Genesis 49 [Read]
Genesis 50 [Read]
Matthew 15:1-20 [Read]
The ending of Genesis is marked by two funerals, one for Jacob and one for Joseph. They mark the end of a tumultuous era of the fathers of the nation of Israel. When I look back to what happened in this opening book of the Word of God, I have mixed feelings. The impact of what happened in Genesis 3 is so obvious. Sin has come into the world, and it has deeply infested entire mankind. We saw the cruelty of Cane, the arrogance of the Tower of Babel, the deception of almost all the main characters, and the insensible feud caused by greed among family members. Mankind was definitely lost, at least it seemed so. But in the midst of all these, I can trace a line of the unwavering faithfulness of the living God. He cared for Adam and Eve, preserved the family of Noah, called Abraham, saved Lot, protected Isaac, led and mentored Jacob, and finally, brought this dysfunctional family to Egypt through Joseph. Though there were periods of silence, God never left His people. Such understanding encourages me greatly.
But there is another important theme we have not touched yet, and it was appropriately highlighted by the last two Hebrew words of this book – “in a coffin” and “in Egypt”. The body of Joseph was in a coffin, not buried in the soil. The coffin, perhaps along with a huge family of Israel by then, was in Egypt, a foreign country. A sense of an unfinished journey, a feeling of lost in a strange place, and a deep longing for a better place overflow these two simple words. Joseph died with utmost honor and reverence by the people and his family, but he refused to be buried. He longed for Canaan. He longed for the land God promised his family. He longed for the place called HOME.
“Sojourner” and “foreigner” (Gen 23:4) are two terms used by the forefathers of Israel to describe themselves. They always had the sense of longing for a better homeland of their own, a place they could prosper and have rest, a place promised by their God. “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth” (Heb 11:13).
I understand now, O Lord. You don’t want us to love this world, to love this Egypt. You want us to know that we are only foreigners. One day, we will be home. Thank you, Lord.
You may congratulate yourself a bit, for you have finished the first book of the Bible.
Keep on reading,