark with the tablets of the law and the coffin with the bones of Joseph. The bones served as a reminder of their yesterday. The ark pointed to their tomorrow, for the tablets of the law anticipated the relationship they were to have with the Lord in the Promised Land. The ark and the coffin were reminders that the God who was leading them forward had been at work in their past. Assurance and hope were carried together.
We as God’s people today can have this same outlook when we gather to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. We remember with assurance that Jesus died for us (1 Cor. 11:23-25), and we look forward with confidence to His return (v.26). This living hope encourages us as we live each day for Him.
Remembering Christ’s death gives us courage for today and hope for tomorrow.
By Haddon Robinson in Our Daily Bread, November 7, 1999
PRAY: Thank God for the assurance and confidence we have in the fact that we are forgiven and our future is secure in him!