Do you have a peaceful place that you go to when you are feeling harried and tired? Maybe a family cottage you can retreat to, summer or winter. Maybe a favourite coffee shop with nice chairs and a fire place? Or perhaps your peaceful place is closer to home, like a workshop or a comfy chair in a quiet corner of your house? You know the place. A spot you run to get away from the worries of life for five minutes. A place where you feel that you can close your eyes and breathe out your anxieties.
If you are having a hard time thinking of such a place for yourself, then may I suggest, somewhat strongly, that you find that place for yourself. We all need a place to “just be”. That is a phrase my wife and I have been using since we were in college. We all need a safe, peaceful place that comes without any obligations or expectations or responsibility. That is why those places sometimes have to be physically removed from our regular geography. But we can have those places in our everyday settings as well. Sometimes it’s as much about our mindset as it is about they physical location.
Here’s why I bring this up. God lead Joseph to Egypt, through various and uncomfortable paths. Yet through it all, Joseph was convinced that God had ordained his position in Egypt for the benefit of his family and the saving of many lives during the famine. We talked about that a bit yesterday. We have confirmation of that in today’s reading. Genesis 46:2-4
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. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.”
God understood that in order for Jacob’s family to become the nation of Israel, they needed a safe, prosperous, secure place to grow. That is exactly what God provided. “for I will make you into a great nation there.” He gave Joseph a top job that earned favour in Pharaoh’s eyes and gave him a good reputation among the Egyptians. A safe place.
Could you or I possibly conceive of such a plan? Grow one nation within the boundaries of another, and have the host nation willingly participate in the whole thing. It’s amazing.
God’s plans for us are no less spectacular. There are times in his plans for us that he leads us into a seemingly strange place that ends up being exactly what we needed. Those places may even feel like exile, like the exact opposite of what we thought we needed. But God knows what we need and when we need it. We need to have faith like Jacob to listen and follow.
- What was familiar from this passage of scripture? What was something I already knew?
- What was new from this piece of scripture? What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
- Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
- How does this passage apply to my life, here and now? Do I need to do anything about it?
- What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?
Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 48-50