Sunday, 4th July 10.30 am Order of Service

WELCOME

HYMN Great is Your faithfulness (Christ Tomlin)

1 Great is your faithfulness,

great is your faithfulness.

You never change, you never fail, O God.

True are your promises,

true are your promises.

You never change, you never fail, O God.

Chorus

So, we raise up holy hands to praise the holy one;

who was, and is, and is to come.

Yeah, we raise up holy hands to praise the holy one;

who was, and is, and is to come.

2 Wide is your love and grace,

wide is your love and grace.

You never change, you never fail, O God.

Chorus

You were, you are, you always will be.

So, we raise up holy hands to praise the holy one;

who was, and is, and is to come.

Yeah, we raise up holy hands to praise the holy one;

who was, and is, and is to come.

Chris Tomlin (born 1972)

© 2002 worshiptogether.com

PRAYER

READING Genesis 47 : 13 -31

13 There was no food, however, in the whole region because the famine was severe; both Egypt and Canaan wasted away because of the famine. 14 Joseph collected all the money that was to be found in Egypt and Canaan in payment for the grain they were buying, and he brought it to Pharaoh’s palace. 15 When the money of the people of Egypt and Canaan was gone, all Egypt came to Joseph and said, “Give us food. Why should we die before your eyes? Our money is all gone.”

16 “Then bring your livestock,” said Joseph. “I will sell you food in exchange for your livestock, since your money is gone.” 17 So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and he gave them food in exchange for their horses, their sheep and goats, their cattle and donkeys. And he brought them through that year with food in exchange for all their livestock.

18 When that year was over, they came to him the following year and said, “We cannot hide from our lord the fact that since our money is gone and our livestock belongs to you, there is nothing left for our lord except our bodies and our land. 19 Why should we perish before your eyes—we and our land as well? Buy us and our land in exchange for food, and we with our land will be in bondage to Pharaoh. Give us seed so that we may live and not die, and that the land may not become desolate.”

20 So Joseph bought all the land in Egypt for Pharaoh. The Egyptians, one and all, sold their fields, because the famine was too severe for them. The land became Pharaoh’s, 21 and Joseph reduced the people to servitude, from one end of Egypt to the other. 22 However, he did not buy the land of the priests, because they received a regular allotment from Pharaoh and had food enough from the allotment Pharaoh gave them. That is why they did not sell their land.

23 Joseph said to the people, “Now that I have bought you and your land today for Pharaoh, here is seed for you so you can plant the ground. 24 But when the crop comes in, give a fifth of it to Pharaoh. The other four-fifths you may keep as seed for the fields and as food for yourselves and your households and your children.”

25 “You have saved our lives,” they said. “May we find favor in the eyes of our lord; we will be in bondage to Pharaoh.”

26 So Joseph established it as a law concerning land in Egypt—still in force today—that a fifth of the produce belongs to Pharaoh. It was only the land of the priests that did not become Pharaoh’s.

27 Now the Israelites settled in Egypt in the region of Goshen. They acquired property there and were fruitful and increased greatly in number.

28 Jacob lived in Egypt seventeen years, and the years of his life were a hundred and forty-seven. 29 When the time drew near for Israel to die, he called for his son Joseph and said to him, “If I have found favor in your eyes, put your hand under my thigh and promise that you will show me kindness and faithfulness. Do not bury me in Egypt, 30 but when I rest with my fathers, carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried.”

“I will do as you say,” he said.

31 “Swear to me,” he said. Then Joseph swore to him, and Israel worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

SERMON Joseph’s Rule & Jacob’s Burial

13-27 We pick up the story line of 41:57 with an account of the affairs of Joseph in Egypt and his work on behalf of the Pharaoh. The brothers are no longer the center of attention; the focus is on Joseph and his sons.

Throughout those accounts, the theme was repeatedly expressed that Joseph’s wisdom and administrative skills saved the lives of his brothers and father. And so, at the beginning of the story, Jacob had told his sons to go down to Egypt to buy grain “that we may live and not die” (42:2).

Then Judah, “in the second year” (45:6), told his father to let them return to Egypt “that we may live and not die” (43:8). Finally, when he revealed himself to them, Joseph told his brothers that God had sent him to Egypt “to save life” (45:5; NIV, “to save lives”).

