The Deaths of Jacob & Joseph,

“God meant it for good” – His Sovereign Plan & He is in control – Gen 50:20.

  1. Looking back,
  • Observing Gods hand in the lives of Abraham & his descendants.
  • As we reflect on your own lives can we recall circumstances when we thought everything was against us but on reflection can testify that the Lord guided us thru & ultimately for good.
  • I would again remind us of the verse in Ecclesiastes 7:14,

In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him. (ESV)

  • Reminding us though we may not have the ability to perceive his plan at the time – he has one & is in control in all circumstances. 
  • Reflect & identify times – with biblical references, where the family of Abraham & his descendants experienced testing & challenging times but could testify to this – a story of The Lords Sovereign provision.
    • Abraham.
  • Gen 17:15-21. Although Sarah was 90 years old & had remained childless, God promised she would have a child (Isaac) thru which God would establish a covenant.
  • Gen 20. As he journeyed toward Negeb, Abraham had concerns regarding both his & Sarah’s safety with Abimelech. God wonderfully intervened thru dreams providing both materially & for Sarah’s safety.
  • Gen 22:1-14. God tests Abraham by instructing him to sacrifice his son but in the end Abraham testifies “The Lord will provide” (22:14). 
  • Isaac.
  • Gen 25:19-23: Rebekah, Isaac’s wife was also childless but God answered Isaac’s prayers – she produced twin boys with God telling her the older would serve the younger.
  • Gen 26:1-14. Isaac was experiencing a time of famine, yet God instructed him not to go seeking food in Egypt & he wonderfully provided for them (The Lords time had not yet come to take them to Egypt)
  • Jacob.
  • Gen 29, 30 & 31: Jacob had to serve his father-in-law Laban for 14 years but thru this period of service he obtained his wives, children & prosperity.
  • Gen 32 & 33. As Jacob journeyed back from his time with Laban he feared his meeting again with Esau from when he tricked him concerning the birth right. God intervened, reassured Jacob in a dream & the two brothers made peace – again part of Gods sovereign plan. 
  • Gen. 37:32-35. Jacob perceives that Joseph has been devoured by a fierce animal but after 17 years was reunited with his son.
  • Gen 42:1-4. There is a famine & Jacob sends his sons to Egypt to buy food with wonderful results & provision.
  • Gen 43:13 &14. Jacob thought he may also lose Benjamin if he allowed him to accompany his brothers to Egypt only to be reunited with both of the sons of his beloved Rachel.
  1. The death & burial of Jacob – read Genesis 50:1-14.
  • Reflect on the impact Jacobs death & burial had on the nations around as recorded in these verses.
    • Joseph was so revered within Egypt that he was mourned for 70 days (v3) by the whole nation (the royal mourning period was apparently 72 days). 
    • Jacobs body was brought to Canaan & buried next to his wife Leah who had blessed him with his first 4 sons – in the burial place originally purchased by Abraham (Gen 23:16-20)
    • The whole clan were present having received approval to leave Egypt to carry out their father’s wishes (Gen 50:6-9).
  • Application: Both the Egyptians & the Canaanites witnessed the grieving of Jacob’s family. 
    • At such times of death – individual family occasions or national times there may be an occasion to get alongside folk & be used by God – guided by the Holy Spirit – as he challenges them on their position with him.
    • Is God using current national events to work in individual hearts?
    • Are we ready for potential ‘Kingdom moments’ as this?
  1. God meant it for good – read Genesis 50:15-21.
  • Genesis 50;20 has been quoted down thru the ages as a classic example of Gods sovereignty over man,

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

  • With Jacob dead, the brothers again feared that Joseph would get his own back because they had sold him into slavery (Gen 50:15).
  • With his position within Egypt Joseph was certainly capable!
  • Had they not forgotten his reaction when they first came to Egypt.
  • What was the purpose for which God sent Joseph to Egypt – Gen 45:5-7.
    • And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life (v5).
    • Their lack of trust in him made him weep (v17)
    • Joseph recognised the Lords hand in all of this – remember it was Joseph who had the dreams (Gen 37:5-11).
  • How is Joseph’s work of preserving a remnant connected to the work of Jesus in his death and resurrection?
    • Imagine how the disciples must have felt on that Good Friday when Jesus was crucified.
    • They had forgotten his teaching but he graciously appeared, reminded them & they would subsequent testify in their lives the reality of what he had taught (Luke 24:44-49 & Acts 1:6-8).
    • The Jews meant it for evil but God meant it for good and it was the central part of his sovereign plan to which his Son remained obedient. 
  1. The death of Joseph – read Genesis 50:22-26.
  • Joseph had lived 93 (110-17) years of his life in Egypt (Gen 50:22).
  • In reminding his brothers of Gods promise he also did not want to be buried in Egypt (Gen 50:24 & 25).
    • Moses took Joseph’s bones in the Exodus (Exodus 13:19).
  • Read Hebrews 11:22 & reflect on Josephs faith in God to carry out his promises.
    • Joseph had spent all his adult life in Egypt.
    • He was a fourth-generation heir to Gods promise given to Abraham.
    • Facing death, he remained faithful that God would fulfil his promise.
    • Demonstrated this by making the brothers promise to take his bones back to Canaan for burial – some 400 years later.
  1. Looking forward,
  • As we seek Gods guidance in our lives & as a Church
  • What are the highlights for you as we have studied Genesis – God in control in the lives of Abraham & his descendants – ultimately leading to Jesus & his sovereign plan.
    • God had made a Convent promise to Abraham.
    • He re-confirmed it to each of the subsequent generations.
    • Despite their sin & disobedience God maintained his promise.
    • Looking back, they could testify to his provision in their lives.
    • The line of Jesus can be traced back to Judah & his son Perez.
    • From this group of people a nation (Israel) grew thru whom the Lord would progressively accomplish his redemptive plan in Jesus
  • What applications are there for us individually & as a church fellowship.
    • Like Joseph we can have an impact on the lives of people we come into contact with on a daily basis.
    • Joseph died looking forward to Gods unfolding plan of redemption.
    • The Lord has a plan for our lives & although things may appear difficult at present this will be revealed as we remain faithful.
    • God will continue to provide whilst we remain faithful.
    • Even though some promises take a long time to fulfil – For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night (Psalm 90:4) 
    • This does not mean that we will not cry out to him at times in prayer – perhaps even in anguish.
    • We can rest on the promise of God to Joshua to “not leave us or forsake us”.
    • The story of Job is also another tremendous example of Gods provision to one of his saints, even whilst allowing him to be tested.
    • The ultimate example is our Lord Jesus who remained faithful to his Fathers sovereign plan – there are many parallels of Joseph being a type of Christ – could be the basis of a whole separate study.
      • His Father loved him dearly.
      • Forgave those who wronged them.
      • Saved the nation.
      • What men did to hurt both of them, God turned to good.