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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

God's Education

is worth the tuition.

Genesis 49:28–50:3 (ESV)

All these are the twelve tribes of Israel. This is what their father said to them as he blessed them, blessing each with the blessing suitable to him. Then he commanded them and said to them, “I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave that is in the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place. There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife. There they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah—the field and the cave that is in it were bought from the Hittites.” When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people.

Then Joseph fell on his father's face and wept over him and kissed him. And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel. Forty days were required for it, for that is how many are required for embalming. And the Egyptians wept for him seventy days.

Jacob knows they will be returning to Canaan. God told him so back in Chapter 46.

Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph's hand shall close your eyes.” — Genesis 46:3–4 (ESV)

And that’s just reaffirming God’s original promise made to him at Bethel.

“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” — Genesis 28:15 (ESV)

So, Jacob knows he will rest with his fathers. Despite his love for Rachel, Jacob does not choose to be buried with her. He will be buried in the cave at Machpelah.

Jacob has learned his lesson well. His will is now totally aligned with God’s covenant.

Just think how expensive Jacob’s “school of hard knocks” education was. It’s been a long road—half the book of Genesis. (Esau sold his birthright to Jacob in Chapter 25.) Many people have suffered—Jacob more than anyone—but in the end, he gets it.

Character development is a constant theme in the Old Testament. All these terrible things happen, but they’re always about someone’s development. Growing saints seems to take priority over everything else.

Of course, this goes nuclear in the New Testament—with God Himself paying an enormous price for our growth—but for now, let’s consider how God’s education is worth the tuition. If our growth is one of the principal things that matters, then any pain and suffering is worth it.

Can you see that in your own life?

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These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. Saturdays' by Matt Richardson. Subscribe here:

The weekly study guides, which include questions for discussion or meditation, are here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NASB stands for the New American Standard Bible. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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