Friday, February 5, 2016

All Things New: Israel, the Ressurection Road, Part 2

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

It had been years and years since Israel had followed a promise of God.  He knew this would be the last, because the promise involved his death.  But he was going to see the son he had believed dead for the last twenty years, and he had God's word that his descendants would grow into a mighty nation while in Egypt, then return to the land of Abraham's covenant.

He was content.

Not counting any servants they may have taken with them, or the wives of his sons, but including Joseph and his two sons who had been born in Egypt, there were 70 who were directly descended from Israel, the seeds of the nation,that moved to Egypt.

Judah had gone in advance of the main party, to get directions to just exactly where Joseph intended his family to settle.

So Joseph knew approximately when his family would arrive, and he had his chariot standing by, so that when he received word that they were arriving, he made the short trip over to Goshen to meet them.

Genesis 46:29 states As soon as Joseph appeared before [Israel], he threw his arms around his father and wept for a long time.

Years of grief and longing were washed away by those tears, and I'm sure Israel's tears mingled with his son's.

I rather suspect the eyes of the brothers, who stood around them and watched the reunion, were not dry, either.

How many of them remembered the tears their father shed when they gave him the bloody coat and told him the story of how they'd 'found' it out in the wilderness?

When the weeping had subsided enough for words, Israel looked at his son and stated, 'Now I am ready to die, since I have seen for myself that you are alive.'

That sounds really morbid and depressing, but his statement really meant that his life was fulfilled; he had nothing more that he felt he needed to do or receive from life.  He was content.

But God still had more blessing for Israel.

Joseph introduced his family to Pharaoh, and, by diplomatic protocol, Israel and his family was given land to occupy in the region of Goshen, distinct from the population of Egyptians.

They would not be subject to assimilation to the culture there.  They may or may not have realized the significance of putting themselves separate from their hosts at the time, but this was actually a crucial bit of the process of turning a family of 70 ish folks into a nation:  they had to be able to maintain their customs and cultural identity for what would be four hundred years.

But, sometime later, as Israel was preparing to pronounce the patriarchal  blessing over his sons, Joseph came to see him, with two young men.

[Israel] asked, 'Who are these?'
'They are the sons  God has given me here, ' Joseph said to his father.
Then Israel said, 'Bring them to me so I may bless them.'
Now Israel's  eyes were failing because of old age, and he could hardly see. So Joseph brought his sons close to him, and his father kissed them and embraced them.
Israel said to Joseph, 'I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to see your children too.' (Gen. 48:8-11)

I still remember the day I read that little passage and the full impact hit me...I was in Windsor, Canada on a Teen Mania Leadership training weekend.  It was during the morning quiet time...and I happened to be in Genesis.  I read that passage, then went back and read it again.  I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to see your children, too...

Talk  about a resurrection.   God fulfilled the desire of Israel's  heart...even though he had long given up on it...and then added a blessing on top of it, beyond anything he'd imagined.  I was awe-struck at that moment.  My concept of who God is and how He  deals with people shifted.  We may give up on the promise...but God remembers.  And God keeps His promises.

What is in my heart that I have given up on?  That I have been grieving...even dead and forever gone?  How can I release that to Him and trust Him with it?  How will my life change if I truly let it go?

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