Genesis 46 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional

“Israel set out with all he had and came to Beer-sheba, and he offered sacrifices to the G_d of his father Isaac. That night G_d spoke to Israel in a vision: ‘Jacob! Jacob!’ He said. And Jacob replied, ‘Here I am.’ G_d said, ‘I am G_d, the G_d of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt for I will make you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will bring you back. Joseph will put his hands on your eyes.’” Genesis 46:1-4

I always liked this verbal exchange between Jacob and the L_rd. First off, Jacob seems to be learning his lessons. Having set out on his journey, Jacob realized the gravity of journey and offered a sacrifice to “the G_d of his father Isaac”. He had experienced significant moments of Divine deliverance, but given recent family history, Jacob must have been wondering if the L_rd had abandoned him. The “heel catcher” (That was the meaning of his name) was wondering if he was setting himself up for another fall.

Interesting, is how G_d called him by his former name, “Jacob” and not the name He had bestowed upon him earlier: Israel. As long as Jacob perceived a distance from himself the L_rd, he would most likely fall back into his old ways. I believe G_d was reminding him of where he had been, before assuring him of where he was going.

G_d’s reference to His association with Isaac was a sober reminder that G_d’s PROMISE is the sustaining factor in Israel’s blessing…not Jacob’s righteousness.

Once that is established, G_d articulates His grace towards Jacob and all Israel. His blessing is not “I’ll be here holding down the fort in Canaan! Hope you write often…” No, G_d promised to personally accompany Israel. G_d’s promise is enough, but His presence is even better!! G_d would make Israel a great nation during their stay in Egypt. Notice that “great” does not mean “righteous”, but simply, “large”. Righteousness would come much later, during Israel’s time in the desert. It didn’t take long to lead Israel out of Egypt…but it took 40 years to purge “Egypt” from Israel.

What is great to me is how G_d told all of this to Abraham, everything, down to the 400 years in Egyptian slavery. And it all came true. Now, G_d had promised much to Jacob. In a few days, we will read of the fulfillment of some of those promises. Here is a sneek peek:

“So Jacob’s sons did for him what he had commanded them. They carried him to the land of Caanan and buried him in the cave at Machpelah in the field near Mamre, which Abraham had purchased as a burial site from Ephron the Hittite. After Joseph buried his father, he returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone with him to bury his father.” Genesis 50:12-14

G_d keeps His promises. He can be trusted, and He has the power to accomplish His will, despite even His own children’s sinful ignorance. So, what promises of His are you trusting in?

Blessings,
~Steve Wiggins, Associate Leader, Worship Leader
Shuvah Yisrael
Daily Devotional, Tuesday, February 25, 2014