God’s Faithfulness

God’s Faithfulness January 18, 2023

Scripture:       

Genesis, chapters 44-46; Luke, chapter 18

Genesis 46:1-7 (NLT):

So Jacob set out for Egypt with all his possessions. And when he came to Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father, Isaac. During the night God spoke to him in a vision.  “Jacob! Jacob!” he called.  “Here I am,” Jacob replied.

“I am God, the God of your father,” the voice said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation. I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again. You will die in Egypt, but Joseph will be with you to close your eyes.”

So Jacob left Beersheba, and his sons took him to Egypt. They carried him and their little ones and their wives in the wagons Pharaoh had provided for them. They also took all their livestock and all the personal belongings they had acquired in the land of Canaan. So Jacob and his entire family went to Egypt – sons and grandsons, daughters and granddaughters – all his descendants.

Observations:

For years, Jacob had lived in grief over his son Joseph. As far as Jacob knew, Joseph was dead – mauled by a wild animal.  His ten older sons had fostered that impression by bringing Joseph’s coat back to Jacob, dipped in sheep’s blood. They had sold Joseph as a slave because they were jealous of him, and needed some story to cover that up. As we saw yesterday, they had lived with their guilt over all those years – and Jacob lived with the grief.

But as we read in today’s passage, the truth is revealed.  Joseph is not only alive; he is second-in-command of the entire land of Egypt! God has protected Joseph and brought him into power to protect his family.  When he disclosed his identity to his brothers, Joseph said: “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place.  It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives” (45:4-5).

So off they went, back to Canaan to get Jacob, Benjamin, and all of their families to come to Egypt. “Jacob was stunned at the news – he couldn’t believe it” (45:26). But when he saw all of the gifts Joseph had sent, he realized that “it must be true!” (45:28).

God’s Faithfulness

As they made their way to Egypt, the group stopped at Beersheba. Jacob’s family had a long history with Beersheba. After Isaac’s birth, Abraham made a treaty with Abimelech at Beersheba, and “there he worshiped the Lord, the Eternal God” (Genesis 21:33).  Later, after Abraham died, the Lord appeared to Isaac at Beersheba to confirm the covenant He had made with Abraham (Genesis 26:23-25).  So when Jacob and his group stopped in Beersheba, it was like coming “home” – both physically and spiritually.

While they were there, God spoke to him in a vision.  This was the same God who spoke to Jacob when he was on his way to Paddan-Aram all those years before. God had promised to bless him and his descendants; now, years later, he had a group of seventy in his family.  God had indeed blessed Jacob!  And now God was speaking to him again: Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation.

God had promised to bless Jacob and his descendants, and he had.  Jacob was now leaving the land that God had promised to give them.  But God told him not to be afraid, that God would be with him – and that God would bring his family back to the land of promise. You will die in Egypt – but I will ultimately bring your family back home.  And that’s exactly what God did!

Application:

We are prisoners of time.  That’s unavoidable, because we live in time.  But God is not a prisoner of time; God rules over time.  When God promised Jacob all those years before to bless him and his descendants, He didn’t do it immediately.  But what we see in this passage is God’s faithfulness.  In other words, when God says that he will do something, it’s as good as done.

Through the ensuing years, God was always at work. He blessed Jacob with a family (as dysfunctional as that family was at times). God provided Jacob with flocks and herds.  He protected him and led him back to Canaan – the land that God had first promised to his grandfather Abraham, and then to his father Isaac. And even in the years that Joseph was gone, God was at work – even though Jacob didn’t realize it.

We all face situations and circumstances that test us. The enemy comes along and tries to sow doubt and fear in our hearts. But we need to continue to trust in God’s faithfulness. The same God who promised Abraham was with Isaac, and Jacob, and Joseph.  He was with Moses and Joshua. And He will be with you!

Prayer:

Father, thank you for reminding us of your faithfulness today.  In our minds, we know that you are faithful, but at times our hearts need to be reminded as well. When we start to doubt, remind us of Jacob, and Joseph, and your faithfulness to them. You are the same today as you were then, and you will be the same through all of our tomorrows. Help us to not be afraid to “go down to Egypt,” whatever that may mean for us – because you go with us.  Amen.

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