Joseph & Caring for Family — God uses Joseph’s suffering (like Jesus’ suffering) for others.
Reading 1: Genesis 46
Reading 2: Genesis 47
Reading 3: Romans 8:28
The story of Joseph is full of encouragement for us, and full of reflections of Jesus too. Today we read how Jacob, the now elderly patriarch, leaves Canaan and travels to Egypt with 70 members of his family. These are God’s chosen people, chosen to foreshadow God’s plan and ultimately to bring His Son into the world. And just as Jacob had a vision at Beersheba, of a ladder (Jesus) reaching to heaven, so he now has a vision in which God tells him “I will go with you into Egypt, and I will bring you back again” and “I will make you a great nation there” but also “You will die in Egypt.”
There is foreshadowing in these statements of the promise of resurrection, as well as a pre-figuring of the future flight of Jesus and His parents into Egypt for safety, before returning to the land God promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Notice that Jacob still has his original name here, but he has also been named Israel, the name by which the great nation will be known. That great nation is still only 70 strong at this moment, and they are in the midst of great adversity, but God has prepared the way and they will prosper in the hard place, before going through hardship again to bring them out into the place God intends.
And for us too, there is a lesson here. As we have said before, God is God, and we are His, and God brings good from hardships. His plan is greater than the ups and downs of human history (whether personal or geo-political) and so we can prosper in His plan whatever our outward circumstances. As Paul writes to the Romans: “we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
Together: can you see a hardship (either past or present) that is a sign of God’s purpose and goodness?
Have a great day!