Last week, in our look at the life of Jacob (through the book "Escaping with Jacob" by David Ramos), Jacob found out that his son Joseph was not only still alive but was being used by God in Egypt to save others, including Jacob's family. Jacob is coming closer to the end of his life, but God is still working in his life to complete his transformation from Jacob to Israel.
Week 24: Read Genesis 46:1-7 (Inevitable Pain, Unstoppable Promise)
"The time has come for Jacob's final journey. He is old and weak but for the first time in decades, truly hopeful. He will move everything he has to Egypt and there his family will grow under Joseph's care. It is during this move that God speaks to Jacob (the only time God directly speaks during the entire Joseph story). God offers words of comfort and promise. Jacob's moving to Egypt is a good thing because God plans to use Egypt to grow his family into a great nation and will one day lead them back into the Promised Land.
This last scene with the voice of God is incredibly significant because the next time God speaks isn't until the time of Moses, some 400 years later. This scene leaves us with the question: would Jacob still have traveled to Egypt if he knew how God intended to accomplish his plan? That his family would become slaves within a few generations and stay that way for centuries? We can't know what Jacob would have done but we can ask the same question of ourselves. Am I willing to endure pain for the promises of God to come true?
Time and time again, we see God's promises are set on the other side of pain and the only way to reach them is to go through the discomfort, without turning back. Abraham had his waiting, Jacob his fear, and Jesus his cross. All of the promises God brought as a result of their lives only came after they endured.
Celebrate that God has placed tremendous promises over your life. God cares for you, in a way that is completely beyond our understanding. And God loves us enough not to keep us from pain."
Takeaway from today's lesson: We may not understand it now, but pain is a part of many of God's promises.
Prayer: God, I don't want pain in my life, but when it does come, give me the faith to endure and the hope to know that you are accomplishing something beautiful through it.