Last week we saw a beautiful reunion between Joseph and all of his brothers. After 22 years of separation, they were all back together again. But there was still one thing left to do – bring the entire family back to Egypt to live with Joseph. So Joseph sent his brothers back home to Canaan to get his dad and the rest of the family.
[Read Genesis 45:25-28.]
Jacob is determined to move his entire household to Egypt where there was food, since there was a famine in the land, and where there was Joseph, his long-lost son.
Now even though this was going to be a good move for Jacob and his household, there would still be a lot of stress involved. Moving from one place to another carries a lot of stress and even fear with it – even if you’re moving for a good reason.
Jacob’s family would have food to eat in Egypt, Jacob would be able to see his son Joseph, and God was going to transform Israel from a tribal family into a great nation there. But as we’re going to see, Jacob was afraid of the move.
You see, moving means change. And change is always at war with comfort. We get to a place in our lives where we’re comfortable. Everything is set and working great. No surprises, no problems and little stress. We’re comfortable with life and don’t want to upset the applecart. “If it aint broken, don’t fix it!”
[Getting out of bed to turn on heat illustration.]
We sometimes get that way in life. We don’t want to be uncomfortable for a minute even if it’s for our own good. And more often than not, change in our lives is good. Especially if it’s directed by God. The change coming to Jacob’s life was directed by God, but he still feared it.
I. Change is feared
[Read Genesis 46:1-4.]
Now the reason we know that Jacob was afraid of this move was because the Lord told him not to be afraid. Jacob might have been on his way to Egypt, but deep down he didn’t know what to expect. Change was coming and his stress level was rising.
The great thing about this is that it drove Jacob to his knees. At the beginning of his journey he went to that familiar place of worship in Beersheba and offered sacrifices to God. I wonder if he went to the same place where his father and grandfather worshipped.
[Jacob - read Genesis 46:1-3a.]
[Isaac - read Genesis 26:23-25, altar.]
[Abraham - read Genesis 21:33, tree.]
Do you think it’s possible that all of these worship sites are one in the same? Trees live hundreds of years. Altars last hundreds of years. I think it’s very possible that Jacob worshipped in the same place where Isaac worshipped and where Abraham worshipped. Especially when the Lord identified himself to Jacob and Isaac as the God of their father; Whom had worshipped in that place.
Anyway, Jacob is afraid of the change coming associated with his move to Egypt so he goes to a familiar place of worship and calls on the Lord.
You know, when we’re facing change in our life that’s kind of scary, we need to go to that familiar place of worship and call on the Lord. Not necessarily a special place or form or worship, but the familiar posture of trusting our loving God. God has always and will always love us and be with us. He’s gotten us through scary changes of life before and He’ll be with us through scary changes again. He’s the familiar constant that holds or feet sure through the waves of life.
Jacob trusted him with this change and look at how God reassured him:
1. “I will make you a great nation”, (I will fulfill my promises)
2. “I will go down with you”, (I’ll never leave your side)
3. “I will bring you up again”, (You won’t be buried in a pagan land)
4. “Joseph will close your eyes”, (You won’t be separated from Joseph ever again)
God comforted Jacob’s fears concerning the move and encouraged him to travel on. And travel on they did. Now instead of fearing change:
II. Change is embraced
[Read Genesis 46:5-7.]
They packed up everything and moved to Egypt. Everything! All their family, all their livestock and all their possessions. They just picked up and moved. That’s what initially made things so scary. But now having been encouraged by the Lord the change was embraced.
Now the next twenty verses list the names of most of Jacob’s family. (The names of his son’s wives aren’t listed.) The list was to represent all of Jacob’s direct descendants. Not the people married into the family, but the people with Jacob’s blood.