father holding baby January 31 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today's Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Genesis 46:5-9;
1Chronicles 5:1-6; Genesis 46:10-12; 1Chronicles 2:18-55;
1Chronicles 4:1-23; Genesis 46:13; 1Chronicles 7:1-5; Genesis 46:14-18; 1Chronicles 7:30-40; Genesis 46:19-25; 1Chronicles 7:6-12;
1Chronicles 7:13; Genesis 46:26-47:12

Protecting Our Family Heritage

How do we measure the blessing of God? Many people measure his blessing by their children. In the culture of Israel the blessing of the LORD was often measured by how many children they had, and particularly sons. Of course daughters were needed too, but it was the sons who would carry on their name and their inheritance. How do we protect our family heritage?

As you can see from today’s Bible reading, the promise of God to Abraham to bless his seed (number of descendants) was being fulfilled (Genesis 17:1-7). Jacob started out with just himself, and by the time he was an old man, he and his children and grandchildren and great grandchildren were seventy in number. These Jacob presents to Pharaoh.

The record of 1Chronicles 2,4,5, and 7 lists more descendants than are born at the time of Jacob's return. Through this genealogical record we can see God's blessing and the size of each tribal family. Judah is the largest tribe. She later becomes a nation within the nation of Israel. These records do not mean much to us, but to the Jews they identify those who are true descendants of Jacob (Israel). Each family's records are carefully recorded and preserved for the next generation. See why this is important, here.

Is having a large family enough to protect our family line? How do we protect our godly heritage? We find one possible answer to that question in today’s Bible study.

In previous Bible studies (January 27-29) we saw that God was with Joseph and interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams. Because Joseph had a wise plan to deal with the prophesied drought and famine, he was given a high position under Pharaoh and placed in charge of all the food supplies during the years of plenty and years of scarcity. During the second year of drought, Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt to buy grain, but he was harsh with them and tested them. He wanted to see if they had changed. They were indeed sorry for their past behavior; moreover, they had concern for the welfare of their father and their youngest brother, Benjamin. Observing their new attitudes, Joseph stopped the charade and revealed himself to them. He comforted and encouraged them. Then he asked them to bring their father Jacob and all their families down to Egypt because the famine would continue for five more years.

In today's Bible reading, Joseph's father Jacob moves with his family to Egypt. Moving them there, however, creates a problem—Joseph’s family are sheep-herders. This lowly, dirty and smelly occupation is detestable to the Egyptians. Out of respect for the Egyptians, Joseph asks if they might be allowed to live separately from them in nearby Goshen. The request is granted. In respect for Joseph, his family is given the best of the land, just east of Egypt in the district of Ramses. There they are to live and shepherd their flocks; and additionally, they are given charge over Pharaoh's livestock.

By separating his family from the Egyptians, Joseph is protecting his family from intermixing with them. They will be less likely to intermarry and worship Egyptian gods if they are separate. Unfortunately, as we will learn later, they will adopt Egypt's gods when times get tough in the desert, but that story comes later.

What are we willing to do to try to maintain a godly heritage? God does not want us to be separated from the world (John 17:15-17); we would have to be taken out of it to do that. He does want us, however, to be separate from wickedness, and sometimes this requires removing ourselves from wicked people and bad environments. Here are God's instructions for us given through the Apostle Paul:

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.

Therefore come out from them and be separate,” says the Lord. “Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,” says the Lord Almighty. (2Corinthians 6:14-18, NIV)

Lessons to Live By

•  Give thanks for the blessing of children.

•  Do we have a personal relationship with God? Are we part of his family? He offers us forgiveness, peace, spiritual life and an inheritance (more...)

•  It is important to protect our relationship and our family's relationship with the LORD. We should withdraw from evil people and their practices, teach children the right ways of the LORD, go to church, and worship and serve God together. We need to be examples of integrity and righteousness in our behavior and service for others.

Focus Verse

3John 1:4 (NIV) “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”

praying hands Write a private prayer response to today’s Bible study:

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A Look Ahead: Jacob is at the end of his life. In the blessings on his twelve sons he leaves a legacy and tells their destiny. How do we leave a Legacy and Destiny with our children?

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