You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. -Genesis 50:20 (NIV)
In our last installment, Jacob reveals himself to his astonished (and frightened) brothers, forgives them, and tells them to go back and get their entire family to come to Egypt and live under his care, since there are still five years of famine left. The brothers go back and tell all the great news to Jacob.
Jacob and family settle in Egypt
In a dream, God assures Jacob to not fear, but that He would make him into a great nation there…that He would go with him, and bring him back again. God even assured Jacob that Joseph would be the one to lay him to rest! So, the whole family–all 70 of them–and headed out.
Jacob and his favorite son Joseph reunite in Goshen, which is a very tear-filled reunion. Then, Jacob and his sons meet Pharaoh, and Jacob blesses Pharaoh, and the family settled in the best part of the land.
The famine continues
As Joseph warned his family, the famine was still going. In the next few years, the people would sell their land to Pharaoh in exchange for food, and the seed provided them would yield more crops…and a fifth of those would need to go back to Pharaoh.
Meanwhile, the Israelites in Goshen prospered and multiplied. Jacob was now 147, and had Joseph swear that he would bury his father back in Canaan.
Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to see your children too.” -Genesis 48:11 (NIV)
Later, when Joseph got word that Jacob was not well, he came with his two sons (Manasseh and Ephraim) to see Jacob, who blessed them. (Though Joseph objected, Jacob blessed Ephraim to be greater than his elder brother Manasseh, the firstborn.) Jacob then went on to bless all of his sons. After giving his burial instructions to his sons, Jacob breathed his last. And, of course, Joseph honored Jacob’s burial wishes.
Joseph’s brothers fear payback
Fearing payback for all the wrongs they’d done to Joseph in the past, Joseph’s brothers had word sent to Joseph that Jacob wanted him to forgive them of their sins. Joseph wept at hearing this, and his brothers threw themselves before him as his slaves. But no, Joseph reassured them told them to not be afraid (a common theme in the bible, no?), that he would provide for them and their children.
Joseph died at the ripe old age of 110 years, seeing Ephraim’s third generation of children. What a full life!
Dreams come true: I see what you did there, God!
So, the dreams that God put in Joseph’s heart as a boy, where he would rule over his brothers, family, and many, many others, came to pass. God did it all in His timing, and used every circumstance–even slavery and jail–to make good from bad.
He healed wounds and prospered families. He reunited long lost family and multiplied them. He makes a way where there seems to be no way (Isaiah 43:19).
No matter what you’re going through…no matter how hopeless things seem…no matter how it looks like things will never get better…trust in the Lord, that He is using even these times to make a way. Honor Him by trusting in His plans and not what your eyes and mind can see. Thank Him for making a way. He always will.