Genesis 46:28 – 47:12 Those who are eternally blessed wear their glory on the inside
28 Now he sent Judah before him to Joseph, to point out the way before him to Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen. 29 Joseph prepared his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet his father Israel; as soon as he appeared before him, he fell on his neck and wept on his neck a long time. 30 Then Israel said to Joseph, “Now let me die, since I have seen your face, that you are still alive.” 31 Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I will go up and tell Pharaoh, and will say to him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me; 32 and the men are shepherds, for they have been keepers of livestock; and they have brought their flocks and their herds and all that they have.’ 33 When Pharaoh calls you and says, ‘What is your occupation?’ 34 you shall say, ‘Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we and our fathers,’ that you may live in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is loathsome to the Egyptians.”
1 Then Joseph went in and told Pharaoh, and said, “My father and my brothers and their flocks and their herds and all that they have, have come out of the land of Canaan; and behold, they are in the land of Goshen.” 2 He took five men from among his brothers and presented them to Pharaoh. 3 Then Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?” So they said to Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, both we and our fathers.” 4 They said to Pharaoh, “We have come to sojourn in the land, for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. Now, therefore, please let your servants live in the land of Goshen.” 5 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. 6 The land of Egypt is at your disposal; settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land, let them live in the land of Goshen; and if you know any capable men among them, then put them in charge of my livestock.”
7 Then Joseph brought his father Jacob and presented him to Pharaoh; and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 8 Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How many years have you lived?” 9 So Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning.” 10 And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from his presence. 11 So Joseph settled his father and his brothers and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had ordered. 12 Joseph provided his father and his brothers and all his father’s household with food, according to their little ones.
Joseph’s reunion with Jacob kickoff an era of nation building in the womb of Egypt. Israel, by virtue of their profession as shepherds expediently separated themselves from the Egyptian population by settling in the land of Goshen. The Pharaoh, in all his royalty and grandeur was blessed by Jacob who is possessor of divine blessing. Today’s devotion teaches us that believers must preserve themselves from the love of the world. And those who are eternally blessed wear their glory on the inside.
Now he sent Judah before him to Joseph, to point out the way before him to Goshen
Judah assumes leadership by virtue of the fact that he is most respected among his brothers. At the wake of the family’s quest for food and their initial struggle with Joseph, Judah’s display of character and wisdom is impressive.
Joseph readied himself for the long awaited reunion with his father. For Jacob, the son he believed to be dead for twenty years now stood before him in all his grandeur. Having reunited with his favourite son, Jacob said that he has no more regrets or unfulfilled desires in his life: Now let me die, since I have seen your face, that you are still alive.
“I will go up and tell Pharaoh, and will say to him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me”
At the arrival of the holy family, Jospeh went ahead to prepare for their settlement. Joseph had intended for the nation in its infancy to settle in a land apart from the Egyptians at large. In so doing, Israel may continue in its path towards fulfilling Abraham’s promise. As the Egyptians had an inherent distaste for shepherds, it was expedient to seek residence in a place far removed from the population centres. Joseph coached his brothers to engage the Pharoah in a courtly manner while requesting to be located in the land of Goshen. The appointment of Joseph’s brothers to supervise the king’s cattle put into immediate effect the Pharaoh’s authority over the new immigrants.
Then Joseph brought his father Jacob and presented him to Pharaoh
Jacob’s meeting with the Pharaoh was unlike the meeting with the brothers. Here, the atmosphere was more intimate and relaxed. The Pharaoh’s first question revealed his admiration for Jacob’s blessedness as Egyptians had a penchant for longevity. Jacob, at 130 will live another 17 years, well beyond the ideal Eygptian life span of 110 years. However, Jacob brought a poignant reality to his life: few and unpleasant have been the years of my life. … His flight to Mesopotamia, an unintended marriage, the rape of his daughter, and strife among his sons that led to the estrangement of his favourite son. However, his age pales in comparison to Abraham and Isaac, who lived to the age of 175 and 180 respectively. Here, Jacob confessed to his humble state and wore his glory on the inside, not with pomp or outward display of power.
The people of God must preserve themselves from the love of the world.
The holy family of 70 separated themselves from the Egyptians by locating themselves in the land of Goshen. In so doing, they preserved their virtues and worshiped God according to the Abrahamic covenant. By virtue of that physical separation from the Egyptians, they grew and prospered greatly, numbering over two million 400 years later. Should they mingle with the Egyptians, they would not have prospered as a nation under God.
Similarly, the followers of Jesus Christ must separate themselves from the world. This does not mean that believers can’t exist in close proximity with non-believers. But rather we must be discerning and not be influenced by the culture and mindset of the world. Thus, our separation is not physical but rather in desires and values. The glory of heaven is the love for God, for the truth and for the wellbeing of others. The glory of the world is self-centredness, domination, and fleshly pleasures, the means of which is falsehood. The world tempts us by suggesting that the ways of falsehood carry benefits that may not necessarily lead to death. The world glamourises power, wealth and the pleasures of the flesh. It seeks to blur the line between abundant living and worldly enjoyment. As a result, many fell into its trap losing their reputation, their family and the wealth they have so painstakingly acquired.
It used to be that truth, loyalty and godliness are found in the church. However, the church has increasingly become a place of confusion; the epi-centre of demonic activity. Those who lack discernment will be attracted to an appearance of spiritual vibrancy, and abundance of knowledge. There they begin a process of decay where whatever is left of wisdom, love and the fear of God will be grounded to zero. The end of which is utter failure and the loss of everything true and eternal.
The blessed wear their glory on the inside.
Those who are blessed and led by the Spirit wear their glory on the inside. As much as light is imperceptible to the ear, and sound imperceptible to the eye, heavenly glory is imperceptible to those who are earthly. Heavenly glory is seen through a person’s virtue, wisdom and authority over the elements of the world. Jacob is weak by appearance and completely dependent on the Pharaoh’s goodwill. The Pharaoh, though royal, powerful in appearance and condescending is completely dependent upon Jacob for divine blessing. Jacob is the possessor of divine blessing from whom Egypt derived benefit.
People who wear their glory on the outside do so by flaunting their material possessions and personal achievements. Such seek approval and admiration from the world in order to acquire a sense of dignity and self-worth. It testifies to an inner void that can never be filled with their current devices. But the blessed are steadfast, humble, unperturbed by the fleeting display of worldly glory. The prophet Isaiah said,
The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3
The steadfast mind is anchored by the word through, the seat of the heavenly glory and eternal blessing. As Jacob brought the heavenly blessing to Pharaoh and his kingdom, believers will likewise bring salvation to the world.
Believers must be vigilant in guarding our minds from lies and falsehood, and our hearts from the love of the world. The devil seeds lies into our minds via suggestions of seemingly “spiritual” people who propagate a life of self-centred gain and compromise, not sacrificial love and holiness. If you ever smell deception, a perversion of God’s truth and grace, flee! Do not open your heart to smooth talkers but rather preserve your heart to love God wholeheartedly and live for Him.
Do you have an irresistible urge to make your good works known to others? Do you often feel insecure while seeking approval from people around you? Such that you lack a sense of peace because of this continual struggle for recognition. Jesus taught that those who sold their earthly possessions, who appeared to be last… will be first. But those who crave for power and possessions, who appeared to be first… will be last.
But many who are first will be last; and the last, first. Matthew 19:30
Dear Lord, I will seek to build the heavenly glory within me and be content with what I possess. Imbue within me the divine wisdom, and the fruit of the Spirit. Cause me to be a blessing to my family, church and workplace. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.