Will Go Down With You Into Egypt
I suppose it was a bit
disconcerting for Jacob to pull up stakes and head from Canaan, the land of
promise, on down to Egypt. Of course, he is looking forward to being reunited
with his long lost, and thought to be dead, son Joseph. Even at this time,
poor old Jacob is having a difficult time forcing himself to believe the good
news that Joseph is alive after all these years.
“I will also surely bring you up again"
By Jon W. Quinn
Jacob is old, and he knows that this trip to Egypt will probably be his last
earthly journey. There will be no return to Canaan during his lifetime. But
Canaan is the land of promise. God had promised to give it to Jacob's
grandfather, Abraham. The promise had been renewed by the Lord to Jacob's
father Isaac. And, Jehovah had also made the promise to Jacob himself. But now
they were leaving the land in which his family had prospered in times past but
was presently suffering from great famine. They were heading for Egypt where
there was food, thanks to God's providential care and plan through Joseph, now
a mighty ruler.
Jacob's Final Worship In Canaan
“Israel set out with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered
sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.” (Genesis 46:1).
Jacob (Israel) worshiped God at Beersheba (in Canaan) for a final time. Think
of this. Due to the terrible famine, Jacob is leaving the land of promise. But
before leaving Canaan, Jacob worships God. What is on his mind?
I recall several occasions where, before moving our family to a distant place,
I have gathered with brethren for perhaps the final time on this earth to
worship our God together. Soon the familiar faces, voices and location would
be a memory. It is a very emotional thing.
Now, it is true that Jacob's extended family (about seventy people) will be
moving with him. But the land, the birthright and the blessing he had received
from his father Isaac, and all the promises of God involved in those things,
seem now to be growing even more remote. What do you suppose Jacob is
pondering during his final worship time in Canaan?
God Knows and Answers
God knows what Jacob is thinking about. God,
in dealing with the patriarchs of old, occasionally communicated directly to
them. In the New Testament, the Hebrew writer discusses how God once
communicated with man in this way, but does not any longer, instead
communicating His will to us through the words of the covenant of His Son
Jesus (Hebrews 1:1-3).
Jehovah God, knowing Jacob's concerns and thoughts, reassured him.
“God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, "Jacob, Jacob." And he
said, "Here I am."
He said, "I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to
Egypt, for I will make 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 close your
eyes." (Genesis 46:2-4).
It is from the Lord's reassurances to Jacob that we are enlightened as to what
Jacob was thinking. Jacob was afraid that leaving the land of promise might
somehow render the promise null and void. The Lord assures Jacob that such is
not the case and he need not be afraid to go down to Egypt. God will still be
with Jacob, he will one day return to Canaan and it will be Joseph who will be
present with Jacob when he dies.
God will fulfill a part of His promise while the family is in Egypt, They will
enter Egypt as a family clan of seventy nomads (Genesis 46:5-7; 27). Their
descendants will leave Egypt as a great nation (recall the original promise
made to Abraham (Genesis 12:2).
God also promises Jacob that He will bring them back to Canaan from Egypt. How
God accomplishes this will be seen in future Biblical history, and seems to be
left as a mystery to Jacob. The exodus will not occur for another 400 years,
but it will occur.
At long last, Jacob arrives in Egypt and is reunited with his son, Joseph. The
stories that Joseph yet lives, which Jacob would scarcely allow himself to
believe lest they fail to be true and he be heart-broken again, were true
"Joseph prepared his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet his father Israel;
as soon as he appeared before him, he fell on his neck and wept on his neck a
long time. Then Israel said to Joseph, "Now let me die, since I have seen your
face, that you are still alive." (Genesis
To Canaan's Land
Jacob's family take up residence in the land
of Goshen, an area of Egypt. Jacob dies in old age, and his body is returned
to Canaan by Joseph for burial.
God, of course, already forsees the exodus, though it is still 400 years in
the future. What seems like a very long time to men is nothing to God. God
works His plan in His own appointed way and time, and always fulfills His
promises. There are going to be some dark days in Israel's future, when the
promise of their own land in Canaan seems very remote. But that day will come!
And now, the Lord has appointed yet another day and has told us to watch for
it, promising us a new, spiritual Canaan. This promise , too, will be
fulfilled. We are looking for the heavenly Canaan, and we will reach it one
day by faith, and though some of our days here between now and then may be
dark as well, there is nothing that can be so dark so as to nullify the
promises of God (Acts 17:31; 2 Peter 3:8-13; Hebrews 12:26-28; 11:22; 13-16).
Again, that day will come when with new eyes we will behold the home God has
prepared for us!
From The Bradley Banner 5/17/2009
Published by the Bradley Church of Christ
1505 E. Broadway