Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A new home, for awhile--Gen 46-48

It must have been hard for Jacob to leave the land of the promise.  I'm sure he was excited to see Joseph but after all his father and grandfather had been through, I wonder if he still felt a hesitation to leave.  He's leading an entire clan of 70 away from the land God promised to them.  If he's wrong, it will hurt all those other people too.   At Beersheba, not far from the ladder he saw in his youth, God steps in to directly confirm that this was His plan for now and that He also had a plan to get them back eventually. 

There have been many times in my own life where I thought I knew what the Bible said about what I should do, only to find that God stepped in and showed me where I was interpreting things wrongly.  For instance, I was taught early in my marriage that I should stay home and care for our children and home.  That was true, but only a half truth.  Proverbs 31 also praises a woman who adds value to her home and family through several careers.  It took a direct intervention on God's part to show me that His plan for my life included working and to confirm it through scripture, obedience and fruit. 

As another example, I was taught to submit to my husband with Sarah as the model, calling her husband Lord and obeying him even when it was wrong.  It's taken me many years to realize that I had given John the place in my life that only God should have--to our detriment.  God also said that it isn't good for a man to be alone and becoming a doormat left him alone without any of the guidance and confirmation God wanted to provide through me as his wife.  Standing up for myself has brought us both to a healing process that God has been preparing for us.  He was just waiting for my obedience to Him rather than to my husband.

Just like in my own life, in this passage God confirms his direction with His presence, favor and the opportunity to bless others along the way.  Judah steps up to take a leadership role again, but this time in ways that are genuinely helpful.  Pharoah gives them the land they most desire in all of Egypt.  God grants Joseph wisdom in his leadership role and Jacob finally gets to see and bless his grandchildren.  Even here, God upends the expected with a different plan, again honoring the younger son over the oldest. 

Don't get me wrong.  We must rely on the what the Bible says and not our own impressions, but God is good at making sure that we really understand it in the way He intends.  Just look at Saul/Paul.  With the best of intentions, he persecuted the early church for their heresy.  He looked in the Bible and thought he understood God's plan.  The only problem was that He read it wrong because he hadn't consulted the Author.  It took a blinding light and a word from Jesus to show him where he had missed the big picture.  If we are honestly desiring to follow God and His will, He will lead us, even if it takes a Damascus Road experience to get us moving in the right direction.  He didn't give us scripture so that we can plot our own course.  He still wants to do that for us.  He gave us scripture so we could learn to know and trust Him, personally, intimately, vibrantly on a day to day basis.  There is no other way. 

Where in your life has it been easier to rely on the "law" than to seek out God's direction face to face?

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