Death and Growth

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

Genesis 50:26 (NIV)
So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt.

Genesis 50:26 (MSG)
Joseph died at the age of 110 years. They embalmed him and placed him in a coffin in Egypt.
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“So Joseph died, being a hundred and ten years old; and they embalmed him and he was put [a]in a coffin in Egypt.” -AMPLIFIED

Genesis began with the Creation of everything, including life, and ends here with death. Not just one death, but two, Jacob’s and Joseph’s. And just as Jacob’s body had been preserved; so too was Joseph’s. But Joseph’s was not carried immediately back to Canaan as his fathers’ was; but instead, we find that it resided in his adopted home of Egypt until the Israelites took their leave in the Exodus.

Let us consider something; there is a 300 year stretch between the ending of Genesis and the beginning of Exodus. That is a long stretch of time for the children and grandchildren of Jacob to continue to reside as refugees in Egypt. Remember, the famine was only to last 7 years; throw in a few years for everyone to get back on their feet; the stay in Egypt ended up being a whole lot longer than they had anticipated. In fact, it was actually over before Jacob died; for he lived 17 years after arriving in Egypt. One must think that he wanted to end his days near his son Joseph.

Remember, Joseph started working for Pharaoh at the age of 30 (see Genesis 41:46). This would have been at the beginning of the seven years of plenty. We can figure that he was 37 years old when the 7 years of famine began and it would have ended when he was 44. We may wonder what he did from the age of 44 till the time when he died at the ripe old age of 110. Scripture does not tell us, but considering his status in Egypt we can assume that he was still an honored man and he lived well.

Let us look at the opening verses of Exodus to gain an understanding of what happened in the transition period after the death of Joseph. “These are the names of the Israelites who went to Egypt with Jacob, each bringing his family members: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. Seventy persons in all generated by Jacob’s seed. Joseph was already in Egypt. Then Joseph died, and all his brothers—that whole generation. But the children of Israel kept on reproducing. They were very prolific—a population explosion in their own right—and the land was filled with them. A new king came to power in Egypt who didn’t know Joseph. He spoke to his people in alarm, “There are way too many of these Israelites for us to handle. We’ve got to do something: Let’s devise a plan to contain them, lest if there’s a war they should join our enemies, or just walk off and leave us.” -Exodus 1:1-10 (MSG)

During that transitional period, Israel was left with a mummy and a hope that Jehovah would allow them once again to return to Canaan. Times went from good to bad; whereas once they had found favor, to now they were a despised people. The days of prosperity were finished and the days of hard labor were upon them. Two words can describe this period: death and growth. The sons of Jacob slowly died off, as well as the generation of their children and grandchildren, but we find that they were very prolific people (the Message Version) and there was a population explosion among the Israelites.

God’s hand was upon them; just as it is upon us. We all go through times of prosperity and blessing, as well as times of testing and trial. We will see as we begin the book of Exodus that this time of testing was a time of growth for the children of Israel; not just in numbers, but spiritually as well. Let us remember to give God thanks in every season of our lives.

My Prayer:
Lord, thank you that your hand is continuously on your children. At no moment is your eye off of me. This gives me comfort, peace and a sense of security. Help me to give you thanks in every season of my life; in the times of prosperity and blessing, as well as the times of testing and trial. No matter what happens in my life, you are still God and nothing will ever change that fact. I will praise you for who you are, God.

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