By Teena Myers
Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible
Two decades elapsed without a record of God speaking to Jacob. He knew Jacob was heartbroken at the loss of Joseph. He knew Joseph’s brothers lied to their father. God also knew the pain and deception would one day work for their good. God had chosen Joseph to save his family from starvation.
A famine brought the shameful acts of Joseph’s brothers to light. They had sold Joseph into slavery, thinking his dreams would never come to pass. The next time they saw Joseph, he was second only to Pharaoh in the mightiest nation on earth and they bowed before him, fulfilling Joseph’s dreams. Instead of chiding his brothers for the evil they did to him, Joseph acknowledged three times God had sent him to Egypt.
The evil done to us by those closest to us can produce good things, but how do you forgive the betrayal Joseph experienced. It appears God allowed evil things to happen because it advanced his plan to save everyone. That is how Joseph interpreted the events of his life and that may be why he could find the strength to forgive.
God’s plan is bigger than Jacob’s family. In the year 1882, God told Abraham, Joseph’s great grandfather, his family would be afflicted in a foreign nation, but God would judge that nation and afterward bring them out with great substance. Abraham and Isaac were not permitted to leave Canaan. When Jacob fled from his brother Esau’s wrath, God promised to bring him back to Canaan. Only something truly dramatic would prompt Jacob to leave Canaan again.
The threat of starvation should he remain in Canaan and revelation that Joseph lived and ruled Egypt was not enough. Yes, he would go to Egypt to see his son, but relocating his family was a tough decision after three generations of God telling them to stay in Canaan.
On his way to Egypt, he stopped in Beersheba to offer sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. God told him, “Don’t be afraid to go down to Egypt…” Then God repeated what he had been saying for three generations, “I will make you into a great nation…” God also promised to go with them to Egypt and bring them back to Canaan again.
Jacob knew God could bring them home again. He had already experienced God’s protection and provision when he relocated to Haran and God brought him back to Canaan. This time, Jacob would not come back. God told him he would die in Egypt and Joseph would close his eyes.
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph never saw the fulfillment of God’s promises. Yet they lived and died believing God would keep his word. Before Joseph died, he told his family to bring his bones with them when God brought them back to Canaan. Joseph’s faith that God would keep his word gave him a place in Hebrews Chapter 11 among the great men and women of faith.
 All scripture quotes are from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.
 Genesis 46:3
 Genesis 46:3