Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Jacob's third time leaving home

So today, we opened the Bible to this verse:

And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac. And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here [am] I. And he said, I [am] God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation:  Genesis 46:1-3


It dawned on me: Jacob left his "home" three times. True, they were "habiru" (wanderers) but there is wandering around in your general homeland and there is going away on a far journey. 


The first time Jacob/Israel left home, he fled from his brother Esau and ended up in Laban's territory and found himself a wife. In this instance, trials at home and his own crime led him to up and leave. It was an utterly unplanned leaving. He found his wives...so although it was unplanned, it turned our well...kinda. Well, kinda well.


Which leads to the second time he left home. This was somewhat planned but it had to be done sneakily. Here again, he was fleeing from family and he really had nowhere to go except that he was going somewhere else. And there was still the problem of the pesky brother Esau who was out there somewhere still waiting for him.  This leaving led to Rachel lying about the household gods and Jacob accidentally cursing his wife which led to her dying in childbirth. Before Jacob left he'd been talking to God and it was through God's help that he had increased. As he prepared to leave, he prayed to God and reminded God of God's promise. Then he sojourned there for a while, while his family grew.


Then the third time he left home, he had a large family. This was not the usual wandering around but the big leap of going to live in Egypt. Interestingly -- and this is my opinion-- Jacob knew by now that leaving for big journeys always seemed to big major issues. One of Jacob's most telling words: 


And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.  Genesis 47:9


I suspect that Jacob is now incredibly tired and incredibly wary. He has seen that journeys can bring big trouble, great blessings, and a scary combination of both. Life is a scary, unpredictable thing. So now, although his son is finally found -- his beloved, favorite son-- he is utterly terrified. Also, he probably knew of the prophesy God had given to Abraham that his children would be slaves in Egypt. So now...he has to go down to Egypt. I can imagine the thoughts running about in his head. But God told him to "go" and to not be afraid. So he went.


Hubby and I have been praying for guidance....and I keep feeling God wants us to move. So...must become brave...and  must also ask Him to tell us where to go. Like Jacob, we've ended up in a bit of a mess in our lives because we didn't ask God what to do. So now... 

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