Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Two Promises Kept - Genesis 50:12-14


And thus his sons did for him as he had charged them; for his sons carried him to the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre, which Abraham had bought along with the field for a burial site from Ephron the Hittite.  And after he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, he and his brothers, and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.

To those that have studied the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, these verses mark the end of a great era that made up the lives and trials of the famous “fathers’” trio of Israel.  It is fitting that a grandson gets buried in the cave of the field that his grandfather had bought.  This was the same cave where Abraham’s son Isaac buried him.  The same cave where Isaac’s son Jacob buried him.  And now the same cave Jacob’s son Joseph was burying him.  But things were going to be somewhat different now.  The tribes were growing.  The grandmothers were also all gone.  The sons of Jacob were living in Egypt.  Keeping all the Israelites focused on living with and for their God was not going to be an easy task.  What happens from here on in to the people of God left behind by Jacob is something that many of us who are alive now can well identify with.  While some of the members of the generations that came after us are as true to the Word of God as we may be, and perhaps more so in some cases, the majority just pay lip service.  They take what they want and do what they have to, either because that is what they have always done, or because they want to be sure they qualify for the “free gift of eternal life”.  There is often no real repentance of their past sinful ways, nor is daily life a conscious attempt to live for and to serve their Savior.  As one moves on to study Exodus and the rest of the Old Testament one observes a loving God who will not let go of His people.  Today, we too, can be thankful of God’s desire to keep on calling us to a closer relationship with Him.

This short passage is also an account of two promises kept.  First, Jacob’s sons led by Joseph, kept their promise to Jacob to bury him in the land of Canaan and in the place he made them promise to do so as he was dying.  A father’s wish was fulfilled.  Second, Joseph’s promise to Pharaoh that all of the family would return to Egypt after they buried their father, was also kept.

We thus begin “life after Jacob” with men of integrity.  What could possibly go wrong?  Lots, as we’ll find out in the rest of the Pentateuch and beyond.

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