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October 18, 2020 | Doug Sauder
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“So Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.”—Genesis 46:1 (NKJV)
It’s easy to underplay the emotional state of Jacob (or Israel) at this point in the Genesis narrative. After all, when we read the Bible we can very easily think of its characters as mythical and unfeeling figures. But we should never lose touch with the fact that the people that God used to fulfill His purposes were just that—people. They worried, they doubted, they had insecurities, they wrestled with every emotion that we do.
Jacob is no exception. Consider where he’s at right now. On the basis of his sons’ word, he is making a life-changing decision. He’s uprooting his entire household and venturing to a foreign land that he had never seen, much like His grandfather, Abraham! That’s a risk at any stage of life, but especially for someone well into their wintery season of life. A false move at this stage isn’t an easy recovery!
But above all these practical risks, there was a deeper risk that drove at the deepest place of his being. His heart had long since given up hope that he’d ever see or embrace his beloved son, Joseph. Now, many years after being robbed of him, he’s being told that Joseph is alive! On the surface, this was fantastic news, but put yourself in his position. Haven’t you held back on wonderful news because deep down you didn’t want to risk the disappointment?
This is where Jacob is at as he stops and draws close to God by offering sacrifices to Him. Notice the Lord’s response to Jacob: “’Jacob, Jacob!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ So He said, ‘I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of 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 put his hand on your eyes.’” (Genesis 46:2-4 NKJV).
God speaks to Jacob and confirms the good news that had been brought to him. Why did God speak to Jacob this way? Because He knew this is exactly what Jacob needed. There is simply no substitute for the voice of the Lord, especially in moments of difficulty.
That’s a truth we cannot afford to abandon for our own lives. In all things and at all times (especially in difficulty) we need to hear God’s voice! And we can, because He’s given us something that even Jacob didn’t have: We have God’s written Word, which He uses to communicate with us as His Spirit opens our eyes and ears to perceive Him.
DIG: What did Jacob need above all else at this juncture in his life?
DISCOVER: How does God’s Word and God’s Spirit factor into hearing the voice of the Lord?
DO: How are you growing in your ability to perceive God’s voice? Spend some time evaluating!