father holding baby January 31 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today's Bible reading: 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 you measure the blessing of God? Many people measure the blessing of God by their children. In the culture of Israel the blessing of God 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 reading, the promise of God to Abraham to bless his seed (his 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 his family tree 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, and later divides from the northern tribes of Israel. These genealogical records do not mean much to us, but to the Jews it identifies those who are true descendants of Jacob (Israel). To later Jewish scribes and priests this record is important so that they do not lose their identity or heritage and their rights of citizenship.

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

In previous Bible studies (January 27-29) we read that because God was with Joseph and interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams, and because Joseph had a wise plan to deal with the prophesied drought and blight, Joseph had been placed in charge of all the food supplies during the years of plenty and years of famine. During the second year of famine, Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt to buy grain, but Joseph was harsh with them and tested them. Apparently, he wanted to see if they were genuinely repentant of their actions against him. They were indeed repentant, and moreover, they had concern for their father and their youngest brother, Benjamin. Seeing their repentance, Joseph stopped the charade and revealed himself to them. He comforted and encouraged them and 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 study, Joseph's father, Jacob, moves with his family to Egypt. In moving Joseph’s family to Egypt, there is, however, a problem; Joseph’s family are sheep-herders, and this lowly, dirty and smelly occupation is detestable to the Egyptians. Out of respect to the Egyptians, Joseph asks if they might be allowed to live separately from them in nearby Goshen. The request is granted. In deference to Joseph, his family is given the best of the land, just east of Egypt in the district of Ramses, to live and shepherd their flocks. In addition, they are given charge over Pharaoh's livestock. In separating his family from the Egyptians, Joseph, whether intentional or not, is protecting his family from intermixing with the Egyptians. They will be less likely to intermarry and worship Egyptian gods if they are separate. Unfortunately, as we will learn later, they did adopt Egypt's gods when times got tough in the desert, but that is a later story. 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. God does want us, however, to be separate from wickedness, and sometimes that requires being separated 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 you have a personal relationship with God? Are you part of his family? He offers you forgiveness, peace, spiritual life and an inheritance (more...)
  • Protect your relationship and your family’s relationship with the LORD.

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

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