There is no doubt that I have learnt so many lessons today, but two of them have left a stronger imprint in my mind.
First is a statement that he quoted from John Walton's Genesis, NIV Application Commentary. It refers to the time when Jacob and his entire household was to move into Egypt in order to survive the great famine, and I quote, "the time in Egypt is not an interruption of the covenant but an incubation of the covenant people."
I love the word "incubation". It reminds of certain periods of my life when all is quiet and peaceful only to have problems and troubles piling in one after another. God gives us times and periods of incubation. I am reminded that I must use these times to enjoy the presence and the holiness of God, and then I can stand strong beneath his wings when trials come, which will definitely come in this broken world. I can even say that life here on earth is like an incubator for us to grow in God and be fed by his goodness and his Word before we are reunited with him in his full presence in the day to come.
Moreover, Hughes highlighted that "astonishingly, Israel would not become a great nation in the land of promise but on the pagan Nile!" Even so for the Christians in this broken world of ours, where hatred, revenge, murders, lies and slanders thrive.
The second truth that I am now holding close to my heart refers to when Joseph invites his brothers into his home for a meal, when his brothers have not yet realised who Joseph really was. Hughes was quoting Westermann, "the meal was not just an expression of communion (Gemeinschaft), but engenders and preserves this commonality. The acceptance of a guest into the fellowship of the meal is therefore simultaneously the granting of participation in one's own existence" (Claus Westermann, Joseph: Eleven Bible Studies on Genesis, 1996).
I shall remember this the next time I attend the Lord's Supper and with that I look forward with hope to be eating with my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ in the marriage supper of the Lamb.
Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. (Rev 19:9)