SUMMARY: Our sermon title today is “Ready To Die.” Joseph sends his brothers home to Canaan to get their father Jacob and bring him back. Pharaoh promises the best of Egypt is theirs when they arrive. On his way God meets Jacob in Beersheba and gives him a reassuring message. Jacob arrives in Egypt and Joseph comes to meet him in Goshen. For over 20 years Jacob thought his favorite son was dead. Now he was looking right at him- alive, and the most powerful man in Egypt. Through tears and unending embraces Jacob said, “Now, I am ready to die…” His son had been returned to him, from the dead in a way.
We’ll journey under four headings: 1) Get Jacob, 2) God Meets Jacob, 3) Jacob’s Group, 4) Jacob Sees Joseph
GET JACOB (45:9-28)
After revealing himself to his brothers Joseph sends them back home to get their father. Follow along with me in 9-28….
After the dramatic reunion with his brothers Joseph has one more person yet to meet – one more emotional reunion waiting for him: his father, Jacob. Immediately the blessings for Joseph’s family begin. Pharaoh tells the brothers to tell their father Jacob, “Leave everything behind. Just get you and your family members here. The best Egypt has to offer will be yours when you arrive.” Wow.
APPLICATION: Many are blessed because of the blesser’s love for one. It was Pharaoh’s respect for Joseph that he blessed the many who belonged to Joseph. In the same way, it is because of His love for His Son, that the Father blesses those who belong to the Son. Romans 8:32 proclaims: “He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” The blessings of many are because of the Blesser’s love for One.
Not only are blessings waiting in Egypt, but Joseph sends blessings home to his father in Canaan. All the brothers get a brand new outfit. Benjamin gets 5 new outfits – plus Joseph gives him 300 shekels of silver. (Just as a comparison, for 20 shekels of silver Joseph was sold; 400 shekels bought Abraham a gravesite; 1000 shekels paid Abraham for the offense against Sarah). Not finished, Joseph sent gifts home to his father: 10 donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt and 10 female donkeys with the best food for their journey to Egypt.
On the one hand Joseph wanted to bless his dad. On the other hand Jacob was about to receive stunning and unbelievable news – and he would need to be convinced. You have to imagine the boys running in the house in their new fancy outfits and Jacob thinking they blew the money for food on a new wardrobe. Then walking outside seeing the parade of loaded donkey carts, Jacob would realize the good news was true: Joseph was alive and was calling him to Egypt.
There is a little comedy for us in the passage too. You may notice that as the brothers are starting their journey, Joseph calls out to them, “Don’t quarrel on the way!” That’s hilarious. He knows how they are. “Brothers are born for adversity” Proverbs 17:17 says. How predictive of the relationship of the 12 tribes would have in the future too. But he also was wise enough to know that they were prone to blame each other for what happened to Joseph years ago and it could have blown up and possibly ruined the plan to bring Jacob to Egypt. Unity was key to get the family there.
APPLICATION: Love unity. Joseph desired unity between his brothers. It would have distressed him greatly if they quarreled, and it would have given him great joy to see them getting along. Psalm 133:1 says, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.” Unity in the Body of Jesus Christ is something God desires as well. The Corinthian letters were predicated on the disunity happening there. The Galatians were fracturing over the Gospel. The Ephesians were to do everything to keep the unity of the Spirit in their churches. Paul implored the two women in Philippians 4 to get along and be united. On and on from Matthew to Revelation we see unity is a tier one priority in God’s eyes. Therefore, love unity.
I love what it says in verse 27, “the spirit of their father Jacob revived.” Revived means to be restored to life or health, to recover. It can mean from physical illness or danger – or, it can also refer to someone being cheered up. They’re “reviving” from discouragement, like Psalm 42 says, “Why are you downcast, o my soul?” Proverbs 12:25 uses the word for “revive” when it says, “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” Or when Proverbs 15:13 says, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” Jacob’s spirit had been crushed for 20 years. But, oh how his spirit was revived at the news of Jacob!
