February 16, Friday

Devotional Thoughts for This Morning

“Moving into the Unknown”

Genesis 46:1-4

So Israel took his journey with all that he had and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2 And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am.” 3 Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. 4 I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes.”

One of the most laborious and painstaking things in life is—moving.  This past summer my family moved from our old apartment into our new house, and while we were thankful for God’s provision of a new home, the process was not fun at all.  If you’ve moved recently, you know that it’s so much work: you pack up all of your belongings and put them in boxes, much less load up a truck, recruit help, unload, clean your old place and your new place, and the list goes on. Because there’s just so much work involved, as people get older, there is a growing desire to be settled.  I’d imagine that for most of us, by the time we reach retirement age, the last thing we’d want to do is to move.

But that is exactly what Jacob had to do. Jacob was very old at this point in Genesis, and it seems that he was not in great health either; but this one last time, he had to move from Canaan to Egypt. He was uprooting his entire life—all of his family, all of his flocks, and all of his possessions— to go to a place that he did not consider his home.  For Jacob, this wasn’t just a laborious thing to do— like my family’s move this past summer—but it was emotionally difficult, because he was going into the unknown.  He was going to Egypt to start over in a new place.  In his advanced age, instead of being settled and secure, he must have felt fearful and insecure as he ventured into the unknown.

It’s difficult to move, but even more difficult is to go into the unknown.  I think we all would have felt anxious and fearful if we were in Jacob’s shoes, but the good news for Jacob—and for us— is that God’s presence is promised.  God doesn’t just tell Jacob that everything would be okay and that he didn’t need to worry, but God so personally promises him, “I myself will go down with you to Egypt.”  Moving into the unknown or walking into uncertainty is never easy, but if we remember our God who promises His presence, we can walk by faith, knowing that God Himself walks with us.

Prayer: Jesus, help me to walk by faith this day and help me to remember Your enduring presence, which is with me every day.  I pray that Your peace will rest upon my soul as I trust in You.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today:   Joshua 1


Lunch Bible Study

Read Exodus 33:12-16: Moses said to the Lord, “See, you say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ 13 Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” 14 And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15 And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.16 For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?”

Questions to Consider

  1. What does Moses ask of God in this passage?
  2. How does God reassure Moses?
  3. Why was God’s presence so important to Moses?

Notes

  1. Moses asks God, “let me know whom you will send with me” to bring the people of Israel into the Promised Land. Moses isn’t asking about the names of the angels or other agents—he’s essentially asking God to show him that He is with Moses and Israel.
  2. God promises that His presence will go with him and bring him rest/peace in the lord.
  3. Moses didn’t feel like it was worth going into Canaan unless God’s presence went in with them. It was important to Moses (and to God) that Israel be distinct and different from all other people on the planet because of God’s presence with them.

Evening Reflection

As you think about this day, did you get a sense of God’s presence?  If so, praise God! If not, consider whether there’s a part of you that feels distant from God or not really seeking Him.  Regardless of where your heart is, take some time to pray and ask Him for help and for His presence.

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