Sunday, February 20, 2011

Genesis: Chapter 50

Genesis, the chapter of beginnings closes with deaths...but it is a closing filled with confident hope.   In the opening verses we see a very 'Egyptian' funeral for the pilgrim, Jacob.  His brief sojourn in Egypt had evidently endeared him to many in that land.  Yet, as the funeral procession made its way to the cave at Machpelah, the Canaanites saw 'Egyptians' mourning.  Although Joseph had evidently assimilated into Egyptian culture quite extensively, his final request--after almost 90 years as a resident of Egypt--was 'take my bones with you when you go the land God has promised.'  There is also a 'hint' of the enslavement of the Israelites as we listen to Joseph request permission to go bury Jacob.  Also the fact that the children of the Israelites were all left behind for this momentous event reminds of the restriction which will be offered by a future Pharaoh when the people desire to leave.  Despite all this, the promises of God had continued to burn brightly in Jacob's heart and the flame continued in Joseph's heart.  When we live passionately, our fire can ignite (and sustain) other fires.  

The other part of this chapter which always speaks to me is Joseph's great words:  "You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good."   What an empowering philosophy to live by!  While I find it sad that the brother's never fully grasped Joseph's forgiveness, I am so thankful those words were able to included in scripture.  They continue to inspire and challenge believers today.  There is nothing that enters our lives that God is not willing and able to transform into good.  We are never at the mercy of the ill will or inconsideration of others.  Hallelujah!

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