Abraham’s descendants prosper. God protects Joseph in Egypt
JEHOVAH knew that the One dearest to him would have to suffer and die someday. The prophecy recorded at Genesis 3:15 hinted at that truth. Could God convey to mankind just how dearly that death would cost him? The Bible supplies a living illustration. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac.
Abraham had great faith. Remember, God had promised him that the foretold Deliverer, or Seed, would descend from Isaac. Trusting that God would resurrect Isaac if need be, Abraham was obediently going to sacrifice his own son. But an angel from God stopped Abraham just in time. Praising Abraham for his willingness to offer up what was most precious to him, God repeated His promises to the faithful patriarch.
Later, Isaac had two sons, Esau and Jacob. Unlike Esau, Jacob appreciated spiritual things and was rewarded. God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, and Israel’s 12 sons became the heads of the tribes of Israel. But how did that family turn into a great nation?
A chain of events was set in motion when most of those sons got jealous of their younger brother Joseph. They sold him as a slave, and he was taken off to Egypt. But God blessed that faithful and brave young man. Despite terrible hardships, Joseph eventually was singled out by Pharaoh, the Egyptian ruler, and given great authority. That was timely, for a famine caused Jacob to send some of his sons to Egypt to buy foodstuffs—and Joseph, it turned out, was in charge of all the food! After a dramatic reunion with his repentant brothers, Joseph forgave them and arranged for the whole family to move to Egypt. They were given prime land, where they could continue to grow and prosper. Joseph understood that God had arranged matters in that way in order to fulfill His promises.
Aged Jacob lived out his days in Egypt, surrounded by his growing family. On his deathbed, he foretold that the promised Seed, or Deliverer, would be a powerful Ruler who would be born in the family line of his son Judah. Before his own death years later, Joseph prophesied that one day God would take Jacob’s family out of Egypt.
—Based on Genesis chapters 20 to 50; Hebrews 11:17-22.