“These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family: Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah; Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin; Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher. The descendants of Jacob numbered seventy in all; Joseph was already in Egypt. Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, but the Israelites were exceedingly fruitful; they multiplied greatly, increased in numbers and became so numerous that the land was filled with them.” (Exodus 1:1–7, NIV)
This is the beginning of the exciting story of God’s rescue of his people from Egypt. The beginning is a reminder of the first part of the history of God’s people as told in Genesis. So what can we learn from these few verses? A lot!
Importance of Genealogies or Lists of Descendants
- To establish historicity- God knew there would be those who would doubt the Bible and what is written in it. This is written as a historical account, not a fairy tale.
- As a reminder of God’s faithfulness to his people that started in Genesis- the seventy that started in Genesis became many as God told Abraham
- A smooth continuation of Genesis- Moses, the author of both books, wants to be sure you remember the background that leads to Exodus. These verses are a bridge between Genesis and Exodus. They remind us what happened in the last chapters of Genesis.
- A foreshadowing of how God will lead the descendants into the promised land and divide it up among the descendants of Jacob as he promised.
- Gives the desperate slaves who felt forgotten by God a sense of their place in history and worth and dignity through their history as people blessed by God.
We learn that Joseph, the man responsible for bringing his relatives into Egypt died, along with all of his generation. But after his death came an abundance of life through his offspring and those of his brothers.
There is a transition from the old to the new, the passing of the promise to a new generation. Joseph and his generation died. But God doesn’t let his promises die with them. But the new generation will have new challenges to face. Were they ready? Only the older generation could have prepared them for what was to come. How are you preparing the next generation?
Key word- Abundantly
Look at all the terms used to describe the abundance of the descendants of Abraham in the land:
- exceedingly fruitful
- multiplied greatly
- increased in numbers
- became so numerous
- land was filled with them
When God makes a promise he goes all in!! Their is no mistaking the hand of God!
God wants to remind us that he is the one with the power to create and multiply. He is a God of blessing.
“God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”” (Genesis 1:28, NIV)
See also: “And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:20–21, NIV)
Blessings from God are abundance and growth. God kept his word to Abraham to grow his descendants as stars in the sky.(Genesis 15:5) But this blessing will cause what seems like problems for this numerous people. Come back for our next lesson.
Jesus is our abundance. The place of his birth was named for fruitfulness. Bethlehem Ephrathah is our Savior’s birthplace. Ephrathah means abundance or fruitfulness. Jesus is our source of abundant life.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10, NIV)
But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them. Exodus 1:7