You’ll never walk alone
June 11th 2020.
Genesis 46:1-4 (NIVUK)
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.’
Jacob’s long life was drawing to a close. He had been careful to obey the Lord’s instruction and had not strayed beyond the boundaries of the land God had promised him. God had indeed blessed him but like many of us it was through the many trials, the ups and downs and sorrows of life. Joseph, the son he had loved so much had disappeared and as far as Jacob was aware he had been taken by a wild animal. We know that he had been sold into slavery by his brothers but in God’s hand and by his sovereign will had become in effect the Prime Minister of Egypt. Now, in God’s providence Jacob was to be taken with the entire family to safety in Egypt. At God’s instruction Jacob had settled at Bethel but now as they made their way south to Egypt the family came to Beersheba where both Abraham and Isaac had settled, and before he left the land of his ancestors Jacob stopped uncertain what to do. He had no instruction from God about this journey and he is clearly uneasy about the venture despite the anticipation of seeing Joseph and so there he worships God and seeks his presence and perhaps permission to leave the land which God had promised to him and his forefathers.
What a reassurance he received, “Do not be afraid..., I will make you a great nation there....I will go down to Egypt with you.” This is not a departure from but the outworking of God’s plan and even there in Egypt the promise is the same..... I will be with you.
At those major turning points in life how do you decide on your course? Is it by depending on your wits, going on your feelings, balancing the pros and cons, or do you like Jacob stop to seek wisdom and guidance from the Lord. You see our reasoning is often flawed, our feelings are an unreliable guide, and often the attraction of the material rewards outweighs what we know is best for us spiritually and what honours Jesus. Many times of course the Lord has had to intervene in the lives of his people to save them their failed reasoning, misdirected gut reactions and the stupidity of their own decisions. So, is it not better to seek guidance in advance, and to be cautious when it comes to diverging from the last bearings given by God? As disciples of Jesus we are called to follow where he leads, as those commissioned in his service we are to go where he sends. It’s at the very least a reversal of roles to expect him to follow where we go. The advice of the psalmist surely warrants attention Psalm 37:- “ 4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this.” Or better still the word of Jesus, “But seek first his Kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” Luke 12:31