So the Egyptians come to Joseph to buy grain from him: “Why should we die before your eyes?” Then it continues with the story of their return to Joseph “the second year” (NIV, “the following year”), when they again said, “Why should we perish?” and then again, “that we may live and not die.” This theme of LIFE must be important.

First with his brothers and then with the Egyptians, Joseph’s wisdom is seen as the source of life for everyone in the land. Furthermore, through God’s wisdom given to this descendant of Abraham, the nations are receiving a blessing (cf. 12:2-3).

The whole of the story of Joseph and his brothers began with Joseph being sold (37:28) into slavery (39:17) for twenty pieces of silver (37:28). Now, at the conclusion, Joseph is shown selling the whole of the land of Egypt into slavery and taking their “money” (v. 18). In the end, because of the wisdom of Joseph, the family of Abraham became “fruitful,” “increased greatly in number,” and were dwelling safely and prosperously in the “region” of Goshen.

Jacob’s burial instructions (47:28-31)

28 The story moves to a new time, seventeen years later. Perhaps the underlying assumption is that by now the famine was over and Joseph’s position in Egypt has been well established.

29-31 As he approached death, Jacob’s only request was that he not be buried in the land of Egypt. The manner of the request looks back to Abraham (cf. 24:2). As he approached death (24:1), Abraham did not want his son to take a wife from among the people in the land where he was then dwelling (24:3-4). In the same way, as Jacob approached death (v. 29), he did not want to be buried among the Egyptians but with his fathers in his own land. Joseph makes the same request – carried out in Jos 24:32.

A central element of the covenant with Abraham was the promise of the land. The request of the patriarchs to be buried in the land “with their fathers” emphasizes their trust in the faithfulness of God to his word.

************************************************

And so a key symbol of Israel’s faith in the promises of God is the bones of the faithful offspring that lie buried in the Promised Land.

There was early rivalry between Leah, Judah’s mother, and Rachel, Joseph’s mother (ch. 30), and the question of the priority of one of the brothers over the other has occupied a central role. In chs. 48 (the blessing of Joseph) and 49 (the blessing of Judah) the issue comes to a final resolution in the choice of one from the tribe of Judah who will reign over the rest of the brothers (49:8-10). In Eze 37:15-17, 22-24 the brothers are reunited under the king from the tribe of Judah, David.

It sounds just like a story of a somewhat disfunctional family from a long-lost era. But I hope that we have been noticing throughout these later chapters of Genesis a very Biblical pattern – namely – God working out His salvation in the world.

God is blessing the nations – here it is Egypt and her neighbours by saving them from literal starvation and death. God’s plan for blessings the nations goes much further than that – and we will have to wait until we get into the New Testament before we see that working out in practice.

But in a very specific and special way, God is blessing His own belived children – the family of Abraham. Yes, he is feeding their stomachs in Egypt – as with the other nations.

But, God salvation of His people goes much further – he brings them to live in the choicest part of Egypt – where the family grows in an extraordinary way – just as God had promised long ago to Abraham. And we have a hint at God fulfilling His other promise – namely with regard to the land of Canaan – the Promised Land, as Jacob wants his bones buried in that special place.

So… what we have is a God who is in the business of bringing LIFE (not death) – a God Who blesses the whole of mankind. But here is a God Who has special purposes for – and promises to – His own children. And that is US. God gives us LIFE – and He gives us NEW LIFE – a NREW LIFE filled with His wonderful PROMISES FOR US.

PRAYER

Hymn Standing on the promises of God

Standing, standing,

Standing on the promises of God my Saviour;

Standing, standing,

I’m standing on the promises of God.

1 Standing on the promises of Christ my King,

Through eternal ages let his praises ring;

Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,

Standing on the promises of God.

Standing, standing,

Standing on the promises of God my Saviour;

Standing, standing,

I’m standing on the promises of God.

2 Standing on the promises that cannot fail,

When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail;

By the living word of God I shall prevail,

Standing on the promises of God.

Chorus

3 Standing on the promises I cannot fall,

Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call,

Resting in my Saviour as my all in all,

Standing on the promises of God.

Chorus

Russell K Carter (1849-1926)

Benediction

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