Summary: God told Jacob an amazing thing: "Go into Egypt!"--he never told people to go into Egypt; that is a type of the world; in the New Testament, Jesus said, "Go into all the world..." from the life of Joseph we can learn how to prepare for our entry into the world!
Before You Go into Egypt
1. God told Jacob an amazing thing--"Go down into Egypt!"
2. The reason is was such a surprising thing for God to do is that Egypt is always a type of the world--the heathenistic, Godless world.
3. In a similar fashion, God desires that we, as Christians go into all the world.
4. Many religious groups down through the ages have advocated a complete separation from all contact with the world!
5. Hundreds of years ago, the Roman Catholics began building monasteries and other convents to carry out this doctrine.
6. I know of a pastor who moved from a northern state to Texas and took his entire congregation with him (numbering over 100); presumably, so they could escape the corruption of the world.
7. However, God said, “Go ye into all the world!”
8. In John 17, Jesus said we are to be in the world, but not of the world!
9. This story contains the essence of Jesus’ words, as God told Israel, "Go down into Egypt!"
I. A Passion for God (v. 1-2)
Notice that before Israel would enter Egypt, he went to Beersheba. The phrase, "took his journey with all he had," comes from one Hebrew word meaning, "to pull up, especially the tent-pins." He took everything he had to Beersheba (the place of an oath) to worship God.
Before we enter the world, we must develop a passion for God.
A. We must sacrifice everything to God (v. 1)
When we enter the world to work for God, Satan is going to try to trick us into envying the world. When we have placed our all on the altar of sacrifice, he will not be able to charm us in such a way!
B. We must speak with God (v. 2)
This involves a two-way conversation! No one is ready to enter the world that has not spoken to God and had God speak to him or her through His word. If we go out into the world in our own power, we will fall! We must commune with God on a daily basis.
II. The Purposes of God (v. 3)
A. When we go into Egypt, we get to know God more intimately.
As we see Him working in our lives as we spend time working and witnessing in the world, we will have to put into verbal form our relationship with God. This will strengthen our relationship with Him. We will also be put to the test on numerous occasions! If we only spend time with Christians, often our lives are not nearly as challenged to live for Christ. On the other hand, if we have daily contact with the unsaved people of the world, we will go to God each day with a hunger and a need to know Him and the power of His resurrection. This is the only way we will keep from being ensnared by the allurements of this world-system!
B. When we go into Egypt, we eventually grow numerically.
God told Israel that in Egypt He would make him into a great nation. He was speaking of numeric growth. It is true that God made just a handful of Israel’s offspring into a mighty nation numbering in the millions while they were in Egypt. Many churches today have a problem with numerical growth! Why? Because they are not going "down into Egypt." We spend much of our time in fellowship with the brethren. That is well and good, but we must spend some time in the world witnessing of Christ and the solution to the sin problem. What has happened is that our churches have become so concerned with "inreach" that they have forgotten "outreach" altogether! Some have even formed a set of beliefs against going into the world, supposedly to protect the younger generation! How ludicrous! I know of no better way to warn the younger generation of the effects of sin than to expose them to the world in a protected way like visiting and door-to-door witnessing. When we knock on the door of a teenage mother, they will get to see first-hand the quality of life that those that have played with sex enjoy! When we knock on an alcoholic’s door, they will get to smell the effects of the sins of drunkenness. As we go help in a local rescue mission or ghetto-area church, they will get to see the results of sin’s various vices!
C. When we go into Egypt, we must do so temporarily (v. 4).
Notice God said, "I will surely bring thee up again." He does not intend for us to remain in the world and learn its practices. He wants us to go to win converts to Him and grow spiritually as we give an answer to every man that asketh us a reason of the hope that is in us (I Peter 3:15). He does not, however, want us to make friends of the worldly crowd and participate in worldly events. A short stay in the world will challenge our faith, but a permanent stay in the world will greatly damage our faith. We still must spend time with our Christian brothers and sisters to keep a balance in our lives. God reserved a section of Egypt--Goshen--for Israel that was removed from the mainstream of Egypt.