“I don’t care! We’re going!” Ever said it? Mhmm I have. With colorful determination, on more than one occasion. Like last winter when I was super excited to go with Kreg to a Monsanto Seed Conference (A.K.A. a 24 hour mommy getaway). Not that I was excited about spending hours in a conference room listening to things I really didn’t understand. No, No. I had plans and let me assure you they did not involve a conference room. Though good food, HGTV, and a new book were absolutely on the agenda.
Devotional Scripture: Genesis 46:1-27
Key Verse: “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11
But when the day arrived the roads were slicker than snot. Somehow a whole lot of fog had turned into a whole lot of ice. (I know. Ridiculous.) But we were STILL GOING. A little ice was not going to stop me from enjoying 24 hours free of children. Though you’d think I would have taken a hint when it took us fifteen minutes just to safely drive to Kreg’s parents house. A mere two miles down the road – to drop off those lovely children – who now had the day off school.
But I was determined. And utterly dismayed when the Monsanto representative called a few minutes later to inform us the whole thing was indeed cancelled. “What? But why?”
Mmmhmm. Sadly from the get go I had absolutely no intention of praying about whether or not we should go. I just wanted to go! Which is exactly the mindset I would have pictured Jacob in after finding out Joseph was still alive. “Pack it up boys. We are out of here!”
But instead of hightailing it straight to Egypt because nothing and no one was going to stop him from getting to his boy! Jacob (called Israel in this segment because of his remarkable faithfulness) heads to Beersheba to offer sacrifices and seek the LORD just as Abraham and Isaac had done at Beersheba years before.
Just let that sink in for a moment…in spite of the excitement and urgency Jacob must have felt to go and get there and be with Joseph – he stopped to worship the LORD and seek his will. (Anyone else need this today?)
He checked to make sure it was ok because many years before when Isaac had tried to go to Egypt during a famine, God had said no. And when Abraham went it caused problems we are still dealing with today (Hagar and Ishmael and the unrest among certain Arab nations).
But wouldn’t you know, this time, God said yes! “Jacob, Jacob…Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation” (v. 3). It was absolutely, without a doubt, no question God’s will for Jacob to take his family to Egypt.
It not only fulfilled the prophecy God had spoken to Abraham (Genesis 15) and protected Jacob and his family from perishing in the famine. But allowed them to grow in a protected environment from seventy persons (v. 27) to a multitude likely numbering in the millions. (cf. Exodus 1:7)
God had a plan and it was so much bigger than Jacob and Joseph and Judah and the rest of them. It went well beyond their survival and emotional reunion. It was about a people He would form a covenant with. And dwell among. And lead and love and lavish with blessing. A people He would make into a nation. A people He would use as a vessel to bring blessing to all the families of the earth through the birth and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In reality it was not about them at all; it was about Jesus. Who is before all things and holds all things together and whom all things were created through and for (Col. 1:16-17). And who redeems and reconciles us to God by “making peace by the blood of his cross” (Col. 1:20).
And the moment we realize life’s not about us but about Jesus, is the moment we’ll really start living. Because until we recognize his sovereignty in our lives, we won’t surrender to his will.
Which is exactly what Jacob did when he made a pit stop in Beersheba to worship God. (In my opinion, one of the finest moments of his life.) I have no doubt he wanted to go to Egypt. His boy was there. The firstborn of his beloved Rachel. But I wholeheartedly believe if God had said no that day; If God had said “You can go, but I won’t go with you,” Jacob would have stayed right where he was. Smack dab in the middle of a famine stricken Canaan.
Because he now understood God’s will was better than his own. He recognized God’s sovereignty in his life and that of his family. And no matter how desperate he wanted to lay his hands on Joseph if it wasn’t God’s will, he wasn’t going.
This is the goal my friend, to surrender to God’s will with dignity and determination, no matter how badly we long for something. No matter how much we think we need it. To stop and ask God is the mark of a true follower of Christ. Because we know he won’t lead us astray. He might lead us down paths and through streams and up mountains we never thought we could go; never thought we could get through. But never astray.
Yet we struggle to seek God first. Afraid of what he might say. Afraid of what he might make us do. Certain if we surrender, by this time next year, we’ll be taking up residence in a paper box or a remote African village. (Am I right?)
But we don’t need to be afraid. God’s will is good. God’s will is best. God’s will is a life worth living. It’s where we experience His presence. Look at what the LORD says to Jacob. “I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again” (v.4). God would be with him the entire time and there’s nothing more thrilling than the continuous company of the Savior.
Secondly, God’s will is full of blessings – “Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes” (v.4). What a joy for Jacob to know he would live the remainder of his days near Joseph.
My friend, we need not be afraid to ask Him first. We need not fear His will for our lives. He is a loving and gracious Father who absolutely knows how to give good gifts to his children (Matthew 7:11). “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matt. 6:33; NLT) So go ahead ask – for directions.
Contemplate and Evaluate:
Do you daily surrender to God’s will or do you hesitate because you’re afraid of what He might make you do?
What decision or situation or longing do you need to lay before the Father today?