November 28, 2009

"Go Down to Egypt"

Genesis 45:3-11, 25-46:4

“Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.”
Genesis 46:4


Who wants to die and be buried in a foreign land? It’s not the soil of your ancestors, nor where you dreamed your youthful dreams. But some do die and are buried far from their native land. They left because there was no future at home.

Although Jacob was born and rooted in the land of promise, it was not a promising place to live for the time being. The famine had dried up all its resources. Only distant Egypt was ripe and its granaries bursting. Jacob’s sons went back and forth for food. One day they came back with crazy news: Joseph was alive and had prepared for their safety in Egypt.

At first the old man couldn’t believe it. But when he saw gifts arriving in Egyptian carts, he was overwhelmed with the good news that Joseph was alive. He gave thanks to God and left Canaan, with God’s assurance that his people would come back. Jacob would gladly die in Egypt, for there God would make him into a great nation, and Joseph would close his eyes.

This world cannot make right what we have been so busy doing wrong, nor can it hold back death. Only God’s strange ways do that.

Die to your old ways and live, God says. Find forgiveness and live and die with peace in your heart. Receive my blessing, and I will bless others through you.

Include me, Lord, in your strange ways with Jesus Christ, so that I may come home to you. Grant me your peace, O God. May your love fill me and overflow to others. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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