Genesis, Looking Back and Looking Forward.

 We have come to the end of the book of Genesis.  Nearly half of the book dealt with Jacob and his family. Both the good and the bad were recorded about Jacob and his sons, and it seems like there was more bad than good.

 People look at the negative events that are taking place in the world and ask, “Why doesn’t God do something?”  People apparently have been asking that question for ages because Genesis is a record of what God is doing.  God raised up Abraham who put his faith in what God said when God told him He would make him into a great nation.  That promise was transferred to Isaac, Abraham’s son, and the promise was transferred to Jacob, Isaac’s son.  Jacob had 12 sons and by the end of Genesis his family grew to 70.  The family was growing but not quite a nation yet. As with any plan there is a need for smaller plans or goals to be reached before the main plan can be completed.  In this case one man needed to become a nation of people but not just any people, but a people of God. Clearly Jacob’s family needed some work in order for them to become a people of God.

 Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (NASB)  I want to draw our attention to the word “purpose” and the word “called”.

The Greek word translated “purpose” here means exposition or exhibit.  That is why the first time it is used in the New Testament it is translated, consecrated bread, showbread, or loaves of presentation, in Mathew 12:4.  This is the bread that was put on the table in the holy place in the tabernacle, twelve loaves in all. They represent the law and the twelve tribes which we will read about in Exodus. Clearly, these are God’s exhibit, the exhibit of one phase of His plan.

 Jacob’s family was “called,” our second word, to carry out the part of God’s plan that God was preparing for them to bring to the world.  This plan was to bring the law to the world, to show the world justice and righteousness, and how people are to relate to God.

 Jacob’s boys were hardly ready or qualified for the task.  They were vengeful, jealous of their brother, greedy, selling their brother for money, and deceitful schemers who lied to their father letting him believe his son was killed by a wild animal.  Over the next twenty years God brought them to repentance by allowing them to live in the misery of the consequences of their actions and suffering from unrelenting guilt and fear.

Both Jacob and Joseph will suffer as well.  Jacob’s continual grief was a constant reminder to the boys of their unconfessed sin.  God was developing in Joseph godly character and is using him today as an example to us that those who are faithful in little things will be faithful in much and will be trusted with more.  Through the trials Joseph experienced, God raised Joseph up to be second next to Pharaoh putting him in the right place at the right time when his brothers came to buy food that only Egypt had. Joseph was in a place where he could test his brothers to see how they treated their younger half-brother Benjamin.  He tested for greed and honesty by putting their money back in food sacks, and told them to lie about being shepherds when Pharaoh asks their occupation. They passed the test and the family was restored.

 In the end, though the journey was long and painful, Joseph could conclude that all things had indeed worked together for good and now there is a people who are called for God’s purpose but we will have to wait before we see what that purpose is in the book of Exodus. 

 We are going to study the book of Job first.  Job is a stark contrast to the brothers of Joseph.  God says of him that there is no one on earth more righteous than him, yet he has a lot to learn about the God he serves.  His journey, likewise, will be long and painful, but God is for him, and God is for us. 

 May God bless us with understanding as we study the book of Job.

Pastor Dave