Genesis 49-50, Matthew 25
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. – Matthew 25:31 ESV
As the book of Genesis comes to a close, and the lives of Jacob and Joseph come to an end, the story is far from over. In fact, in many ways it is just beginning. Genesis is the book of beginnings. It tells how the story starts, but it does not reveal its ending. Only God knows the content of the final chapter in the story of mankind. We get glimpses of what is to come along the way. In Jacob's blessing of Judah we see a foreshadowing of future events. "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples" (Genesis 49:10 ESV). Not only is this a reference to the coming kingdoms of David and Solomon, but to the yet future kingdom of Jesus Christ. His kingdom will be an earthly kingdom, where he will rule in Jerusalem just as his forefathers did. That kingdom has not yet been established. His reign has not yet begun. But the day is coming "when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all his angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne."
What does this passage reveal about God?
It is amazing to watch how God works in the lives of men, accomplishing His will and orchestrating His divine plan. We read these stories and can't help but see the complex nature of the interactions of each individual's life with all those around him. The actions of Joseph's brothers against him were nothing short of evil. In fact, Joseph clearly told the, "you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today" (Genesis 50:20 ESV). God was at work behind the scenes, using their sinful actions to accomplish His righteous will. I am reminded of the life of Jesus, and His less-than-warm welcome at the hands of the people of Israel. He too was despised and treated harshly. He was the favored Son of His Father, but His brothers refused to accept Him for who He was. Instead, they had Him put to death. But it was all part of God's plan. God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive. That is the story of the Bible. That is the story of the redemption of mankind. And the day is coming when the story will come to an end. God's plan will be fully fulfilled and Christ's kingdom will be established. "Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world'" (Matthew 25:24 ESV).
What does this passage reveal about man?
The world is full of all kinds of people. There are those who are good, moral and right. There are others who are wicked, evil and unrighteous. Then there are those who are somewhere in the middle. And we all live on this planet together, constantly interacting with one another in a complex and sometimes confusing interplay of ideas and ideals. There is conflict and confrontation. There are battles, both literal and metaphorical. Men take advantage of one another, harm each other, mistreat one another, and yet sometimes reveal the amazing capacity to extend grace to one another. Left to our own devices, we would eventually self-destruct and destroy all that we know. But thankfully, God is in charge. He is the sovereign ruler over the universe, including the lives of all men. Joseph's brothers were just as integral to the story as he was. Had they not sold him into slavery, he would never have ended up as the second most highest ruler in the land of Egypt. And while their actions were clearly evil, God used it for good.
How would I apply what I’ve read to my own life?
There is a comfort in knowing that God is in control. It reminds me to not view life from my limited perspective. I don't know why certain events take place and why certain individuals do what they do. I can't explain the actions of others or comprehend the pain that men inflict on one another. I must constantly remind myself that God has a greater plan than I can see. And that plan, while invisible to me, is also invincible. It is unstoppable and unavoidable. His will will be done. I can rest in that fact. The dreams of Joseph were going to be fulfilled, in spite of his brothers' intentions. The promises of God to Abraham would come to pass, in spite of the actions of Jacob. The brief sojourn in Egypt on the part of the descendants of Abraham was not an unexpected detour, but simply a part of God's plan. And I must learn to view the unexpected events of my own life as just as clearly well within God's plan for my life. He is sovereign over all events, not just the ones I deem good and pleasant. I must learn to see the bigger picture of God's plan. It includes me, but does not revolve around me. I must learn to live with the greater goal in mind. There is a day coming when Christ will establish His Kingdom on earth, fulfilling the blessing of Jacob to his son, Judah, and fulfilling the promise God had made to Abraham to bless all the nations of the earth through him. That is the point of the story. That is the last chapter in the book. "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour" (Matthew 25:13 ESV). So I am to live in a constant state of readiness and anticipation, eagerly awaiting the end of the story, and not getting distracted by the subplots along the way.
Father, give me a growing peace with Your sovereignty. You are in control. You are fully in power and in completely in charge of all that goes on in this world. You are never caught off guard or surprised by the actions of men. You cannot be stopped and Your plan cannot be altered in any way. There is not reason for me to worry or fret. There is no cause for me to fear. You know exactly what You are doing, whether I can see it or understand it. Amen.