Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Aug 2 2011 - E100.15b – Gen 45:16-46:7, Jacob moves house

With Pharaoh's blessing, Joseph provides his brothers with wagons to bring their families and all that they possess back to Egypt. Jacob is to move house and Pharaoh provides the removal vans along with a promise of the best land in Egypt and the provision of everything they need.

One nice touch in the story comes with the focus on donkeys. When the brothers were invited to Joseph's house for lunch, they had feared it was a trap and that Joseph would enslave them and seize their donkeys (43:18). Now they are provided with "ten donkeys loaded with the good things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain" to take back to their father Jacob (45:23). What they feared to lose has been returned to them many times over.

As they leave to return to their father, Joseph tells them not to quarrel on the way (45:24). They are not to dwell on the wrongs of the past and to seek to relieve their feelings of guilt by blaming one another; they are to recognise that God has been working out his purposes to bless them – and that they are blessed.

So the brothers return and tell Jacob that Joseph is alive and is a great ruler in Egypt. Jacob is stunned into silence; he just cannot get his head around what he is being told. But when he sees the wagons and all the good things that have been brought back from Egypt the message finally sinks in and he knows it must be true. Now he is eager to go and see his long lost son.

Jacob and all of his extended family – some 70 people and all their possessions – begin their journey south. Jacob stops at Beersheba. This is where his father Isaac and his grandfather Abraham had lived for a time. It also marked the southernmost point in the land of Canaan; he is about to leave the Promised Land to travel to Egypt. Here Isaac offers sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac, the God who had promised to be with him and bless him. The narrative again uses the name 'Israel' in referring to him; he is one who has wrestled with God and obtained blessing from God's hand. Here in Beersheba God appears again to Jacob as he had appeared to him many years before when he had left his father's house to flee to Haran. Jacob is told not to be afraid to go down to Egypt. The God of Abraham and Isaac is with him and will prosper his family in Egypt so that they become a great nation before they are brought back to the land God had promised them. Israel can rest assured that God is still with him and is at work to fulfil all that he has promised.

It is not always easy for us to recognise the hand of God at work in the varied circumstances of our lives. It would be so much easier if God himself appeared to us with words of encouragement and reassurance. We need to remember that God has come to be with us in the person of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. All of God's promises are underwritten for us in his blood. We can be sure that if God has given his Son for us he will not fail to do for us all that he has promised. He has blessed us and provided us with all that we need for our journey and tells us not to quarrel on the way.

Almighty God, open my eyes to see that your hand of blessing is always upon my life. May my confidence in your faithfulness and the enjoyment of your blessings enable me to live well with those who accompany me on my journey.

Peter Misselbrook