The Incubation of Israel (The Covenant & the Cross #61)

Today’s passage of Scripture is Genesis 48:3-5 which reads: “And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, And said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession. And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from Charles Haddon Spurgeon. He said: “The observant man recognizes many mysteries into which he can not pretend to see, and he remembers that the world is too wide for the eye of one man. But the modern sophists are sure of everything, especially if it contradicts the Bible.”

Our topic for today is titled “The Incubation of Israel” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

First, let’s take a closer look at the famine that caused Jacob and his family to seek aid in Egypt.

The fact that both Egypt and Canaan suffered famine suggests that it was divinely caused. Egyptian agricultural success is dependent on the flooding of the Nile River, which is a result of monsoon rainfall in central Africa. Agricultural success in Canaan, on the other hand, is dependent on rain that normally comes in from Europe via the Mediterranean Sea. The experience of Joseph stands in contrast to that of Abraham in Genesis 12, who went to Egypt because of a famine in Canaan.

Now, let us consider how Israel was incubated in the land of Egypt.

While the reunion of the estranged brothers is the obvious climax to the story, the writer of Genesis has a few loose ends to tie up, showing that there is much more to the account. We need to recall that this section relates “what became of” Jacob. In this sense, there are two key aspects: first, what became of Jacob personally, and second, what became of the line of Jacob, the descendants of Israel.

Jacob, personally, was finishing his spiritual pilgrimage. Once more he was about to leave the land, but the circumstances were much different from those related in chapter 28, when he was fleeing Esau. Now it was under God’s direction, and God appeared to him before he left the land to give him an assurance that what he was doing was correct. So Jacob and his family, seventy strong, arrived in Egypt. Jacob and five of the brothers were introduced to Pharaoh and then moved to the land of Goshen.

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