The Scripture for today is Genesis 46:1-7 46 So Israel set out with all that was his, and when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.
2 And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, “Jacob! Jacob!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
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. 4 I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.”
5 Then Jacob left Beersheba, and Israel’s sons took their father Jacob and their children and their wives in the carts that Pharaoh had sent to transport him.6 So Jacob and all his offspring went to Egypt, taking with them their livestock and the possessions they had acquired in Canaan. 7 Jacob brought with him to Egypt his sons and grandsons and his daughters and granddaughters—all his offspring.
When I read this scripture this evening, I was struck by the thought that when Israel (Jacob) set out with all that was his – there was no turning back. He gathered up his family and all his belongings, and then headed to an unfamiliar place in a land far away. He didn’t leave anyone behind to ensure that his family would have a place to return to. He didn’t hire an estate manager to manage his crops and livestock. He didn’t store his extra household goods until he could get back home. He packed it all up and trusted that he and his family would be provided for in Egypt. Jacob was brave and courageous. Jacob trusted GOD.
I am reminded of when my husband and I finally retired from the Navy. We packed up our three kids and all of our worldly possessions then headed to Austin. I had visited here once and my husband had never been here. We had spent years researching the kind of place that we wanted to live and chose Austin. This was a scary step for us – we were both unemployed and our kids were counting on us. We trusted God to guide us in this new life but to be honest; we did have a safety net. Unlike Jacob, we each earned a pension from the Navy. My parents live in San Antonio and we were able to spend some time living there until we found a job and a place to live. I used to think we were pretty brave but in comparison to Jacob; we weren’t so courageous. I am humbled by the thought that our safety net allowed us to be self-reliant. Did we trust a little too much in our own abilities? God, our loving and patient Father, continues to bless us. He forgives our sins of self-reliance. He continues to call us to trust in him and not in our own abilities. As I think about Joseph, I am led to pray:
Father God, thank you for loving us and providing for us. Thank you for your patience with our self-reliance and ingratitude. Teach us to turn to you always in love and thanksgiving – regardless of our personal circumstances. We love you, Father! Amen!