Genesis 46:3 “I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there.”
New places and new experiences can be scary. Here again God is making it clear to Jacob/Israel that He is the same God who has spoken to him before, because polytheism was the order of the day. The interesting thing is, in the process of Jacob’s descendants becoming a great nation, they would experience great hardship. God didn’t mention that! Often it’s better that we not know what we’re going to have to go through to reach the goals that God sets out for us, because if we did, we’d turn back. Here, the rest of Jacob’s personal life was very easy, above anything he had experienced up to then; it was his descendants who had the rough stuff. We have no way of knowing whether he would have hesitated had he known, but the point is, he didn’t need to know. We often think we would like to know the future, but it would really mess up a great deal if we did! The point is trusting obedience. We often suffer more in the anticipation of rough stuff than we do from the actual experience. The Bible is filled with admonitions not to be anxious, along with the many instructions not to fear (which are the theme of the readings at this point). The better we believe and trust God, the more enjoyable our lives will be. Since we live in a fallen world we are going to go through rough stuff, just as Jesus said, (John 16:33) but if we really trust Him, we can have peace and joy in the process.
This is very timely, since Cathy and I are going through something of a rough patch right now in relation to her health. “What if” scenarios pop into our minds all too easily, robbing us of peace. The thing is, whatever happens, we can be assured of God’s love, support and protection, and the eternal salvation that is prepared for us. Even writing that triggers thoughts of, “But I want her with me here now.” That’s true, and I have no reason to think that she will be taken away from me at this point, but the devil seeks to steal, kill, and destroy, and his prime target is our minds. I’ve got to submit myself fully to God so that I may resist the devil on all fronts, denying him any territory and making him flee from me. (James 4:7)
Father, thank You for this reminder. You are taking us into new territory on several levels, and I need to rejoice in anticipation. Thank You that You are bringing new people to the church. Thank You for the one man who seems to have decided to plant himself here, and for the couple who visited yesterday from Nagasaki City. It’s a bit of a drive for them, but I think they encountered You here. Thank You for Your schedule for this week. Help me not miss any of the appointments You have for me, so that Your purposes may be accomplished on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!