Athlete, Take Comfort

*This series was written by the AIA staff team at UVA

Read Genesis 46-47

Resolution.  In the previous chapter, Jacob is told about the “resurrection” of Joseph and hesitantlybelieves.  Now, Jacob sees him with his own eyes and receives the blessings of the resurrected son.  As Jacob confesses, his years have been “difficult” (47:9), but God is faithful to the end.  The lyrics to hymn, “Poor Sinner Dejected with Fear,” are especially fitting for Jacob’s life:  

The soul that on Jesus relies, He’ll never, no never deceive;                                        
He freely and faithfully gives more blessings than we can conceive;                                                  
Yea, down to old age He will keep, nor will He forsake us at last;                                                    
He knows and is known by His sheep; They’re His, and He will hold them fast.  
- William Gadsby

Jacob, the deceiver, is never deceived by God’s promises, which God once again reaffirms to him.  The transformed Jacob believes to the end.  He asks Joseph to bury him in the land of Canaan (47:30), a sign of his faith that God will brings his descendants back to the promised land, and a sign of solidarity in faith with Isaac and Abraham.  And he worships (47:31; cf. 46:1).  

*** Scholar Bruce Waltke notes in his Genesis commentary that, though Egypt was saved by and owed their lives to Joseph, the 20% "double-tithe" or tax to Pharaoh was not God's ideal for Israel.  However, the 20% tax was less than the average ancient near eastern tax of 33%.  Israel was spared from this kind of heavy tax in Goshen.  Later, in the promised land, God allotted the land for private ownership.  Families owned land and were to bring a tithe, the first fruits of the land, in thanksgiving and as a sign that all creation ultimately belong to God.  

Questions for Reflection and Prayer

1.  Each one of us endures different trials.  Some are much more difficult than others.  A broken world is by no means a level playing field.  As we think back through Jacob’s life - years away from home, uncertainty, the heartache of discord, abuse, and death within his family (including his wife), a permanent limp from his dislocated hip, famine, multiple relocations, etc. - he by no means had an easy life.  How is God’s faithfulness to Jacob, in spite of the trials he endured, comforting to you?  

2. Israel’s life is marked by worship toward the end of his life.  We were made to worship and enjoy the love and glory of God.  How is private and communal worship become more a part of your life?

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