The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), January 17
Joseph’s brothers present Jacob with trumped up evidence of Joseph’s death—his shredded coat, dried blood, and bewildered faces. Jacob views all three and concludes that Joseph is dead. Jacob believes a lie based on trumped-up evidence, and something within him dies.
Twenty-two years later, his sons return from their second trip to Egypt bearing the good news that Joseph is indeed alive. At first Jacob refuses to believe the truth (the trumped up evidence before had been so compelling) until he sees the carts Joseph has sent to carry him to Egypt. His spirit revives. Jacob has a glitter in his eye, a jump in his step, and hope in his heart as he loads up his family and heads toward Egypt.
On the way, Jacob stops at Beersheba and offers sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac, for the first time in twenty-two years. God also speaks to him for the first time in twenty-two years: “I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will put his hand on your eyes” (Gen. 46:3-4).
Several truths emerge from this story:
- Just as Jacob’s sons use trumped up evidence to deceive their father, so the father of lies uses trumped up evidence to deceive people. The shredded coats of circumstances and broken relationships and the dried blood of dreams, hopes and plans convince many that God is finished with them.
- Something dies within the one who believes the trumped-up evidence. Hopelessness, despair, depression, and bitterness settle in. For years. Only the truth sets one free.
- Jacob hears God speak to him once the lie is revealed by the light of truth. Believing trumped-evidence about God, about himself, his family and his circumstances closes Jacob’s heart toward God. Once the truth breaks through, he again offers sacrifices to the Lord, and God speaks to him.
- Things are never as they appear. Hope, therefore, cannot be based on circumstances and people but in the Living God. The Psalmist captures this when he states, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say on the LORD!” (Psalm 27:13-14).
Questions from today’s reading (Genesis 45:16-47:27):
What does God reveal to Jacob regarding the trip to Egypt, the land of Canaan, and His presence?
What has Jacob learned about God throughout the course of his life?