Community Group Study “Genesis: Welcome to Your New Home?”
Read Genesis 45:16-46:34
What could seem like a setback is actually God’s providing for his people. Many times in Genesis we’ve seen bad things happen in Egypt or when Abraham’s family leaves the Promised Land. God had made a covenant with them to make his people flourish in the Promised Land of Canaan and as we read in Genesis it appears that the storyline is tracking that way. Then Genesis 46 and 47 happen and we see that God is providing his people with a temporary new home in Egypt. However, even in this action we see God’s hand to provide for his people and to work for their longterm good and the blessing of the world.
Genesis 45:16-28 Blessings in the Land of Egypt
We can see how respected and loved Joseph was by how quick Pharaoh was to invites Joseph’s family to settle in Egypt. God would provide for them from the best of Egypt instead of living on the margins in Canaan during the famine. The brothers go back to their father and families with wagons, provisions, money and fine clothing from Egypt and a promise that the best of the land would be there (Genesis 45:19-23). They were told to travel light since they’d be given the best of the land, likewise they were commanded to bring their wives and children implied that it was a permanent settlement…. this would be “home”. Joseph’s parting words were to tell his brothers not to fight on the drive home, knowing that the brothers could be filled with regret and play the blame game. His desire is for them to come down to Egypt as a restored family to be blessed and to grow in the land (Genesis 45:24).
So we see that the brothers first arrived in Egypt in Genesis 42 with tremendous lack and now they are called back to live with abundance
Jacob, understandably, has a difficult time believing the news that they had found Joseph and he was a ruler in Egypt. We need to remember the brothers were similarly shocked. No one expected God to do what he did. However when Jacob saw the abundance of the gift Joseph sent his heart softened and became alive with hope. “I will go and see him before I die” (Genesis 45:28). This section of the bible shows us how God uses the tragedy that has happened in the life of Joseph for the blessing of his people. When we first heard of the dream in Genesis 37:9-11 that depicted the family of God bowing down to Joseph it would have been easy to just imagine power being exerted as they bowed before Joseph. Yet, what we see is that God gave Joseph this place of power to bless his family and ultimately be part of the story of how God was going to bring redemption and blessing to the whole world through Jesus.
Genesis 46:1-25 God’s Faithful Promise
Jacob is between two worlds in this section. The people of God have been given a future in the land of Canaan, but are called to Egypt in this moment.
The family makes a stop in Beersheba, which would become the southernmost city of Israel, before leaving the Promised Land. In this moment Jacob is clinging to the past faithfulness of God. At first glance, the text can make it feel like Jacob does not have a personal faith in the Lord since it references the “God of his father”, yet the location instead shows us how this really flawed man is holding on to God’s past faithfulness. Beersheba was the place where God first communicated his covenant promise to Jacob’s father Isaac. God pledged to Isaac that he would make him a people and show steadfast love to him and his offspring, like God had pledged to Abraham. Jacob stopping here before leaving for Egypt is a testimony of his faithful trust to God and God responds by committing to bring this family back to the Promised Land.
This conversation between God and Jacob reminds us of another time Jacob left the promised land and a promise God made to him then. In Genesis 28, as Jacob fled for his life, God told him he’d be with him and bring him back as he sojourned in the land of Laban. God gives Jacob and this family a similar promise here. Genesis 46:3-4 “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you a great nation. I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will bring you up again, and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes.”
Going to Egypt this time around is not a lack of faith, but stepping into a faithful trust in God’s provision. The entirety of the people of God, 70 in all, go down into the land (Genesis 46:27).
Genesis 46:26-34 Jacob and Joseph Reunited
Imagine what Jacob felt when he saw that Joseph was alive. The reunion shows us that they hugged and cried for “a good while” (Genesis 46:29) and Jacob expresses that he can now die in peace. This is a vivid portrait of a father’s tender love for a lost son and some of this same imagery is pulled forward in the Prodigal Son story (Luke 15:11-32).
But this reuniting of the family is not just to give Jacob one last glimpse at Joseph, God is providing for his chosen people. Joseph settles them in the land of Goshen and, as Genesis 47 will expand on, they will be blessed yet bubbled off in Egypt because of their religion and occupation as shepherds. God strategically brings them down to Egypt because they’d be naturally isolated unlike how they were living in Canaan. This would allow the people of God flourishing without assimilating with the religion around them which is exactly what we see happen in Exodus 1 as they become a numerous and distinct people.
God provides for his people in the unexpected blessing of Egypt. What could be seen as a set back in the story of God’s people is actually God’s loving provision to grow his people and provide for them before bringing them back into the Promised Land as a distinct nation. This passage shows us God’s gracious provision and we see glimpses of God’s faithful love in things like his promise to Jacob in Genesis 46:3-4 and even in Jacob’s affection for welcoming home his lost son.
At your community group:
Take 15-20 minutes to share about how God has been at work in your life, prayer concerns and pray for one another.
How did God speak to you through the scripture and the sermon this week?
Read Genesis 45:16-46:7
Could leaving the Promised Land feel like a setback for the people of God? Does this passage give us any clues to what God is doing and how he plans on being with his people while they are in Egypt?
How does Joseph provide for his family and what does this show us about God’s grace in the midst of all the hardship the people of God have gone through?
Compare Genesis 28:13-14 and Genesis 46:3-4. How does God remain steadfast and consistent in the life of Jacob? How does this promise personally reassure Jacob and this family as they go to an unknown land
Look at Genesis 15:13-14, what promise is made in those verses and how does that show up in Genesis 46?
How is looking back at God’s past faithfulness helpful for our present faith and obedience? Have you had specific moments where this has been important in your walk with God?