As we continue to follow the life of Joseph, we see more incidents that foreshadow Christ.
In Genesis 45:1, Jacob and all his family still presumed Joseph to be dead. Consequently, when Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, it seemed to be a joyous resurrection from the dead.
He met with them in the magnificent royal palace in Egypt where he was the governor over all the land, and he instructed his bewildered brothers to return quickly to the land of Canaan and bring his father to Egypt. He said to them: Genesis 45:9: "Haste ye, go up to my father and say unto him; thus saith thy son Joseph. God hath made me lord of all Egypt, come down unto me, tarry not."
Pharaoh heard of the great reunion and joined in the celebration. The record tells us, in Genesis 45:16, "It pleased Pharaoh well." And Pharaoh said to Joseph: "Tell your brethren, I will give you the good of the land of Egypt and ye shall eat of the fat of the land; for the good of all the land of Egypt is yours." And Joseph gave them wagons according to Pharaoh's commandment, gave them provision for the way, to each man he gave changes of raiment, and a special gift of three hundred pieces of silver, and five changes of raiment to Benjamin. With them he sent all kinds of treasures back to his father.
Genesis 45:25-28: And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan unto Jacob their father, 26: And told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt. And Jacob's heart fainted, for he believed them not. 27: And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived: 28: And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die."
When the caravan arrived in Canaan, 130 year old Jacob saw the wagons Joseph had sent and heard the news that Joseph was still alive. This is the keynote of the story; he said, “Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die.”
As far as his father and his brethren were concerned, Joseph had long since been dead. His coat of many colors, torn and sprinkled with blood by his own brothers, had been thrown at the feet of his father as proof that Joseph was dead. Now, his favorite boy, the son of his beloved Rachel, was alive!
It must have seemed like a resurrection to him, as if Joseph had suddenly risen from the dead. The goods contained in all the carts and his son Benjamin’s safe return was the convincing evidence. The fact that Joseph was not only alive, but was made "lord of all Egypt" caused Jacob to say "It is enough" in thanks to God.
Jacob had been alone in a famine-ridden land, anxiously awaiting the return of his sons with the necessary food just to survive. He was still in the land God had promised him as an inheritance passed down from his grandfather, Abraham, to his father, Isaac, and to him. Everything was about to change. Joseph’s father and all his brethren were going to a new home in a new land. The seven years of plenty had come and gone and now the seven years of famine were at a severe point. He was to be forced by the hand of God to leave this land in his old age. It looked like a reversal of God's promise to Jacob’s ancestors and to Jacob.
Christians often face situations like this where we can’t see the good in what God is doing in our lives. It seems like things run along under His divine providence according to plan for our blessing for years and then a strange turn of events reverses everything and things go downward no matter what we do.
I received this poem from a friend and it seems to fit in at this time.
God didn’t promise days without pain,
Laughter without sorrow, sun without rain,
But He did promise strength for the day,
Comfort for tears, and light for the way.
Don’t be discouraged if we have to walk a road sometimes very much opposite to our desires. When our world turns upside down and everything seems to go in reverse, as long as we have the Lord to guide us, the believer knows He will go down with us, and He will bring us up again. God's promise to Jacob, stated in verse 4 that follows, was “I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again:”
GENESIS 46:1-7. "And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beer-sheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac. 2: And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I. 3: And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation: 4: I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes. 5: And Jacob rose up from Beer-sheba: and the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, and their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. 6: And they took their cattle, and their goods, which they had gotten in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob, and all his seed with him: 7: His sons, and his sons' sons with him, his daughters, and his sons' daughters, and all his seed brought he with him into Egypt."
In verse 4, God told Jacob that Joseph would be at his side when he died ("Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes") and that his body would be returned to the land of Canaan for burial, ("I will also surely bring thee up again:")
Jacob's sorrow over what he had believed was the loss of his beloved son certainly was great, but how much greater must the anguish of God the Father have been as He saw His only begotten Son, in whom was all His delight, die on a cross on the hill called Calvary.
The body of our Savior was taken down from the cross and laid in a new tomb for three days and three nights. Then, "in the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week," the stone was rolled away from the grave to reveal that “He is not here, He is risen.” The triumphant Lord had risen from the dead. All creation must have heard an echo of Jacob’s words "It is enough, Jesus is yet alive."
Again we recognize a foreshadowing of Christ in the events in Joseph’s life.
Jesus was raised from the dead by God the Father and, more than that, He is seated at the right hand of God the Father in glory, exalted as a Prince and a Savior.
Today He occupies that place of honor and of power. From that throne He offers salvation full and free to all who will acknowledge His lordship. Romans 10:9. "For if thou shalt confess with thy mouth, Jesus as Lord, and believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
At the present time, the descendants of Jacob are assembling in their own land of Israel, and the day can’t be far distant when they will stand in the presence of their Messiah, just as these brethren stood in the presence of Joseph.
They will find that the One they despised and rejected, Who came from the stock of Israel according to the flesh, is now exalted and seated at the right hand of God on high. He has been given a Name which is above every name; He is exalted among the Gentiles. He is the Savior of the world.
Some of Jacob’s seed have accepted Jesus as their Messiah, but the nation as a whole still rejects Him. When He returns to earth and stands before them in all His great glory, His brethren after the flesh will bow down before Him just as Joseph’s brethren did.
