Is Your Memory Bank Underfunded?

Some time later Joseph was told, “Your father is ill.” So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim along with him. 2 When Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come to you,” Israel rallied his strength and sat up on the bed.

3 Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and there he blessed me 4 and said to me, ‘I am going to make you fruitful and increase your numbers. I will make you a community of peoples, and I will give this land as an everlasting possession to your descendants after you.’ Genesis 48:1-4

Jacob was 147 years old and on his death bed. He was losing his eyesight, but the memory of what God had promised him was still as vivid as ever. The Lord reinforced the promise a couple of times until it was in his memory bank for good.

What’s in your memory bank about God’s promises? Do you have such a memory of what God has promised? The memory could very well have been just for you and not for public consumption. Those memories come from prayer and Scripture meditation.

I’m not sure who said it first, but this still applies: “Never doubt in the dark what God told you in the light.

In other words, you may need to reach back into that memory bank at some point in your life to pull out those nuggets of wisdom and comfort during times of gloom and despair.

If you haven’t done so already, begin cultivating and adding to that memory bank. Memorize. Memorize, and Meditate.

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Only Passing Through

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. Genesis 47:28-31

Why was it important to Jacob to be buried in Canaan? Was it mere sentimentality or something deeper?

W.M. Taylor, D.D. put it this way in BibleHub:

The land of Canaan was his by God’s covenant. He had not yet obtained it. For aught that he could see, he was to die without entering on its possession; but even in his death he would show that he still believed that his children would have its ownership, and therefore he made Joseph swear that he would bury him in the sepulchre of his fathers. Nor was this all. He wanted his sons and his descendants to know that Egypt was not their rest. He desired to fix their minds on Canaan, and to fan in their hearts the desire to return thither when God should open up the way.

In other words, Egypt wasn’t Jacob’s home nor was it their home. They were promised another land.

We too as Believers have been promised another home. The world we live in, it’s not our home. God has something much better in store for us. Those of us who live in the West don’t have it too bad as far as life goes. But for many around the world, heaven will be a very welcome change.

While we don’t know much about it, we do know that it will be infinitely better than what we’re experiencing here, even for us who live in the West.

Think heavenly thoughts today. We’re only passing through.

Therefore, since you have been raised with Christ, strive for the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3

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A Blessed People

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. Genesis 47:26-27

Having the blessing of both Joseph and Pharaoh enable the Israelites to prosper. They didn’t have to worry about where they would find food in the middle of a famine. It would be easy to take that kind of blessing for granted because there was no struggle for it.

This is just so true of those in the West today. We don’t struggle and we forget that billions of people don’t have it so easy. We often neglect to give God the thanks for even the simple things in life.

Take a moment today to count those blessings. We have it really good here, and we are a blessed people.

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In Those Desperate Times

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.” Genesis 47:13-25

Joseph was a shrewd businessman. From this passage alone, you could make the case that he was cold and calculated. He knew that he had people over a barrel. They wanted food but they would have to pay dearly for it.

Of course Pharaoh was becoming enormously wealthy.

Notice at the end, though, the people were willing (and eager) to be in bondage to Pharaoh. That is both troubling and rewarding.

On the one hand, they were grateful to be alive. On the other hand, though, they were selling themselves into slavery. Joseph wasn’t turning them down either.

When their back was up against the wall, they were willing to do anything just to stay alive.

Most reading this can recall a time in their life that their back was against the wall, and you were in very desperate times. I know I can remember a few of those times.

You worried, fretted, cried a bit, cried out to God a lot, struggled with depression and discouragement, and just were not pleasant to be around. In fact, some of you reading this may be experiencing this kind of desperation right now. It’s a difficult place to be in, but certainly not impossible.

Know this: your experience is not alone. Everyone reading this has been through similar scenarios. Of course they are all different but the feeling of helplessness and despair, well, we’ve all felt it.

Your break will come. Hang in there and reach out to someone you know. Let them know where you are. Your break will come.

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The Epitome of Grace

11 So Joseph settled his father and his brothers in Egypt and gave them property in the best part of the land, the district of Rameses, as Pharaoh directed. 12 Joseph also provided his father and his brothers and all his father’s household with food, according to the number of their children. Genesis 47:11-12

Finally Joseph was able to setting his family in Egypt. It wouldn’t be a permanent home, but they could stay there as long as they desired. They had Pharoah’s blessing to do just that. It was an offer they couldn’t refuse when they were in the midst of a famine.

I can’t help but think that Joseph’s brothers probably continued to sleep with an eye open, wondering when Joseph was going to lay down the law and do something drastic to his family. If the tables were turned, that’s what they would do if they were in Joseph’s shoes. They would make a mockery of the brothers and do what they could to destroy them. How do I know this? If they did it once and never really owned up to it, then there was nothing to prevent them from doing it again.

But God gave Joseph a tremendous amount of grace for the day. Deceit and guile wasn’t in Joseph’s DNA. Sure, he had a bit of fun with them at first, but it never got too serious.

No, Joseph laid out the red carpet for his family though the brothers didn’t deserve it at all.

It’s a simple picture of God’s love for us. We did not deserve any of His grace, but he poured it out abundantly in Jesus Christ.

We could not have gone on alone.

We needed a Savior.

We needed Christ more than we know we needed Him.

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