Gods amazing plan, as seen in hindsight.

Sometimes, just sometimes, we can see Gods plan for our lives as it is happening. We know that what we are doing or where we are going is what God wishes because it feels right and everything slots into its rightful place just so.

Sometimes we can use hindsight to see how Gods plan in the lives of individuals is reflected in his plan for nations and the world. The story of the creation of the Nation of Israel is just such a story.

God told Abraham that his descendants would be strangers in a land not their own and would be enslaved and mistreated there. (Gen 15:13closeGenesis 15:13 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. (ESV) closeGenesis 15:13closeGenesis 15:13 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. (ESV) 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. (ESV) ) Three generations later Jacob son of Isaac has a son called Joseph by his wife Rachel. Joseph is Jacob’s eleventh son and because Rachel is Jacobs favourite wife and the boy is good looking and well-mannered he becomes his father’s favourite. His ten older brothers become jealous of Joseph especially when their father gives him a special gift in the shape of a fine many coloured coat. (Genesis 37:3closeGenesis 37:3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors. (ESV) closeGenesis 37:3closeGenesis 37:3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors. (ESV) Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors. (ESV) )

The brothers plot against Joseph and sell him into slavery. They convince Jacob that his favourite son is dead and this knowledge breaks his heart. (Genesis 37:34-35closeGenesis 37:34-35 34 Then Jacob tore his garments and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days. 35 All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted and said, “No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” Thus his father wept for him. (ESV) closeGenesis 37:34-35closeGenesis 37:34-35 34 Then Jacob tore his garments and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days. 35 All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted and said, “No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” Thus his father wept for him. (ESV) 34 Then Jacob tore his garments and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days. 35 All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted and said, “No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” Thus his father wept for him. (ESV) )

Joseph ends up in Egypt sold into the household of Potiphar the captain of Pharaoh’s guard. Even there he has not fallen to his lowest point because after false allegations are made against him he is thrown into jail. God has given Joseph a particular talent which is the ability to interpret dreams and whilst he is in jail he is bought to the attention of Pharaoh by his cupbearer. Pharaoh has had a dream and none of his wise men and magicians can interpret it but the cupbearer who had spent time in prison with Joseph, and had his own dream interpreted favourably by Joseph (Genesis 40:12-14closeGenesis 40:12-14 12 Then Joseph said to him, “This is its interpretation: the three branches are three days. 13 In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office, and you shall place Pharaoh's cup in his hand as formerly, when you were his cupbearer. 14 Only remember me, when it is well with you, and please do me the kindness to mention me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this house. (ESV) closeGenesis 40:12-14closeGenesis 40:12-14 12 Then Joseph said to him, “This is its interpretation: the three branches are three days. 13 In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office, and you shall place Pharaoh's cup in his hand as formerly, when you were his cupbearer. 14 Only remember me, when it is well with you, and please do me the kindness to mention me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this house. (ESV) 12 Then Joseph said to him, “This is its interpretation: the three branches are three days. 13 In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office, and you shall place Pharaoh's cup in his hand as formerly, when you were his cupbearer. 14 Only remember me, when it is well with you, and please do me the kindness to mention me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this house. (ESV) ), remembers Joseph and he is also able to interpret Pharaoh’s dream.

The result of this is that Joseph is made Chancellor of Egypt, the Prime Minister and Pharaoh’s right hand man. He is given great authority and under his charge Egypt has food security during seven years of famine.

The famine that strikes Egypt also affects Canaan and Jacob sends ten of his sons into Egypt to buy food. There they have to speak to Joseph to ask for permission to buy the food and whilst they do not recognise him he knows who they are. The result is that after some machinations Joseph persuades Jacob (Israel) and his eleven sons, their wives, children and household staff to come and live in Egypt.

Eventually Joseph dies and a Pharaoh becomes king who does not remember what Joseph did for Egypt. The descendants of Jacob (Israel) become slaves to the Egyptians just as God predicted to Abraham way back in Genesis 15:13closeGenesis 15:13 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. (ESV) closeGenesis 15:13closeGenesis 15:13 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. (ESV) 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. (ESV) .

So now in hindsight we can see the reason that this all happens. We can see God’s plan in action.

In Genesis 46:3-4closeGenesis 46:3-4 Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph's hand shall close your eyes.” (ESV) closeGenesis 46:3-4closeGenesis 46:3-4 Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph's hand shall close your eyes.” (ESV) Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph's hand shall close your eyes.” (ESV) God speaks to Jacob (Israel) and tells him that he will make his descendants into a great nation, and he will bring them out of Egypt again. So we can see that God adopts this whole story of Jacob and Joseph in order to change a small nomadic tribe of shepherds into a nation. The process takes 430 years and during it the nomadic shepherds multiply into over 600,000 people. They learn new skills, building, metal working, administration, art, design, formal worship and soldiering, and they learn about their God and His significance in their lives and the world.

Eventually it’s time to return to their own land and in order to achieve this God raises up a leader called Moses. He is a man who has been trained by the Egyptians as an expert administrator and soldier. From a very early age he is used to wielding authority, and to complete his training for the job he spends a number of years learning the skills of a shepherd.

The story of the Exodus of the descendants of Israel (Jacob) fills one whole book of The Bible and in it they adopt a new system of worship, new regulations for living, new leadership and conquer the land wherein their forefathers originated. God is truly great!

So now the nation of Israel is formed and God has created His chosen people. ‘Chosen’ as the people from whom will be produced just two righteous people, one man and one woman, who are in the right place with The Creator God to bring into the world Immanuel (God with us, Matthew 1:23closeMatthew 1:23 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). (ESV)
closeMatthew 1:23closeMatthew 1:23 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). (ESV)
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). (ESV)
) 28 generations later. God is truly great and His plan is perfect!

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