The word is also used to show that God revives the spirit of a person, and that it leads to worship. Psalm 80:18 says, “Revive us, and we will call on your name.” And Psalm 85:6 says, “Revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you.” There is no doubt that Jacob worshipped God after having been revived at the good news he received of Joseph. As a matter of fact, the next section shows Jacob doing just that. Before we move on let me draw out an application:
APPLICATION: A truly revived spirit results in true worship of God. Being revived includes the emotions, but it is not merely emotional. Measure your personal “revival” by sacrificial commitment to God out of a love and gratitude for Him – and not by mere “emotionalism.” There are those who are anti-emotion and man they need to loosen up. Emotions are God-given, but they need to be led by God’s truth. Then on the other hand there are those who make the mistake of thinking that a lot of emotion is true spirituality. You can have a lot of emotion and its just about the emotion. It feels good to have the emotion, and so all your “Christianity” is about chasing that feel good emotion. It’s all very self-centered because its all about how you feel. Holiness does not always “feel” good. “There is pain in the offering” one song says.
GOD MEETS JACOB (46:1-4)
So Jacob sets out from Canaan, and along the way God meets him again. Follow along in 46:1-4 with me….
The place that God chose to meet Jacob again was Beersheba. Beersheba means “well of seven” or “oath of seven.” There is a lot of history there for Jacob and his family:
- His father Isaac and his grandfather Abraham made peace treaties there with a king named Abimelech (ch 21, and 26). (Peace)
- It was the place that his father finally settled and made home. (Nostalgia) It was there God blessed Isaac with great wealth (Prosperity)
- There was a special tree there that his grandpa Abraham planted and was probably 200 years old now.
- Beersheba was a place that Abraham, Isaac and now Jacob all “called on the name of the Lord” and offered sacrifices of worship to the God of their fathers.
- It was at Beersheba that Jacob stole Esau’s blessing and fled.
- Beersheba was Jacob’s childhood home – a place of protection, prosperity, nostalgia, bittersweet memories, and worship.
Look at how Jacob worships God while there. Beersheba was generally on the way to Egypt but if it had been out of the way I’m sure he still would have gone there because of the significance of that place to him and his family. And to worship God.
APPLICATION: Do you have a Beersheba in your life? Do you have a place that is significant for you in your worship of God? If you don’t, let me suggest two places to immediately start with: your home and your church. Beersheba was Jacob’s childhood home. Make your home a place that you call on God’s name, trust God, live for God and serve Him. And make EFC (or some other good church) a place where you do that with the Body of Christ.
God’s message to Jacob was both very prophetic and very personal. It was prophetic in that God reiterated the Abrahamic Promise of making him into a great nation. Turn back to Genesis 28:13-15 with me….READ. The Abrahamic Promises passed down to Isaac, and then to Jacob. We are also seeing how the nation of Israel ends up in Egypt at all. God promised Abraham in chapter 15 that his descendents would end up in a foreign nation, enslaved, and ultimately God would bring them back into Canaan to possess the land – which God references by telling Jacob “I will surely bring you back again.” Which meant two things: one, “you” was a broad reference to his descendents returning to the land hundreds of years later, but, secondly, Jacob’s bones would be returned to the land when he died. And Jacob will be resurrected and dwell in the land in the future. The question though for Abraham would have been how Abraham’s descendents would get to that foreign land and why would they leave Canaan at all in the first place? We are seeing the answer right here: the famine and Joseph move them to Egypt.
APPLICATION: God is in control even in the famine.
APPLICATION: There is a parallel here of Israel and the Church. Israel would grow into its own “nation” while it was inside of and part of another nation. They started out as 70, but when God delivered them they would be a whole nation. Similarly, the Church of Jesus Christ is a “nation” that is growing within the world. It began with Jesus Christ and by the time God delivers the Church from its own “Egypt” world it will be a nation. This world is not our home, the kingdom of God is not of this world, our citizenship is not in this world but in the coming kingdom of Jesus Christ. Right now, the citizens of that kingdom are growing.
APPLICATION to the APPLICATION: Are you a citizen of the kingdom of God? Or are you still a citizen of the kingdom of darkness?
The message God gave Jacob was also personal. Jacob was told not to be afraid, God will be with him, he will become a great nation there, he will come back from Egypt, and then a very special promise: Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.”
He says “Do not be afraid.” Interesting. Was he afraid that leaving the land of Canaan was somehow giving up on the promises God made to give him the land? Was he afraid of living in Egypt when everything he knew was there in Canaan? (The older you get the less you like change). Whatever anxiety Jacob had about the whole move God spoke to that fear and reassured him.
APPLICATION: God’s words are the answer to our fear. His words stir up faith, and where there is faith, fear will not reign
CONCLUSION: Silent Reflection