17th January: Genesis 49-50 and Exodus 1:1-2:10 – What blessings God has given to us – the forgiveness of sins, the Holy Spirit, eternal life …

Genesis

49:1-27

Jacob blesses his sons, ‘blessing each with the blessing suitable to him’ (28). The most significant blessings are reserved for Joseph (22-26). This is not simply the blessing of Jacob. This is the blessing of ‘the Mighty One of Jacob… the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel… the God of your father… God Almighty’ (24-25). God blesses us ‘with blessings of heaven above, blessings which are mighty beyond the blessings of the eternal mountains, the bounties of the everlasting hills’ (25-26). He does this for us in Jesus Christ, the fulfilment of the divine purpose within which Joseph was privileged to take his part. ‘God… has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places’ (Ephesians 1:3). What blessings He has given to us – the forgiveness of sins, the Holy Spirit, eternal life (Ephesians 1:7,13-14)! ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits’ (Psalm 103:2).
49:28-50:26
It was a time of ‘very great and sorrowful lamentation’ (10). Jacob had died (33). Soon, Joseph would be gone (26). God was still there. He had been there in the past (20). He would be there in the future (24-25). Times are hard. We rejoice: ‘The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases’. An earthly life has ended. We say, ‘His mercies never come to an end’. We cannot cope. We discover that ‘His mercies are new every morning’. Everything seems to be changing. We trust in God’s unchanging love: ‘Great is Thy faithfulness’. It seems hopeless. We say, ‘I will hope in the Lord’ (Lamentations 3:22-24). ‘Bad’ things are happening to you. Do you need to be ‘reassured… and comforted’? – ‘God meant it for good… Do not fear’. The Lord ‘will provide for you’ (20-21). Whatever happens,  remember this – God is in control, and He loves you (Romans 8:28)!

Exodus

1:1-2:10    Things were difficult for Israel yet ‘the more they were oppressed the more they multiplied’ (12). Difficult times can be the making of God’s people! Pharaoh (and Satan!) is murderously anxious about the growth of God’s people (15-16; John 10:10). God is about to move in saving power – His ‘midwives’ are preparing for the ‘birth’ of His redeemed people (17,20). Moses was preserved in ‘a basket made of bulrushes’ (2:3). Born again, we are preserved through God’s Word and Spirit – ‘the living and abiding Word of God’ (1 Peter 1:23). Moses was drawn out of the water (2:10). Israel was drawn out of the bondage in Egypt (6:6-8). Like Israel, we have been redeemed by blood (12:13; 1 Peter 1:18-19). Redeemed by the Lord, we are to be consecrated to Him. In 20:1-2, ‘the Ten Commandments’ are introduced by a declaration of God’s salvation. Our obedience to God is to be grounded in this: He has redeemed us!

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