Do Not Be Afraid
Dr. Tony Chute, Lead Pastor
Overview: The story of Joseph is part of a larger narrative about God’s faithfulness to the patriarch Jacob, also known as Israel. Near the end of his life and in the midst of a devastating famine, Jacob is instructed to go to Egypt. Jacob is understandably concerned, but his fears are relieved as he stops at Beersheba to worship the Lord, who promises to be with him wherever he goes. God’s faithfulness is evident already as Israel’s family has grown to seventy persons, and it becomes more apparent as Joseph has prepared for his family to dwell in Goshen, where they will be able to live in peace. Even though Jacob describes the years of his life as “few and evil,” and his family no longer resides in the promised land, God’s provision is more than sufficient, and the future is far superior to what he could hope for in this lifetime.
01. God’s people have no reason to fear because God is with us in every circumstance.
02. God’s people have no reason to fear because God has proven Himself faithful over time.
03. God’s people have no reason to fear because God distinguishes His people from the world.
04. God’s people have no reason to fear because God promises a future of eternal blessing.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION & DISCOVERY
1. How old was Jacob when he was told to go to Egypt? What concerns would have crossed his mind as he contemplated moving from the Promised Land at that stage in life? How did the Lord alleviate these concerns? Are you concerned about changes at the stage of life you are in now?
2. Note the list of Jacob’s descendants in Genesis 46:8-27. How does the number correspond to the list of nations in Genesis 10? What does this indicate about God’s faithfulness to make Abraham into a great nation (Genesis 12:1-3)? In what ways does God’s past faithfulness help increase your faith today?
3. Why did Joseph arrange for his family to live in Goshen? What problems might they have faced with the Egyptians, given their background and occupation? How did their location further demonstrate God’s blessing to His people (Genesis 47:11-12)? In what ways has the Lord blessed you recently?
4. Jacob describes his years as being “few and evil” (Genesis 47:9). What examples from his life demonstrate the truthfulness of this statement? What examples from his life challenge his statement? When thinking over your own life, are you more apt to focus on the difficulties you have faced or the blessings you have received?
5. What is Jacob’s final request to Joseph as he nears the end of his life (Genesis 47:29-31)? What does this request reveal about Jacob and Joseph’s understanding of God’s continued faithfulness in the life to come? Do you think of heaven often enough to motivate you to trust God now?
For Further Reading: J. I. Packer, Finishing Our Course with Joy: Guidance from God for Engaging with Our Aging (Crossway, 2014)