GOD will LEAD us SAFELY to our ‘PROMISED LAND’
January 16 Bible Reading: Genesis Chapters 46-48
So Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. Then God spoke to Israel in the visions of the night, and said, "Jacob, Jacob!" And he said, "Here I am." So He said, "I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will put his hand on your eyes." (Gen. 46:1-4)
God has a master itinerary for each of His children that describe a definite course to take during the journey of life. For Jacob, his move down to Egypt towards the end of his life’s journey was part of God’s grand heavenly design for him. To confirm His approval of this move to Egypt, God repeated to Jacob in a personal encounter the essence of the Abrahamic Covenant (vv. 3-4). This encounter was the last of God’s seven appearances to Jacob during his lifetime!
Jacob’s journey to Egypt thus began a 430-year sojourn away from the Promised Land of Canaan. Jacob entered Egypt with his twelve sons, including Joseph; and 430 years later Jacob’s descendants (the Israelites) would leave Egypt as a small nation. How truly this promise was fulfilled, appears in the fact that a total of just 70 people (Gen. 46:26-27) who went down into Egypt increased exponentially (Exo. 1:5-7) in the space of about 215 years to over 180, 000 people.
On his way to Egypt, Jacob stopped the caravan at the historic Beersheba to worship the God of his father Isaac. This was the place where God had appeared to Abraham in connection with the offering of Isaac (21:33–22:2), the place where God had appeared to Isaac (26:23-25), and also near the place that God had initially appeared to Jacob (28:10–15). Not only did God ratify his relocation to Egypt as part of His purpose for him, but God also promised to go down to Egypt with him and to be close by his side until his last breath. Jacob would die in the presence of his beloved son Joseph, who would close his father’s eyes at the time of his death. The expression “Joseph will put his hand on your eyes” predicted a peaceful death for Jacob. God’s further promise that Jacob would return to Canaan would be literally fulfilled when his body would later be taken back to Canaan for burial, and, in a sense, when his descendants would return to Canaan during the days of Joshua.
However, it would not be easy for Jacob, who was now 130 years old, to leave the land that God had given him and go down to Egypt. But Jacob was able to go with confidence and peace because he was assured of God’s promise and presence. Through God’s final appearance to Jacob, He virtually renewed the Abrahamic covenant and assured Jacob to bless him and his descendants in the future. Jacob’s prayer concerning his son Joseph was also answered, and any doubts and misgivings about going down to Egypt (Gen. 15:13; 26:2) were thus cleared up. God promised to be with His people—even in a foreign land!
Let us never forget that God charts our route through life according to His sovereign purposes for us. In the crisis hours of our life, when we take time to worship God like Jacob did, God will speak to us and assures us that the path we are taking is acceptable to Him. He will lead us all the way through life as our Good Shepherd as He did with Jacob (see Gen. 48:15). We can trust our all-knowing God to take us safely through our unknown future, and follow Him in love and obedience every step of the way in our life’s journey. Be assured, God will lead us safely to our Promised Land!