The Scriptures record very clearly that the Lord Himself is coming to earth in great glory, and "every eye shall see him, they also which pierced him shall wail because of Him," and in that day they will hear Him say "I AM JESUS." Instead of being banished from Him, which they well deserve, they’ll hear the same words Joseph spoke to His brethren: "Come near unto me, be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves because ye sold me hither, for God hath sent me before you to preserve life." [Genesis 45:4-5]
Genesis 46:8-27 records the names of those who went down to Egypt. The whole nation of Israel at that time consisted of only 70 souls but God would make of them a great nation.
When Jacob and his sons and all their families and their livestock went down to Egypt, it was because all their hopes were centered in Joseph. The wagons Joseph sent filled with precious merchandise were a token of his goodness and his power and would carry them to the place of nearness to him.
When they arrived in Egypt, they were given a joyous welcome; not because they were Canaanites, not because Abraham was their father, not because of their own family distinction, but simply because they were related to Joseph.
The finger of prophetic truth pointed forward here to the time when Christ would come to earth and our Lord Jesus Christ, Joseph's anti-type, would be rejected by His brethren after the flesh. His death would usher in the present day of grace and He would be exalted among the Gentiles. His Lordship would mean blessing for all mankind but it also indicated that God would lay aside the plan of earthly blessing for Israel for a period of time, and God's promise for them, as far as their earthly hopes were concerned, would be put in reverse.
This is where Israel stands before God today, and it’s what we see depicted in the story of Jacob and these seventy souls leaving the land of Canaan and going down into the Gentile country where their brother Joseph was exalted as lord of all Egypt.
Israel’s blessing will come when they, as a nation, acknowledge Him as their Lord, and bow the knee to Him.
GENESIS 47:1-6: "Then Joseph came and told Pharaoh, and said, My father and my brethren, and their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have, are come out of the land of Canaan; and, behold, they are in the land of Goshen. 2: And he took some of his brethren, even five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh. 3: And Pharaoh said unto his brethren, What is your occupation? And they said unto Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and also our fathers. 4: They said moreover unto Pharaoh, For to sojourn in the land are we come; for thy servants have no pasture for their flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan: now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen. 5: And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and brethren are come unto thee: 6: The land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell: and if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle."
Goshen was a land of plenty in that day. It lay in the Nile River flood plain and each year fertile soil and moisture were deposited there. This was choice land, set aside where the Israelites could dwell in safety and in blessing. Goshen means "The land where the sun shines."
There is a place set aside by God here in this world where everyone who accepts the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, and bows the knee to Him as Lord, can find safety and blessing. It’s a home of nearness in spirit to our Lord and Savior. There the sunshine of His love can be known and the turmoil of this world can be shut out. It’s a place well known to the heart of everyone who has put their faith in Christ. It is a kind of spiritual Goshen, and it’s described to us in various ways in the New Testament, as well as the Old.
David speaks of it in the 23rd Psalm: "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, he leadeth me beside the still waters."
It is retold to us in the 91st Psalm: "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty; he shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust, his truth shall be thy shield and buckler."
We get a glimpse of it from the Lord Himself in John 10, where He says: "I am the door, by Me if any man enter in he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture."
Paul tells us about this wonderful Goshen-land in Philippians 4:6-7: “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7: And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Our Lord said, in John 14:27: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
This is the Christian's land of Goshen and it’s no dream world. It’s where peace and joy are found by the believer in sweet communion with Jesus, regardless of our state in this world.
Another very interesting thing about Joseph's brethren was that they were shepherds. Here we have a reminder that shepherding is always the business of God's people.
God knows that in the believer’s spiritual land of Goshen, where His people are set apart from this world, His flock would need a shepherd’s care from our brethren in Christ.
Joseph's promise to his family, as he set them in Goshen, was this: "I will nourish you." And the care of the Chief Shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ, is the guarantee to the family of God of safe conduct through this world, but He wants His servants here to care for each other.
We live in an age when we need true shepherds who will feed those who are spiritually hungry and encourage the weak and downhearted, ones who will tend the sheep of Christ like a shepherd tends his flock.
The Egyptians despised Joseph’s brethren because they were shepherds, and the servants of Christ today are held in low esteem by the world around us. The world wants men who claim power and prestige for themselves, not those who place others ahead of themselves in an endeavor to help their fellow man. The believer in Christ will find that he is despised by the world wherever he goes.
GENESIS 47:7-12: "And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh: and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 8: And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou? 9: And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage. 10: And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh. 11: And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. 12: And Joseph nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his father's household, with bread, according to their families."
Joseph's brethren had to live close to him to enjoy the peace and plenty of Goshen's land, and the believer must live near to Christ to enjoy spiritual blessings.
If we accept Him as our own personal Savior and accept the fact that He is Lord of all, and realize He loves us as we are, then the peace of God will reside in our heart. We can look forward to meeting Him in the air and to seeing Him face to face.
Genesis 47, verses 13 through 26, tell the story of the famine that was so desperate in the land of Egypt and all the surrounding countries while all Israel were safe in the land of plenty.
GENESIS 47:27-31: "And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly. 28: And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years. 29: And the time drew nigh that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph, and said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt: 30: But I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their burying place. And he said, I will do as thou hast said. 31: And he said, Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head."
Jacob’s wish to go to the land promised him would be granted upon his death.
Is your wish to go to the promised land of heaven when you die? Do you know for sure that is where you will spend eternity. The Bible tells us that you can be sure. Don’t neglect the great salvation God offers you today. You never know what tomorrow will bring.
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him,
and he shall direct thy paths.”