Unchanging and Everlasting Love

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Genesis 49:24-50:1924But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:) 25Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: 26The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren. 27Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil. 28All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them. 29And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a buryingplace. 31There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah. 32The purchase of the field and of the cave that is therein was from the children of Heth. 33And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people. 1And Joseph fell upon his father's face, and wept upon him, and kissed him. 2And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel. 3And forty days were fulfilled for him; for so are fulfilled the days of those which are embalmed: and the Egyptians mourned for him threescore and ten days. 4And when the days of his mourning were past, Joseph spake unto the house of Pharaoh, saying, If now I have found grace in your eyes, speak, I pray you, in the ears of Pharaoh, saying, 5My father made me swear, saying, Lo, I die: in my grave which I have digged for me in the land of Canaan, there shalt thou bury me. Now therefore let me go up, I pray thee, and bury my father, and I will come again. 6And Pharaoh said, Go up, and bury thy father, according as he made thee swear. 7And Joseph went up to bury his father: and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, 8And all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father's house: only their little ones, and their flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen. 9And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen: and it was a very great company. 10And they came to the threshingfloor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation: and he made a mourning for his father seven days. 11And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians: wherefore the name of it was called Abel-mizraim, which is beyond Jordan. 12And his sons did unto him according as he commanded them: 13For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a buryingplace of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre. 14And Joseph returned into Egypt, he, and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father. 15And when Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him. 16And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, 17So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. 18And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. 19And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? (Genesis 49:24‑50:19)
Those wonderful words, spoken to Joseph, refer to the Lord Jesus, “From thence is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel.” He is both the Good Shepherd (John 10:1111I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. (John 10:11)) and the Corner Stone of God’s building (Ephesians 2:2020And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; (Ephesians 2:20)). If you are unsaved, dear reader, you are like a lost sheep in the wilderness, and the Good Shepherd is seeking you. Do not run away from Him any longer, but let Him save you and put you on His mighty shoulders now. He will carry you all the way home, and you will be able to say like David of old, “The Lord is my Shepherd” (Psalm 23:11<<A Psalm of David.>> The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1)). Then, too, you need a solid foundation on which to build, and the Lord Jesus is the Living Stone (1 Peter 2:4). Do not build on anything of your own doings, for if you do, it will all tumble in the storm which is soon going to break upon this dark world. How much better to be able to say, “On Christ the solid Rock I stand.”
The Promised Blessing
The promised blessing was to go to “the utmost bound of the everlasting hills,” and this looks on to the time when Christ will reign over this whole world. The blessings of His kingdom will extend beyond the land of Israel (where it will be in its fullness) to the ends of the earth. This is what we com­monly call the millennium.
After blessing his twelve sons Jacob died. Joseph mourned and wept for a long time. He did not know, as we do now, that death for the believer is to be “absent from the body, present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). This was a special revelation given to Paul, and now we do not sorrow as Joseph did. We know that the sting of death is gone through the work of Christ, and that our loved ones, who have died in Christ, are with Him which is far better. (Philippians 1:2323For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: (Philippians 1:23)) They wait for His coming up there while we wait here, and then we, with all the Old Testament saints, will receive bodies of glory just like Christ’s.
As soon as Joseph’s father had died, Joseph had the Egyptians embalm his body. Then he, with a great company of others, took it up to the land of Canaan for burial as his father had requested.
Fear Not
Joseph’s brothers were afraid as soon as their father had died, for they thought perhaps Joseph had only been kind to them for his father’s sake, and that now he would punish them for their naughtiness. They decided to go to him, therefore, and tell him that their father had requested, before he died, that Joseph forgive them for all they had done to him. This made Joseph feel very badly, and he cried while they were speaking to him. How little they knew of his love toward them, and yet how keenly he felt it when they doubted it. This can be a lesson to us, dear young believers, for we should never doubt the Lord’s love to us, because it never changes. It is an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:33The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. (Jeremiah 31:3)), unaltered by all our failures and short-comings. Of course if we go on in sinful ways, we will not enjoy His love to us, but the moment we confess our sins we will receive, as Joseph’s brothers did, fresh assurances of His ever-continuing love and care. Joseph said, “Fear not!” Those oft-repeated words are always sweet to our souls. Our sins might well make us fear, if we did not know the grace which has abounded over them all and brought us into favor in the Beloved, through the work of Calvary (Ephesians 1:66To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (Ephesians 1:6)).
Further Meditation
1. Why were Joseph’s brothers afraid after their father died?
2. Do you have any idea how many times the Lord chose to repeat those wonderful words “Fear not”? Take a concordance and prepare to be encouraged.
3. If you haven’t read it yet, you’d really be encouraged by the pamphlet Fear Not by H. H. Snell. It’s brief and well worth your time.