Thursday, July 24, 2008

Chapter 46 - Go before you know

In Genesis 45, Joseph asked his long lost father to come to move to Egypt. This is no easy feat given the size of Jacob’s family. Plus he owned a ton of livestock and moving goats by foot has to be an unpleasant experience. In chapter 46: 1-4 it says:

“So Israel (Jacob) set out with all that was his and when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.

And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, “Jacob! Jacob!” “

Here I am,” he replied.

“I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again.”

Note the progression of events here. Jacob sets out with all his goats in verse 1 and then eventually in verse 4 God says "I will go down with Egypt with you.” Not the other way around. If I were Jacob I would have thought “That’s great to hear God because I’ve kind of already left.”

Jacob had to move his entire family, everything he had ever known to set out for a strange land with only his faith in his relationship with God to back him up. No detailed plans, no vision, no promise of success.

Why doesn’t God always give us an instructional sheet for the journey ahead? I think it’s because He’s brilliant and knows that if I had a sheet, that sheet would eventually become my god. When times got tough, I wouldn’t cry out to the one true God in confusion, I would look at my sheet and trust in it for clarity. I’d make an idol out of His instruction and put my faith in the piece of paper instead of Him.

I don’t know if you have a big goat move ahead of you, but if you do, don’t think that God isn’t with you just because He hasn’t delivered clear directions. His silence might be the greatest sign that He wants you take the first step long before He’ll tell you the next one after that.

18 comments:

Jeremy said...

Wow!

It just occured to me that I would also idolise the instruction sheet of goat moving if God was to bestow that upon me!

Thanks for reminding me that I have to take the first move too, sometimes in absence of God's directive. :)

haemin said...

i think you're right. at least, i always complain that God doesn't give me a detailed gameplan (i'm so "type A"), but in reading this, i realize i'm one who would eventually depend on the plan more than the planner. sheesh. God knows me too well.

Brandon said...

Once again...a right on time word!

Thanks and God bless!

Harold said...

A recent lesson learned. The things of the spirit, of God, requires an element of faith. Our human brains are great in trying to talk us out of it, out of the promises of God.

In this case, it is wise to follow the adage of "leap and the net will appear."

eastern ky pastor said...

Good point!

Something I'm going to be considering today is why God called Jacob (Israel) Jacob, when He had changed Jacob's name. I've really been thinking about the family dysfunction for the past few days, perhaps it's related.

Brian said...

Some may say that our "instructional sheet for the journey ahead" is the bible. But in light of the rest of your comments within that paragraph, I want to share a new word that I learned yesterday: bibliolatry. I think a lot of us are guilty of bibliolatry in the same way you talk about that "instructional sheet". I love the Bible as a tool to draw closer to a relationship with the one true God, but I get frustrated with those who use the Bible as something else.

minvasive said...

One of the things I always say when I'm reading here is "I never thought of that!" I thank God for thinkers, but pray that thinkers don't become my god.

Alison said...

I am very much in this type of situation! I have always said that I would love to wake up one morning to find a schedule from God on my bathroom mirror...just so I could be prepared for what's coming. But God wants us to go trusting that He will show us what to do as we go, and to lean on Him when we don't feel prepared. He will always give us just what we need. God is giving me a crash course in how to do that right now...and every step gets easier and more peaceful, even if I don't know what's ahead.

Krissie said...

Might I just say how much I'm getting out of this site... and really several of your sites lately. They seem to be speaking to right where I'm at, and right to what God is doing and wanting from me in my life.

This one in particular has inspired me to start reading the Bible more, digging into it, and not just reading it because that's what a Christian does.

So thanks!

jerlight said...

yes! thank-you for that great reminder! he did that with Abraham, too, didn't he? "Go, leaving everything, to a land that I will show you (basically, starting walking and I'll tell you when you're there.)" and "Take your son and go to a mountain I will show you..."
I, too, would make the plan my god.

jenn3 said...

I needed that today. I love knowing exactly where I'm going and what the next step is, but God doesn't work that way. It's so true that I would put my faith in those plans, instead of God, if I knew everything. God knows what He's doing, I guess I don't have to. :)

Kaye said...

Great post! Thanks!

Chris Chowdhury said...

Awesome post. Really helped me and my wife. These goats are smelly, but they're moving!

Joe said...

On the head.

How many times God has told us:

"Don't worship the blessing, worship the One who blesses!"

"Don't worship things that I have created for you, worship the Creator!"

In this case...

"Don't worship the plans, worship the Planner!"

Love it.

Troy & Tara Livesay said...

Thanks for the permission to cross post. We put it up today. Loved this post.

toni said...

ridiculously, personally relevant and convicting today. shut my mouth!!:)

Angie said...

You have no idea how perfect this is for me... I feel like you are in my head. I have a "goat" move coming up, and have no idea what i'm getting myself into. "Am I crazy?"... "Is this really God" seems to be the thing that runs wild in my head... but today it stopped running... and now through the tears of realizing once again HE is with me... I will continue.
Thank you so much!

this lovely life I live said...

great!