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.” Genesis 46:2-4 NIV
In the summer of 1986, Pam and I were early in our dating relationship. She was working 600 miles away as a counselor at Ridgecrest for summer camps. We were drawn together rather quickly through long conversations over the phone and letter writing – you know, before cell phones, texting and facetime.
I planned a trip to come up and see her over the July 4th holiday. To surprise her, I showed up a day early. Her room mate was in on the surprise, which allowed me to be standing outside her opened door undetected. Then the cold feet wave hit me. It went something like this.
“What am I doing? I have just driven 600 miles to see the most beautiful girl I know. If we continue on this path…we will get married. Am I ready for marriage? What? Marriage? Why am I thinking about getting married so quickly? I think I need to leave. She hasn’t seen me yet, I could turn around now…”
I stepped into her dorm room and said “Hey”.
Pam replied, “What are you doing here…early?”
As I was turning around I said, “I don’t know..I can leave.”
She jumped up and quickly made the three or for steps over to hug me and said, “No you are not leaving. You are here now.”
On the other side of that fearful moment, “Okay, I’ll stay.” After salvation, best decision of my life.
All decisions have consequences. Fear has stopped many people from moving forward. Some attempts of moving forward have ended in failure or unexpected drama. How do you overcome fear which is holding you back from moving forward in a challenging situation? For all of you brave people, you don’t have to read any further. Hopefully for the rest of us, we can glean some strength from today’s verse.
Let’s break Genesis 46:2-4 down
Context – There is a severe famine in the land and long dead and lost Joseph is found. He is 2nd in command in Egypt and has the power and provision to care for his family. He invites his entire family of brothers and especially his dad to move to Egypt so that he can provide for them. Jacob consents and has started the journey to Egypt. He has his last recorded supernatural interaction with God.
Jacob, Jacob,- God knows your name. Sometimes He has to call it twice to get your attention and to remind you of the close relationship with Him. Do you know God’s voice when He is speaking to you? Jesus said His followers, His sheep, have the ability to hear, know and follow His voice.
I am God – The mighty One. When God starts off the conversation like this, everything else which follows is under His authority. Honestly, He could have stopped speaking at this moment. God is bigger than any situation which you may face…any. He is not a part time God or limited in His power and capacity. He is God…with the big G.
The God of your father. God is reminding Jacob of history and relationship. He has proven himself faithful through multi generations and will be faithful to Jacob now. Side note – There is a blessing if your parents have walked faithfully with God. They have modeled the endurance of commitment through trials. They have also prayed prayers for you which you will have to wait until you get into heaven to find out about them. BUT, if this was not your history, let the family of faith in the Bible be your encouragement. God will bring others into your life who model faithfulness.
Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt – The decision to go to Egypt will eventually lead to the enslavement of His descendants. When they return to Israel, they will be a great nation. A lot of life happens between those two events of going and returning. The bad things which could happen are not to deter you from moving forward.
I will go down to Egypt with you – And there you have it. Your fear of moving forward to Egypt can step aside, because God has promised to be with Jacob on his journey. God is not stuck in Israel. He will be with Jacob wherever he goes, even into the unknown.
Facing your fears can be difficult. Perhaps the uncertainty of the future is troubling you. Perhaps you are afraid of going to the doctor because of the diagnosis. Perhaps you are afraid of engaging in that conversation with a loved one for fear of rejection. Perhaps starting that project intimidates you. BUT God has promised to be with you in every step of your “unknown journey”.
On this Fear Not Friday may you receive a fresh revelation of God’s abiding presence. May you receive the comfort and boldness to step through your fears. Even if you get cold feet, God can give you a big hug to remind you of His abiding presence, His unconditional love, His enduring faithfulness, and His joy in your journey.
Blessings, Love y’all