Jacob was overjoyed with the news of Joseph still being alive, his sons returning not only food but the offer of the “best of Egypt” from the Pharoah.
The “promised land” was Canaan, not Egypt. Jacob feared if he moved to Egypt, his family might never inherit the land. Could he take the risk for generations to come, the promise from his grandfather’s, father’s and his God? What if his children adopted Egyptian gods? Would it be his failure as a father?
So, he stopped and talked with God.
First, he worshipped God. I wonder what it was like – Jacob praising God for saving Joseph’s life, protecting him, lifting him up? God had provided food, even wagons for his grandchildren. It was more than he could imagine as he presented himself before God, acknowledging the God of his fathers as his God.
Secondly, God acknowledged Jacob’s sacrifice by calling him by name. Think about it, God knew Jacob’s name. And he didn’t call him Israel, the name given to him years before by God. He knew Jacob’s name when he was a sinner, needing God’s grace.
Thirdly, Jacob responded when he heard his name, “Here I am.” He made himself available to God in that very moment. He had no idea what God was going to ask or say. After all, it had been a while since he had heard from God. Maybe God would say, “Turn around. Forget Joseph. I don’t want you to go.”
But Jacob still said, “Here I am.” And God assured him his fears would not come true. In fact, it would be the opposite.
First, God affirmed who he was, God Almighty, the God who provided and forgave Jacob’s grandfather, and father, as well as Jacob.
Second, he acknowledged Jacob’s fear, “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation.” God knows when we are afraid, especially when making life changing decisions. We don’t even need to tell him, although it is good to get emotions out in the open. Jacob didn’t have the ability to mess up God’s plan, because God keeps his promises.
Third, God promised his presence, “I myself will go down with you to Egypt.” God goes with us wherever we go. I remind myself of that fact every time we’ve faced a move, surgery, a new challenge, or even when I get up in the morning.
God himself goes with me.
And fourth, God give us a vision and hope, “And I will also bring you up again, and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes.” Can you imagine the emotional impact of those words on an old man’s heart? His nation would someday live in Canaan again. His beloved Joseph would close his eyes.
I can’t help but think of my own walk with God. I need to stop…stop going in the direction of my heart, and connect with my God. There are times when I need to simply worship him, to hear him call my name. And I want to present myself with a simple, “Here I am.”
I want to see him as God Almighty, able and willing. I want to fall to my knees when he acknowledges my fears only he knows. I want to embrace his presence in my life. And I want to be comforted by his vision for my life and let hope surge through my veins.
And then, like Jacob, I can “set out” for whatever God has before me.